ON MEMORIAL DAY VIII

June 1, 2019

June 1, 2019

Once again, it’s Memorial Day. Another holiday. A day off for most. How easy it is to think of this as just another day of the year. It comes. We barbecue and party. Some give thoughts to our fallen heroes. Others may pray for peace. Others could care less. And then the day is gone.

 

This year’s Memorial Day article will introduce the readers to a very special organization whose mission is to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. Honor Flight Network (HFN) is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. It transports our heroes to Washington, DC to visit and reflect at their Memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Obviously, time to express thanks to these brave men and women is running out.

 

As fate would have it, I have a first cousin (by marriage) who was one of the few remaining veterans of World War II. His name is Ted Lekas. Nearly 30 years have passed since  I wrote an article titled – AS I SEE IT: ON THE SEABEES that detailed Ted’s experiences in the Pacific during the war.  I continue to visit Ted (and my cousin Nora) every time I’m on the east coast of Florida. Unfortunately, Ted passed away last year at the age of 93. Low and behold, I found out that Ted had been earlier honored by the aforementioned HFN. Here is an edited version of Ted’s description of that truly exciting event.

 

“My long time friend and Westinghouse associate, Roger Ray, asked me if I would like to go on the Honor Flight to visit the World War II Monument. He would be my Guardian and put up the required funds. He would be with me for the entire trip, overseeing my needs and comfort. It was a dream that I thought would never come true and there it was. So after checking with my doctor, I was told to go ahead and enjoy the trip. Roger and I were both excited in anticipation of the trip.

 

At the Miami International Airport, the general public was thanking me for my service along the passage way to the plane. We were given breakfast and prepared to board the plane. I would guess about 50% or more of the Veterans (including me) were in Honor chairs (wheel chairs). We were wheeled through the plane ramp to the door of the plane by our Guardians. On the plane the Guardian sat next to the assigned Veteran – in my case, Roger. In my row on the plane was the oldest Veteran on the tour, 100 years old and in perfect health. On takeoff, firetrucks on either side of the lane, with flashing lights and water cannons, fired an arc of water over the airplane as a salute to the veterans.

 

The time passed quickly and we reached Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) Washington, DC in two and a half hours. We boarded deluxe tour buses and headed for the World War II memorial. Our four bus convoy had police car escorts front and rear with sirens and flashing red lights. Any car that cut in front of one of the buses was pulled over and probably issued a summons.

 

The WWII Memorial was a wonder sight. At one end, off in the distance, stood the Lincoln Memorial and at the other end stood the Washington Memorial. It was explained that the WWII Memorial is not only dedicated to the veterans but to the entire population of the United States of America for their contribution of tireless labor to produce the arms and equipment to support our fighting men.

 

There was so much to see as we toured. The bronze portrayals along the walls of the walkways of the Memorial of every day life in America was depicted as well as some historical events.

 

Then we chose to see the Korean War memorial. All this time Roger was doing all the navigating of my Honor chair. It was a long walk from the WWII memorial to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and then about 100 yards to the Korean Memorial. There were (19) life sized stainless steel figures (each covered with a tan substance) that appear to be on patrol in Korea in what could be enemy territory. You could read their facial expression of alertness, fear, and readiness in a hostile climate. There is great detail in every item down to the weapons they carried. There is a black polished granite wall along one side of the soldiers displayed that had etched faces and scenes into the surface. These were copied from actual unidentified photos of soldiers, marines, sailors and air men.

 

Next we boarded our buses and headed for the Women’s Memorial. It was explained to us that if we wanted to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown we must make the stop at the Woman’s Memorial a brief rest stop. All agreed. In the building and walking to the rest room, there were a number of displays depicting all the services women performed during the U.S. military experiences. Overall, the Women’s Memorial seemed to occupy a large area, and deservedly so.

 

Back on the buses, we started on our way to Arlington Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard. The trip there was a sightseeing tour of various Washington buildings and Memorials. Among those included the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Pentagon, the African American Memorial (still under construction), the Air Force Memorial (not open at the time), the Lincoln Memorial, and the older section of the cemetery at the Regimental Building where the changing of the guard takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown.

 

There was an area for the Veterans and their Guardians who .were provided reserved front row advantage. I cannot begin to describe the ceremony and precision that took place but can say it was perfection to the last detail.

 

We boarded the busses for the trip back to the airport. During the flight we were served dinner, followed by a ‘Mail Call.’ Each person’s name was called and an 8” x 10” bulging envelope was given to each veteran. There must have been over 100 pieces of mail in the envelope from relatives, friends and unknown citizens wishing us well and thanking us for our military services in WWII.

