Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mock Haven

I guess it's time for my annual rant about the Lock Haven men's basketball program, losers today at Gannon, 85-35, in a game that actually was not as close as the ridiculous 50-point margin. (For past comments on Lock Haven, click here and here.) This Bald Eagle team was especially deplorable in their talent level and aggressiveness on offense.

Back in 2004, current Harbor Creek High School head coach Jason Dolak and I put together the Erie Red Storm all-star basketball team to play in some spring AAU-type tournaments. The roster included Kevin Buczynski (Villa), Tywuan Thomas (Strong Vincent), Tyler Sekerak (Corry), Tony DeMichele (Prep), Robbie Fugate (Prep), Joe Jones (Prep), and Scott Veith (Fairview). That team of all local kids would have crushed winless Lock Haven today by double-digits. How can a full-time coaching staff work all off-season and come up with a team so small and unskilled? And they have some scholarship money to give. The Red Storm team had to pay tournament entry fees plus travel expenses before they took the court.

Lock Haven's offensive game plan in the first 20 minutes seemed to be: walk the ball over midcourt, throw it to the wing 40 feet from the basket, maybe throw it to the corner, dribble back out to midcourt, survey the defense, watch the shot clock tick down to 15, and then go 1-on-1 before either turning the ball over or forcing up a contested shot. On at least a dozen possessions in the first half, when LHU generated a pitiful 3 field goals (one tipped in by Gannon) and 0 assists, the Bald Eagles didn't even penetrate the three-point line.

I watched four basketball teams play today, and here's how I'd rank them in aggressiveness:
#1 Gannon
#2 Bumblebees
#3 Fireflies
#4 Lock Haven

The Bumblebees and Fireflies are from my daughter's kindergarten basketball game Saturday morning at First Alliance Church. Her game's highlights included one girl dribbling sideline to sideline with two hands for 30 seconds and a boy running with the ball toward the wrong basket. And that's still more aggressive than Lock Haven! LHU is now 0-23 on the year and just 2-58 in their past 60 games.

As far as the Knights, I was pleased to see them deliver the KO punch early. Every second Lock Haven stuck around would have chipped away at GU's confidence (which wasn't exactly sky-high entering the game). Actually, LHU didn't even stick around for one second, ceding the opening tip to Darrell Blanton. The official tossed up the ball, and Blanton was the only one who elevated. Gannon led 13-0 five minutes in and 27-4 at the 10-minute mark, erasing any thoughts Lock Haven might have for winning their first game of the season.

The downer of the day was Cal upsetting Mercyhurst, 61-56, on the Hurst's home floor. Had the Lakers won, Gannon and Cal would have identical 11-9 marks in the PSAC West with the Vulcans holding the tiebreaker. Now with GU still a game behind, the Knights need to win at Slippery Rock AND at IUP next week with Cal losing at home to Clarion and at Edinboro.

I can rant all I want about how deplorable Lock Haven is, but the bottom line is in a week Gannon will be sitting next to them watching playoff games from the outside.

36 comments:

  1. Going into today:

    IUP: 4 losses by a total of 45 points

    Our Gannon Knights: 11 losses by total of 43 points...

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  2. One question... 50-15 with 15ins left. Why are blazek and belt in? Why not rest all starters and let them just sit back and laugh and rest during this slaughtering? Not questioning coach decision just asking.

    Great game though if you're not a lock haven fan player coach student or watching the game :-) haha

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  3. GU must be the "Best" -- "Worst" team out there.
    They were in most every game until the end,
    A few they blew themselves but most of the losses with a twist of fate could have been won.
    Well now I'll be off to SRU to watch the ladies and cheer on the men in front of a hostile sru crowd.

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  4. oops!....The IUP "total" was 44 points, not 45. I was off by "only" a point in my original post.....but, don't we all know the value of a point this year!!!

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    An observation: I'm willing to bet that in the entire amount of "game minutes" this season, for about 65-70% of the entire time, the line-up was entirely underclassmen.

    If that percentage is true (and I think I'm at least close), I simply don't see how replacing the coaching staff can even realistically be entered into any discussion at all.

    Again, IUP: 4 losses by 44 points
    Gannon: 11 losses by 43 points?????

    As Chris Berman would say: "C'mon man!!!!!!!!!"

