Saturday, March 4, 2017

Cruel Finish, Bright Future

If you were asked to draw up the appropriate season-ending scenario for this Gannon club, the game would have three elements:
  • A close game. All season long, every single contest, the Knights played up to or down to their competition. If I were an end-of-the-bench walk-on this season, I would have never seen any action -- not one second -- because every game was in doubt down the stretch.
  • A wasted double-digit second half lead. I lost track of how many times that happened to Gannon this season. Seven? Eight? More? It's hard to get a lead of 10+ points in a third of your games let alone also give it all back minutes later most every time.
  • An overtime game. The Knights set a school-record for overtime games this season after playing five OT contests in a stretch of six, miraculously winning all of them.
All three of those elements came into play as Gannon closed its season with a heartbreaking 91-85 overtime loss to #5 Kutztown in the PSAC semifinals. The Knights held a nine-point lead with under two minutes to play in regulation, but missed free throws and a pair of KU three-pointers allowed a berth in the conference finals to slip away. John Reilly described it as a "cruel" loss during his postgame interview, and I couldn't agree more. I just tried watching the game's video highlights now but I couldn't do it. It's still too soon. (Note: I still haven't watched footage of the last game of my high school career when we lost in our conference finals. The video has been in my possession for 29 years, but it's still too soon.)

It would be an overstatement to say I enjoyed every second of this season. At times this club was exasperating (see the home loss to depleted and down Edinboro and the collapse at Seton Hill), but other times they were exhilarating. The PSAC quarterfinal win over Pitt-Johnstown was as complete a team win as I've seen in the Hammermill, and I've seen a ton of team wins in that building.

But it would also be an understatement to say I only liked this team. What started out as essentially a collection of strangers plus Matt Dogan turned into a team I couldn't cheer loud enough for. It might be blasphemous to compare a current Knight to Energizer Bunny alum Adam Blazek, but nobody has a better motor than junior Zay Jackson. Both played crazy minutes -- Blazek 37.7 mpg as a senior, Jackson 36.9 mpg this year -- and I still haven't seen either of them take a play off. Jackson is a wonderful outside shooter, but he's also an intense defender. That's an incredibly rare combination on any level of basketball.

Shortly after Jimmy Berger signed with Gannon, someone sent me his high school video highlights, and I was impressed with his combination of smooth skills and flash. But I thought "flash" isn't exactly a quality Coach Reilly looks for in his primary ballhandler, so the kid might be nailed to the bench for a while. That was true the first four games of the year, but Berger dazzled the rest of the season, racking up a team-high 191 assists (next highest was 73) and earning PSAC West Freshman of the Year honors -- and the vote wasn't even close.

Berger's success didn't happen alone. Yes, it took guys like Even Phoenix (a 55% shooter) and Damon Miraud (59% on his field goals) to convert those passes into assists. We should also give credit to senior Emmanuel Matey, even though he played in just 16 games and scored even fewer points (12) on the year. Matey has aspirations to become a coach, and I think he can put one year of experience on his resume already. Matey hopped off the bench to instruct and exhort Berger and the Knights almost as much as Reilly. Matey was slowed late in the season by a leg injury but that didn't hamper his mental toughness. At Slippery Rock, the last time he would see action as a collegian, he could barely participate in warmups, and when he moved a limp was obvious. But in the second half, the Knights needed a backup point guard to spell Berger and there was Matey on the floor mixing it up. Matey's number at Gannon won't be retired, but the character he showed this year will pay dividends for him the rest of his life.

And how much money would you have bet if I offered you a wager this preseason that I thought Matt Dogan would be an academic All-American and first-team all-PSAC? Dogan entered his senior season following a year he struggled to get off the bench for a 7-19 club that missed the league playoffs. In 10 games last season he scored three points or fewer, including a stretch of three games midseason where he failed to tally even a single a point. That same guy then goes out and leads the club this year with 17.6 ppg, ranks second for three-pointers, and ties for the team lead in steals. He also played maestro on the court, directing the cast of new players as they received their Division II baptism by fire.

The table is set for a sensational 2017-18, but it would be naive to think everyone slated to come back will return. Five underclassmen saw very limited minutes -- Ian Gardener, Joe Fustine, Hans Burwitz, Michael Haysbert, and midseason addition Jair Green -- and I'd be stunned if all of them were Golden Knights next year. Dogan will be difficult to replace, but I'm told that Frank Webb, a 6-foot-3 sophomore who sat behind the Gannon bench all season, should contribute right away. As a freshman at West Virginia State last season he registered 13.3 ppg on 50% shooting, including 36% on threes. Also, Naseem Hadrab, the "tall guy" sitting with Webb all season long, could contribute quality minutes in the paint next season. The website Verbal Commits lists two other future Knights, but I'll believe it when I see it nine months from now.

If I had to choose just two words to close this chapter in Gannon basketball history, they would be "gratitude" and "hope." I'm thankful to the staff and young men who made Gannon hoops exciting again this season. And, as down as we were at this juncture a year ago, I'm hopeful that next year can be something special.

218 comments:

  1. Here's hoping the Knights will march forth to the PSAC Championship game today!

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  2. Kind of sucks when your whole season comes done to missed free throws.

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  3. Can't hold on to a lead. Story of the year.

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  4. ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE !!!!!!!

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  5. A fitting conclusion. #whatmighthavebeen

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  6. Heck of a game and sadly the better team won in the end. The team that played better for 38 minutes lost.

    Sad to see Dogans season end this way but glad he put in a strong performance that summarized his season.

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  7. Looks like you had to travel to the other side of the state to win. Men's team from the east women's team from the west won. real bummer for the host schools there goes the gate.

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  8. Not a huge surprise as the East was the better division for the men and the West is the better division for the women.

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  9. So... in the Atlantic..
    #1 lost to #4 in championship
    #2 lost to #5 in semis
    #3 lost to #5 in championship

    #4 & #5 were only teams to win conference. #1 & #3 lost in championships.

    What's your thoughts on host? West Liberty (#4) or Shippensburg (#5) leap frog? Fairmont St. Remains #1 since they lost a close championship game for only their 2nd season loss? (However both losses came to West Liberty)

    I think Fairmont St remains #1 and hosts. 2 and on however could be interesting.

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    1. I think that you are putting too much stock in the final weekend. Some of the top of the region is spread out.

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  10. Selection show moved to 11pm however 1 seeds already announced. Fairmont got Atlantic and lemoyne got east.

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  11. Women's field announced. Like how they mentioned that Cal is led by Mikki Glenn, even though she is likely out for the year. Cal hung onto the host despite the injury and losing to #2 IUP in the championship game.

    Mercyhurst is #5 and gets #4 Shippensburg. Congrats to the Lakers on their first appearance in 22 years. Region could open for #4 Ship, with key injuries to both Cal and Mercyhurst.

    Edinboro's late season swoon cost them a bid.

    Gannon's 9-19 record was not good enough to gain an NCAA invitation.

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    1. Congrats to Mercyhurst on their first appearance since 1995! That coaching staff has done a tremendous job in the past years to turn them around.

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  12. Gannon Lady Knights played eight games against teams ranked #5 in their region or higher. Played #1 Midwest Ashland and #3 Virginia Union once, and played twice each against #1 Cal, #2, IUP, and #5 Mercyhurst.

    One oddity from this weekend: The two schools that won the PSAC men's & women's championships both hosted a Final Four, but did not win the championship that they hosted.

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  13. My men's projections:

    1 Fairmont (we know that already)
    2 Ship, 3 West Liberty, 4 Kutztown, 5 IUP 6 Wheeling Jes 7 Virginia Union 8 Bowie State

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    1. Actual bracket is same as above, except flipping IUP and Kutztown, which is essentially the same.

      Gannon did not get in; our season is officially over.

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  14. Tough de ja vu for Coach Slocum. Up in D1 and he still finds his team losing to Northern Kentucky.

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    1. Cleve Wright also ended his season with a first-round conference tournament loss. He and Slocum combined to lose 43 games this year.

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  15. Today marks the 30-year anniversary of one of the great games in Hammermill Center history ... the 85-82 Gannon victory over top-ranked (and #1 in the region) Millersville 1987 East Regional Final which ultimately propelled Gannon to a national runner-up finish.

    Both teams were on top of their games in a titanic battle in front of probably the loudest crowd I've been part of from start to finish. (The place was deafening 10 minutes before the game) The noise during the time out after a Mitch Smith dunk to give GU a 57-48 lead was the loudest I've heard for a full minute. I remember that Shanghai had a couple of key defensive plays down the stretch and made the key free throws to preserve the lead and stave off a late Millersville rally. It was so hot in the rafters that I felt like I played a game when the buzzer sounded.

