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

 

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ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXVI

January 1, 2018

JANUARY 1, 2018

I planned on publishing an article titled Great Eats III: Greek Edition this month; but, it’s the New Year. And, after some thought, I decided it would be more appropriate to subject the reading audience to some predictions for the New Year. Before proceeding, I would be negligent without a few parting comments for the past 12 months.

Last year? There were two negatives and two positives.

Negatives: I suffered a fractured vertebra while vacationing at the fabulous Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach (40th straight year) in Florida over Easter. It was painful. It also prevented attending (the 51st straight year) the AWMA annual meeting where I was scheduled to present a paper. Even worse, my doctor told me that I had shrunk about an inch. I’m no longer 6’2” tall. I suddenly realized why the ground seemed closer and Mary seemed taller. Even worse than the above, Mary broke her femur which prevented a visit to Ireland in July to celebrate her family’s reunion (maternal side) and our 50th anniversary. She still has yet to fully recover.

Positives of the previous year: There was Ron Roel’s feature three page Newsday ACT 2 article on June 24 on yours truly. And finally, do you remember where you were and what you were doing? I was on the phone with Danny Doyle watching TV and experienced the thrill of a lifetime early one Wednesday morning on hearing the election results. Donald J. Trump ascended to the throne, and will hopefully save our great nation from a biased media, corrupt politicians, and the fanatical liberals. Long live the King and God bless America.

A family photo celebrating the Queen’s 50th anniversary is below.

anniversary family a

On to the prediction/random thoughts. Don’t despair. There’s only 35 (short?) ones with the first 6 of a personal nature. Well here goes.

• Both Mary and I will recover fully, and will visit either Ireland or Greece to celebrate a belated 50th anniversary.
• Daughter Georgeen will be promoted to Full Professor at NJIT and Interboro Partners (her company) will have another banner year.
• Daughter Molleen will purchase a house near Yale University.
• Son Patrick will be promoted to second grade detective in the NYC Narcotics Division.
• My three new technical books will be published, and as with all my other books, simply will not sell.
• I will also complete the second edition of Basketball Coaching 101 which will unveil my umbrella offense that is sure to revolutionize offensive strategies.
• Interest in soccer and lacrosse will continue to rise. Interest in football will continue to decline primarily due to the violent nature of the sport.
• International problems with Iran, North Korea, Russia, and China will not be resolved.
• There is a reasonable chance that I will get involved in a medical project with one of my former students, Dr. Ivan Harangozo.
• Thanks to the efforts of first cousins Helen and Sandra, I will complete the Theodorakos-Kourtakis Chronicles that will feature our family tree.
• The national debt will soar this year but will recover in subsequent years.
• The main boom in the economy will come because of energy and the elimination of insane environmental regulations.
• People are coming to realize that the “climate change/global warming” scenario is nothing but a massive scam. Furthermore, NYRA’s claim that they are a non-profit organization is laughable.
• The Tea Party is alive and will be doing even better this year. The Republicans better watch their step since the swamp (this includes them) will be cleansed.
• More and more people will come to realize that FOX NEWS has buried the liberals and their distorted agenda. It will take generations for them to recover.
• Danny Doyle–former partner with Killeen’s Tavern (he robbed me blind), star of the legendary Killeen’s Tavern basketball team, former NBA Detroit Piston, and perhaps my closest friend (*#*!)–will once again somehow successfully evade being incarcerated and/or institutionalized.
• Our gang’s annual visit to Steve “The Greek” Panos will go on schedule, but with a smaller group. The toughest Greek since Alexander the Great and the people’s choice for bouncer at a Bouncer’s convention, I’ve never forgotten how he saved my life when a fight followed by a full-scale riot broke out at one of our basketball games.
• Despite my nomination, John J. “Jack” Powers will again be denied admission to Springfield’s Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. I also recently nominated Eddie Corbett, legendary collegiate official, but he absolutely has no chance.
• At least one of our guys will leave us this year. Is it OK to hope that it isn’t me?
• The Donald and BHO will soon divorce; Pence will not.
• Schumer’s 2-faced conduct will continue. I still remember when he cried because some immigrants were detained at an airport while not shedding a tear when Americans were killed. Fake news? This guy is the premier fake.
• What is the infatuation with illegal immigrants? It will unfortunately continue. I can understand the liberal democrat’s position because of their quest for power at any cost to our nation. But, many average Americans? Why is their logic so flawed? Do they not know the meaning of illegal?
• Mueller will continue to make a fool of himself; he just doesn’t understand that FOX NEWS has exposed him and his crew as biased frauds.
• The country will experience a resurgence in religion.
• I will probably find more people boring and annoying on the phone this year.
• My days in investing in the stock market are over. But, if I were an investor, the money would be directed toward Wendy’s (conservative) and Regeneron (speculative).
• Baseball will have another good year. The Yankees will be good, but not great; it’s the pitching stupid. The Mets should be something better than good; once again, it’s the pitching stupid.
• Trump will partially succeed in cleansing the swamp.
• None of the liberals, e.g., Hillary, Comey, Lerner, etc., who have broken the law, will be prosecuted.
• Twenty five years ago, I described The Hill and Bubba as “two thoroughly rotten human begins.” Took some heat then, but guess what…
• Seven years ago, I described BHO as un-American, lazy, narcissistic, and not too bright. Took some heat then, but guess what…Ditto for Michelle on the first point.
• Lying will remain a way of life for most Americans; it’s not just the liberals.
• BHO will continue his racist ramblings. He has set back race relations as if he was intent on starting a Civil War, helped place a bullseye on the back of every cop, and (interestingly) never asked Black Lives Matter to demonstrate in Chicago.
• Thanks to BHO, we now know that “the supposed untouchables” at the FBI are no longer untouchable and the Department of Justice (for whom I once served as a consultant and expert witness) would more appropriately be called the Department of Injustice.
• The concept of the NCAA’s student-athlete is perhaps the neatest scam ever perpetrated on the public. Not so fast Lou. I recently met two Manhattan College student-athletes graduates – 6’4” Russ Williams and 6’4” Chris “Smooth” Williams – who could prove me wrong. Both are authors and successful in business. Russ (Business Management) has authored “Transition Game Plan” and Chris (Liberal Arts) authored “Twenty Beautiful Men”. These were two very interesting and fascinating guys.

