THE 2018-19 HOFSTRA MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON

November 30, 2018

 

 

 

December 1, 2018

The 10/28 Newsday headlines blared away: “HOFSTRA TARGETS NCAA: WRIGHT-FOREMAN KEY TO MAKING MARCH MADNESS.” I disagree. Wright-Foreman and defense will send Hofstra to the Promised Land.

I offer the following two comments before proceeding to an analysis of this and last year’s team.

  1. Although the team’s goal should be to win games, the ultimate goal is to win the CAA tournament – and that should be reflected in the team’s philosophy and overall preparation during the season.
  2. Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.

Well, what about last year? They had close to a dream team – Rokas (leading rebounder in the country), Wright-Foreman (CAA Player of Year), Pemberton…etc. It was indeed a dream team, but perhaps from an offensive perspective. They went 19-12, finished third in the CAA, and got knocked out in the first round. Scoring during the season was not a problem but they were consistently inconsistent when it came to defense. The team was further hampered by Rokas’s poor defensive play and his inability to shoot fouls and make layups.

I’ve come to believe that most teams still don’t get it about defense. Case in point: The Knicks recently realized that the team performed better with a defensive guard as opposed to their offensive guard. HELLO! The Nets had the same problem several years ago with their outstanding offensive player Williams who couldn’t guard his grandmother.

Well, what about this year’s team? The back court with Justin Wright-Foreman (JWF), Buie, and Ray is dynamic and absolutely solid. Small forward Pennington is a scoring machine but has yet to prove himself defensively. The forecourt is questionable: transfers 6’10” Jacquil Taylor and 6’8” Dan Dwyer along with returnee Trueheart provide little to the offensive with questionable defense. The back court led by superstar all-American candidate JWF may be able to carry the club and overcome any deficiencies upfront…and this will be determined as the season goes forward.

The club’s record at the time of the preparation of this article was 4-2 with two tough losses coming against NCAA ranked opponents. The back court tandem of JWF and Buie (who I touted three years ago) probably ranks near the top in the nation. Buie’s defensive play has made a significant impact. Taylor may be able to hold his own in the middle against the other big men in the CAA. The team is also playing some man-to-man offensive which is good news since a well-coached opponent would again decimate their zone defense as was demonstrated in their win over Cal State Fulterton where a guard scored 38 points, including 8 open 3-pointers.  Coach Mihalich has apparently settled on a 8-man rotation which will hopefully be enough to carry the team. Bottom line: I’ve gone from being concerned to being cautiously optimistic. It should be an interesting and exciting 3+ months.

I should note that this may be a do-or-die year since the club is top-heavy with upperclassmen and only one freshman along with three sophs. Furthermore, unless Coach Mihalich and his staff have a significantly above-par recruiting year, the team’s front court will have difficulty competing against Division III opponents next year.

Attending Hofstra games for me still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area; it’s even cheaper than going to the movies. There is ample free parking, easy access in and out of the Mack Sports Complex, the concession stands are not a rip-off ($3.50 for a dog, $3.00 for a soda, etc.), and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Did I mention that its $6 for seniors and children, and the whole exciting atmosphere is conducive to family attendance? Many home games last year turned out to be thrillers. Share it this year with someone you care about.

In the meantime, my “Basketball Coaching 101” book is still out in the marketplace at either amazon.com or createspace.com for $17.95. It makes an excellent New Year’s/Christmas gift. Consider buying the book – I really do need the royalty money to help subsidize my gambling habits.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JANUARY 1:              On Liberal News Highlights

FEBRUARY 1:            On Basketball Coaching 101 II

MARCH 1:                 On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

APRIL 1                     On the Analysis of the Hofstra 2018019 Basketball Season

MAY 1                        On the 2019 East Williston School Budget Vote

 

 

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ON THE NEW YORK RACING ASSOCIATION (NYRA)

September 30, 2018

OCTOBER 1, 2018

Saratoga. Saratoga Springs. Thoroughbred racing. The Mecca of thoroughbred racing. The summer vacation spot to be in August. The grand old lady. Streets lined with historic homes. Sweet corn and tomatoes practically off the vine. Etc. etc. Sounds great. Well, there’s only one problem: The New York Racing Association (NYRA). NYRA runs thoroughbred racing in Saratoga (as well as Belmont and Aqueduct).

 

The thoroughbred racing meeting ended on September 7, so I figured it was time to release some of my earlier thoughts, comments, recommendations, etc., about NYRA. Here are three of my oldies but beauties from the past when I had predicted that weekday attendance would drop from 15,000 to 2,000. How little did I know.  And how wrong could I be?  It is now under 1,000.  I’m certain two absolutely beautiful 750 Fall days (9/26-7) had less than 250 betting fans  at Belmont.!