    Instead of complaining about how Gannon basketball is different in 2017 compared to 1987, I'm going to appreciate the fact that I was part of the sellout crowd on March 7, 1987 -- the greatest memory in a season full of them. It's still the answer when somebody asks me what the best game I've ever been to.

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    1. It was truly an awesome game and atmosphere. I was sitting in the bleachers by some Millersville fans and they were really whooping it up in the first half. I told them they haven't seen the real Gannon team yet. They did in the second half, WOW what a game !!!!

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    2. Great memories, Golden, indeed.

      ....and, only Bud Elwell knows how Gannon managed to secure a key home game against not only the #1 team in the region, but, if I remember correctly, a "top 5" team in the nation!

      Yes, the noise was very loud at the "Mitch Smith moment you described...(Personally, I think it was louder when Mike Mcdougall made the three pointer to tie St. Michaels a week or so earlier....as I remember, to send a key game into overtime leading,to an eventual win...)

      But hey, both were key moments in GU hoops history!! 30 years this evening...wow, to the moment, I was at "Clancy's", downing some beers with Mike Corbett (RIP), and, "Rubes" (with wife Lynne!)

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  16. I just learned that Jerry Slocum has announced his retirement after 42 years and 723 victories:

    http://www.ysusports.com/sports/mbkb/2016-17/releases/slocum-retirement

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    1. Man that loss to NKU must have really hit hard haha

      All kidding aside, the man deserves it! Heck of a run throughout his entire tenure.

      And the question still remains about Troy Nesmith... not how did Coach Slocum get him to come to Gannon with him, but how did Nesmith ever end up at Geneva or whatever school Coach Slocum came from in the first place??

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    2. I actually covered that question in-depth 20 years ago (has it been that long?) in SportsLook Magazine. Here's a photo of that part of the article:
      pic.twitter.com/E3I6qm2tZz

      Troy was one of my all-time favorite interviews. He was candid, confident, and quick to be self-reflective.

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  17. Reflecting on the past weekend...

    I think a very fine line exists between our program, and the teams that received NCAA bids. I heard several "connected PSAC" folks comment that the Gannon program is well respected, and, "the team nobody wants to play".

    The loss was brutal, but, as Jim mentioned, the future appears very bright. Regarding Matt Dogan, has any Gannon player ever had a better junior-to- senior year improvement? I don't think so! He is a class act, both on and off the court. Four years went by fast!

    Not much to say that hasn't been effectively stated, but, I leave with this sidebar item: About 3 hours after the game, three players who are underclassmen were witnessed WORKING OUT in the rec area at the hotel. Two of the three played key minutes in Saturday's game. I found that very interesting.

    As this most exciting season in years comes to a close, I'm as optimistic as ever for next year!



    I think that

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    1. Not even the jump from junior to senior year... has any player any year have thar kind of performance? Ive never seen a player ride pine and look lost on the court that long and then BOOM.... it clicks!

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  18. Coach Slocum was one of the best post-game interviews for his honest assessment of his team's performance, win or lose. Although, after a loss, Jim and I would flip a coin as to who would ask the first question...
    Good luck to a good man.

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    1. After a win he was as happy as Jerry Seinfeld. After a loss (especially when the officiating was poor), he was ... um ... not Jerry Seinfeld. I remember us talking to him after Gannon lost to HIllsdale at Kentucky Wesleyan in the first round of the NCAAs after some bad calls including a brutal charge on Rich Bush in the final moments. He was ready to explode -- actually had to pause a couple times during the interview to compose himself -- but he still took the time to talk with us and the Gannon fans.

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  19. Coach Slocum did as best as he could in a pretty tough situation at YSU. The league is pretty darn talented at the low to mid-major level. (Didn't his one team beat almost beat Butler twice when they went to NCAA finals a few years ago?).

    I think I saw him last summer on 8th Street by Waldameer.......riding a motorcycle with his shades on. Easy rider-style!

    I'm hoping ex-family neighbor main assistant Coach Mike Wernicki at least gets an interview for the position!

    Great run, "Coach Jerry"!

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  20. Great write up on Slocum in the Warren Tribune Chronicle. Very complimentary of what he did for the YSU program and the kids who played for him.

    http://www.tribtoday.com/sports/sport-columns/2017/03/fitting-end-for-slocum-with-ysu/

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  21. Jerry could be very short with people and fans but he was a PLAYERS coach. He was very involved with his players both on and off the floor. His players came first.

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  22. Just learned from a Gannon fan that Cleve Wright has been fired by Miami Ohio.

    http://www.miamiredhawks.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/031017aaa.html

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    1. Men's coach got fired also. In today's world it's win or get out, especially at Division 1. Not much tolerance for nice guys who don't win. Let's hope Clev will land on his feet.

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  23. Not a surprise that Cleve was relieved of his duties. His predecessor was fired with a much better record. Hope he lands on his feet ... he's too good of a coach not to.

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  24. Does he still want to coach? Probably. If he wants to stay in D1 he'll probably have to look for an assistant job to get back into the mix. Otherwise, look at D2 or even D3 jobs. He still has a good resume. Tough way to make a living.

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  25. Heck of a start to the Atlantic Regional -- #3 West Liberty vs. #6 Wheeling Jesuit. With the scored tied and the shot clock off in regulation, West Liberty turned the ball over causing a breakout. Jesuit missed a contested layup and then the tip-in at the buzzer, sending the game into OT.

    With West Liberty up 2, Jesuit banked in a right wing 3 with 5 seconds to play to take a 1-point lead. West Liberty called timeout, went length of the floor, and then banked in a three of their own at the buzzer, seemingly pulling out the miracle win. But when the officials went to the monitor, the ball was on the fingertips of the West Liberty player when the clock turned to 0.0. Had there been 0.1 more time on the clock, the shot would have counted. Had Gannon lost that way, I think I might have deleted this entire blog.

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  26. Ship hammers Virginia Union, 79-59, in their Atlantic Region quarterfinal. They will face Wheeling Jesuit in the second round.

    #6 Findlay won in fairly dramatic fashion in their NCAA first round game vs. #3 Southern Indiana:
    Video here: pic.twitter.com/ft9BOAHCm8

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  27. East region #1 Le Moyne loses at home to #8 Merrimack, 72-68, in overtime. The Gannon trio of Eisendorf, Ascunsion-Byrd, and Kaigler played very little in the extra period.

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  28. It is great to go on the NCAA bracket page and be able to watch the games both men's and women's. If you want to see a machine watch Ashland's women's team.

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  29. Atlantic Region semifinals will have #6 Wheeling Jesuit vs. #2 Shippensburg and #1 Fairmont State vs. #4 IUP. Fairmont looked like those classic UNLV teams as they throttled Bowie State, 93-67. They ran like thoroughbreds and shot lights out from three in transition. I'm sure they won't get 93 on IUP -- very interesting style matchup.

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  30. Wheeling Jesuit beat Ship in the Atlantic Region semifinals, 97-91. This is the same team Gannon lost to by two, 65-63, on the road Dec. 18. WJU was 23-of-35 from the line while Gannon was 5-for-6. Yes, I'm still bitter.

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  31. Replies
    1. Not a surprise. PSAC down overall this year.

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  32. The PSAC season is over. IUP was dominated by Fairmont, 84-68. Fairmont is by far and away the most athletic D2 team I've seen this season.

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  33. There is one thing you could say about Fairmont they used their bench. They had ten players that played in at least 24 games that averaged over ten minutes a game and the most by any player was 29 minutes. That can go a long way to explain their athleticism.

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    1. And why the starters have their wind and their legs at the end of the game. I agree with Jim's comments above. I would be stunned if all the bench players for Gannon return next season. The kids come to play, not ride the pines game after game.

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    2. I can't say a few of them leaving would be a huge devastation. Hate to see them leave, but if they're not cutting it in the coaches eyes - they end up on the bench and if they don't want to be on the bench they can look elsewhere. That is their right. The coaching staff obviously felt certain players weren't "fitting in" (which we've all discussed before that recruiting a kid based on seeing him play in one atmosphere is tough because there's no guarantee that play will transfer over to the new atmosphere). A few leave and hopefully the new players fit the defensive schematics and will find their way on the court.