IMG_0107

That’s what I’m predicting and I’m sticking with it.

Visit the author at:
www.theodorenewsletter.com
or
on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

NEXT POSTINGS:
FEBRUARY 1: On Great Eats III: Greek-Edition
MARCH 1: On Baseball Managing 101
APRIL 1: On 2017-18 Hofstra Men’s Basketball Revisited
MAY 1: On the 2018 East Williston School District Budget Vote
JUNE 1: ???
JULY 1: On Purely, Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXVII


ON HOFSTRA MEN’S BASKETBALL 2017-18 SEASON HOPE(?) SPRINGS ETERNAL

December 1, 2017

 

DECEMBER 1, 2017

A week has elapsed and Thanksgiving is now a near distant memory. It is now December. Christmas and the New Year are quickly approaching. What’s the significance? It primarily means one thing for basketball buffs in the Nassau County area: the 2017-18 Hofstra men’s basketball season has arrived.

 

Every year, at about this time (December 1), I introduce the reader to Hofstra’s Men’s Basketball Team and start the review and prediction process for the coming season. This year is no different – so here goes.

 

I begin with some comments about last year’s team. One could best describe Hofstra’s (2016-17) last season with one word: under-performance. Here is a part (bullet pointers) of what I had written earlier about last year’s team.

  • 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.
  • Wright-Foreman emerged as a force to be reckoned with the next two years.
  • The loss of Buie could have made a difference.
  • Buie’s contribution the next three season is currently a wild card.

 

Here were my bullet pointers at that time for this season.

  • Hire an assistance 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.
  • Players should understand that the magic word in defense is INTENSITY! And this is where bench help comes into play.
  • 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.