 

“On NYRA” (The Williston Times, 9/16/96):

“Quite frankly, I am both flabbergasted and disappointed in the media’s coverage of NYRA and NYRA-related activities. There appears to be an unwritten law among turf writers not to provide any bad press on NYRA. As indicated earlier, the two words commonly used by the racing group I associate with to describe NYRA is incompetence and arrogance. The net result of NYRA policies is that more and more of the fans are not coming back. The two extremes – the young and the old fan – no longer find a day at the NYRA races a pleasurable experience. More than anything else, the writing of this article was prompted by my participation in the 1976 National Crime Commission Hearings (President Ford) as a representative of the horseplayer”.

 

“There’s Another Side to Saratoga” (Daily Racing Form, 7/27/97):

“Á significant portion of the racetrack is a firetrap. Standing in line is a ritual that NYRA has come to expect from its customers. The track contains the most uncomfortable seats I have ever encountered at a racetrack. In addition, the spacing between rows is so narrow that it is extremely difficult to navigate. Expect to be gouged. Here is what Bill Finley and Surabhi Avasthi had to say in their May 5, 1996, Daily News article titled “A-Z Guide to Horse Racing in New York.” “G is for Gouged. What you will get in Saratoga Springs. The local businesses – which only have six weeks to capitalize on tourist dollars – usually jack up prices during racing season. Expect to fork over an ample portion of your winnings for a good dinner and a hotel room.”

 

“Blame NYRA for Empty Plants” (Daily Racing Form, 4/26/98):

“The players major concern was that  NYRA has chosen to squash the betting public into a cramped space with poor lighting, lousy TV monitors and limited seating for simulcasting. They also cited long betting lines and the unkempt filthy conditions of the whole area. If NYRA could somehow treat its customers like it treats breeders, owners, jockeys, politicians and the media, the racing industry will be on its way to solving its problem at the turnstiles.”

 

The Queen and I along with the kids and grandkids visited Saratoga late this month and spent two days there. As usual, the experience at this dilapidated firetrap track featured the aforementioned long lines, $5 admission, $10 parking, concession rip-offs, uncomfortable seating and standing, poor race viewing, 38 minutes in between races, etc. etc. To make matters worse, the ass who runs the place (where do they find these people??) essentially closed off the seating in the upper stretch of the grandstand for most racing days. Fans did have the option of sitting on the grass or standing for 5 hours. Thank you NYRA management.

 

We stayed at the Gideon Putnam – a historic landmark – and the entire family (but not me) loved it. Notwithstanding my feelings, it was my 64th straight year (this has to be a record) of attending the races at the Toga. I stayed at John’s Farm in the Catskills in 1955 and the Holiday Inn ($19 /night) in 1956. As always, dinner the first night was at Parnell’s and a brief chat with owner/chef Bruce followed by breakfast the next morning at the Triangle Diner.

 

After reading the last paragraph, you would have to conclude that I am a glutton for punishment. And, you would be right, but old habits don’t die easily. I said good riddance on leaving Saratoga but will be back (God willing) next year. Don’t say it. I can’t be that bright, but then again, those others in attendance can’t be too bright either.

 

So, it’s now back to Belmont for nearly two months followed by the Aqueduct winter meeting where NYRA will once again continue to exploit the hapless horse player. Attending has dropped below 1,000 on weekdays and the idiot in charge has yet to figure out how to fix the problem. But dozens of “suits” regularly patrol the stands and I can’t figure out what they do. Ordinarily, the individual in charge would be fired…but this is NYRA.  The end result is that the most beautiful of ALL racetracks is essentially barren during racing days.

 

I close with a tale (without details) about NYRA’s arrogance . . . they are more than just incompetent.  I sued NYRA in small claims court for $22 in 2010.  They were a no-show on trial date.  The judge rescheduled the trial.  Once again they were a no-show.  The judge found in my favor.  NYRA chose not to mail me the judgement.  I had to hire a sheriff to collect.  They sheriff walked into one of their offices and requested the money.  They informed him that it was impossible but they would mail it to me in due time.  He started walking out with two of their computers.  Fifteen minutes later they gave him a check for ALL the charges.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day III

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

JANUARY 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

FEBRUARY 1:           On Basketball Coaching 101 II

 

 

 


On Media Bias

September 1, 2018

SEPTEMBER 1, 2018

Is the media, animal, vegetable or mineral? I’m not sure. But one thing I am sure of is that the media is not only biased but also unprofessional, un-American, and untrustworthy.

 

Consider The New York Times (NYT), the so-called premier newspaper and leader of journalistic integrity. Remember that they supposedly live by the motto “all the news that’s fit to print.” So, if the NYT is biased, would it be unreasonable to consider that others in the media are also biased?

 

Here is my case against the NYT, and I ask that you draw your own conclusion. What follows are 30 undoctored/unedited NYT front page headlines over the 6-9 to 7-17 time period (I went on vacation 7-18). As noted, these are the NYT’s unedited headlines…not mine. Note that I chose to italicize some words. I ask the reader to consider these headlines in deciding the objectivity of this newspaper. Here goes.