      If I had to crack a guess, these would be my predictions on who stays and who goes:
      STAY - Gardener, Phoenix, Jackson, Williams, Berger, Miraud, Fustine, Hadrab, Burwitz
      GOES - Green, Haysbert (possibly Hadrab... you'd have to figure he'd play second fiddle to Phoenix and even though that was the biggest gap in substitutes this season - he could decide to go start somewhere else)

      Now, I am not saying these are who I WANT to see go or stay... just from watching them when in the game and their demeanor on sidelines and in timeouts etc.

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  34. Fairmont handles Wheeling Jesuit, 86-80, to win the Atlantic Region.

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  35. Fun tidbit of information - This year's Division I NCAA tournament features three teams that Gannon faced in the 1980's ... one apiece from the 1987-88 to the 1989-90 seasons.

    Gannon lost at Troy State in a 1988 national quarterfinal (a year or two before the Elite 8 was born). Gannon then lost in the 1988 Porreco Cup final to NC Central, who went on to win the national championship. Then in the 1989 Porreco Cup, Gannon lost to Northern Kentucky.

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    1. Thanks for the tidbit. Remember when there were rumors of Gannon jumping to Division I?
      Seems like a hundred years ago now. And remember when the popular reason not to do it was that Gannon would surrender being a Division II power for being a mediocre Division I team in a mid major (at best) conference? And who, they asked, would want to watch Gannon play all those boring, non-descript mid major mediocre teams? Ironic, isn't it? Now we have a mediocre Division II program in a mediocre Division II conference playing mediocre Division II teams in front of a handful of fans. And nobody in the administration appears to have any kind of a plan to make things better.

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    2. Can't disagree with gogannongo.
      Here's the average home attendance for all five regional college basketball teams:
      Gannon 712
      Mercyhurst 632
      Edinboro 348
      Allegheny 372
      Behrend 324

      Sad to see Gannon averaging less than 100 fans per game more than Mercyhurst, and barely double the D3 schools.
      By comparison, in 2002-2003 (last year of stats available on the Gannon website), the Knights averaged 1845. That's a 62% drop off in 14 years.
      What's it going to look like in the Hammermill in the next 14 years? If attendance drops another 62% over that span (not out of the question), that leaves the average attendance at 283, worse than the current levels of those D3 schools. At that point, they might as well just play the games at the Gannon Rec Center.
      Not expecting a return to the toilet paper throwing days of the 80s. I'd be happy to see crowds like the early 2000s.
      The days of 'build it and they will come' and 'win and they will come' have passed. What concerted efforts will be taken to keep basketball a viable part of Gannon ?

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    3. What concerted efforts will the administration take? My guess would be none. Dozens of people cancelled their season tickets this year. The administration could have let people sit in the unsold seats for just a few games to see if they like it, especially the Pink Zone game which was free. (I realize that aggravates the current ticket holders). But maybe they would buy those seats next season. They are potential customers. Instead they kicked people out and made them move to the bleachers. Does that sound like an administration that wants to grow the program?? "The beatings will continue until morale improves."

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    4. Nice discussion to the disturbing attendance trends above. I vote for some type of grassroots effort to get students (usually, less than 15 a game) and/or younger fans.
      ----------

      I know rankings (usually) do not mean much, but, was the PSAC "down" this year?.....During the PSAC tournament, 3 teams there were among the top 12 in the country. Some excellent basketball talent exists in this league.

      ---------

      Duke: Out. (Along with everyone's bracket.) Nice post-game comments from SC Coach Frank Martin.

      Just to be "different", I picked Gonzaga (2 out of 40 in my "league" picked them..), and, I think they will have some trouble against West Virginia.





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  36. I just looked at the eight final games attendance and I was very surprised and disappointed. Did not count the St Rose/ St Thomas game because of the snow storm. The other seven games averaged 1747 with a low of 968 and a high of 2498 it looks like DII is not generating a lot of interest through out the country. This is going to be very hard with these numbers to get the administration excited about the basketball program.

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  37. Maybe it's time to look at reducing the cost of season tix...maybe some of those who come on a regular basis might buy into the plush seats.
    I hear rumors (and that's all it was, rumors) that student base in general didn't like a lot of the players attitudes on campus.

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    1. $5 a ticket for general admission is a joke. I know it's less than a lot of the other schools, but too much for Gannon.

      I would say Gannon Students free (as it is already), Kids 5 and under free, Senior Citizens $1, non-Gannon Students with ID (Elementary, HS and College) $2, general admission $3

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    2. yeah, I forget which school it was, but on their site their tix were listed at $10!

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  38. According to verbal commits Ian Gardner is transfering

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    1. That's a huge shock for me. I really felt if he didn't leave after last year he was going to be here all 4. Best wishes to him!

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  39. Anyone think he'll end up at LeMoyne? If he does I think I will get season tix for them ha

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    1. If he does, I think Lemoyne alumni should join the Golden Knight booster club. We are sending them some great athletes. The busiest person in North America is the Gannon financial aid officer trying to keep track of basketball scholarships! ha

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    2. Gannon should start getting a stipend from LeMoyne for each recruit!

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  40. I would like to make a wager with you Corey...a beer says that's exactly where he will end up.

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  41. I think he will too. But for a gentleman's bet, I'll take the under :)

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  42. If you've been watching the Division I tournament, you've probably seen the Capital One commercials with Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, and Spike Lee. I noticed in the spot where Barkley's TV is connected to the "Clapper," that the clip they are watching is the game-winning shot from Findlay's National Championship win in 2009.

    Here's the commercial:
    https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AUpp/capital-one-clapper-ft-samuel-l-jackson-charles-barkley

    And here's the Findlay clip in its entirety:
    https://youtu.be/qqKpJ37LL-c

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  43. This is why we are the best informed basketball fans in the country. Now, if you can clap off that annoying guy who sings Don't Wanna Miss a Thing in the AT&T commercials that play during every time out, the world will be a better place.

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  44. Was Frank Webb a red shirt for this season? I don't remember the name but he's listed on VC as a 6' 3" shooting guard (Expected Red Shirt) Soph.

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  45. Yes, he was a redshirt. If you look in the blog post above, there is a link to his bio at West Virginia State.

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    1. hhhmmm I missed that part...must have been selective reading. LOL
      Thanks

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  46. Webb's got some nice stats coming from WV State. Started all but about 3 games or so.

    Scored 28 points in 33 mins at West Liberty, 4 rebounds, 5 asts, 5 TOs and then 24 points in 36 mins vs. West Lib to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 asts, 2 TOs and 4 steals. Also, it appears he is a "slasher" as he shoots 35% from 3pt range, but doesn't take a ton of them, however, is 81% from the Free Throw line and takes a ton of them! Had at least 4 games in which he MADE 10+ free throws. Had many perfect days from the line including a 13-13.

    Looks like he may have dealt with injury towards end of season, or else was in theoretical dog house, as he typically played 30+ mins and then played a few games of 20 or less, then missed a few games and w hen he returned played just around 20 mins for first handful of games.

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  47. Huge coaching news in the Atlantic region ... West Liberty coach Jim Crutchfield leaving for Nova Southeastern, another Division II school.

    Nova SE's women's team made the Elite 8 in 2014 held in Erie. They won a game and lost in the Final Four. Was very impressed by the team and their fans. To give you an idea of the facilities at NSE, the Miami Dolphins hold their training camp on the Nova Southeastern campus.

    I've been hoping for years for a Jim Crutchfield offense vs. John Reilly defense matchup. We'll never get to see it. :-(

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    1. never say never... he's still in D2 :)

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  48. Link if you think that this is #FakeNews.

    http://www.wvgazettemail.com/sports-mountain-east/20170321/west-liberty-basketball-coach-jim-crutchfield-takes-job-at-nova-southeastern

    He was 359-61. To give some context, Chapman was 120-38 in his years at Gannon. He'd have to go 239-23 (over .900) to catch Crutchfield. Wow.

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    1. why would he leave?!?! Unless he has ties down there (haven't read article yet), I don't care how much more money they may have offered - he has a cake job!

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    2. Living in Florida vs West virginia, that's one reason he left. Also Florida is a hot bed of basketball talent.

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    3. I get that, but still... not like he had many problems getting talent! Interesting to see what happens with him down there and with West Liberty with a new coach. See if it's the coach or the "system".

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    4. Nova is in Ft. Lauderdale, plays in a first class 4500 seat arena that was built in 2006 and has a beautiful campus on the ocean. Doesn't look like they get much snow. Probably not too many cloudy days either. Nova's record last year was 6-20. Pretty much all Crutchfield has to do is show up and it will be an improvement. All things considered, even the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz could figure out this no-brainer.