 

Here is the way I see it regarding personnel this year. The three key ingredients for success remains (as with last year) Wright-Foreman, Pemberton, and Rokas. Wright-Foreman is the real thing, could be CAA player of the year this and next season, and has an outside shot to move onto the next level. Pemberton has potential, seems like a nice kid, but I question his attitude and defense. Senior Rokas is the wildcard at this point. He has significant potential but has not improved since his sophomore year; his defense and inability to make layups and foul shots appear to be problems that have not been addressed. I still like Buie and Sabathy and hope they see significant action. I believe Buie may turn out to be the heir to a long list of great guards who have performed at Mack Arena. Newcomers of merit? Forwards Augus, Radovic and Trueheart plus guards Wormsley and Ray.

 

Here’s my analysis for the team this year. They legitimately have a chance to be the premier team in the Coloniel 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 has the capability of turning things around, particularly if he opts for a man-to-man defense and commits to something more than a 6-man rotation. At the time of the submission of this article, it appears Joe has committed to an 8-man rotation (possibly 10 with Ray and Trueheart) and with the team playing more man-to-man defense. And, the team’s records is 4-3, including a win against Dayton. As for predictions, 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 have surfaced.

 

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

 

And finally, it is business as usual with the NCAA and, in particular, college basketball. NCAA president Mark Emmert recently commented that “we cannot go to the next basketball season without seeing fundamental changes to the way college basketball is operated.” Really? Anybody believe him ever since the feds accused coaches, financial managers and an Adidas executive of using bribes to influence athletes’ choices of schools, shoe sponsors and agents. Nothing has been done and no one really expects anything to be done. College basketball remains corrupt and the NCAA remains corrupt. Yes, the right word is corrupt. What a shame. I still maintain that the NCAA’s concept of the student-athlete is one of the all-time great scams perpetrated on the public.

 

As noted on numerous times in the past, attending Hofstra games still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area. There is ample free parking, the concession stands are not a rip-off, there isn’t a bad seat in the house, and its $6 for seniors and children.

 

In the meantime, the second edition of my Basketball Coaching 101 book is in the works. It will unveil my umbrella offence – the basketball offense of the future. 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 Professorless On-Line Education (PolE)

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

MARCH 1:                 On Baseball Managing 101

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

MAY 1:                       On the 2018 East Williston School District Budget Vote


ON WHEN NEW YORK CITY WAS NEW YORK CITY I

August 1, 2017

AUGUST 1, 2017

I was born in New York City in 1934 and called it home until 1970. My first 7 years was spent in the north end of Hell’s Kitchen. The next 12 years were spent in an area that is known as Lincoln Center. The final 17 years was spent in Astoria, Queens. In effect, NYC was my home for the first 36 years of my life. This tale is the first of a 2-part series concerned with New York City during that 36 year time period.

 

This first article is concerned with the 1934-1953 time period. The 1953-1970 period will be addressed in a follow-up article early next year. On to this first article.

 

I have often written that following World War II, “anything was possible” in New York City. Nothing would compare to NYC around the middle of the 20th Century. The economy was booming. Its population was primarily comprised of first, not second generation Americans of European extraction, but mostly Irish and Italians and to a lesser degree, Germans, Poles and Greeks. The City was primarily white and Catholic.  The Hamptons were some rich family living on Park Avenue.  The migration from the Caribbean had just begun. The legal drinking age was 18. We had 3 baseball teams.  The Garment District was just that.  A $0.25 toll had been instituted on the Triboro Bridge . . . for maintenance purposes!  McDonalds had arrived on the scene. TV? There was Uncle Miltie, Ed Sullivan, Danny Thomas, and my all-time favorite, Jackie Gleason. My all-time great entertainer, Louie Prima, would soon arrive on the scene. Movies? Pick one. There was also Otto Graham, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Joe D., Willie Mays, George Mikan, etc. The GI Bill – $110 a month to attend college or $50 a week for 52 weeks. 42nd Street was, well…you know. Rockaway Beach had already been officially renamed the Irish Rivera.   The Catskill’s had been reassigned the title “The Jewish Alps” while Astoria, Queens was now a colony of Greeks.  Finally, there was The Beatles, Alan Freed, “Sha Boom,” “Earth Angel,” “Eddie, My Love,” “Mr. Sandman,” and, of course, Billy Joel’s frantic attempt to determine who indeed had started the fire.