 

6/9:     Trump Confronts Allies Over Excluding Russia and Barriers to Trade. Stark Rejection of the Geopolitical Order. Europe, Japan and Canada answer with Anger

6/9:     Risks for President in Attack on the Health Law

6/10:   Trump Confronts Allies over Excluding Russia

6/11:   Outbursts Isolate Trump Before Meeting with Kim

6/11:   Officials Dig in vs. Canada, and Allies Recoil

6/12:   Trump Upends Global Trade Order Built by U.S.

6/13:   President Pitch to Kim Yields Vow with Few Details

6/14:   Vote Secures Trump’s Grip on the G.O.P.: Candidates Now Cross Him At Their Peril

6/14:   President Claims His Talks ended Nuclear Threat, Specifies Still Scarce Over a Path for Reaching Disarmament

6/18:   In Senate Bid, a Provocateur Evokes Trump

6/19:    Trump Resisting a Growing Wrath for Separation

6/19:   Europe Allies, Grip Slipping, Get U.S. Shove; Anti-Migrant Remarks Aimed at Germany

6/21:   In Retreat, Trump Halts Separating Migrant Families

6/22:   4 Military Bases Prepare to Hold 20,000 Children: Chaos on the Ground

6/23:   Migrants Order Tosses a Wrench into the System; Contradicting Policies; Zero Tolerance Clashes Rule to Keep Families Intact

7/1:     How Free Speech Was Weaponized by Conservatives

7/3:     Facing Reinvention as Trump Tightens Grip

7/4:     Trump Wants No Due Process at U.S. Border; Constitutional Worries After A Fiery Attack

7/7:     Trade War Rises, and Trump Plan Remains a Puzzle; Path to Goals is Murky

7/9:     U.S. Delegation Disrupts Accord on Breast Milk

7/10:    Fierce and Costly Fight Over Court Nomination Commence in Capitol

7/12:    Trump Undercuts Leader of Britain After NATO Clashes

7/12:    Fire and Fury as FBI Agent Defends His Decision

7/13:    Trump Embraces Russia As His Aides Make a Fist

7/14:    The President Takes His Denigration of Journalists on the Road

7/15:    Trump’s Choice: Beltway Insider Born and Bred, Father was Lobbyist

7/16:    Gains for Russia as Trump Attacks Allies

7/16:    Trump Rattles Global Order

7/17     Trump, With Putin, Attacks 2016 Intelligence

7/17:    Disdain for U.S. Institutions and Praise for an Adversary

7/17 – 7/28: On Vacation

 

Hope the biased case has been made. Also note that the NYT never reported anything on Trump and/or his Administration of a positive nature. Never.  Not one word last month on Trump securing the return of our fallen heroes from North Korea. WOW!

 

What has the media been reporting on? Obstructing justice (for 18 months), collusion with the Russians (for 18 months), stealing the election (for 18 months), hatred for minorities (for 18 months), hatred for illegal immigrants (for 18 months), hatred for America (), exploitation of workers, etc., etc. It’s Comedy Central watching the raw hatred of the liberal fanatics – who continue to fail to report and/or distort the news and are now pushing for violent action – for this individual some of us once viewed as a buffoon. I can’t wait to see what attacks, based on the usual lies, false information, etc., will be forthcoming in the near and distant future. At the time of the preparation of this article it was Manifort and Cohen. Folks, it is indeed Comedy Central.

 

In the meantime, a spoiled billionaire egomaniac playboy (who some of us used to laugh at) somehow overcame insurmountable odds to win the primary, won the election, and deliver on his promises to the electorate – all despite opposition from unions, liberals, the Democratic party, the Republican party, the cesspool in Washington, some truly crazed women, the corrupt media, Hollywood, foreign leaders, sports heroes/idols, etc. And further, and still in the meantime, the corrupt media has mounted nonstop attacks (with no credence) on our leader regarding his physical health, mental health, adult sons, daughter, in-laws, younger child, wife, associates, appointments, lying, womanizing, etc.

 

Case closed…I think.

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

OCTOBER 1:              On the New York Racing Association III

NOVEMBER 1:          On “Basketball Coaching 101” II

DECEMBER 1:           On the OHI Day III

JANUARY 1:              On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

FEBRUARY 1:           On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

 

 

 

 


ON GREAT EATS III: GREEK-EDITION

June 1, 2018

JUNE 1, 2018

Memories! Flash back to the World War II years (1941 – 45) that spanned my 7-11 age years. The location was just north of Hell’s Kitchen, presently home to Lincoln Center. One of the key memories during that period of time that has yet to leave me was dining out on Sundays approximately once a month. It was the Greek restaurant, The Acropolis, located on 60th Street, just west of Central Park. I wish it were still around. I can still taste the roast lamb and pastitsio, your author’s two favorite Greek dishes. Enough on the old days.  On to this, the 3rd Edition of Great Eats.