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  49. Fairmont wins 86-68 with a big second half over Rollins. Onto the Final Four.

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  50. In the women's Elite 8, Virginia Union advanced to the championship game with a comeback win over Cal Baptist. Undefeated Ashland has a 25 point lead in the third quarter over Harding. Assuming that Ashland holds on to their second half lead (Gannon fans can't assume anything about second-half leads), we'll see Virginia Union vs. Ashland in the finals on Friday.

    Both Virginia Union and Ashland played (and easily defeated) the Lady Knights earlier this season at the Hammermill Center.

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  51. Nice that CBSSN has the D2 Final Four. Can see what it takes to get to the Championship Game. Fairmont, Bellarmine, NW Missouri St, Lincoln Memorial. As a team, each is bigger, quicker, faster than Gannon but I don't think any of them would turn away Jackson and Berger if they showed up on their doorstep. All four teams shoot the three really well too.

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  52. Fairmont overwhelmed Bellarmine in the semifinals and will face NW Missouri State in the championship game Saturday on CBS. If FSU wins, we can say Gannon played in the best D2 region in the country.

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  53. Rumor that Hans Burwitz is also transferring ...

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  54. Hans Burwitz moving along as well

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    Replies
    1. That's not a big shock. I didn't feel he'd offer much in this system

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  55. Replies
    1. ....at schools all over the country.

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    2. Not really. How many did IUP lose from 2015-16 to 2016-17? How about Pitt-Johnstown? Mercyhurst? Edinboro? Most D2 teams? This isn't D1 and nobody at Gannon is one and done to the NBA. Players leave this program like crazy. That's not normal. Shame on this administration for letting this continue.

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  56. Welcome to the new basketball era....all pieces are replaceable. You hate to see some of them go BUT someone will take their spot. All we can do is hope it will be someone that is better than the previous player.

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  57. OH OH ...I just heard a reliable rumor that Jimmy Berger is transferring as well. That hurts !

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  58. Heard John Carroll or walk on try at Akron

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    Replies
    1. I could definitely see John Carroll. Looking at his Twitter, he and Sean flannery appear to be pretty good friends and that's where flannery left Gannon for. Also he had a bunch of retweets of friends committing to JCU. I feel that could be a passive aggressive intro to a departure.

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  59. How do you lose a player like Jimmy Berger? I would think the coaching staff would do everything possible to keep him and what about the other two? Ian had a great freshman year and Hans looked like he had a strong upside to be helping in the years to come. I would really like to talk to them and find out why they are moving on.

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    Replies
    1. If Berger leaves and goes somewhere as a walk on, that would make me believe it is academic related (maybe Gannon doesn't offer exactly what he wants etc). Because of it was a problem with the athletics, he'd transfer to another school on scholarship and be a starter. Unless it's an ego thing and he feels he's above Gannon amd D2 and wants to go to D1 (or feels he has some future past college and wants more exposure). Cannot picture a player like him leaving to go walk on somewhere just because hes not on board with the program.

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  60. Well, let's see. Players who played a lot left the program aka Eisendrf, Bird, Kaigler and Berger and many others. Also, players who mostly warmed the pines left the program aka Kevin K, Ian, Hans and too many others to count. What's is the reason? What is the common thread? PS Bob: they would probably never tell you.

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  61. We all know the reason and it ain't the food in the cafeteria.

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  62. I heard that Gannon was the only school to offer him (Berger) anything and that was a partial. Also he has a twin brother playing at JC. Only thing I can think of is homesick. He is obviously getting the playing time and the accolades. And I would think that if it was a partial Riley would correct that to keep him.
    No scholarships at D3 and none as a walk-on at D1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May be Gannon doesn't offer full to freshmen? I know when Rob van Rheenan was coaching the men's soccer team, freshmen were not offered athletic scholarships. If they made it through the season and he wanted them back, then he'd offer athletic scholarships. Or he'd make once rice deals i.e if they played so many minutes recorded so many points etc. He made them earn it.

      If Jimmy has a twin at JCU as well as his friend flannery- I'm going with homesick, not necessarily a problem with Gannon.

      Also remember blazek was a walk on!

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    2. Wow typos. Once rice = incentive

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    3. I'll take Problems with Gannon for $100, Alex.

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    4. And the answer is... it appears so.

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  63. The Akron coach just left for Duquesne.
    https://t.co/4tzR9Ox8Ph

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a surprise he left, guess more surprised that it's only to Duquesne. He and Miller (Dayton) did tremendous things with their programs and deserve the accolades.

      Delete
  64. I reached out to Gannon SID Dan Teliski to gather more information on the rumors about Jimmy Berger. He just emailed me back with this message:

    "Unfortunately, I am e-mailing you to confirm that Jimmy Berger has declared he will be transferring at the end of the academic year."

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    Replies
    1. pending where he goes, I would think this would have to be a homesick issue. To leave a program that was very obviously putting that player as their centerpiece... I'm saying home sick and he goes closer to Cleveland (i.e. John Carroll or a D2 school he can start at). Now, obviously if he goes elsewhere, then we can start the banter about the Gannon program.

      Only other thing, that has not been mentioned and I don't see it being the reason, could be the pressure. George Johnson and Stephen Battle both were part of teams in which they were role players and then were called upon to be "the guy"... both left after that season. Neither had known issues nor did they ever appear to be in trouble or in the dog house... both left and went to schools in which they were solid role players and good players, but not needed to be "the guy".

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  65. keep your ears and eyes open... reportedly another player is leaving as well. I'm hoping it's the likes of Jair Green or Michael Haysbert and NOT Miraud, Jackson, Phoenix (unless this Hadrab can be a little scrappier in the paint) or Williams.

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  66. So whenever this next transfer is announced, that will be a total of 4 pending anyone else.

    Looking at VC
    Drury has 5 players transferring
    Concord has 4 players transferring
    and there are a slew with 3 people transferring.

    Granted I'm sure it doesn't happen as often as Gannon (Concord does appear to lose a handful each year), we're still not the tops yet!

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  67. Not much to brag about. How many players can be homesick? Let's hope none of the starters are on that future list but it would not be a surprise at this point. It seems we recruit some pretty good players but something happens when they get here that they choose to bail out.
    Sad story for a once proud national program.

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  68. Terrible news. How often does the freshman of the year transfer??

    If Berger winds up at Lemoyne, then I'm moving to Syracuse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. not the same, but Kelvin Agee was dismissed from school... haha

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  69. I know that Gannon is not the only school with transfers, but what is it that is going on that makes it that undesirable to stay around? Lemoyne obviously is doing something right to have players move THERE, not AWAY from there. Yes, today's athlete may be different and more mobile than in years past, but can they really be 100% at fault here? What can the coaches be doing better?
    Note to Jim Roddy: If your business had such a low retention rate, what would you do to take a closer look at the issue and try to stem the tide?

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    Replies
    1. I think Berger will go to JCU or somewhere around Cleveland... it's more and more sounding like home sick is the reason. I really don't see him going to LeMoyne lol

      I don't think it's the players fault, might be partially, but I don't think its 100%. I think it's they get recruited either with hopes they can buy into the system or they excel at the HS level. Then they come to Gannon and either they don't buy into the system or their HS ability doesn't transfer over to the college level. They end up on the bench for either reason, and they transfer. Also, Gannon tends to recruit to replace... so even a starter may not be guaranteed their position the next year... if the player sees there are 2 recruits at his position coming in - he may say "im out" and bolt

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    2. So, if your analysis is correct then Gannon will never have any continuity because their bench will always turnover and a few starters along the way. Bad situation. My question is why is this so prevelent at Gannon but not at most of the other Psac schools except possibly Slippery Rock? Why isn't this happening at Edinboro or Mercyhurst? Differently philosophy?

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    3. Well with nothong against those schools- Gannon has higher academic standards for athletes (Hurst probably does too) and it's been said Gannon staff requires the players to maintain a GPA even higher than what the athletic code calls for.

      Also I don't feel any other school focuses on defense as much as this staff does. This year Gannon joined the majority by scoring to win games... traditionally they are the minority by focusing on keeping the other team from scoring to win games.

      I don't see this trend bucking anytime soon at Gannon. The staff holds high expectations of the players and if they don't buy in - they're more than likely gone.

      Delete
    4. Well, I certainly respect your opinions but I don't think it has anything to do with academics or defense. But I'm done discussing it. I remember when we used to criticize Kentucky Wesleyan under Ray Harper for having a one & done program. Now we are them......without the same national prominence.