 

But, what was life really like in NYC at that time? It would be impossible to squeeze it all into this type of article. But, I do have an earlier unedited 1995 Litmor Publication article titled “On the Stoop” which follows. Hopefully, this is a satisfactory alternative.

 

“ON THE STOOP”

(Down Memory Lane)

My friend, the writer Costas Anifantakis of Searingtown, had this to say about “the stoop” in his Volume II Issue 26, titled – the View from The Stoop:

 

“Using the word ‘stoop’ as a noun is probably unique to Old Gotham. The etymological derivative of the word is lost somewhere in the hustle and bustle of the city’s pubertal period. The brownstone exterior of eight to ten steps, known as the Stoop, might have been adopted from the fact that a pedestrian had to do just that (stoop) to negotiate an upward and forward motion simultaneously, the essence of stair ascension. The stoop served and still serves a few functions. Primarily, it is a simple architectural expedient providing access to an upper entrance to a building. It not only constitutes a convenient place to ‘hang-out,’ but also is an excellent collecting point for the latest gossip. The stoop is a cosmos where one can observe the coiling and uncoiling of the street activity, and lastly, it constitutes an athletic playing field and stickball where kids, with the aid of a pink rubber ball (a Spaldeen) can play stoopball. Stoops come in a few shades of sandstone, varying in steepness-and depth and although each has its own distinct character, they all have one thing in common: an unmatched view of the world flowing by endlessly:”

 

The stoop at 168 West 65th Street (between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway) served as both an observatory tower and conference boardroom for me and the guys – on the south side of 65th Street during the late 1940’s. This area and the area due southwest was once described by Mayor LaGuardia as New York’s worst slum area. That area, just due north of Hell’s Kitchen, was leveled by the nefarious Robert Moses around 1950, to be replaced by what we now call Lincoln Center.

 

Here is what I remember most of the view from our stoop at 168 West 65th Street.

 

