Sunday, August 25, 2013

Knight Knotes ... Including A Clinton Springer-Williams Sighting

What was your reaction when you learned back in 2011 that Clinton Springer-Williams decided to not return to Gannon? I'm guessing you don't remember and, even if you do recall, your pulse didn't raise one blip. Me, too. Springer-Williams played one unremarkable season for the Knights, averaging 1.9 points and 1.2 rebounds a game for a 15-11 squad, before deciding to return to Canada for his final two seasons of eligibility.

So didn't I want to fall off my couch Friday night when I stumbled across an exhibition game between Syracuse and Carleton (Canada) and watched Springer-Williams light up the Orange for 10 first-half points. The Ravens extended their lead to 15 before the Cuse, just five months removed from the Final Four, rallied to win in overtime, 69-65. Springer-Williams (wearing #5 in the background of this photo) is a starting guard for Carleton, who is a legit basketball club -- and I'm not saying that just because of their near-miss vs. Jim Boeheim's team. In their previous three exhibition games, the Ravens obliterated Division I's Towson State (67-41), TCU (77-51), and Big 10 heavyweight Wisconsin (95-82). Springer-Williams recorded 8 points on 3-of-5 shooting against the Badgers.

How does Springer-Williams go from unproductive in the PSAC to contributing mightily against schools from the Big 12, Big 10, and ACC? I thought my basketball mind wouldn't get blown again until maybe February, but here we are in the dog days of summer and I'm wondering what just happened.

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An ardent Gannon fan emailed me that the Mercyhurst Coll -- er, University -- men's basketball program announced its recruiting class online. The fan also wrote in his email: "It still sticks in my head from a few years ago Gary Manchel saying in the paper that he doesn’t and wouldn’t ever recruit one-year players like Gannon when Vince Mosley was killing the Hurst. I read his recruits today -- two one-year players and a grad student signed. He is hilarious!"

The emailer has a pretty good memory about Manchel's comments. Here's an excerpt from an Erie Times article in 2008 announcing the Lakers' recruiting class: "A season ago, Gannon brought in nine newcomers, won 26 games and returned to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year hiatus. In its two previous seasons, Gannon won 21 games total under coach John Reilly. The nationally-ranked Knights are favored to win the PSAC West in their first season in the league. So Manchel hit the road and found a slew of talented players after a 15-13 season, but won't compare his recruiting haul to Gannon's. 'Last time I checked, we didn't bring in any one-year guys,' Manchel said, referring to Vince Mosley, who played his senior season at Gannon, led the Knights in scoring and departed."

Mercyhurst's class features a three-year player at George Mason, a two-year player at Toledo, and Anthony Lytle, who has also suited up for Edinboro and Cal. That's right -- the kid is on his third PSAC West school. I think the only other person who has accomplished that feat is current Edinboro Sports Information Director Bob Shreve, who has been employed at Mercyhurst, Gannon, and the Boro. Shreve made his moves over decades, while Lytle appears to be taking the one-year-wonder approach at each institution. 

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It's not official yet, but sources tell me that former Gannon point guard Steve Piotrowicz will be named the number two assistant at IUP soon. Piotrowicz, one of my all-time favorite Knights because of his local ties and his unsurpassed determination, served as a grad assistant for the Crimson Hawks last year. The Indiana staff was shaken up this year when top assistant Chris Fite left for the Shippensburg head coaching job and Matt Hahn was lured away from Division I Robert Morris to replace him. Again, this isn't official, but Piotrowicz is listed as an assistant coach on the IUP athletic staff directory.

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UPDATED 8/28/13: Don't ask me how I found this (it's a long story), but former Knights Stephan Battle and Dtanya "Bubby" Johnson are both on this year's roster at Division II power Florida Southern. Florida Southern, who advanced to the DII Elite Eight last season, is coached my former Ashland assistant Linc Darner. He's assisted by former AU Eagle Richard Davis and ex-General McLane/Edinboro guard Ben Swank. Who knew a team in Lakeland, FL would have so many local connections?


  1. I was somewhat disappointed when CSW left. I thought he had potential, however, was never given a full chance to prove himself. That was a year that many players were being shuffled and integrated and he ended up on the short end of it. However, I am highly impressed by his #'s against the D1 teams. I said I thought he had potential, but not that much! Good for him!

  2. re: article about Manchel's recruiting class...

    Only on a Mercyhurst site will Bobby Bossman be touted as a "former Gannon standout". No offense, I liked the kid, but he was demoted to a bench player his senior season because of his struggles. 7.6ppg and 4.6rpg junior season and 4.9ppg/2.6rpg senior season.

  3. Following BB players recognized as outstanding STUDENT-athletes by the Division II Athletics Directors Association:

    Basketball, Men (4)
    Adam Blazek
    Tanner Furno
    C.J. Oldham
    Robert Wilson

    Basketball, Women (6)
    Brittany Batts
    Doriyon Glass
    Kelsey McCoy
    Jen Papich
    Mollie Sebald
    Kelley Sundberg

    Congratulations to them and all 78 Gannon students-athletes honored for getting it done in the classroom.

  4. I always thought that the problem for, or with CSW at Gannon was that he was asked to play out of position. Due to the large number of guards on the team at the time (or some other reason known only to the coaches), he was played as a power forward, if I remember correctly. I never felt he was tall or muscular enough or had enough inside game to play the 4. Thus, he didn't look that good when he tried. No surprise he didn't play much.

    CSW was more of a shooting guard or small forward type, but never really had the chance in a game to show what he could do at either of those positions. He still may not have made much of a contribution as a 2 or 3, but he certainly wasn't going to do so at the 4.

  5. Gannon Men's Basketball Program Announces 2013 Recruiting Class‏ (see Gannon Athletics website).