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    5. I with yours as well. Academics may be a minimal factor, but the intense focus on defense I think we can all agree probably plays into certain things a bit. Which is just one of the underlying things of which most think is the main problem (the program).

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    6. And this constant revolving door of players leads to lower fan interest, particularly if a program isn't winning on a consistent basis.

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  70. What's the one constant in all these transfers the last 11 years? Is it the school? Thousands of students return to class every year so it's probably not the school. The fans? Are we really so bad? I sit in the bleachers AND I wear deodorant. Probably not the fans. The city? Does the city drive them away? Not likely. How about the mayor? Is it just a coincidence that these mass transfers started happening right around the time he first took office? Uh, too much of a conspiracy theory. What or who else is here year after year and has direct contact with the players? Oh my God. Could it be the coach????

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Blogspot had a 'Like' button, you'd receive a Like from me for the above.

      Delete
    2. Obviously a top justification would be the coaching staff.... but the question is what is it about them? Brunelli has berated his girls publicly and he just NOW started losing girls. There's been no rumors of Coach Reilly, et al berating players or harassing players or discrimination, etc. They have intense practices, we know that. I've seen practices though - the staff has never been overly negative with players. They'll stop a play and say that's wrong and show them what they want. But it was never "you're an idiot, it's this easy" etc. This is why I can't put total blame on the coaching staff - no one has given a reason as to WHAT they are doing that is pushing these kids away. Most reasons end up being a two way street.... coach benches player, player doesn't like it and leaves. That's not just a coach, that's the player's decision to leave. It's instigated by the coach, but I'm sure the coach doesn't go "ya know what? You should probably just transfer out". The player doesn't want to "wait" on the bench or doesn't want to put the effort the coaching staff requires into it... that's two way street.

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    3. Doesn't look like a two way street from where I'm sitting. Looks more like a one way highway out of Erie. Do the transferring players have to sign a nondisclosure agreement when they leave? None of them talk about it publicly. I don't know what your connection is to the coaching staff but you sound like Reilly's Sean Spicer. Come on. Players bail on this program like they got an evacuation order in the mail. That's not normal. And you're saying those are all mutual decisions? That's not normal either. No D2 school loses so many players year after year after year. Something is very wrong here. Very wrong.

      Delete
    4. Hmmmm......

      * Jimmy Berger's Father was a very good hoop player at John Carroll. All-League, if my memory is correct. Graduated in 1989 (Methinks...)

      * Twin brother plays for John Carroll...

      * Family (A close one at that) lives 10 miles from John Carroll

      * Several close classmates from his high school went to John Carroll

      * No disrespect to Gannon, but John Carroll has a beautiful campus...


      Why WOULDN'T, (assuming Jimmy enrolls at JCU) he go to school there? I think the real commentary is that we should appreciate that he was at Gannon for one very good year, and, respect his decision to move on....

      Sure this hurts. I'll go out on a limb: Three more years like, and, better than his freshman year, and, we insert him into the conversation as one of the best point guards in Gannon hoop history.

      Great kid. Super family. I respect his decision, and, if he enrolls at Carroll,I totally understand why. I'm sure we all wish nothing but the best for him

      .....and, I went to John Carroll, class of '79!

      Delete
  71. I promised myself that I would never post to this blog again but after 2 years of restraint I must finally weigh in again. I have been following Gannon basketball for over 50 years. I have witnessed many good years and also bad years. I've witnessed a lot of ups and downs but I just can't believe what I've witnessed in the time that John Reilly and Jim Brunelli have been coaching the men's team and the women's team. I've witnessed both teams fall from the best programs in D-2 to programs so badly in need of a total overhaul that it is possibly beyond repair.

    We have gone from the days where you couldn't buy a general admission ticket let alone a season ticket. We are now witnessing games where the total attendance is less than the number of plush seats. This whole program is a disgrace. Who is to blame? Well in my opinion it is John Reilly and his BORING style of basketball, Jim Brunelli and his abusive treatment of his players and the do-nothing administration that is in charge of the programs.

    Many of the fans who post on this blog support Reilly and it seems would follow him into a burning building. However, his roughly 61% winning percentage and his BORING style of play as well as his inability to keep players from transferring out qualifies him for the unemployment lines. We’ve had 3 players and now possibly a 4th transfer to LeMoyne. LeMoyne had the best record in their region. Reilly’s record this year was 18-10 or a 68.2% winning percentage. We won 8 games in a row 5 of which went to OT and 2 of those were 2OT. We play in the PSAC which had only 7 out of 18 teams with an above .500 record. Just imagine if we were still in the GLIAC where 11 of 15 teams finished above .500.

    Just look at what Patrick Beilein is doing at LeMoyne. His first year he had a record of 10-17. This season he was 22-7 and won his conference and was either 1st or 2nd in their region and hosted the Regional Tournament. And by the way he won those 22 games with 3 of Gannon’s transfers.

    #453 must either be John Reilly posting to defend himself or his pseudo assistant coach Danny Carneval whose head is so far up Reilly’s rear end that his nose is turning brown. Be real #453. You can make up all of the excuses in the world for Berger’s transfer and all of the other players that leave the program year after year but how is it possible that we get so many homesick players. I bet we lead the country in the number of players that have transferred out in the years that Reilly has coached Gannon. Only the season ticket holders who are not renewing their tickets exceed the number of players transferring.

    And how about Brunelli? He inherited a team that was loaded with stars from Cleve Wright. He had a great record his first year. Only had 4 losses … all to Edinboro. He was hosting the National Championship Tournament in Erie and should have had his ticket punched for the finals but he couldn’t beat Edinboro. Then we watched as his antics led to 3 of his best players leaving the program. 2 transferred out (homesick?) and the 3rd decided she couldn’t take it any longer and played volleyball. His best recruit from this years team left school after the first semester. Was she homesick too? Probably, everyone that comes to Gannon suffers from homesickness.

    As for the do-nothing administration, I think they are overseeing both basketball programs with the Nero approach …. Sit back and play the fiddle while Rome burns. What is it going to take for them to wake up and do something about the erosion of the basketball programs. Come on Taylor, McGuirk and the rest of the administration. Get off your duffs and do something constructive to get these 2 programs back on top where they used to be. Do any of you even care?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also hit the nail on the head....

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    2. Hey "Jim"!

      Welcome back....it has been awhile.

      Tell me: What is "unreal" about what I posted? I'll be honest, I won't waste time attempting to prove/disprove the number of players who have transferred from our program versus what takes place at others.

      I will say this: It takes place at schools more than you think. Regarding Berger, I think the reasons I listed are all valid and speak for themselves.





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    3. So tell me #453 what percentage of all of Reilly's recruits leave the program early? And what percentage of all those who leave early leave because they are homesick? He has had at least 5 recruits leave after their freshman year in his 2nd or 3rd year of coaching Gannon. That was the year Marcus Lemon left. I think another 2 or 3 years he had 4 leave. So are all of these guys homesick? Or is there some other reason that they are taking off. It is too much of a coincidence that they are all homesick. Maybe they are sick of the way Reilly and is assistants coach them. Just asking you know.

      Delete
    4. Jim...

      I can't honestly give the percentage.

      It seems that in your absence, you have kept perfect track. I'm sure if you checked around at other schools, you would see players transferring as well.

      I will say this: Our (Gannon) campus setting is a lot different in the sense that players find other settings better for them.

      I'll also say this: Check out a practice some time: The players enjoy being coached in the present manner more than you think.

      -------

      At the final Kutztown game, I sat with Jimmy Berger's parents for the entire game. I felt both completely enjoyed this season, and, the way their son was coached.
      ----
      Jim, you missed an exciting season. I don't agree with you that Gannon plays a BORING style of basketball.

      Welcome back to the blog!

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    5. You write, "Our campus setting is a lot different in the sense that players find other settings better for them." What does that mean? What evidence do you have to back it up?

      You also write that the players enjoy being coached in the present manner more than we think. If that's true, wouldn't they stay at Gannon? Please explain. Do they prefer to be coached in an unenjoyable manner? I don't get it.

      Good luck to Jimmy Berger. Good chance we'll be seeing his name on an All-America team down the road.

      Delete
  72. My question of the day is simple.......if the Gannon administration doesn't care, why should the fans? And maybe that is being reflected in the ongoing drop in attendance since its my humble impression that the powers at Gannon really do not care about the success of the two programs as long as they field a team and are somewhat competitive. Kinda like a participation trophy on the collegiate level.