  • We lived at 170 West 65th, Street, on the third floor, next door to the stoop. I had only a 10-12 foot walk from our tenement building to the stoop.
  • Directly across the street on the north side of 65th Street was Commerce High School, essentially a non-technical School. It’s still there today.
  • Further east diagonally and adjacent to Commerce High School was the Loew’s theater, later.to be converted to a CBS TV studio. It was here that a number of Jackie Gleason’s 8 pm Saturday night shows were staged. Afternoon programs featured a beautiful and slim singer named Rosemary Clooney.
  • Due east near Broadway on our side of the block was Joe McGrath ‘s father’s bar. It was here that I would stand by the door and watch Buddy Young, Vic Raschi and Mickey Mantle. At age 17, I moved inside and was introduced to a “7 and 7”, AKA Seagram’s Seven Crown and 7-up.
  • Diagonally west across the street (on the northwest corner intersection of 65th and Amsterdam) was one of Con Edison’s generating plants.
  • Around the corner – between 64th and 65th on the east side of Amsterdam was the Open Kitchen restaurant, one of New York’s premier eateries. It featured eleven stools along the counter and three small tables squeezed into a tight space at the end of the counter. My father somehow managed to get us through the depression with this small establishment.
  • Directly across the Street from the Open Kitchen restaurant on the west side of Amsterdam was the Ederle Bros. meat and pork store. Sister Gertrude achieved fame when she became the first woman to swim the English Channel.
  • Further south and west was the “black” neighborhood. This area housed a chicken market (I think it was Kosher) and Ripley’s clothing factory. The bulk of my father’s customers were Ripley employees.
  • There was a gym teacher at Commerce High School that lunched daily at the Open Kitchen. A retired colonel, we all addressed him as Colonel Reutershan. One day, he announced in his deep resonating voice: “George, the future is in chemical engineering. Send Louis to school to get a chemical engineering education.” That’s how and why I became a chemical engineer: I really had no say in the matter. My have times changed.
  • There was a sign on the front door entrance of the Con Edison generating plant that read: Show Your Pass: Every now and then, I would mischievously meander over there at night and cover the letter “P”. Would this be classified as graffiti?
  • The terrors of the neighborhood were the gang from 63rd -Street. They beat me up twice. The first time was real bad. They had asked for my money. I only had 5 cents, but had mistakenly told them I had 15 cents.
  • The stoop’s tenement had been converted to single furnished room apartments. It housed Korean War veterans of Japanese-Hawaiian descent who were attending a dental technician school on the G.I. Bill. I remember it as a scam for both the veterans and the school. Despite this, I have nothing but positive memories of those guys. Almost to a person, they were kind, helpful and sincere people.
  • It was through the same veterans that I was introduced to prostitution, dope and gambling. I believe nearly all of them smoked the weed. Prostitutes came and went at all hours. Blackjack and dice games occurred on occasions; horse betting was a daily ritual. Fortunately, I only got involved with gambling.
  • We often pitched nickels or pennies to a wall or a crack in the sidewalk. One day I won $80, an unheard of sum in those days, pitching quarters to line on the tarred street. This started what I then called the “gambling fund,” and it has somehow managed to survive today.
  • Stickball was played without gloves (some used gloves) with one sewer as home plate and the next sewer as second base. Broomsticks served as bats and a pink spaldeen was the ball. Our team matured in my eighteenth year and I believe we won all but one of our games that summer. There was at least $100 bet on each game and our team rarely could raise more than $25. I usually was the big contributor with $5. The rest of the money was put up by the owner of the stoop’s tenement; he turned a nifty profit that summer.
  • Late one Saturday afternoon, the back door of the CBS TV studio opened and out came a group led by the great one, none other than Jackie Gleason, and Phil Foster, Jackie’s guest that night. They were all stewed to the gills and wanted to play stickball for a couple of bucks. We couldn’t believe our good fortune. It was 6-0 after 2 innings when they retired to the studio.
  • I fell in love with a girl named Patricia Pike; but as the old joke goes, she didn’t know I existed. I still have that effect on people.
  • The block was predominately Puerto Rican, but my best friend was a Cuban named Gustavo Carrion. Gus was the janitor/superintendent of our building. One of his responsibilities was feeding coal to the furnace in the basement. He picked up the nickname “Aqua Caliente” because everyone used to yell for more hot water during the winter months.
  • During the Depression and World War II years, I would go to the restaurant and ask my father for a nickel to go to the movies. I could never quite figure out why some of the other kids couldn’t go because they didn’t have, or couldn’t get, a nickel. Saturday morning was a must for me because of the weekly serial. The one I remember most was “The Adventures of Naomi.” I fell in love with her too.
  • When it came time to level our block, my father’s lawyer couldn’t appear in court to arrange for the settlement from the city for the Open Kitchen restaurant. At my father’s request, I went in his place. The judge awarded my father $750. I started yelling and the judge threatened to throw me in jail. I remember shutting my mouth immediately since I was overcome with fear. Needless to say, the lawyer received a $250 fee, leaving my father with a measly $500 and without his near lifelong business.

 

It was an eerie feeling when I returned to my earlier home and found nothing but empty space and a newly paved sidewalk. The stoop had departed, never to return – yet not to be forgotten. But times have changed and I now live in East Williston, seven miles due east of New York City,  in a house without a stoop.

 

God Bless America!

 

Note: Lincoln Center inhabits the area that housed my stoop. Our address–170 W. 65th Street–is the present address of the Lincoln Center Theatre.

 

Visit the author at:

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

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

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

OCTOBER:                 On Newsday’s June Article

NOVEMBER:             On Barack Hussein Obama (Revisited) VI

DECEMBER:             On 2017-2018 Hofstra Men’s Basketball

 


ON THE EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT BUDGET VOTE

May 1, 2017

May 1, 2017

Here is my opening paragraph from last year’s newsletter on the budget vote:

“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? Two reasons come to mind:  (A) Waste and (B) Senior Citizen Exploitation.”