 

On landing at Miami we were again saluted with the airport fire engines and the arch of water from their water cannons and flashing lights. We were home at last. Inside the airport we passed through security and passed the longest line of welcoming citizens, politicians, military personnel of every rank. Most surprising was the number of young children present. They stood in a double line which we passed through the center. The cheers and handshakes made us all proud to be respected in this manner by those who thanked us so openly. As we exited the building, the final salute was from a group of men and women playing the bagpipes. The emotions were high at times within each veteran. I’m sure we all had the remembrances of the men we left behind and how proud they would have been of our America and its citizens who cared.”

 

Closeout thoughts on Memorial Day follow. For me, I often get a feeling of elation when I hear the national anthem. I give thanks to being an American. Although our nation is experiencing hard times due to earlier incompetent and misguided leadership, it is important that we lovers of the American way of life not give up. George Washington, my man of the 18th century, facing unsurmountable odds, did not give up. Nor did the men and women who led the expansion out West in the 19th century. Nor did Churchill, my man of the 20th century. Bottom line: Nor will our nation; we will return to greatness.

 

God bless America and those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JULY 1:                      On the Ultimate Quiz

AUGUST 1:                On Engineering as a Career

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

OCTOBER 1:              On Barack Hussein Obama Update VI

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 

Advertisements

ON THE 2019 EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2019

May 1, 2019

East Williston School District (EWSD) residents are annually requested to vote on a school budget and this year is no exception. Each voting member of the community will have an opportunity to either vote for or against the budget. Every parent, every senior, every taxpayer, and every youngster of voting age should consider voting NO on the budget. Why? The same two reasons I mention every year at this time: waste and senior citizen exploitation. From my perspective, this District does not care about the seniors, but for goodness sake, you would think they would do something about the waste.

 

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. 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.

 

It is important for both parents and educators to understand from an educational perspective that the landscape has changed. My experience suggests that today’s students leave high school more aware of what they want to do and what they hope to accomplish in the future. Nobody I know feels the EWSD is doing enough to adjust to this change. 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. The recently approved 5-year STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) Program were only words in a written document. Today’s educators need to guide students to develop into lifelong learners. Students must acquire the knowledge and critical-thinking capabilities that prepare them to continually learn new skills for a future few, if any, can predict. In effect, educators must respond to a changing world, implementing creative, student-centered solutions. It’s all about teaching kids to use their minds so that they will have imagination to respond to many changing circumstances in the world. This approach can expand the world for students beyond the classroom, giving them access to resources, ideas and glimpses into cultures that they may not have opportunities to explore. Technology is a bit part of that. It’s not about whether or not to include technology in education anymore; it’s about how to do it in the best, most engaging and inspiring ways to support the desired learning outcomes. Anyone really believe the EWSD is capable to accomplishing this? Most have come to realize that the District is very slow to change.

 

Taxpayers are also concerned about the rising cost of education. If there are things that can be done differently to provide the quality necessary, this should be figured out. Unfortunately I really don’t think they are capable.

 

And where does the PTO fit into all of this? Forgive me, but it would be more appropriate to refer to them as TO since they do not represent the parents and their children. As I’ve said in the past, this is unfortunately an organization whose members are just uninformed, or lacking intelligence, or educator/teacher ideologs, or some combination of the three. Not a healthy situation. Many of the uniformed parents refuse to accept that the self-serving EWSD board, the teachers, the PTA, etc., have failed and betrayed both the students and the community. The turnaround will come when the community comes to realize that Board members – in almost every instance – are there for self-serving purposes. If they really cared about all the kids – not only their own, they would not move on once they have graduated. Board Trustees generally stay as long as they have children in schools…and the silently scoot out. They really aren’t that much different than the parents involved in the recent college admission bribery scam — parents looking to gain an advantage for their children at the expense of others. Think about past Board members who were so vociferous and outspoken about defending the status quo … a status quo that has resulted in higher taxes and decrease in the quality of education.

 

Finally, and as noted above, our taxes are too high because of excess spending that is educationally unnecessary. This waste is harming real estate values. Simple actions, which can positively affect our community, are opposed by the teachers, the administrators, the present illegitimate Board, the self-serving PTO officers, and many of the misinformed (thanks to the PTO leadership) PTO members.

