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.