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

 

 

Advertisements

ON THE NEW YORK RACING ASSOCIATION (NYRA)

September 30, 2018

OCTOBER 1, 2018

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

NOVEMBER 1:          On the OHI Day III

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

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

FEBRUARY 1:           On Basketball Coaching 101 II

 

 

 


ON THE ANALYSIS OF THE HOFSTRA 2017-18 BASKETBALL SEASON

April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Visit the author at:

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

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

MAY 1:           On 2018 East Williston School Budget Vote

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats III: Greek – Edition

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

 


ON BASEBALL STRATEGIES

March 1, 2018

March 1, 2018

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

 

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

 

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

 

Infielders

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

 

Outfielders

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

 

Catchers

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

 

Pitchers

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

 

Batters

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

 

Base Runners

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

 

Coaches

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

 

Managers

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

 

General Manager

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

 

Owners

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

 

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

Ed Charles and Lou

Visit the author at:

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

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

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

MAY 1:           On 2018 East Williston School Budget Vote

JUNE 1:          On Great Eats III: Greek – Edition

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


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 HE’S GOT GAME IN MANY FIELDS

October 1, 2017

OCTOBER 1, 2017

Please forgive me but I’ve decided to write an article about myself. In case you missed it, Ron Roel, former senior editor at Newsday, penned a feature 3-page article in Act 2 with the above title in Sunday’s June 25, 2017 Newsday. The main theme behind Mr. Roel’s article on longevity among adults was that ‘being vitally engaged is important to a long life… when you’re engaged in activities that gives life purpose, you build up the resiliency to go forward.’ He then proceeded to review some of my activities since retiring at age 76 seven years ago. I had spent 55 years at Manhattan College as a Full Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Graduate Program.”

 

Here are 10 additional quotes from Roel’s piece:

  1. “Mary, 75, who became Mrs. Theodore 50 years ago, said she continues to see different sides of her husband’s multifaceted life — from book writing to keeping an active social life, to fanning his passion for basketball, to playing chess with his grandsons.”
  2. “At age 83, he is still consulting, presenting papers at conferences, and writing texts and reference books. Currently, he’s collaborating on five books in various stages of completion — adding to the 108 he’s written or co-authored so far. His take on juggling multiple new books? ‘I’m slowing down,’ he said.”
  3. “Maintaining close ties with colleagues, former students and basketball players he’s coached over the years is a source of pride. ‘I value them,’ Theodore said. ‘They’re memories’ I don’t want to forget. They’re still an integral part of my life.”
  4. “Theodore’s social facility is not lost on his family. ‘He finds a way for professional and personal things to go together,’ said daughter Molleen Theodore, 45, associate curator of programs at the Yale University Art Gallery. ‘His friendships are long-standing, and he’s always making new ones.’”
  5. “For Theodore, staying engaged also means keeping a hand in his lifelong love of basketball by supporting youth sports leagues and attending Hofstra University men’s basketball home games. Two years ago, he published his first nontechnical book, Basketball Coaching 101, an eclectic compendium of personal stories and a spray of tips and commentary from coaches, players, officials, journalists and fans.”
  6. “While in graduate school in the late 1950s, he persuaded the owner of Killeen’s Tavern in Astoria to sponsor a team, and Theodore began recruiting local kids, many of whom played for their college teams, to play for Killeen’s during the summer. He was in charge of the team. ‘Lou was a good coach,’ said Danny Doyle, 77, a member of the Killeen’s team who played briefly for the Detroit Pistons, and later in the Eastern League. ‘He did a good job. Anybody who was good wanted to play with us.’”
  7. “Theodore was also a mentor to students at the university. One of them became a collaborator on Theodore’s books. Frank Ricci, of upstate Mount Kisco, got a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Manhattan College in 2010 and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2016. He is currently a senior scientist in the Danbury, Connecticut, office of pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim, and an adjunct professor at Manhattan College. He met Theodore in his freshman year. Lou popped in to check out the summer lab, Ricci recalled. I knew who he was and said, ‘How are you doing, Dr. Theodore?’ He said, ‘None of your business’— his trademark sarcasm, Ricci said. ‘I knew right then we were going to get along well.’ Over the next couple of years, Theodore asked Ricci to co-author two technical books with him, an extraordinary opportunity for an undergraduate student. ‘He took a shot on me. He altered the trajectory of my life.’ Ricci said he often calls his old professor for advice.”
  8. “He worked really hard, but he also instilled in his family the importance of taking vacations, said daughter Molleen. Every year the family would go to Saratoga during racing season and to the beach. ‘He likes to sit right at the water’s edge and read and work,’ Molleen said. ‘That’s where he feels happiest. . . . Not at some quiet and pristine beach, but Field 6 at Jones Beach. He has this real ability to work around noise and chaos.’”
  9. “Theodore continues to challenge himself with the usual newspaper puzzles and word games.”
  10. “He is currently planning a second edition of his basketball book and a short story on his family tree: “The Theodorakos-Kourtakis Chronicles.”

 

Lost in Roel’s shuffle was mentioning two other activities:

  1. I write a monthly opinion column on sports, politics, economics, education, etc.. that appears in www.theodorenewsletter.com. Some of those articles also appear in a host of Long Island newspapers from Litmor Publishers and The Queens Gazette.
  2. There is a Facebook site titled “Basketball Coaching 101.” It is primarily dedicated to updates on the book.

 

Visit the author on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

 

NOVEMBER 1:          On Barack Hussein Obama (Revisited) VI

DECEMBER 1:           On 2017-2018 Hofstra Men’s Basketball

JANUARY 1:              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