 

First, there was Great Eats I. Then there was Great Eats II: Italian Restaurants (April 2017). Well, what would follow? Naturally, Great Eats III: Greek Restaurants. Most of you know that I was not only born and raised (early years) by Greek immigrant parents in Hell’s Kitchen but also spent my formative years prior to marriage in Astoria, a colony of Greece located in Queens (I have such fond memories of Astoria; I was extremely fortunate to spend 15 years living there). So, if one wants to discuss Greek food, a review of Greek restaurants in Astoria would be absolutely appropriate. Therefore, there will be two parts to this restaurant review for this GREAT EATS article: restaurants in Astoria and North Hempstead/Nassau County.

 

ASTORIA

 

Some have referred to Astoria as a suburb of Athens and for good reason: the restaurants. My favorite is the Neptune Diner, unquestionably the best diner in New York City. But there are many other good restaurants. Here is a sampling of those to consider when in Astoria, Queens.

 

  • Elias’ Corner: A favorite seafood place. Upscale, great seafood, easy parking, and reasonable service. A bit pricey. I wasn’t impressed, but others love the joint.
  • MP Taverna: Very high reviews in the press. Upscale. Excellent food. Fair service. Near impossible to park. My people loved the place, but I’m passing.
  • Neptune Diner: It was my favorite 65 years ago and it’s still my favorite. Expansive menu. Great food. Big portions. Very reasonable prices. Comfortable. No problem parking. The avgolemeno soup and chicken lemonado is the absolute best, anywhere.
  • Stamatis: One of my favorites. Reasonable prices. Excellent food. Loud. Lousy service. Valet parking. I love everything on the menu. You can’t go wrong here.
  • Taverna Kyclades: The seafood is great and is very reasonably priced. Comfortable but tables are jammed together. The problem with the place is that there are ALWAYS long waits and it is near impossible to park.
  • Telly’s: Similar to Stamatis. A bit more expensive. Not for me.

 

You also need to visit one of a host of pastry shops. Baklava is the favorite pastry. But my friends and family prefer the galakobouriko – try it, you won’t be disappointed.

 

NORTH HEMPSTEAD/NASSAU COUNTY

 

Bad news! I’ve yet to eat at a Greek restaurant in our area that compares to those in Astoria. My spies tell me that Limani and Kyma (both in Roslyn) are excellent. Both are for those who enjoy getting ripped off since they are hellaciously expensive. I suggest passing but some have recommended lunch. I found Limani a beautiful restaurant –with lousy service, reasonable, but only with their early-bird specials ($40). In any event, here are my comments on six Greek (not Mediterranean) restaurants (in alphabetical order) in our local area.

 

  • Greek Corner, Carle Place: Very reasonably priced. Some special deals. Comfortable seating. Ample parking. Food is average at best. Pass.
  • Gyrolicious, Jericho: Not for me.
  • Opa Grille, Williston Park: Opa can be loosely interpreted as “hail”. One of the better ones. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. A bit pricey with small portions but the food is above average. One of my family’s favorites, but not for me.
  • Platia Greek Station, Syosset: A relative newcomer. As with most new arrivals, the prices are unreasonable. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. Although the food is above average, I’ll pass.
  • Santorini Greek Restaurant, Merrick: Named after the island. My favorite for this area. I’ve sent numerous friends there and no one has yet to complain. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. The salad (with dinner) is great. My favorite is the half-chicken with the lemon potatoes. My wife loves the seafood house favorite.
  • Yasoo Yeeros, Plainview: Yasoo can be loosely interpreted as “greetings”. Ample parking. Comfortable seating. Price is reasonable and so is the food.

 

There are dozens of others including Grecian Grille (Farmingdale), Greek Place (New Hyde Park), Greek Tavern (Rockville Centre), Mykonos Taverna (Manhasset), Souvlaki Stop (Mineola), etc., etc.

 

The above list would not be complete without the addition of other special/unique places to enjoy Greek food. For diners, my favorite is the Old Westbury Diner (Westbury), owned and operated by the Dimas family; the Apollo Diner in Merrick is also one of the better ones. Greek festivals include St Paul’s (Garden City Park) in early summer and the Port Washington Harborside in early fall. The food was once great but the quality and price have gone awry and in wrong directions. Pass on Harborside because of the parking and traffic control. Of the supermarket foods, I recommend North Shore Farms, Mineola; their pastitsio is the absolute best. Finally, Harry’s Hilltop Deli (in Williston Park) offers some excellent dishes.

 

The best Greek restaurant? It may be in Tarpon Springs, Florida, a community overrun with Greeks and Greek-Americans. Pappas, was the most famous of all restaurants in earlier days. Today, it is Mykonos, a hole-in-the-wall semi-diner, named after an island located off mainland Greece. It is a restaurant that two “Greeks,” along with your author, regularly visit. The other two Greeks? Tex Zoucourides, (I was his best man and our daughter, Molleen’s, Godfather) a retired baseball umpire and teamster rep, and Ernie Haridopolos, a retired superhero (legitimately) from the presently disgraced FBI. Dinner there is one of the highlights during each of my trips to the West Coast of Florida. My recommendations, if you are lucky to stop by, include: (1) the combination platter, (2) lamb chops, and (3) lamb sevetsky.