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  73. I don't think that anyone is disrespecting Jimmy Berger's decision to transfer. He's certainly well within his right to do so. Not too many freshmen of the year in a Division II conference would transfer to a Division III school (assume he lands at JCU), but he seems like a very smart, thoughtful kid who didn't make a hasty decision. I'm sure that I speak for everyone here wishing him the best of luck and continued success on and off the court .

    It's also not unreasonable for fans to be frustrated at the lack of continuity within the program. I'd love to see some actual data, but it certainly seems like Gannon has had more than an average number players transfer (even some folks on the Atlantic Region board notice this) than most schools.

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  74. I think that without a doubt gary16506's observation is spot on. The drastic drop in attendance is a direct result of the administration not giving a damn about either program. As long as they field teams that win occasionally and are somewhat competitive they’re happy.

    If they really did care then they would have done something about it. Don’t you think that they would follow up with those season ticket holders who’ve abandoned their seats to find out why? If it were just 5 or 10 people I could understand. But it is obvious that more than 5 or 10 tickets have not been renewed. Plus I bet it gets worse. I know of at least 12 guys who will not renew their tickets for next season. Why in the name of God don’t they try to promote the teams in some way? But I guess I already answered that question in my other post. It’s the Nero approach.

    Here is a thought for all of you Gannon followers that have been watching the basketball teams for the last 10-15 years. Where do you think Reilly and Brunelli would be coaching today if Bud Elwell was alive and still the AD? If your answer is not at Gannon you’d be correct. He’d never put up all this mediocrity.

    Does anyone have any ideas how we can get the attention of the administration? If I was an advertiser or sponsor of the programs I’d drop the sponsorship. Remember money talks.

    ReplyDelete
  75. Let's not use this site for personal attacks or to sabotage the programs by encouraging sponsors to pull their funding. Please change your behavior or I will need to delete comments and/or disable the commenting function. I'm not saying everyone has to grab maroon-and-gold pom poms, but treat others (players, coaches, administrators, fellow commenters, etc.) with respect. Thank you.

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  76. What you are seeing here is total frustration. Gannon basketball use to supply a lot of entertainment for the basketball fans in Erie through the winter. That excitement is not there anymore. Gannon like all colleges is going through a period of time where enrollment is down and the focus is on improving enrollment. Gannon's athletic teams represent Gannon very well in the class room and on and off the playing venues. They are very good examples of the student athlete and that makes it very tough to say to the administration " What are they going to do to fix athletics " they do not see it as broken.

    ReplyDelete
  77. Versus the "old days" there is plenty of competition out there, which, is one reason attendance is down: A hockey franchise, a D-league NBA team, multitude "APS" to keep a person on the couch versus going to a game. Stressed out college students that would rather get a part-time job to pay off a massive student loan. All these have been discussed on this board.

    On and on. Some of these trends may be irreversible in the shorter term.

    -----

    Univ. of South Carolina in "Final Four". A fantastic March story. I invite anyone to simply "Google" on the subject of basketball transfers from their men's program in the last several years.

    Time to get ready for golf for the next several months!

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  78. Suggestion to Jim Roddy: How do you feel about inviting a few members of the Gannon administration to a new discussion thread on the future of Gannon basketball? That way, us fans can submit our questions/concerns/ideas/etc., and the Administration can provide some feedback. Perhaps that can calm some frustrations, dispel any rumors, and create some positive ideas on how to keep the interest level in the programs. That way, this blog would be a place for something positive and constructive, instead of a bunch of us sitting around being miserable. Just a thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As much as I like that idea and I think some admins would do it, I don't think it'd end up being what you are anticipating. I would expect answers to be "by the book" and noy necessarily answering the question asked but masking the main issue with other facts. And this is nothing against Gannon admin, this is just a professional way of answering critical questions. Reference political debates. The questions are never truly answered, rather you are pointed in another direction and some smaller issue is resolved and most accept it as an answer. But then when you think about it you go "they never actually answered that question"

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  79. By two way street I did not under anything was mutual. The point was that I dont think the coaches are outright telling players to leave - they make that decision. Just because a player is benched doesn't mean the coaching staff wants them gone (I.e. - dogan) but a lot of the ones that leave are those who collect pine.

    No one has yet given a reason as to why they think the coaching staff is 100% the issue. It just keeps getting brought up that the coaching staff is the common denominator (which is definitely is, that's a fact). But there have been no facts to prove that theory. Just like in calculus, the common denominator isn't always the right answer.

    Coach Reilly and coach viscuso didn't have this kind of turnover down at brescia. So why now at Gannon?

    Several players have stayed even though they came odf thr bench or saw random minutes (dogan, kid from lake Erie Wilson?, knight, demski, piotrowicz, matey, Marcus Jones, Cory Bailey, etc). What made them stay compared to the others leaving? Why did player like Blazek, Porter, Blanton, Stosh, Lindsey, RTE, Girbran, Howard, goldcamp etc come to Gannon (obviously having known about the turnover issue) and proceed to stay?

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    Replies
    1. Turnover happens.

      Fore!!!!!

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    2. Turnover happens ... at Gannon roughly 20-25% most years. At most other D-II schools it is much much lower than the Gannon rate. Gannon has to be either the leader in transfers or near the top every year Reilly has been the coach. I'm sure #453 is going to blame it on players being homesick or the lack of a campus or some other thing but the common denominator is still Reilly and Viscuso. Somehow those 2 have managed to get stay above the radar.

      Anyone remember Ron Hollis and Josh Yanke? Both went on to have decent careers at Clarion. Homesick? Reilly? Poor campus? What about Shelby Chaney? Had a terrific senior year at Mercyhurst. The official word was that he couldn't get the right courses to complete his degree at Gannon. Maybe we should ask his father. He wasn't afraid to tell anyone why Shelby was leaving. Guess what. Shelby wasn't homesick and it wasn't the lack of a campus. What's left? Coach Reilly. Hmmmm. How about that.

      These guys were here at the beginning of Reilly's tenure here at Gannon. They were some of the first to transfer. It's a long line of unhappy players that left.

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    3. Ok busbee I'm not going to disagree with you... But tell me why some of the best players to play at Gannon stayed? Why didn't he and coach viscuso have a high turnover rate at brescia? I'm not saying it's nothing to do with coaching, I'm saying what is the REASON with the coaching?

      Home sick... reason - miss being close to family, miss having family at games (esp heaetbreakers), miss friends/difficulty making friends

      The campus.. reason... It's in the middle of run down downtown snowy rainy Erie. Not a lot for under 21s to do within walking distance. Buildings are blocks apart. (I used to have a 8am-850 class in Beyer and then a 9-11 class in morosky... It was a pain!)

      Gannon... reason... higher academic standards, promote student athletes rather than athletes, a lot of long classes/labs and at all times (had a lab 9pm-1030p one semester every other Wednesday night).

      The coaches... reason... they're mean? They have intense practices? They focus on defense? Player isnt fitting in so hes benched? What is the reason for it being the coaching?

      I know two players who left and neither out put it on the coaching. One was he was a sophomore and behind a senior and junior (new recruit) at his position so he knew he wasn't going to play much and didn't want to sit the bench. He wasn't mad at the coaches; he recognized that the players ahead of him were better. The other left after his freshman year and cited egos on the team. He didn't get a long with certain players off the court and he no longer wanted to pretend to like them on the court. That's only 2 but there's nothing about coaches

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  80. Corey if 20-25% of the players are transferring out because they are homesick or don't like the campus wouldn't the same 20-25% of all students transfer out because of being homesick or the lack of a great campus? And how do you know what the transfer rate at Brescia was?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because I went through Brescias rosters for most of his tenure there (records stopped a few short) and looked at the rosters. I counted four that left prior to their senior year. A lot of 2 and 3 year players (started in theor soph or jr year) and a handful of 4 year players.

      And still no one has given a reason to why it's thr coaching. I'm not saying it's not, I don't know either way. I know 2 players that left and they were not because of thr coaching directly (one could be considered indirectly for not dealing with egos on the team). If someone was murdered they wont charge a suspect just because "he looks guilty". So what I want to know is what is it that the coaches are doing to make people leave? The only thing I can say for sure is that it does seem most of the time no starter is safe. Just because you started this year doesn't mean you're guaranteed next year because they could bring in someone better. But if a player leaves for that reason, are we to blame the coaches for recruiting better players? May be Byrd knew about Jackson and Gerrell coming in. If so, May be he didn't want to compete for a spotting start and take the chance of sitting behind 2 possibly 3 (Jones was used as a 2 guard often this year when healthy) players. So he went somewhere he could start or at least play more.

