Sunday, May 27, 2012

Potential New Knight: Algeron Torrence jr. F 6-5

Thanks to a couple Gannon Hoops followers for the heads up that the PSAC website lists a player having signed a letter of intent for the Knights. Algeron Torrence, a 6-foot-5 wide body forward, is expected to wear a Gannon uniform next year. He will be a junior with two years of eligibility remaining.

Notice how I said "I believe" in the past couple sentences? I'm kind of flummoxed that I can't find any information on Torrence from the past season. I've got stats from his freshman year (2010-11) at Mohawk Valley Community College in Rome, NY, but can't find anything from the 2011-12 season at Mohawk or any other school. I couldn't even find him on social media, except for MySpace which for everybody is yesterday's news.

UPDATE: Gannon Hoops follower Lubiak6 has informed me that Torrence played last year at Monroe Community College in Rochester. Why that didn't show up in any of my Internet searches is beyond me. I guess if you want to be "off the grid," just enroll at MCC. Here Torrence's info from his time at Monroe:
* He's listed on Monroe's roster at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds. That's 35 pounds more than Gannon's biggest player from a season ago (Dmitry Martynenko was listed at 235 pounds and 6-foot-9).
* Averaged 10.4 points and 5.4 rebounds a contest despite playing only 21 minutes per game. He was second on the Tribunes in both scoring and rebounding.
* Shot a team-high 53% from the field and 75% from the foul line. He did not attempt at three-pointer.
* Blocked 23 shots and registered 19 steals. Dished out only 14 assists while committing 57 turnovers. Played in 31 games, 21 of them starts.
* MCC finished the season 18-14, losing in the semifinals of their regional tournament. In that 109-97 loss to Erie Community College, Torrence tallied 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 7 rebounds. One other thing jumped out to me on the box score: ECC outscored MCC 64-44 in the second half. Yowza.
* Torrence's stats in Erie County, PA are pretty good. On Feb. 7, Monroe won at Mercyhurst-North East 77-66, Torrence leading the way with 18 points and 9 boards.
* Here's a head-and-shoulders shot of Torrence from last season.

Here's what data I did uncover:
* As a freshman at Mohawk Valley Community College (Rome, NY), he averaged 13.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.5 apg, and 1.9 turnovers. He registered 18 blocked shots in 26 games.
* Made 144-of-288 field goals (50%) and 63-of-92 free throws (68%). I couldn't find any three-point stats on him, but when you watch the videos below, he doesn't look like he strays from the paint much. If I was as strong as him, I wouldn't either.
* According to this stats page, he appeared to miss the final five games of MVCC's season. I'm not sure why.
* He's a product of Corcoran High School in Syracuse where he was named third-team all-area by the Syracuse Post Standard after his senior season (2009-10).
* Averaged 12.4 ppg for the Cougars.
* In most writeups I found, he was listed as a center.
* This article from his junior season -- titled "Torrid Torrence Powers Cougars" -- includes an interesting quote from the opposing coach: "Torrence killed us. He's going to be a great player, he really hurt us."

Click on the highlighted text to see the photos of Torrence in action:
* Grabbing a rebound
* Boxing out
* Battling for a rebound. Are you noticing a theme here?
* Driving to the basket against a much smaller (and petrified) defender.

 I found a few videos as well:
* Two from high school: this one and this one.
* Two from MVCC. The article with this video says MVCC was nationally ranked.
* Warning on this video: Torrence's rebound putback sends the announcer into obnoxious TV sports guy mode. Prepare to gag.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Summors Time

It's about 80 degrees out, which makes most folks think of summertime. And when a Gannon fan like me hears the word "summer," I automatically think of Glen Summors, the greatest player in Gannon Hoops history. Check out this picture I received from Joe Mattis, the former Erie Times sportswriter who is also a talented photographer.

Joe sent me this photo in an email a while ago, but I wanted to wait until the season wound down to share it with you so we could enjoy it without pesky games interrupting. Here's Joe's email with some background on this classic photo:

"It has been interesting to see some of the posts on you web site about the best shot blockers in Gannon history. Obviously, you can tell by the lists what time frame those fans began watching the Knights. Yes, John “Shanghai” Matthews is listed in the the Knights' record book for most blocked shots in both a season and career. And many thought he was Gannon's best shot blocker. Obviously, they never saw Glen Summors play. Unfortunately for Summors, blocked shots were not a statistic during his time at Gannon

"Simply stated, Summors (not Summers as some think) was the BEST shot blocker and the BEST player ever to wear a Gannon uniform (Jim Roddy notwithstanding, LOL). And I've been watching Gannon basketball since the 1957-58 season.

"Look at the attachment. It's from a schedule card that was printed for the 1969-70 basketball season. I took that photo during the 1968 Gem City Bowl when Gannon won the title by beating Mount St. Mary's 81-69. The photo shows Summors blocking a layup by Bob Riley in the championship game. Riley was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks and played briefly for them in the NBA. I've taken many photos over the years, but no sports photo was ever better than this one.

"Maybe you can put this on your web site and let the younger Gannon fans who never saw Summors play see the type of player he was."

Thanks, Joe. Have a great summer!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Battle Bolts, Blogger Bummed

Yesterday the Erie Times confirmed what had been rumored by commenters on this site: former PSAC West Freshman of the Year Stephen Battle is leaving the Gannon team. The Times also received official confirmation from GU that Brandon Belt is bolting as well, but we knew that a couple weeks ago.

Sigh. I'm disappointed about this on several levels:

* I won't go as far as saying Battle was a one-of-a-kind player, but he was special. There weren't too many guys on the Division II level with his combination of size (6-foot-5, 205 pounds), athleticism, and scoring ability. Battle could score off the dribble, in the lane, and on the move. As a true freshman, he averaged 12.6 points and 6 rebounds a game while shooting 56% from the field. And he seemed to get better each week, playing more minutes and making more shots, many of them in the clutch. Remember when Gannon was down 1 at home to Edinboro with 30 seconds left to play -- who did Coach John Reilly draw up a play for? Battle, who nailed a baseline jumper with 10 seconds left to put Gannon up by a point. If he could do that as a freshman, how good could he have been with more experience?

* We never got to see Battle fully mature. A knee injury sidelined him for the entire month of January. His final game as a healthy Knight was one to remember: 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 10 rebounds in 44 minutes vs. Seton Hill.

* My last frustration is more global to the Gannon team. I like watching players develop over four years, and I haven't had the chance to see that much lately. Part of the reason Matt Jones is one of my all-time favorite Knights is because of his slow start as a freshman. He didn't even score his first semester in a GU uniform, but at the end of his senior year he was hard to guard. Winning basketball is fun to watch for sure, but player development is just as special a treat in my book.

With Battle (8.6 ppg) and Belt (9.1 ppg) no longer Knights, Gannon must replace its #4 and #5 leading scorers from a year ago. As far as new players, I don't have anything concrete to share with you: the PSAC Letters of Intent web page doesn't list any potential Knights and I've only received one rumor in my email inbox. The rumor is that point guard DeJuan McGaughy, a standout last year at Mercyhurst-North East, is still interested at Gannon but he has offers from some low Division I schools which he and his family are leaning towards.

Other than that, I haven't heard of other players potentially interested in playing for Gannon. And I hope I don't hear about anyone else leaving.