 

P.S. I also need to comment on three additional stops.

 

  1. I highly recommend two Portuguese restaurants: Heart of Portugal, Mineola, and Lisbon Café, Carle Place. Both got high marks.
  2. Try Mr. Chen’s Chinese Restaurant, Carle Place– a local gem – for excellent food and very reasonable prices … but slow service.
  3. I’ve been at the Swing the Teapot restaurant in Floral Park three times. The food is excellent and very reasonably priced; the service is also excellent. Try to stop by when the group Hell and High Water are entertaining (perhaps next fall). You’ll love them and the place.

 

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JULY 1:                      On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVI

AUGUST 1:                On the New York Racing Association III

OCTOBER 1:              On “Basketball Coaching 101” II

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day III

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2018-19 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Team

JANUARY 1:              On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVII

 

 


ON THE 2018 EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2018

 

May 1, 2018

It’s amazing what can happen when incompetent people with self-serving interests and a near total lack of what quality education is all about running a School Board. We are all aware that the EWSD is now just another school district, no longer one of the quality premier ones in the country. I’ve already detailed in the past how this came about: Entine’s massive and senseless giveaway programs, the ridiculously incompetent Bergtraum (remember the 4th building?*!?) and self-serving unethical policies of union leader, Israel. And, let’s not forget the pitiful, embarrassing and comical PTO that has been successfully duped by the teachers and their union. The bottom line is that the EWSD is no longer a school district that we can all be proud of.

 

I believe the Board and Superintendent are beginning to get desperate and have pressed the panic button. Why this belief? Last month, the Superintendent sent out a questionnaire requesting input from residents to provide their top academic related priorities for the next 5 years. Is it possible this brain-trust (?) doesn’t know what they should know? Certainly, the residents don’t know. Thus, in the final analysis, the residents could be held to blame for the district’s precipitous drop in its reputation. I taught engineering, served as academic advisor, participated in admission decisions for 50 years…and can honestly say that I don’t know what the priorities should be at this level. (Note: I’d love to find out about their Project Lead the Way, a 4-year engineering program. It might be enlightening, but I doubt it). And, does anyone think that they are really interested in your thoughts? I had two solid recommendations last year that were totally ignored; no one got back to me — No One! Anyone want to try to convince me that they really care about our thoughts/concerns/recommendations? In any event, if they don’t know, and we don’t know, what does that say about the people running the asylum…I mean school.

 

The Board and superintendent Kanas recently claimed that “…continue the tradition of fiscal responsibility…”. Surely, they were joking. I know no one (maybe I know the wrong people) who ever claimed that the EWSD was fiscally responsible. All residents have to come to grips with the fact that the EWSD has never really concerned themselves with the best interests of the students, the parents, the seniors, and all other members of our community.

 

Here again are some general thoughts. The EWSD continues to do damage to our community with both excessive waste (particularly at the administration level) and indifference toward the taxpayer (particularly with seniors). Increasing numbers of incoming high school students are opting out of Wheatley in favor of private schools. This “migration” has gone uncontested by the Board-perhaps for good reason. In addition, the mode of delivery of education is changing, and changing at a near exponential rate, at all levels – and the EWSD has not attempted to adopt to these changes. I have been involved with several programs that have reduced or essentially eliminated the need for teachers. There is a need for accountability for not only these upstart programs but also for traditional programs. Unfortunately, there is little to no accountability at Wheatley. To further exacerbate this point, the EWSD teachers count has increased despite the drop in enrollment. On the positive side, I believe absenteeism has decreased; although there are more cars in the North Side parking lot, and there is less of a reduction of cars on Monday and Friday. Finally, I stand by my earlier statements that at least two members of the Board simply cannot be trusted; the community should not expect them to act in the best interests of the students and taxpayers.

 

The salary of teachers has skyrocketed and the quality of education has plummeted. What would a reasonably intelligent individual conclude from these 2 FACTS? What about the college level? When I went to school, tuition was below $2000 per year, a sum a student could earn over the summer and Christmas recess. I don’t think a student could come close to earning dollars $60K plus during the same period today. What do I conclude? The teachers’ union is in the process of destroying quality education at levels.

 

Remember, it OK to vote NO on the budget on May 15. A NO vote represents a call for better education for our students, fair and responsible treatment of seniors, a call for new leadership for both the Board and the District, and a rejection of the corrupt self-serving policies currently in place.

 

I close by issuing a call to members of our district who are concerned about taxes, seniors, and (most importantly) school children, to consider running for the Board in the future. I hate to put it this way, but almost anybody would be better than what we have now.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats III: Greek – Edition

JULY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXVI

 

 


ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE HOFSTRA 2017-18 BASKETBALL SEASON

April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018

Last year, I described Hofstra’s 2016-17 season with one word: underperformance. Here are some of my bullet pointers from last year.