      Berger is the first player I can think of that is leaving that will be hard to have a replacement for within a year or two (and I mean a replacement at the same level). Every one else who has left, Gannon has brought in a better player the following year or 2 years later. (Would you have rather had Byrd this season or Jackson?)

      Delete
  81. You can speculate all you wish about the steady stream of players leaving Gannon during Reilly's tenure, but one FACT that to me tells it all is that just four players have played a full four seasons during Reilly's 12 years. That's right, just FOUR -- Tanner Furno, Adam Blazek, Cory Bailey and Matthew Dogan. Mercyhurst and Edinboro, on the other hand, have had dozens in the past 12 years. That, to me, is embarrassing and pathetic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've got that right. The best comparison I can come with is building your NFL team through free agency rather than the draft.

      Delete
    2. Four? That sure is embarrassing and pathetic. Why does the administration accept it as normal?

      Delete
    3. This doesn't increase that number much, but to be fair:
      Mark Demski (RS; didn't play 4 years due to injury but was there freshman to graduation)
      Preston Harris & Marcus Jones (RS; played 3 actual years and graduated on time)
      Rob Buckner (I believe due to injury he didn't play 4, but graduated from Gannon.. this one I'm not 100% about though)

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    4. Gannon Lifer hits the nail right on the head. While some transfers have lifted the program to great heights (Stoch, Corey Knight, etc. 2008-09 Elite 8 team), that is no way to build a solid base for your program. You can't be successful year after year if you have to replace your top players every season. It clearly is not working ... this is not Kentucky.

      Gannon needs more four-year players. Unfortunately, Gannon lost a potential four-year start in Berger.

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    5. speaking of four year players... google the new frosh that VC lists Cyril Ogubagu (check the spelling lol) some impressive HS stats and nice vids on the kid.

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    6. Don't worry Corey I heard that he's homesick already and hates the campus but he loves Reilly and his boring style of play. Better get a picture of him before he goes through the revolving door.

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    7. I'm not understanding how it's boring basketball? Almost every game was edge of your seat thriller.

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    8. It doesn't matter if every game is a 1-point OT thriller. The level of play is not worth watching.

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    9. i'd rather see OT thrillers than blowouts like we saw last year!

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  82. If the snow is such an issue, then it's strange that so many players transferred to Syracuse, one of the few snowier cities than Erie.

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    1. Maybe the are snow chasers, always off to the next snowiest location they can find. If we just had more snow here the players wouldn't leave.

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    2. Maybe they are snow chasers, always off to the next snowiest location. If we just had more snow here the players wouldn't leave.

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    3. Maybe the mild winter scared them off.

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  83. Replies
    1. Wish Gannon could miss 4 FTs with 3.8 secs left and a one point game.... AND WIN! only UNC

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  84. I see where the Mountain West Conference takes another coaching hit. Jerrod Calhoun leaves Fairmont State to become the head coach at Youngstown replacing Jerry Slocum. Jim Crutchfield has already left West Liberty for Nova Southeastern. To the victors go the spoils.

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  85. Correction: Mountain East Conference

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    1. LOL! Could be. Calhoun has an Ohio connection so maybe it's true! Does this mean John Calipari will leave Ky and return home to Clarion? Crazy stuff.

      Here's a question: How come the three players who transferred to Lemoyne are not transferring this year? Have they found a new "home" with a new coach? Makes you wonder.

      Someone asked above why the Administration doesn't ask season ticket holders why they left. Well, I cancelled my tickets this year after 41 years and no one asked why. Not a peep from anyone. Pretty much tells the story. Some time when the mood strikes me I'll publish some reasons. But right now I'm feeling homesick so I'm going to drive by my parents homestead!!

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    2. This is mind blowing. Gannon basketball is extremely close to dying and the administration is clearly helping dig the grave.

      How in the world does no one call an alumni (I am assuming you're an alumni based off of your username) and season ticket holder of 41 years and ask why they are not renewing their seats? If they don't care how good the team is, that's one thing. But to not care about a loyal season ticket holder and their money? That's another.

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  86. True. I am an Alumnus, and a former long time Booster member. Actually I had been faithfully attending home games (and several away games) for 56 years up until this year. But, none of that really matters, I guess. I'm not bitter. I have just had enough with both programs. Some accuse me of living the past but at my age that's all I have. When some of my favorite players kept leaving the team before they graduate I knew it was over. My once proud and loud Jammermill is now a funeral home with bleachers. All things come to an end! Golf anyone??

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    1. Powerful stuff, GU68. There's no indication the administration gives a rat's rear end. The Jammermill, beloved though it is, is a relic that I would guess has as much appeal as an abandoned shopping mall to a prospective player, compared to the modern arenas available at many other D2 schools. The massive high energy crowds that used to rock the place were once used as enticement to recruits. Where else were they going to find this atmosphere in D2? That crowd is gone without so much as a shoulder shrug from the administration. And the current atmosphere, you can get that at any D2 program, including the one on the hill that we used to mock. Or out in the Boro where the tiny crowds at least get to see an All-American. Touché on us. But at Gannon you can win a well worn couch that by season's end probably smells like a locker room. The music is unbearably loud. The preferred style of play, from which we were mercifully spared this season, is 1950 defensive lockdown first-one-49 wins. Bring a book. As is also often noted here, Gannon is no longer the only game in town. That's right. But instead of hanging its hat on that excuse for low attendance why doesn't the administration do something to make Gannon basketball a preferred destination? Something. Anything.

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  87. how can anyone that golfs call any level of basketball boring? haha I'd rather watch a Kindergarten basketball game then take up a hobby like golf or watch it... that is the true definition of boring.

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    Replies
    1. Good point ... we're drawing about as many fans as Kindergarten basketball games.

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  88. You're entitled to your opinion. I'm going to take the money I would have spent on season tickets and use it to pay for my senior golf. I play with a wonderful team of players. I don't think they are going to transfer off the team! At least we have some continuity which is more than Gannon can say these days.

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    Replies
    1. I will concur with that... you golfers stick together!

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  89. I can't even see the homeless shelter wanting that couch.

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    Replies
    1. amen to that! Especially after you have college kids eating pizza on it!

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  90. I was a season ticket holder for 49yrs and an active booster who walked away a couple of years ago. There was not as much as a postcard asking why and if I had given a reason it would not have mattered at all. See I did not give a lot of $$$$ just a lot of time and we know $$$$ are what counts.

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    1. Right you are, Bob. Corporate sponsors pay the bills but most don't sit in the seats. Fans do....or don't. To allow these programs to be what they are today is a disservice, in my opinion, to all who have in any capacity loyally supported the programs for decades. Probably a good reason why most of us are gone. Pretty sad turn of events.

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  91. The most abusive coach in Gannon basketball history may have been Jim Harding...possibly in a lansdslide. By some accounts, his teams drew some of the largest crowds in history as well.... much larger than present day.

    The abusive coach = lower attendance argument (alluded to above) doesn't hold water.

    No present day coach, (men or women's side) wold ever make their players run the Audi steps for 2 hours after a bus trip from Steubenville, Ohio after a loss.




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    1. If Harding was so abusive why didn't his players bolt en masses every year like Reilly's do? How is it that he was so abusive but is also the winningest coach in Gannon history? .803 winning percentage. How is it that he is credited with ushering in the modern era of Gannon basketball and laid the foundation for a very successful program? The stands were filled because Harding's teams played exciting, excellent basketball and they played powerhouse teams, many of which moved on to D1. And, actually, it was during the Chapman era that attendance peaked. Chapman was the un-Reilly. The stands are empty in 2017 because only the diehards are left to tolerate boring basketball against teams from the pathetically weak PSAC, led by a coach who in 11 years has developed zero rapport with the fans, all while having players tripping over themselves to get off this sinking ship of a program year after year. Pretty sad, by the way, that the defense of Reilly now includes taking pot shots at a man who is deceased and who hasn't coached here in 50 years.

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    2. Well, that's an interesting analogy. Having seen almost every game he coached, I would agree he was, at times, very tough with his players. Despite that, I don't recall any players quitting his program at the rate we are seeing now. I agree that abusive coaching does not directly lead to lower attendance. But I know this for sure: Player turnover is a major problem at Gannon. Who's at fault? We don't know for sure because the coaches and the players are not talking and the administration, as far as we know, is not asking. I'm also convinced that player turnover is the driving factor for fan discontent, i.e. lower attendance, loss of interest, etc. Some have said that's the way it is these days so live with it. Really? It sounds like from this blog that many have said no thanks.

