Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year -- With Emphasis On 'Happy'

If you didn't have a calendar and were referencing only the comments section of this blog since Gannon's loss at Bloomsburg, you'd never know it was the holiday season. It seems like many of us skipped over the Merry part of Christmas and the Happy part of the New Year.

So before we get back to dissecting wins and losses on Jan. 3, let's relax and catch up with some old friends.

First, let me explain the photo accompanying this post. During the holiday break, my 8-year-old daughter Evelyn and I were playing Wii, and she wanted to create a new character (called a "Mii"). With the Gannon men's basketball poster looming over her shoulder, she pointed to Brandon Emmitt and said, "I want to make a Mii of number 4." What you see here is a new character named "Brandon 4" who I think looks pretty similar to the real-life Brandon who wears number 4. And, true to form, he performed exceptionally in the Wii Sports Resort three-point shootout.

Let's check in on some former GU coaches and opponents:
* Former women's coach Cleve Wright is now 4-7 at Division I Miami (Oh.). His wins have come against Chicago State, Northern Kentucky, Cleveland State, and Youngstown State, coached by former Michigan Tech coach John Barnes.

* Jodi Kest, who coached the Gannon women in the BC era (Before Cleve), is 6-5 on the season at Division I Akron, including 3-1 in December. In her 8th season, Kest is the longest tenured coach in the MAC.

* Former men's coach Jerry Slocum finished Youngstown State's independent schedule with a respectable 9-6 mark. Four of his losses have come at nationally ranked UMass, at Kent State, at Pitt, and at St. John's. YSU was ranked 5th in the preseason poll for the 9-team Horizon League, with Penguin guard Kendrick Perry the preseason player of the year.

* LeMoyne, who smothered Gannon 65-62 in the Gary Miller Classic first round, has lost 3 of 5 games since. Wheeling Jesuit entered the GM Classic with a 1-2 mark but hasn't lost since. The Cardinals swept Alderson-Broaddus and LeMoyne in the tournament and then drubbed Urbana and Notre Dame (Oh.). Alderson-Broaddus, the last place finisher in the Miller Classic after a 55-54 loss to the Knights, has gone 4-0 since leaving the Hammermill.

* Shepherd (WV) has not played since victories over Gannon and Winston-Salem (NC) in the Porreco Cup, so they are still 9-1. They are the most impressive team I've seen this season by far and away -- not big but a relentless, well-oiled machine. After observing him from two rows away, I think Shepherd head coach Justin Namolik is destined for the Division I ranks or a long run at the Division II school of his choice. The guy really knows how to effectively communicate with his players. Porreco runner-up Winston-Salem lost its only game since the tournament, so they are now 5-5 on the year. Last place Barton (NC) is now 5-7, winning its lone game since the Cup vs. Virginia State. And I wouldn't be surprised if BC assistant coach Joel Zimmerman personally called each of his players Christmas morning to tell them they deserve lumps of coal and should burn their presents. Zimmerman's sideline antics and insults won't be forgotten anytime soon by the Hammermill faithful.

* I still check out the GLIAC standings from time to time, and no surprise that Grand Valley leads the North and Findlay tops the South four games into league play. Combined, the Lakers and Oilers are 15-1 overall. Findlay is ranked 15th in the latest NABC/Division II rankings.


  1. What a unique concept it would be to have a coach around GU who really knows how to effectively communicate with his players. Where do we line up to get our version of a coach who does that? Now that Christmas is over do you supposed we'll have to wait until next Christmas to have our wish fulfilled?

  2. Ah ... yes ... Happy New Year. The holiday spirit abounds. Though is still feels weird that it's December 30 and there is no Porreco Cup game to attend.

    Thanks for the updates on the coaches. There will be a historic game on January 15 in Oxford, Ohio when Jodi Kest takes her Akron team into Miami to face Cleve Wright's Miami squad. I'm no spring chicken, but people here have a longer GU history than me. I believe that this will be the first-ever battle of GU ex-coaches in Division I (or anywhere for that matter).

    Oxford is a haul and GU has a game that night, but I've got February 26 circled on my calendar when Miami travels to Akron for the return match. Will be cool to see both coaches in action.

    To all ... happiness and health in the New Year. My wish for all GU blog commenters in the new year is that the biggest problem we have in our lives is that our favorite men's basketball team turns the ball over a little too much. Happy New Year!

  3. I found this write-up about the Hammermill Center on, a website that offers tips about various places.

    Here is what has to say.

    Gannon's men's basketball teams hаve hаd а decided home-court advantage fоr many years, thanks tо the diehard fans known аs the "Gannon Faithful" fоr theіr aggressiveness аnd action used tо created loud noises. Filled tо the rafters оn mоst nights, the Hammermill Center has been called оne оf the mоst hostile environments іn DII basketball. Here аre sоme quotes frоm opposing coaches whо hаve coached іn the Hammermill Center:

    "This crowd іs intense...The fans аre close tо the floor...It іs а challenging place tо play, especially cоme tournament time." - John Kochan, Former Millersville head coach.