  • Once again (as with last year) defense was woefully weak.
  • Once again, bench help was essentially non-existent.
  • Sabathy (the reserve center) was underutilized.
  • Rokas had a disappointing season; his defense play was often missing and also had a poor shooting season.
  • Foreman emerged as a force to be reckoned with the next two years.
  • The club lacked a floor leader.
  • I don’t see a leader emerging next year; this should be potentially worrisome.
  • Hire an assistant coach to help reduce/eliminate defensive problems.
  • STOP playing zone; Wisconsin had several players who couldn’t guard one-on-one and yet played a solid man-to-man defense.
  • Recruit players who play stellar defense.
  • Although the team’s goal should be to win games, the ultimate goal is to win the CAA tournament – and that should be reflected in the team’s philosophy and overall preparation during the season.
  • Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.

 

Here are some earlier comments on defense that appeared in my BASKETBALL COACHING 101 book. “The author repeatedly told basketball aficionados that defense is 50% of the game. And every individual has responded with something to the effect: ‘of course, I (or we) know that’. But really? Who believes them? After all, from the first day a player is introduced to basketball, offense has been stressed. The novice is taught and/or learns how to shoot, dribble, pass, etc. Defense was almost always an afterthought. In fact, the author has repeatedly claimed that it is great guards that get a team to a championship game, but it is great defensive guards that win championships. It is their ability to create havoc on the opponent’s offense that makes the difference.”

“How important is defense? Here is a case in point. Stevie Mejia served as the point (or 1) guard for the 2012-2013 Hofstra team. Some in press row commented on several occasions that Stevie wasn’t playing to his full potential. What they were referring to was his scoring. Yet during the season, he stopped the star guards Scott Machado and Michael Alvarado of Iona and Manhattan College, respectively, COLD! These two players were projected first-round and second-round picks, respectively. Interestingly, Hofstra lost three games during the 2013-2014 season because of an inability to stop the star guard of the opposing team.”

Here was my earlier analysis for the team this year. “They legitimately have a chance to be the premier team in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). But I believe that many of my earlier concerns have carried over to this year, particularly a porous defense. I hope not. On the positive side is Coach Joe Mikalich. He is capable of turning things around if he opts for a man-to-man defense and commits to something more than a 6-man rotation.”

“As for predications, it will probably be another mediocre year for three reasons:

  1. Their defense remains unexplainably weak at times, allowing the opposing team to take layup practice during the course of the game.
  2. The team is devoid of a shot blocker, adding to their defensive woes.
  3. Player attitude problems may have surfaced.

Bottom Line: I’m not too optimistic; hopefully, I’m wrong. The talent is there, but…”

Well, what about this year? They had close to a dream team – Rokas (leading rebounder in the country), Foreman–Wright (CAA Player of Year), Pemberton…etc. It was indeed a dream team, but perhaps from an offensive perspective. They went 19-12 and finished third in the CAA. Scoring during the season was not a problem but they were consistently inconsistent when it came to defense. Still, they had a good shot to win the CAA tournament and go on to the NCAA tournament. What happened? They played one of the weakest teams in the CAA at the start of the tournament and lost 93-88, unable to guard the opposition star who scored 37 points. I mean, this other “weak” team scored nearly 100 points. The offensive scoring machine in this year’s NCAA tournament average under 70 points/game. If that’s not the icing on the cake with regard to defense, I don’t know what is. Hopefully, this will be a wake-up call, but I doubt it.

What’s the bottom line regarding Hofstra’s defense? Lowly Wilmington scored 50% above the average scoring of the other 3 quarterfinal games in their game against Hofstra. Do you need anything more? 50% more than the other teams were scoring!! You want more? The next night Wilmington scored 52 points (not 93!) and lost by 27 points. Obviously, the Hofstra players were either never taught how to play defense or don’t care to play defense or don’t realize the importance of defense…or some combination of the above. It’s time for the Hofstra team and Coach Mikalich to rethink their approach to defense; I doubt the end result will change next year unless some action on defense is implemented.

The NY Dodger fans’ motto during the 1950s was: wait till next year. And, indeed, they will have to wait till next year. Next year will bring forth a powerhouse group of guards that will need to be supplemented with a shot-blocking big man who can play defense. But, they will also need to help in two more areas: play a solid defensive guard and stop playing zone defense.

Finally, it is business as usual with the NCAA and, in particular, college basketball. The Feds have now accused numerous key individuals associated with the sport with wrong doings. Yet, nothing has been done and no one really expects anything to be done. There was absolutely no mention of the scandals during any of the NCAA Tournament games or any of the analysis programs, even though all of the participants were aware of the scandals–with the knowledge that there were more on the horizon. CORRUPTION REIGNS! In case you missed it, loveable Rick Pitino has asked for another chance. In the spirit of Easter, I suggest he be brought back to basketball to coach at the J.V. high school level where he will not be in a position to further embarrass our sport.