    This is a relatively young team that competed hard each and every night. Deep down, this entire board knows that.
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    Granted, today's game was pretty much a cakewalk....but we saw Blazek and Belt in during much of the game to perhaps tignten up a few things for the the Rock on Wednesday.

    That game will be an absolute fistfight.

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  5. Blanton fourth year junior
    Dmitry junior
    TJN Wilson junior
    Furno junior
    Pio senior
    Macias junior
    Tucker junior
    two sophomores, one freshman

    Yeah, real young team.

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  6. I have held two or more season tickets for over 30 years. I have attends 99% of home games and followed the team on the road for about 50% of the road games.
    First, I would like to say that this year’s men and women basketball team have been some of the most talented and hustling athletes that Gannon has had on the court in the last 7 years. The talent on this team rivals, if not surpasses, the talent on any PSAC team including Indiana. Unfortunately, I personally believe that the men’s recruiting relies on luck and not work or connections or skill. Luck is the only answer when you compare the recruiting classes of the last 7 years.
    I believe that the fact that Gannon men have competed so closely in so many games is a testament to their talent and willingness to put forth a consistent effort in spite of the circumstances.
    I have seen many coaches come and go at Gannon and I believe that John Reilly has seen his time come and go.
    John may be a fine defensive coach, may even be a fine teacher and he may even care about the men in his program, but all this does not make a successful coach. This is measured by W’s and L’s and consistency. His lack of being able to switch defenses and his monolithic offense are only two shortcomings. I question his bench coaching talent and his ability to adjust. He also makes no effort to bring student fans into the program and his interviews with the media leave much to be desired. The two assistant coaches that attract attention to themselves by yelling a lot seem to do nothing to help during the frenetic times in the game. We run out of time outs, lack end-of-game preparedness and seem to snatch losses from the jaws of victory. It is time to say goodbye to at least those three coaches.
    Thank God for Cleve and the women’s program as they have buoyed my spirit that last several years. It is too bad that Cleve can’t coach both the women and men.
    I do not speak for everyone with season tickets or even with everyone in my section, but I have heard from many that sit around this same sentiment. If Reilly is back next year it will be without my presence or my season ticket money. I will miss the kids but, I have had all I can watch of this regime! I will continue to watch the women play either way, as they are the best show in town.

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  7. Walter: Correct me if I am wrong: 5 out of 7 players you mentioned are in their first year playing game minutes at Gannon, no?

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  8. #453 and Walter: "young" is the incorrect word; inexperienced Division 2 team is correct.

    They don't have much experience at the D2 level or together... I'm very anxious of what next season can be if they stay; including coaching staff. I say give them all another year. If same boat next this time next year... then I'm all for saying "ya ain't gotta go home, but ya gotta get the heck up outta here!"

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  9. I guess that time will tell whether this is Coach Reilly's last home game. It's always justifiable giving someone another year, but it will be hard to argue with the decision if his contract isn't renewed.

    The average life of a Gannon coach in the last quarter-century or so has been roughly seven years, so the timing of a departure isn't surprising.

    And it was almost the last home game of the year for the Lady Knights ... one of those uncomfortable February games against an opponent with nothing to lose. A loss would have meant that the IUP game would have been for second place. Now we just have to win at Slippery Rock on Wednesday to lock up a home playoff game.

    I like how Cleve used his bench, even taking starters out with six minutes left to go in a tight game. LHU ran out of gas in the last four minutes as the Lady Knight pulled away, which included two clutch threes by Caitlyn Lowe. Perhaps we should refer to her as Cait-LIN Lowe.

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  10. So is this def Coach Reilly's last season on contract? He keeps talking about how Steve will make a great addition to the coaching staff next season and how recruits they have will blend well with the group they have now.

    Would he speak so confidently if it was his last? Positive thinking?

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  11. Golden - love the Lin reference. Talk about a cinderella story!

    He's making good money (and given his academic background I think it'll be preserved well) and if this ride were to be short lived.. Oh, yeah.. he's a got a Harvard degree to fall back on. No big deal or anything. Haha not a Knicks fan but been cheerin for them like crazy past few weeks!