 

I then proceeded to provide detailed comments on both above reasons which was followed by detailed proposed solutions to both problems. Guess what?  I not only didn’t hear from anyone but I also received no acknowledgements of my proposal. Isn’t this just great? I’m a taxpayer with no voice. You can thank Kamberg and his brood, Kanas, the teachers, the teachers’ union, and, of course, the pitiful PTO, for this sorry state of affairs. And, let’s not forget that it was the Bergtraum (incompetence)/Israel (greed) era that started the EWSD’s decline.

 

In any event, here’s what’s coming down. Per capita student cost is up (>$36,000). Enrollment is down. Hiring is up. School ranking is down. Student performance is down. College choice for students almost certainly is down. Waste has increased. Senior exploitation has increased. Student/parent exploitation has increased. You want proof? Try to FOIL these parasites in control for information. You’ll get what I got…NOTHING! What a wonderful state of affairs.

 

The community should be aware of the EW Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) 3/22/17 report to the EWSD Board of Trustees. I’ll spare you the details but here are the six FAC’s specific spending recommendations.

 

  1. Adapt recommendations to fund Program, Administration & Capital efficiencies
  2. Develop a framework to measure student achievement/investment
  3. Wages: take steps to continue to limit wage growth
  4. Healthcare: Increase employee contributions/eliminate opt-out
  5. Place a moratorium on contractual lifetime healthcare benefits
  6. Review opportunities to increase non-tax revenue

 

But, here’s the key.  Buried early in the report is “The Board has the responsibility and discretion to implement the FAC’s recommendations.”  Translated into simple English: they can, and will, ignore the recommendations as they have done in the past (I’ll comment on their action next year).

 

Regarding (1), the word efficiency is not in the Board’s vocabulary.  The teachers and their union have always opposed (2). The teachers and their union, the PTA, the Board, and Superintendent Kanas oppose (3). Obviously, the teachers and their union plus their stooges oppose (4) and (5).  Point (6) is a great recommendation that could be implemented by the brain trust in the FAC, but with teachers and their union, the PTA, Superintendent Kanas, and (in particular) the Board, there resides a group that is clueless on business/financial matters. Obviously, not a good situation since the FAC has wasted its time.

 

Here are my comments on reading the FAC report for the year 2017.

 

  • The District’s reputation is understandably on the decline (see later paragraph).
  • Tenure has created many of the problems. These positions should only last 5-years but can be extended if the individual has continued to demonstrate the freshness and enthusiasm of the early years of teaching. You know the teachers would never embrace this recommendation.
  • Need to spend time on converting thoughtless children to caring and thinking individuals.
  • Generate better relationships with students in order for them to maintain lifelong ties to the EWSD.
  • Teacher/community relations are at an all-time low.
  • I believe the rumors that all school boards have adopted illegal practices to undermine the school tax cap.
  • For goodness sake, do something positive about the WASTE.

 

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.

 

I’ll close with 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. 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 such as at Wheatley. 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, 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.

 

You don’t have to believe me regarding much of the above material.  Here is the 4/25/2017 Newsday headline:  “7 LI Schools in the Top 200.”  Guess who didn’t make the top 200 nationally.  Guess who also didn’t make the top 50 statewide (there were 14 LI schools who did).  We also didn’t make the top 100 STEM schools in the state.  These are the FACTS, and the numbers don’t lie.  And yet, 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.

 

 

Remember, it’s OK to vote NO on the budget. 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.

 

Visit the author at:

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

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

JUNE 1:                      On Great Eats II

JULY 1:                      On Six Months Later

AUGUST 1:                On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXV

 


THE HOFSTRA 2016-17 SEASON: FINAL ANALYSIS — AND DEFENSE

April 1, 2017

 

 April 1, 2017

 

This month’s article was originally going to be concerned with a summary analysis of Hofstra’s 2016-17 men’s basketball season.  However, I decided, because of the team’s defensive shortcomings, to include some defensive suggestions that will ultimately appear in a later newsletter and the next edition of my BASKETBALL COACHING 101 Book.  In effect, there are two components to this newsletter.  We’ll start with a presentation on the Hofstra analysis.