It was 14 year ago when I started clamoring that the NCAA’s concept of the student-athlete was one of the all-time great scams perpetrated on the public. The NCAA corruption is a cancer that will not go away because of the money involved, and, nearly everybody now knows it. Look for some massive changes (coaches, ADs, presidents, etc.) in the coming months as the rats scurry to the foothills. It will take some time, but ultimately the disgraceful “coaching legends” – Pitino, Calipari, Williams, Smith, Izzo, Calhoun, Boeheim, Krzyzewski, etc. – will hopefully get their due, even though they are/were caught up in a system that requires them to lie, deceive, manipulate, etc., in order to survive.   And, wait until the football bubble bursts; it will be worse than the basketball scams.

In the meantime, coaches like Bob McKillop (Davidson), Jim Jones (Yale),   DeChellis (Navy), etc., remain on the sidelines in semi-obscurity even though they are legitimately the true legends of the game. In fact, I continue to claim that BMCK is the premiere coach in the country because of what he has been able to accomplish while playing by the rules.

On a sad side, Jeff Hathaway—one of the good guys in our sport—has resigned (?) as AD, and Rick Cole will be replacing him. President Rabinowitz tells us that Cole is “the one to take us to the next level.” I can guarantee both of them that the next level will not become a reality in Hofstra’s mens basketball future unless defensive issues are addressed . . . immediately . . . and you can take that to the bank.

P.S.  A 13 member class headlined the 2018 Basketball Hall of Fame inductees, including such “greats” as Katie Smith, Charlie Scott, Rod Thorn, Lofty Driesell, Tina Thompson, Rick Welts, Dino Radja, and Ora Washington.  And how did my nominations–Jack Powers (NIT), Eddie Corbett (referee), and BMCK (coach) fare?  You guessed it.  They simply don’t fit into the HOF committee’s concept of legends.  Some of those selected are embarrassing.   Nearly everybody told me that the selection process was a joke.  I now have come to believe this as fact.  Sad Stuff!

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

MAY 1:           On 2018 East Williston School Budget Vote

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats III: Greek – Edition

JULY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXV1

 


ON BASEBALL STRATEGIES

March 1, 2018

March 1, 2018

Most of you already know that I consider myself an authority on basketball coaching. After all, I did publish a book titled Basketball Coaching 101(Amazon) – and that, by definition, makes me a basketball expert. Well, I have some news for you: I’m also an authority on baseball . . . and Modesty is not my middle name.

 

I became a baseball fan around 10 years of age. Not just a fan. A Yankee fan! I lived and died with them. Charlie (King Kong) Keller, Joe Page, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, etc., were my heroes. I remember paying 60¢ for bleacher seats and sitting on hard wooden benches for a doubleheader in torrid heat… and loving it. I then became a Yankee hater and a Mets fan, and have remained a Met fan since the team’s inception. And during this time, I have watched thousands of games on TV (rarely going to Shea or Citi Field). The net result? You guessed it. I am now a baseball authority and qualified to provide meaningful instructional analysis on the game.

 

But what does meaningful instructional analysis mean? Simply that I can provide those involved with baseball at any level – manager, coach, player, front office personnel, etc., – with suggestions on how to enhance and improve a team’s ability to win games on the field. That being said, here are tidbits drawn from my baseball file on 10 different categories: infielders, outfielders, catchers, pitchers, batters, base runners, coaches, managers, general managers, and (of course) owners.

 

Infielders

Each of the four infielders, but shortstops in particular, should be aware of the speed of the both the batter and runners on base. The infielders should play deeper, particularly the second baseman, if the batter is a slow runner; I would even advise playing on the outfield grass. The shortstop and second baseman should also be aware of a batters tendency to pull curveballs or fastballs and adjust their position on the pitch. The two should also communicate on who will cover second in steal situations.

 

Outfielders

Much of the above for infielders also applies to outfielders. Outfielders presently play too deep, particularly the left and right fielders. The outfielder should think and be aware of all the possible scenarios that may arise if the ball is hit to the outfield, particularly with men on base. The scenarios would vary depending on the number of outs, the score, and the inning.

 

Catchers

Catchers should know the strengths and weaknesses of the pitchers and all the opposing batters he will face. Knowing the disposition of the umpire calling balls and strikes would also help; e.g., does it help complaining on balls and strikes, etc.? Knowing the speed of runners on base is an absolute must. Many catchers today provide encouragement to the pitcher. I think there can be more of this. There should be more face-to-face discussions, e.g., put the ball over the plate and definitely don’t walk a batter. I believe the catcher should be the field general and run the defense. He should also be aware of all the points raised earlier for infielders and outfielders, as well as pitchers. Finally, a high I.Q. catcher is a definite plus. He should dish out instructions to outfielders, infielders, and the pitcher on what to do if . . . e.g., a double steal, a ground ball to the right side, etc.