    "Gannon іs а tough place tо win due tо the proximity оf the crowds, the noise level аnd theіr tratidion...The crowd іs truly involved аs the sixth man." -Herb MaGee, Philadelphia Textile

    "Gannon іs Division II wіth а Division I atmosphere...They live аnd die basketball...It іs sold оut constantly...The fans life the home team аnd rattle the visitor." -Darrel Halloran, Former Pace Head Coach.

    This review was obviously written pre-John Reilly era. Reilly has unceremoniously authored the demise of the once proud Gannon men's program into a second class program.

    1. This writeup is from the Gannon men's basketball media guide.

  4. You may have noticed that advertisements through Google AdSense have been integrated into the blog. This site has generated 325,000+ page views since its inception, so hopefully that will result in some clicks and revenue. If you ever see an ad that is offensive, please let me know. Thanks for your support of Gannon Hoops and Happy New Year!

  5. At least we're not Champion Baptist, losers today to Southern University by the score of 116-12.

    By the way ... players returned to practice today. Did they practice at the Hammermill Center or another location?

  6. When you have a chance, check out the box score from the Champion/Southern massacre:

    Some highlights:
    -- 4 Champion starters were a combined 0-for-24 from the field
    -- Champion had 1 assist vs. 27 turnovers
    -- Champion made only 3 field goals in 44 attempts (6.8%)
    -- Southern won the rebounding battle, 69-22
    -- Tre Lynch came off the bench to score 27 points in 17 minutes. If you are wondering which team he plays for, you're not paying attention.
    -- Attendance for the game was only 210

    1. From Gannon SID Dan Teliski:

      There is a Gannon link to the Southern/Champioin Baptist story … former Gannon assistant Ryan Price - – is an assistant on the Southern staff. He was with us under Coach Reilly for three seasons (2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09). The final year was the season we advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament during our last year as a GLIAC member.

  7. According to, all Hammermill Center activities through Jan. 13 are being rescheduled, and the facility is expected to be back open Jan. 15. The Knights have home games scheduled on Jan. 8 (vs. Cheyney) and Jan. 15 (vs. IUP). I've heard the Cheyney games may be moved to Penn State-Behrend.

    1. IF they are able to get the Hammermill reopened for activities on the 15th, that would be huge. Cheyney could be played outside and Gannon should be able to win. IUP on the 15th will be another story.

  8. Jim, based on the Southern box score, you might have been able to surpass your (career) average in that game...playing for either side!

    Wishes of a happy, healthy and prosperous new year to your entire family.

    P.S. Do you think the women's team would do better with Papich coming off the bench? Gotta love GU fans!

    1. I think Jen Papich coming off the bench would be a mistake. Her defense, rebounding, shot blocking and assists are too important to the women's team. Not to mention her scoring. Even on "off" nights just her presence and leadership on the floor justifies her starting role. She is the total package!

    2. Jim B., just making a joke regarding something I heard a GU fan say. Totally agree with everything you said. Batts has found her 3-point groove, Blake has further developed her outstanding low post game, Sundberg continues the tradition of awesome GU point guards, etc., etc., etc. But it is the overall excellence of Jen Papich's game that keeps this team rolling. Hope I didn't shock you with the comment.

    3. I don't think that Jen gets enough recognition. The Erie media doesn't really cover the women's team like they should. This team is good and Jen is the one who keeps the team together. She does it all and deserves to be a first team All-American.

      She has been one of the top scorers her 3 years at Gannon and this year she is unselfishly passing the ball to Batts for her 3-pointers or dishing the ball inside to Nettie for her spin move to the basket. Somehow she manages to score lots of points when others are having an off night.

      Glad she plays for Gannon.

    4. Jen Papich is one of the top five players all time at Gannon. She is already an academic all-American and she will be both an academic and a plain ol' All-American this season. Haven't seen a player in the women's program who can put a team on her shoulders and will her team to a win the way she can. Great player. Great student. Great person.

    5. On the "Pappy" thing. You Betcha. I haven't miss a home game in 6.5 seasons and many road gamies. This woman is the real deal, bank on that. In addition to all the above she is willing to give 100%+ every game. D'ja notice how many times she's patched up? Could be a stand in for the "MUMMY".
      Another thing she doesn't get rattled. With Ice in her veins
      she just settles everyone down and takes control of the game.
      Love the gal.

    6. Consider the choir preached to.

      I TRULY was not suggesting this; just relayed a most ridiculous statement I heard recently, and I mentioned this to Jim R. We shared a scoffing laugh at the sheer absurdity of the statement and both agreed that GU fans certainly don't lack hubris when commenting on either the women's or men's team.

      Sorry for all of the fancy-schmancy words; got one of those "Word of the Day" calendars from Santa in hopes of adding to "count it" and "wow" to the repertoire. (Dammit!)

    7. Speaking for myself, I know that you were not suggesting this, but I'll take any opportunity to sing the praises of Jen Papich.