 

 

HOFSTRA

One could best describe Hofstra’s 2016-17 season with one word: underperformance.  Mary and I sat next to a radio announcer from Northeastern University at the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament in Charlestown during March 4-7.  (Note: A great city to visit).  I believe his evaluation of Hofstra hit the nail on the head.  He excused some of the team’s performance to the loss of three key starters, including the CAA Player of the Year; but then again, they had two excellent guards, two excellent big men (one of whom hardly played), the potential Freshman of the Year is Pennington, and the league’s premier 3-point shooter.  On the other hand, I felt the team would improve with time and hopefully peak during the tournament.  It turns out that they got knocked off in the first round in what I would consider an embarrassing loss; a victory would have resulted in their playing UNCW, the #1 seed.  Almost everybody there in Charleston from the other schools were rooting for Hofstra because they felt that Hofstra had the personnel to beat UNCW.  As we now know, that game did not take place.

 

On to the analysis for the season.  Here are my bullet pointers.

 

  • 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 loss of Buie could have made a difference.
  • Buie’s contribution the next three seasons is currently a wild card.
  • The club lacked a floor leader.
  • I don’t see a leader emerging next year; this should be potentially worrisome.

 

Here are my bullet pointers for next season.

  • 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.

 

DEFENSIVE STRATEGIES

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.”

 

Since I’m ranting and raving about defense, here are a baker’s dozen on some defensive suggestions that did not appear earlier in my book BASKETBALL COACHING 101.  I hope to expand this material and add new offensive suggestions in a later newsletter.

 

  • Need an assistant coach who can teach defense.
  • Need to recruit (great) defensive plays.
  • Need to play defensive players.
  • Can’t allow the opposing offense an offensive rebound on a foul shot.
  • Box out when a shot goes up, even if one has to resort to grabbing.
  • Keep defensive scoring statistics for each player.
  • Continuously stress the importance of defense.
  • Continuously stress the importance of intensity on defense.
  • Practice double teaming.
  • Never allow the opposing offense to setup for the last play.
  • Know who to foul at the end of a game.
  • Anyone slacking off on defense gets substituted for immediately.
  • Place one’s best defender on the opponent’s best scorer at the end of the game.

 

I hope this helps some young (perhaps not-so-young) aspiring coaches.

 

And, what about offense?  This is a topic that will also be unveiled and addressed in both a later article and the next edition.  Forget about the “triangle offense” that is more confusing than it is nearly impossible to implement; I can’t figure it out.  My interest will primarily be on “my umbrella offense” that is certain to revolutionize the offenses of those teams with forward-thinking coaches.

 

Visit the author at:

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

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

MAY 1:                       On the EWSD Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Great Eats II

JULY 1:                      On Six Months Later

AUGUST 1:                On Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXV

 


ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE, AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXIV

February 1, 2017

 

February 1, 2017

 

No one has recently requested my thoughts on life in general.  It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.  Notwithstanding this embarrassing dilemma, I am forging ahead with a host of points of potential interest to the Newsletter readers.  However before proceeding, I need to bring one interesting fact to those with interests in the U.S. economy.

 

Here is a list of the percentage of recent past president’s cabinets who had previously worked in the private sector:

 

FDR            50%         Eisenhower       57%

Truman        50%         Nixon               53%

Kennedy      30%         Ford                 42%

Johnson       47%         Reagan             56%

Carter          32%         G. H. Bush       51%

Clinton         39%         G. W. Bush      55%

Obama        8%           Trump              ??

 

The left column are/were Democrats.  Is the difference statistically significant?  You be the judge.  Obama never worked for a corporation, never really had a job, and his cabinet came primarily (92%) from academia, governmental “non-profit” groups, and community organizers.  Perhaps this explains our nation’s current economic state of affairs.