 

Pitchers

It goes without saying that pitchers must have an idea of each hitter’s prowess. Some can’t hit curveballs. Some can’t hit fastballs. Some like it inside, and others don’t. Some of their preferences change with pitch count. Runners on base have to be carefully monitored. He should be aware of the likelihood of a steal. He should also know beforehand what to do on a bunt or a comebacker with a man (or men) on base. His own pitching limitations is a concern; it’s no secret that starting pitchers weaken in the latter innings. Although much of what will follow applies to starting pitchers, it also applies to relief pitchers. Since the mound is approximately one foot above ground level, a 100 pitch outing (plus bullpen, warmups, etc.) results in a pitcher effectively walking up a 20 story building; this may explain, in part, why pitchers do not perform as well later in a game. Older pitchers should seriously consider minimizing movements off the mound and, for goodness sake, try not to walk batters – put the ball over the plate and take your chances. I would replace any pitcher who walks a batter late in the game if ahead by more than one run. Finally, pitchers should try to avoid 3-2 counts with runners on base and 2 out.

 

Batters

Batters need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of both the starting pitcher and relief pitchers. How often does he throw fastballs? Does he prefer pitching inside or outside? Does he hold runners on base? Does he tire in later innings? Does he throw strikes on the first pitch? Does he change his pitching approach when behind the count? These questions need to be considered. But the batter also needs to realize that a walk is just about as good as a single. Batters need to consider changing their batting philosophy when behind in the count. More importantly, a batter should NOT be swinging for the fences in the last inning when trailing by more than one run with nobody on base; the objective should be to get on base, and the easiest way to accomplish this is via a walk. Keep in mind that home run swings significantly reduce one’s ability to check a swing on a pitch that is outside the strike zone…thus reducing the probability of a walk. Finally, batters (as well as base runners) should HUSTLE at all times; hell, you are exerting yourself less than ten minutes per game.

 

Base Runners

The coaches usually remind the runners of the scenario at hand but the runner must also be alert. On a single to left field, he should run top speed and ALWAYS consider going to second base since he is in a direct line with the left fielder’s throw to second base. Any throw to the left or right of second base should serve as a green light to consider going to second base. While on base, he should ALWAYS be prepared and consider taking an extra base if the catcher doesn’t field the pitch cleanly. He also should practice sliding techniques whenever possible.

 

Coaches

Coaches play the least significant role of the major players. Nonetheless, they should provide encouragement and support while on offense. Most importantly, they should know the limitations of the players on base and the strengths/weaknesses of the outfielders (but to a lesser extent of infielders).

 

Managers

For the most part, managers are overrated. And, most overmanage. Some are liabilities. Some are major liabilities, e.g., Terry Collins (in particular) of the Mets and Joe Girardi of the Yanks. The manager’s main job is to instill the basics to the entire team. Practice makes perfect and relays, double plays, bunting, and hitting to the opposite field should be practiced regularly. I would require each batter to hit to the opposite field when confronted with a defensive shift to one side. Players also MUST understand that a walk is just about as good as a single…and sometimes a double. I would have every batter prior to every game draw a red or black marble out of a hat. Those who draw a black marble would be required to take the first pitch, or when the count is 2-0, 3-1, or 3-0. Red marble selectors can do as they wish. However everyone must take on a 3-1 count with the bases loaded and two outs. Some of the above can be altered during late innings. The manager also needs to realize that when a relief pitcher comes in and gets a batter out that he has not thrown two pitches but probably fifty pitches when bullpen and warmup throws are counted. Since these additional pitches can take their toll, managers need to give consideration to their sometime reckless indiscriminant use of relief pitchers. Finally, he should require (with NO exceptions) every batter RUN out every ground ball or fly ball. One added point: He should not select cronies for coaches and I would allow my bench coaches to occasionally serve as manager for certain games.

 

General Manager

Most general managers (GMs) are not too bright and not capable of making intelligent baseball decisions. Most of the GMs are just like many of the players and coaches. There are a handful (not many) who know what’s going on. Few of the players have college degrees, unlike some football players. Joe Girardi is a graduate of Northwestern (in my opinion, the most prestigious university in our country) and he has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to make sound, rational baseball decisions. In any event, the GM needs to know both the capabilities of his players and those that are on the market. It’s a given that the GM should work closely with the manager; his cronies must not come into play in any of his decisions and actions.

 

Owners

They are in the baseball business for either or both of the following reasons: ego and/or to make money. He should understand the meaning of risk. He should also understand the meaning of optimization. He should also understand how risk and optimization affect each other. Bottom line: he has to make intelligent decisions from a risk and/or optimization prospective when it comes time to hiring, firing and managing his business; as with both managers and GMs, he should not hire cronies.

 

Note: I have attached two recent photos of the 1969 World Champion New York Mets legendary third baseman Ed Charles celebrating his 83rd birthday. Unknowingly to us, the 1969 Mets batboy was also in attendance; his presence added to the festivities. Ed also reminisced about growing up in Florida and preseason games. He’d track down baseballs in the outfield, get someone like Joe DiMaggio to autograph the ball, and then sell if for $5.00 – a windfall profit in those days.

Ed Charles and Lou

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com or on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

APRIL 1:         On 2017-18 Men’s Hofstra Basketball Revisited

MAY 1:           On 2018 East Williston School Budget Vote

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats III: Greek – Edition

JULY 1:          On Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXV1