Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Look At All These Rumors

I have a love/hate relationship with off-season Gannon basketball rumors. What I love is the entertainment value the rumors provide and that folks care enough about the Golden Knights to talk about them year round. What I hate is criticism from caustic fans based upon complete speculation/incomplete information. In the past, some folks have griped that the coaching staff doesn't know what it's doing because the fan heard about a player committing who didn't fit their mold of what Gannon needed. As CBS Sports basketball analyst Doug Gottleib said eloquently in this tweet during the recent NBA draft: "Ranting about a kid you have never seen play is comical."

With that background, I'm writing this column not to give credence to any rumor that I've heard -- I follow the team closely but I'm not privy to any inside information -- but to help Gannon fans (and myself) keep organized some of what we're hearing. The previous post on this blog generated over 70 comments (many of them off-season rumors) and I was going to develop carpal tunnel syndrome if I scrolled my mouse any more. So here are some rumors with some facts sprinkled in:

* The one is 100% true: the 2015-16 schedule has been released on the Gannon athletics website. With 22 of the 26 games being PSAC play, the release of the schedule has lost any shock value, but the 4 independent games are interesting. The Knights will again play a home-and-home with Le Moyne Nov. 27 in the Gary Miller Classic opener and Feb. 13 in Syracuse. The new Dolphins coach is Patrick Beilein, the son of former Le Moyne and current Michigan coach John Beilein. Rumor has it that promising young forward Daniel Kaigler has left Gannon after just one season moved back to his hometown and will suit up for the Dolphins.

In the second round of the Gary Miller Classic, Gannon will face either former GLIAC foe Ashland or reigning G-MAC champ Alderson-Broaddus. Last year in the Miller Classic, Gannon lost its opener to Le Moyne, 47-45, and then fell to hot-shooting A-B, 73-66. In 2013, the Knights followed a similar pattern, losing game #1 to Le Moyne, 65-62, but rallying in game #2 past the Battlers, 55-54.

The other indy game on the schedule is a home contest Dec. 12 vs. Wheeling Jesuit, a member of the Mountain East Conference. WJU won 15 of its final 18 games last year to finish with a 21-10 mark a year ago.

The schedule also shows the Elite 8 will be held in Frisco, TX, next year, but that's getting way ahead of ourselves.

* I mentioned the G-MAC -- the Great Midwest Athletic Conference -- and there's a rumor they would like to pluck Gannon and Mercyhurst from the PSAC. The G-MAC just wooed Malone, Findlay, Ohio Dominican, Lake Erie, Walsh, and Hillsdale from the GLIAC which will bring its membership to 14 schools in two years. The current G-MAC consists of Kentucky Wesleyan, Alderson-Broaddus, Davis & Elkins, Cedarville, Ohio Valley, Trevecca Nazerene, Ursuline, and Salem International.

Here's an email I received from a Gannon fan recently: "Got a good one for you, and you can take it as far as you want. I've been e-mailing back & forth an A.D. from a GLIAC school these past few days and he told me that the A.D.'s at 2 schools who are leaving the GLIAC for the GMAC told him they are going to pursue Gannon & the Hurst to join the GMAC. Personally, I don't see it happening. I like where were at."

I agree -- I doubt this will happen. There's no reason for the university to sign up for trips to Owensboro, KY; Pepper Pike, OH; Nashville, TN; and Vienna, WV, when most of the students you recruit are in Pennsylvania. I think Gannon will stay in the PSAC until the league throws them out ... or GU makes the jump to Division I.

* The players I've heard rumored to join Gannon are Ian Gardner, C.J. Byrd, Ibrahim Kamara, Kevin Kuteya, Joseph Fustine (Prep), Marco Haskins, Mike Davis, Montell Goodwin, Stephen McGuinnis, and Marc Fabricius, a 6-foot-7 forward from Denmark who committed to Gannon last year before being injured. Another rumor had Aleksandar Malinic, a 6-foot-8 forward, returning to GU after a season of junior college ball. There's also been talk about a 6-foot-6 juco from Maryland, a transfer from DI New Mexico (who supposedly signed with Bowie State instead), a 6-foot-7 forward from Florida, a 6-foot-9 guy from Georgia, and a 6-foot-10 Swede.

Now if all these guys show up, the Knights will need to purchase a second set of uniforms or a slew of red shirts to save guys for next season. I have data that says three of the players I just referenced will join the Knights, but this isn't for certain ... just for entertainment purposes only.

This article from the New England Recruiting Report talks about Gardner (F, 6-foot-4) and Byrd (G, 6-foot-3) landing at Gannon after a year of prep school at St. Thomas More. VerbalCommits.com lists Kamara (G/F, 6-foot-5) as a verbal commit to the Knights. And just when Verbal Commits giveth, they also taketh away. Malinic is currently listed as a commit to Cameron, a DII school in Oklahoma.

* The players I've heard rumored leaving GU are Kaigler, Tony Boykins, and Adam Holm-Weber. I'm not saying they are leaving and I apologize if I ruffle any feathers repeating a false rumor. UPDATED 7/15/15: I was just told that Boykins is working the Gannon basketball camp, so that would be a sign he's not leaving the team. Or this is an incredibly awkward week for Boykins and the staff.

* I haven't heard rumors about these Knights, so I (dangerously) assume they're returning: Jean Yves Toupane, Marcus Jones, Matthew Dogan, Isaiah Eisendorf, redshirt Gabriel Adersteg, redshirt Jon Dogbo, and walk-ons Cory Bailey and William Gadson.

Look at all these rumors! And it's only mid-July, so I'm sure there will be plenty more to come until the official roster is announced when school begins in about 6 weeks.

UPDATED 8/20/15: Gannon officially released its men's basketball schedule today, including exhibitions against Division I Pitt and George Washington. Click here for a link to the press release or click here for the schedule itself.