 

The bottom line: It’s OK to vote NO on the budget. Don’t be a glutton for punishment. Stop being taken for a fool. Stop being an enabler for the EXPLOITERS on the Board and some PTO officers.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

Basketball Coaching 101 (Facebook)

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JUNE 1:                      On Memorial Day VIII

JULY 1:                      On the Ultimate Quiz

AUGUST 1:                On Engineering as a Career

SEPTEMBER 1:         On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIX

OCTOBER 1:              On Barack Hussein Obama Update VI

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day V

DECEMBER 1:          On Hofstra Men’s Basketball: 2019-20 Season

 


ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE HOFSTRA 2018-19 BASKETBALL SEASON

April 1, 2019

April 1, 2019

Here is part of what I wrote at the start of the Hofstra Men’s 2018-19 basketball season. “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. The backcourt, 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.”

 

Well, what about the players this year? Superman (Justin Wright-Foreman) emerged as a star. My discussions with 7 NBA scouts suggest that he has a 25% chance of making it. His major drawback: physical size and body strength. I like his chances for two reason: backcourt drafts are preferred and JWF has continued to improve with each season. The rest of the team? Buie and Ray also continued to improve and Coburn was the most pleasant of all surprises. To top it all off, Taylor, the center transfer from Purdue, improved significantly as the season progressed; he proved a more than adequate replacement for Rokas with his shot blocking and stellar defensive play, as well as his ability to make layups and foul shots. The team appeared unbeatable midway through the season.

 

And, what about the team’s performance this year? I’ll make this short. The club had what I would consider a turn-around year. They won the CAA Championship but failed to win the tournament, losing to Northeastern in the finals following a lackluster performance in their previous 5 CAA games. They closed the season out with a loss to a quality opponent in the first round of the NIT…an ultra-solid game in which they played great and could have won with a couple of breaks.

 

It is fair to conclude that the personnel was there for the team to go further. Here’s my analysis of reasons on why they didn’t.

 

  1. How many teams that made the Sweet 16 played zone defense? If you answered hardly any, you’d be right. And, there is a reason why the better teams do NOT play zone defense. Over the years, only Syracuse’s zone has withstood the test of time, but they too have fallen by the wayside in recent years as more well-coached teams have figured out how to destroy this defense. Hofstra, once again, committed to a zone defense this season and that, more than anything else, lead to their limited success. Case in point: During the CAA championship game between Hofstra and Northeastern, Mary (my wife) kept questioning why Northeastern was getting so many easy open shots while Hofstra struggled to get a good shot. I explained what happens when a team plays zone defense. Accept it – nothing can replace the intensity of an in-your-face man-to-man defense. NOTHING!!!
  2. I keep repeating this after each season. You are inviting trouble when you commit to a 7-man rotation, with 5 players rotating around 4 positions. A successful team needs season-tested layers not only when players are in foul trouble but also at tournament time when confronting either a 3-game/3-day or 4-game/4-day schedule.
  3. Coach Mikalich and his staff have done a superb job in recruiting — when it comes to offensive players. But defense is as important as offense, right? All coaches agree with this irrefutable statement, but few do anything about it. Bottom line: Recruit for defense as well as offense.
  4. The object every season for any club in a mid-major conference is to win their tournament, NOT their conference. Iona College, with essentially mediocre seasons, has won the MAAC tournament the last 4 years in a row. Does Tim Cluess know something that other coaches don’t know? I believe he has figured out that the corrupt NCAA has stacked the deck against mid-major teams, and the only way to survive and prosper is to win their tournament. Bottom line: Play to win the tournament, NOT conference games during the season. How does a team do this? I discussed this very topic in the 2nd edition of my “Basketball Coaching 101” book.

 

I also noted earlier that this might be a do-or-die season for Hofstra since the club is top-heavy with seniors and only one freshman along with two sophs. But things have changed. My spies have informed me that Buie has been granted another year of stay (eligibility) and Jalen Ray – who continues to grow (physically) – has become as a quality guard/small forward with some defensive skills. Add to this that Pemberton, although short at times on defensive output, will emerge next season as a scoring machine. Also add to this the performance of Coburn this past season. I’m good at math and it seems that they will have an excellent starting 4 that may be devoid of a center. Hopefully, one of the transfers or one of the freshmen or a new recruit will fill this void. Bottom line 1: a quality center could bring another CAA championship next year. Bottom line 2: playing man-to-man may insure 1. In any event, I’ve changed my mind and now believe that 2019-20 will be another good year.

 

I return at the start of next season.

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

MAY 1:           On the 2019 East Williston School Vote

JUNE 1:          On the Theodore Healthcare Plan

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


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

 

 


ON THE OHI DAY IV

November 1, 2018

NOVEMBER 1, 2018

As noted in earlier OHI articles, I was baptized Elias Theodorakos since it is the Greek custom to name the first son after the paternal Papou (grandfather). Within a few years, the name Elias (our first grandson is also named Elias) was displaced by Louis, its American counterpart. Three weeks ago at Grandparents Day at the Foote School in New Haven, CT, 13 year old Elias spoke before an audience of approximately 500 grandparents. He talked about his grandfather or Papou (that’s me), my grandfather, my grandfather’s grandfather, etc. He also noted how proud he was of his name and his Greek heritage. I teared up.