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  12. Section B Here Here.... I'm with you all the way

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  13. Many good points have been made in critcizing Reilly. However, I do not think that much can be done by ANYONE to interest a substantial number of GU students to attend basketball games, let alone raucously support the team. There are simply too many other things to draw their attention these days. Additionally, there is no existing tradition of student support for basketball. That died years ago, long before Reilly got here, mostly due to the switch of Saturday games to the afternoon when GU joined the GLIAC.

    Further, the exploits of Tom Chapman aside (that was a one-of-a-kind individual fanning the flames of a tradition that was already in place at a time when the world was a lot different and there weren't 3 or 4 basketball games on TV every night during the season), I don't necessarily think it is the responsibility of the head coach to go out and solicit student support at games. In fact, IMO, any coach in this day and age that is more salesman than coach would make me a little nervous. I'd prefer he be working on strategy, creating practice plans, scouting/recruiting players, and running practice than running around the dorms trying to convince a bunch of mostly disinterested students to show up at a basketball game and yell their lungs out.

    I just don't feel it's a valid crticism, no matter who the coach might be. If it was, then we should be criticizing Cleve Wright as well.

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  14. I agree it's not the coaches job to solicit fans...it is however his responsibility to put out a product that the school administration and athletic dept. CAN sell to the fans.

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  15. This text and link was just emailed to me by a diehard GU hoops fan. I hope Coach Reilly puts in a call to Coach Sanow and says, "Brother, I feel your pain." Here's the email:

    We have seen our share of tough endings this year. So, sadly enough, after seeing this clip I thought to myself “that’s how we would lose a game this year.”

    This clip was No. 1 on ESPN Top Plays last night - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFZmHshdfkE&feature=youtu.be

    Kutztown tied Bloomsburg for first place in the standings with a 56-55 victory last night. The Huskies, coached by former Gannon coach John Sanow, were up 55-54 and did a nice job of contesting a three-pointer. However, the ball luckily bounces out to Micah Fraction when a Bloomsburg player just bats it out to midcourt instead of grabbing the rebound thinking there wouldn’t be enough time to get another shot off. Fraction then drains a floater at the buzzer. He was 0-of-10 from the field prior to the game-winning shot! Another Gannon connection … Fraction was a teammate of Brandon Belt at Baltimore City Community College last year.

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  16. On NBA TV today, I caught the third quarter of the Erie Bayhawks at Maine Redclaws replay from earlier this season. That's the game now-Knicks phenom Jeremy Lin suited up for the Bayhawks. Very cool to hear "Lin to Goldcamp" and "Goldcamp to Lin" and the see the graphic with "GANNON" when Goldcamp attempted free throws. The color commentator said, "Kyle Goldcamp has developed himself into a very useful D-League player."

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  17. I wouldn't be surprised one bit if one of these days, Kyle received "the phone call".

    He could easily contribute valuable minutes in the NBA.

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    Speaking about yesterday's game, I heard that a player that was subbed came off the court, and sat up on the stairs.

    Still though, my most pathetic visiting team performance goes to Clarion last year here at the Audi.

    Hands down.

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  18. The game yesterday was a JOKE. Lock Haven at their place at least seemed to be trying. Yesterday, they looked like they just did not give a damn. Just an awful effort to put out there for any college team.

    On a side note, Cal is going to finish off clinching the 4th seed after beating Clarion Wednesday. What I wonder is how does Gannon come out and play Wednesday knowing that their season is basically done when it comes to playoff contention. I would love to see them beat Slippery Rock, but it is going to be a tough game to win.

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  19. I heartily agree, Beerman. Coach creates better team, more fans come to game. It makes sense. Just don't think that a Chapman-style hustle would work in today's entertainment environment. Wouldn't expect ANY coach to get involved with that type of operation.

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  20. Just watched the link ... Micah got that off with just a Fraction of a second left.

    Grab the rebound! Do not bat it back to half court.

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  21. So for any prayer of making the playoffs, here is what we need to happen, I think anyway

    Gannon wins out at SRU and IUP

    Cal loses to both Clarion and Edinboro

    I guess it is time to start saying some prayers and tebowing, can't hurt at this point.