 

Back to the standard one-liners; here’s 2 dozen of them.

 

  1. Watching cable news has been pure entertainment since the election. The liberals are a comedy group but, I’ll say this – and this may sound like Michelle – I’ve never felt more proud of our country.
  2. The liberal media continues to berate and insult Trump. They can’t find anything right/good about him.  After all, he is going to reduce health care costs, eliminate sanctuary cities, address the anarchy dilemma, help solve infrastructure problems, etc.
  3. I hope this Administration will somehow pass an Amendment to the Constitution that will require that voters possess reasonable intelligence, be aware of current events, and speak, read, and understand English.
  4. Hopefully, disdain (and perhaps hatred) for the working class, military, and police will come to an end with Trump as president.
  5. Which three states have more people on welfare than they do employed? [If you guessed California, Illinois, and New York, you would be right. Surprise, surprise.]
  6. I shudder to think what would have happened to our country without Rupert Murdoch, Bill O’Reilly, Fox News, and even Roger Ailes.
  7. Megan Kelly turns me off – big time.
  8. Do I have this right? Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) is attempting to release those in jail who were planning to kill me.
  9. The inauguration was truly a sight to see. We are all so blessed to live in the USA.
  10. My parents worked hard for their money. I worked hard (well, sort of… remember, I’m a teacher) for my money.  No one gave us anything.  Why am I now being asked to provide health care and education for people who do not want to work and/or have no legal right to be here?
  11. I sell and bill myself as the foremost environmental authority in the world. (Modesty isn’t my middle name.) I can tell one and all that Al Gore’s preaching on global warming is a scam. His/the proposed carbon tax would bankrupt our nation.
  12. Forget about the fact that both the Hill and Bubba are involved in criminal enterprises. BOTH ARE TRAITORS!
  13. Seven years ago, I wrote: “Despite his shortcomings, rooting for Obama is appropriate because we are Americans.  Let’s not carry on like the Bush haters.”
  14. World Series play in freezing weather is both insane and a disgrace.
  15. Advertisements abound that make the white male look like a fool.
  16. I’m still trying to get Jack Powers into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
  17. My latest undertaking is to write a book about optimization – a subject I know absolutely nothing about.
  18. Football, with its concussion dilemma, is a dying sport.
  19. Perhaps mankind’s greatest miracle occurred when Churchill chose (like the people of Greece) not to submit to the Nazi “hurricane.”
  20. I’m still on a diet that will be “featured” next month
  21. Hopefully, Trump will stop the lies, the deceit, the manipulations, etc., in government and will finally be replaced by the transparency BHO promised 8 years ago.
  22. Good riddance to Meg Kelly at Fox. She’s a flaming liberal masquerading as a moderate.
  23. Geraldo Rivera has joined my 20 $ club. I’m prepared to pay 20 $ to put my left shoe up his rear end.  He’s another flaming liberal masquerading as a moderate.  Even worse, he is a totally full of horse manure guy.  His conduct during the inauguration was disgusting.
  24. I’ve had multiple requests for a follow-up on my earlier article titled “On Great Eats.”

 

Is that it?  Not quite.  Earlier, I got to see BHO’s “Farewell” address in Chicago where he teary-eyed and blatantly lied non-stop about his (and Michelle’s and Biden’s) accomplishments over the past 8 years; he chose not to mention the carnage that occurs in his home city of Chicago and hundreds of thousands that died in the Middle East due to his deficient policies.  He took time to, once again, lecture us, and then frantically attempted to rewrite history before the historians set his legacy of numerous massive failures in stone.  Unfortunately, he won’t go away and will continue to attempt to undermine our new president.  His last actions involved releasing hundreds of drug dealers, traitors and societal misfits.  What a guy!

 

Visit the author at:

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

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

MARCH 1:                  On the Ideal Diet—That Works

APRIL 1:                     Hofstra Basketball 2017 Revisited

MAY 1:                       On the EWSD Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                       On Great Eats II