      On the subject of crazy fans, in the 2010 season, when the team was something like 23-0 at the time, Brittany Tabron made back-to-back turnovers at Mercyhurst and a Gannon fan behind me screamed "Get her out of there! She's terrible!"

    8. As deep as the Gannon Women's team is on talent, I do strongly consider Jen the heart and soul of that team. She can truly do everything, rebound well, pass the ball off to an open teammate, play great defense and score when she has to. As witnessed by Bloomsburg, if Jen has the ball at the end of the game, she will find a way to score. To whoever made the suggestion on her coming off the bench, I suggest that they don't make crazy remarks when hungry.

      Golden: Lol..Brittany was an absolute monster to deal with inside. At times all players make a mistake

  9. Staying with the trend of keeping tabs of former GU associates..

    Stephen Battle and Bubby Johnson are both playing at Florida Southern together.
    In 12 GP, all off bench (avg/rank on team)
    66.3 FG%/1st
    15 asts/T-5th
    11 TOs/2nd (amongst those with 100+ mins played; fewest is 10 TOs)
    10 blocks/1st
    15 steals/T-3rd

    In 12GP, making 1 start
    57.1 FG%/3rd
    4 asts/9th
    12 TOs/3rd fewest (amongst 100+ min players)
    4 blocks/4th
    11 steals/5th

    FSC is 12-0, 1-0 in SSC; tied first in conference
    FSC is ranked 4th nationally

    Glad to see them both contributing and having success.

  10. Just came across this on Get your tickets now:

    Southern, Champion Baptist to meet again next season

    Despite beating Champion Baptist College by 104 points on Monday, Southern University says they will schedule a matchup with Champion next season as well. Southern routed Champion 116-12, setting an NCAA record in the process by scoring the first 44 points of the game.

    1. I like how it says "Despite" and "says they will schedule a matchup"... if you read just that, you'd think it was coming from CBC, not Southern haha If you needed to schedule games, why would you not schedule a team you beat by 104 and set many records against? I am not a fan of scheduling "patsies", but in that case I'd go for more records.

      Now I could see if it was up to CBC saying "Despite getting humiliated by Southern by 104 points on Monday, Champion Baptist has agreed to schedule a highly anticipated grudge match with Southern next season. Champion was embarrassed by Southern, 116-12, setting multiple NCAA records in the process, including outscoring Champion 44-0 to start the game." I dig it.

  11. FYI Gannon ranked as the hardest toughest places to play...
    So she may not know the names listed there the reason being is they haven't been coaching in 20 years that is not just pre-Riley it is pre-Slocum pre-Dukat and was in fact circa...
    I love the Audie and I've said it probably every year for the last four or five years the biggest inhibition for recruiting at Gannon at this point is the off

  12. Sorry did that from a "Smart Phone" - not very well BTW
    clarification: that Program piece was first published circa 1985... It has been used for the last 28 yrs in the media guide and recruit flyers/mailings...
    The issues are easy at Coaches feet - As Truman said...
    "The Buck Stops Here"...
    But to be fair..
    As I have said before...
    #1 Mitchell Smith and most of the rest would not be allowed into Gannon at this point, in fact the change in the recruiting standards (back 87-88)were a large part in Chapman's decision to go St Bonna's
    #2 The Audi "IS OLD" the Facilities STINK! tour the new facilities, weightrooms, locker rooms, etc Gannon's locker room to quote a former player "haven't changed in 25 years..." THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING
    How much fundraising had to be done in the past...None
    What does that tell you..

    Blame the coach if you must, but logic and intellectual honesty would dictate it is more than that...

    The layers of the issue are multiple:
    The was NO Other show in Erie in the 80's and early 90's
    Otters? Whats?
    BayHawks? NBDL? Hey we had the Erie Wave! Whoo Whoo

    Direction of the school:
    How many programs now? how many 30 years ago?
    Funding now... then...

    Sorry..Audi is sacrosanct... but if you are 18 the locker room and facilities DO MATTER!
    Today is needs a good fire...gut it and start from scratch... but who will put the money in for that...

    As for the comment about not going D-I years ago...They didn't have the $ AND... the studies said it wouldn't bring in enough to cover expenses...We are a private University...
    or blame it on the rain.....

  13. Are you sure it was the smart phone?

  14. Replies
    1. Good points, BMOC. I needed a basketball fix on December 30 without the Porreco Cup and went to the Bayhawks game. I've seen more defensive intensity on one possession from John Reilly's team that I saw from the Bayhawks the entire game. However, it's a much more entertaining atmosphere, especially for families with children. There are a lot of souvenir items thrown into the crowd. They have a kids area with bouncers and little basketball games. I hate the music played during the play, but the people at the game seemed to enjoy it.

      Not saying that Gannon needs to do all this stuff (it's not allowed to play music during a game). But the reality is that the Gannon teams of the 80s and 90s didn't have all this competition. BMOC did not include the ability to watch basketball on a 60-inch screen. And the Audi is in need of an update, as the electrical system showed on December 23. It is what it is.