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  22. I had a tear in my eye watching Malcolm Woodbury walk onto the floor with his parents during senior day on Saturday. Despite hardly getting to play during his three seasons on the team, he walked proudly onto the court while the team wildly cheered, which was so nice to see. The few times I got to see him play, which was only in the last minute of blowouts, he appeared to be a pretty decent player, who was quick, could take the ball to the hoop, and was a good leaper. Reilly never gave the poor kid a chance at Gannon, which I could not understand, as he seemed to be as good as some of the others who did get to play while he was in uniform. I never met him, but heard that he was a very good kid, and an excellent student. Despite never getting to play, he was always cheering the team on, and kept up his spirit right until the end. Then, he became team manager this year, and continued with his spirit as if he were a player. It would have been easy for him to leave school and find a place where he would get to play, but he didn't, and stayed faithful right through his senior season. Others should take a lesson from him. I will always be puzzled over how Reilly treated him.

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  23. Maybe Malcolm likes what his role has been and Reilly may have been good to him and that is why he stayed. We might ask Jim Roddy what made him stay or continue to support Gannon with this blog when he didn't play that much. Malcolm looked very happy to be a Gannon Knight on Saturday to me. I say "maybe" because again, most of these posts are opinions and very rarely based on fact from what I have seen. That being said, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

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  24. Anything to the rumor that Gannon is courting St. Marys College of Maryland coach Chris Harney to replace Reilly?

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  25. One would think if Woodbury had a problem with the coaching staff on any issues including playing time, he would have not been associated with the program this year.

    He is a great student-athlete.

    Kudos to Steve P on a really nice Gannon career! Here's hoping a complete recovery from his injuries!!...A true leader.

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    Interesting the school up on the hill, with a lot on the line, loses at home to Cal.
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    Rightly or wrongly, I'm big on this point-differential thing:

    Us: 11 losses by 43 points

    Them: 8 losses by 56 points.

    .....wonderin if there are catcalls up there for the coaches to be replaced as, again, they enter their usual late-season swoon.

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  26. #453

    Probably not...because nobody cares or has any expectations for that program (evidenced by their attendance now and historically)...

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  27. Hey Fauves: You are 100% correct!!!
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    Speaking of swoons, note Clarion!!!

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  28. Maybe overall attendance at basketball games at the "school up on the hill" isn't that great, but of the people that they do get, around 80% of them are students, whereas at Gannon around 2% of them are students. All in all, their students support the program much more than Gannon students. And at their hockey games, they typically draw around 1,000 a game for men and maybe 800 for women, of which probably 95% are students. All in all, their students support their sports programs MUCH more than Gannon students do -- as evidenced by how their students outnumbered Gannon students 3 to 1 at the Gannon-Mercyhurst game. So, contrary to fauves' comment, somebody DOES care up there.

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  29. You are right, Gannon Lifer. Plus, does Gannon really want a lot of student support AT THE GAMES? Sounds dumb but think about it. If you fill 2,000 free seats with students the school is out $10,000 it would have if 2,000 paying customers were there at $5 a pop. The Gannon fan base (GFB) is unique. It's always aging but it always replenishes itself.

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  30. Gannonlifer... I have been up to the hill several times and with the exception of gannon or maybe Edinboro, the student following is sparse at best.

    Maybe better than GU,s which has become borderline non exsistent but certainly not enough to make me think that anyone would be clamoring for manchell's job when things are down

    So I stick by my statement. But of course, respect your right to disagree...

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  31. Re student attendance... Also hurst doesn't have their two biggest tourneys when all students are on break (gm classic and porreco cup/thanksgiving and Xmas-new years). Also I dunno about hurst class schedules but Gannon has a slew of 3 hour night classes (6-9) on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Lastly, hurst following probably is about 85% students. Who wants to pay to watch them? Not to mention their season ticket seats are worse than Gannon's bleachers.

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  32. Blazek's 5th Freshman of the Week Award (think we know who the freshman of the year is??)
    He's 15 steals away from tying the single season steals record. I don't see him getting to that, but still really impressive!!! even moreso for a freshman.

    Kudos Adam Blazek!

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  33. Blazek has turned out to be a fantastic recruit by Coach Reilly and his staff. The youngster works hard every second of every game.

    If he keeps this up (and mercifully stays healthy), by the time his senior year is complete, he will go down as one of Gannon's all-time best.

    Robert Wilson, by the way, plays with the same intensity. His credentials speak for themselves.

    Onward, to the 'Rock!!! Go Knights!!

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  34. I don't think 15 is impossible, however, against Rock and IUP I think 15 is going to be a bit of a stretch. My guess is he gets 9 in the last 2 games.

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