 

In second grade, my immigrant parents were told by several public school teachers that it would be in the best interest of the family to Americanize the last name. The name was soon legally changed to Theodore. About that time, my Uncle Jimmy who came to America with my father changed his name to Theodore while Uncle John chose Theros. My Aunt Stavroula also chose to change her married name from Apostolakos to Lake. I know our children and grandchildren would have preferred that our last name had not been changed. They are also disappointed – along with Mary (who is not Greek) – that I did not insist that they go to Greek school. But, such were those times. Although I am an American first, I remain proud of my Hellenic roots. And, it is for this reason that another OHI article was written.

 

On to the theme of the article. The 79th anniversary of the repulsion of fascist forces by the Greek Armed Forces was recently celebrated several weeks ago on October 28. (The day came and went without a whimper here in the United States.) The Greeks refer to this as the OHI (an emphatic NO!) Day. OHI was Prime Minister Metaxas’s response to Hitler’s order to peacefully surrender. What followed Metaxas’s response was 219 days of fierce battles. That in turn was followed by intense guerrilla warfare that resulted in a brutal occupational that included executions, sufferings, famine, and sever inflation. The rest is now history for some people and all Greeks.

 

For comparison purposes, the days of resistance of the various combatants to the Nazi-Fascist invasions are listed below:

 

  1. Belgium                                                                     18
  2. Czechoslovakia                                                           0
  3. Denmark                                                                     0
  4. France  (the supposed superpower of that time)      43
  5. Greece  (13,696 Greek soldiers died)                       219
  6. Luxembourg                                                                0
  7. Norway                                                                        7
  8. Poland                                                                        30
  9. The Netherlands                                                          4
  10. Yugoslavia                                                                    3

 

The total number of human losses in percentage of total population are also listed below.

 

  1. Belgium                            1.5%
  2. France                               2.0%
  3. Greece                             10%  (750,000)
  4. Poland                             1.8%
  5. Soviet Union                    2.8%
  6. The Netherlands              2.2%
  7. Yugoslavia                       1.7%

 

Here is what four of the more important players of that time had to say (citations available on request) about the heroic Greek accomplishments against the armies of not only Germany but also the armies of Italy, Bulgaria and Albania.

 

  1. Adolph Hitler: “As a matter of historical truth, I must ascertain that only the Hellenes, of all the adversaries that confronted me, fought with daring courage and the highest disregard for death… “

 

  1. Sir Winston Churchill: “The word heroism, I’m afraid, does not reflect in the least the Hellenes’ acts of self-sacrifice that were the defining factor of the victorious ending of all the nations’ common struggle during the 2nd WW for human freedom and dignity. If it were not for the bravery of the Hellenes and their courageous hearts, the ending of the 2nd WW would not have been clear. Until now we were saying that Hellenes fight like heroes. Now we will say: Heroes fight like Hellenes. The Hellenes in fighting against the common enemy will share with us in the prosperity of peace.”

 

  1. Josef Stalin: “I’m sad because I’m getting old and I will not live much longer to express my gratitude to the Hellenic people whose resistance determined the 2nd WW. You fought without weapons and you won, being small before the great ones. We owe you gratitude, because you bought time and, thus, we could arm ourselves. As Russians and as fellow humans, we thank you.”

 

  1. Franklin Roosevelt: “For Hellas there was granted a delay of 3 hours on the 28th of October 1940 so that she can decide on war or peace, but, even if a delay of 3 days or 3 weeks or 3 years was granted, the answer would have been the same. The Hellenes have taught dignity throughout the centuries. When the entire world had lost all hope, the Hellenic people dared to doubt the German monster’s invincibility fighting back with the proud spirit of freedom. The heroic struggle of the Hellenic people against the German attack, having so thunderously won the Italian attempt to invade the Hellenic soil, filled the American hearts with enthusiasm and won their sympathy. A century and a half earlier during the Greek War of Independence, our nation expressed its sympathy for the Hellenes and was hoping for the Hellenic victory.”

 

Yep, I still get that special feeling when someone refers to me as a Greek-American.

 

Note: Thanks are due my first cousins Helen Lake Anton and Harry Lake, aka Apostolakos, for providing some of the background material for this article. Helen was stationed in Greece during part of her CIA career.   Harry served on the National Board of Directors and was Finance Chairman of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association).”

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

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

JANUARY 1:             On Basketball Coaching 101 II

FEBRUARY 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