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    3. No pot shots were taken. I simply pointed out that the "abusive coach=lower attendance logic doesn't hold water.

      Long time fans will agree: Current coaches are a walk in the park to the way Harding, .803 winning percentage and all, coached.

      As for the PSAC being pathetically weak: the league had 3 teams in the top 12 nationally this year. IUP has not only done well regionally, but, was successful nationally several times in the last 5 years.

      Heck, none of it may matter: ESPN behind the scenes addressing what we as a group are witnessing: Viewership of sports has probably peaked already.


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    4. I'm a long time fan. I don't agree.

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  92. The main problem with the deterioration of the basketball fan base is that the administration has done absolutely NOTHING to create new fans the past several decades, or generate student interest. As longtime fans die, move to Florida or lose interest, they are not being replaced. Take a look around at games, and you see very few young people in the stands, just the same old faithful faces that have been coming for 50 years. And whereas the student body accounted for a large majority of the fan base back in the heyday, you're lucky to see more than a handful of students at the games these days. Also, the administration has never promoted the program in the community. And has anybody seen any indication of the coach doing anything to create fans, get students to attend or generate interest in the community, like Tom Chapman did? Until those things happen the program will continue deteriorating, and the 500 or so fans that we see at games right now will be huge crowds in a couple of years. Very sad, particularly when we think back to the way things used to be, isn't it.

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    1. Lifer is 100% correct. We can all disagree and argue our points as to why this or that is or is not a reason for why some things are the way they are... but one thing we can all agree on... the administration has been nowhere to be found through out this all.

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    2. ESPN promotes sports on a 24/7 basis, 365 days per year,and, they are having serious problems.

      Hey, the Chapman years were special, no doubt. But, in recent years, we had an Erie-based honorable All-American candidate, several 20 win seasons, two NCAA appearances, and attendance declined each year.

      My "tell" was, several years ago, we win game #1 in the NCAA tournament, have a gigantic game the 2nd night,....and 18 Gannon fans showed up to watch an exciting (Memo to "Busbee": NOT BORING) game #2 NCAA loss.

      I was there. I may have mentioned it on this site before. No matter, it happened, and, 4 out of those 18 who showed up were from Adam Blazek's family.

      We go from, what, 9-18 to 18-10 in one season, and some are complaining that our brand of basketball is BORING?. (Or, the PSAC is "pathetic"?)

      I, for one, do not agree.

      See you all (5 or 6) next season!








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    3. We will never agree but that's ok. The issue for me is not just boring vs. exciting basketball, although it is an issue for some. There are a lot of issues causing the discontent and lack of interest with this program that have been discussed to death in this blog. But, in my opinion, the big issue is the overall management of the team by the coaches and administration and the lack of continuity from season to season. Players transferring at a rampant rate every season smells of something wrong and it is one of THE main factors in fan discontent, ticket cancellations and all that follows. You can disagree but it is a fact. Just ask the fans who bailed out. Maybe we should become a Kentucky Wesleyan of the old days and recruit all one year players ( they has a lot of success with that system). At least then we would know ahead of time that the roster will change every year.

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    4. KY Wesleyan is getting back to it it appears.... They have a kid coming in from Toledo, Akron, Northern Kentucky and VA Tech.

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    5. #453, are you referencing the NCAA Regional held at East Stroudsburg in 2013-14? Of course there were very little Gannon fans there, it was 358 miles away. A 5 hour and 13 min trip from Erie.

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    6. And the second round game was on a Sunday night ... it's hard for people to attend a road game on a night when work or school is the next day.

      To build on faithful's comment, the women also made the NCAA's that year, playing a little closer to home in West Virginia. The Gannon turnout was pretty decent that year ... I surmise that more folks would have made the trip to Stroudsburg, PA if only the men were playing.

      It was much more convenient for me to watch at home on the streaming video. I watched both games at Stroudsburg on my laptop in the comfort of my own home. I didn't have to spend the time or expense of attending in person (a huge consideration with small children at home), but I got to see the game.

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    7. I think the streaming video has helped hurt attendance, not tremendously but enough. I personally, especially now that it's free, would rather watch it online than pay $5 to have my eardrums blown out by the speakers and my eyes dulled by the light.

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    8. The decibel level of those speakers has to breaking some kind of law. I go to other local college and high school games and nowhere is the music (and the horn) as deafeningly loud as the ear splitting sound in the Hammermill. I noticed later in the season that the volume did get turned down some (after there were complaints on this blog -- coincidence?). But that only lasted a couple of games and then it was back to megablast.

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  93. As some one said to me THINGS CHANGE and you either except it or be miserable. We have our great memories and they will always be with us. That is more than todays fans have or will ever have. The trips to Springfield will never be replicated, you will never see another New Hampshire game with the players holding their ears just or toilet paper filling the air beating Georgetown. That is just a few of many great times we had being GU fans.

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  94. Things could get back to where they were in due time if the administration and coach would go on a concerted effort to rebuild the fan base, and generate student interest.

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  95. I think a realistic attendance lies somewhere in the middle between cloning the glory days and accepting the funeral atmosphere. I'd even take the late 90's early 00's when it was close to 2000 per game. There wouldn't be shame in that

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  96. The Booster Club could play a major role in restoring Gannon's fan base by buying general admission tickets and distributing them to the schools rather than spending their money on warmup outfits or exercise equipment for the players. If they could get young kids to go to the games, they would bring their parents, and many of them woujld like it and continue to come back, some for many years. The Booster Club could also take out ads in the newspaper and TVs announcing the games and pushing them. The administration, coach and Booster Club need to get together and discuss the situation, and make a firm commitment toward bringing life back to the barren Hammermill Center.

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    1. Good idea but it will never happen. The University wants to be sure all Booster Club funds go directly to support athletic teams with equipment, etc. as a supplement to their athletic budget. They would be giving away booster funds and "give away" is not in their vocabulary.

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  97. That wouldn't be giving away anything. The Booster Club could BUY the tickets from Gannon,and the money would then go into the Athletic Department, which in turn could use it to support the team in the same manner as usual. The tickets could then be distributed at schools as freebies to the kids, many of which would come to the games and bring their parents, some of which would keep coming back, maybe for years. It would be a win-win situation for Gannon, as it would get younger fans to come to the games and the Athletic Department could also purchase the items for the team that they would normally purchase with Booster Club money. Other schools do this, so way can't Gannon? But it would take an initiative on somebody from the Booster Club and also the administration to get it going, and from what I've seen, there seems to be little initiative to rebuild the fan base.

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  98. The idea sounds good BUT the coaches that do not have a sport with paid attendance with get shut out. When making a donation to the boosters the person designates which sport they want it to go too. That coach gets that information so that they can send a thank you to the booster so they are a where how much was designated to their sport. There are only three sports that could use their funds that way, Men's and women's basketball and football.

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  99. So while there's no arguing the transfer rate out of Gannon is higher than that of probably any other school, the number of transfers in general have continued to increase. Also, this year there are many schools that have a handful of players transferring out (compared to most years when a bunch of teams have 1 or 2). Drury now has 7 players transferring out (only 2 already committed, meaning the other 5 are leaving possibly without a destination set yet). Since West Lib coach jumped ship, Nova has 3 players who declared transfer. West Lib has one and he declared before the news of the leaving coach.

    So while Gannon is higher, it appears this may be a trend that will continue to increase at many schools.

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  100. Why doesn't the school just give away the tickets all it will cost them is the printing of the ticket. Booster $$ still goes to the team only cost to anyone is the printing. Boosters can distribute them to schools. We all know there are PLENTY of seats available.

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  101. Corey unfortunately you are right it has become the norm. It starts in grade school and continues on from there. Since money now has taken over basketball winning is the only thing that counts. Coaches will put up with about anything to get the best players. The NCAA does not really care as long as they get the TV ratings. The players see this is now the norm so they just keep bouncing around if they are not happy. This also makes it hard for fans to develop any kind of association with a team.

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    1. Take that Imhotep Charter for example... 2 of their seniors played at 4 diff schools and the one played at a rival school for 3 years and just played his final year there. I believe it was the kid that is going to Villanova transferred there in January they said!

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  102. So not sure what's up in Tennessee, but Memphis has a mass exodus of players... counting 5 so far. 2 have already committed to Kansas, 1 looking at West Va & Texas and another possibly going to Calipari. No story for the 5th.

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