THE 2018-19 HOFSTRA MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON

November 30, 2018

 

 

 

December 1, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the author at:

www.theodorenewsletter.com

or

on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

JANUARY 1:              On Liberal News Highlights

FEBRUARY 1:            On Basketball Coaching 101 II

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

APRIL 1                     On the Analysis of the Hofstra 2018019 Basketball Season

MAY 1                        On the 2019 East Williston School Budget Vote

 

 

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ON THE 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 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 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

 


ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXV

September 1, 2017

Sorry, but it’s time for another “random ramblings.” Here are two dozen one-liners to celebrate the silver anniversary of the “random ramblings.”

  • Just finished reading Chernow’s  Alexander Hamilton.   I recommend it.
  • Prior to “Hamilton,” I read The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty by Hal Bock. This 2017 book is a must if you are a baseball fan. Incidentally, Hal is an East Williston resident.
  • I really miss Bill O’Reilly. His show was fair, impartial, interesting, informative and entertaining.
  • Defense plays second fiddle to offense in nearly every sport, particularly basketball.
  • I’ve become a fan of TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Can I attribute this to old age?
  • Traveling is no longer fun. Florida is the only place I look forward to going to.
  • Terry Collins (Mets) is unquestionably the worst manager in baseball. Maybe the Mets can lose the rest of their games and management will get wise and fire Collins.
  • The USEPA has thankfully come to its senses about global warming…or is it climate change?
  • A second edition of Basketball Coaching 101 is in the works and it will unveil my umbrella offense.
  • Just returned from our annual Easter visit to Sarasota, Florida. It was our 40th straight year of vacationing at the fabulous Sandcastle Resort. Unfortunately, I fractured a vertebrae slipping in the bathroom.
  • Planned on attending the Annual International Air & Waste Management Association (AWMA) Conference in Pittsburgh in June. It would have been my 50th consecutive year in a row of either presenting a technical paper or giving a seminar, or both. Unfortunately, the fractured vertebrae eliminated my travel plans.
  • Just celebrated Mary’s 50th wedding anniversary. Planned on visiting Ireland again to also celebrate Mary’s family reunion. Unfortunately, Mary fractured her femur which eliminated all travel plans. Not the best of summers for the Theodore clan.
  • Noted sports historian Arthur Lovely celebrated his 89th birthday this past April 23rd at the 4½ star restaurant L’Econtra in Astoria. The party of 8 included handsome (that’s yours truly), the irrepressible Danny Doyle, Ed “The Glider” Charles of the fabulous 1972 Mets, and TV fight analyst/former boxer Tommy Gallagher.
  • The indifference and incompetence of government officials continues to amaze me – particularly here in Nassau County.
  • The indifference and incompetence of government employees also never cease to amaze me; I could write an article on my experience with the USEPA and the Albertson Post Office.
  • I keep preaching that defense is as important as offense in basketball, and all my “expert” friends keep agreeing with me. But do they really? Other than Bill Russell (and possibly Dennis Rodman), name one Hall of Famer in Springfield who was selected for his defensive play.
  • Capitalism (along with democracy) is what has made our nation great. But there are times when capitalism has to be harnessed for the common good.
  • Liberty and freedom? Somehow, there is need to balance these against anarchy and disorder.
  • Manufacturing runs has become a lost art in baseball. Everyone is trying to hit a home run.
  • Every batter who regularly faces the infield “shift” should be required to learn how to hit to the opposite field.
  • Lost another of our gang – Zack Mehale. He was one of the good guys who made us laugh and who everybody loved. We’ve become depleted; there’s only a handful of us left.
  • Visited Saratoga in late August (my 61st straight summer visit) – NYRA’s THE place to be if you want to get ripped off. And what does that say about me?
  • A couple of people complained about my June 1 article titled “On Great Eats.”
  • I hope most of you read Ron Roel’s ACT 2 Page three page feature article about me in Newsday on June 25th. It modestly describes my successes during my illustrious career, more in next month’s posting.

 

Once again, this is the silver anniversary edition of the “random ramblings.” Thanks are due to friends, relatives, colleagues, etc., for their interest and support for this unique category of article; my indebtedness is also extended to those individuals in this group who are currently incarcerated or institutionalized.

 

Visit the author on his Facebook page Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:

OCTOBER:                 On Newsday’s June 25 Act 2 Article

NOVEMBER:             On Barack Hussein Obama (Revisited) VI

DECEMBER:             On 2017-2018 Hofstra Men’s Basketball


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 THE 2016-17 HOFSTRA BASKETBALL SEASON

January 1, 2017

 

 

January 1, 2017

 

Thanksgiving and Christmas is now a near distant memory.  What’s the significance?   It primarily means one thing for basketball buffs in the Nassau County area: the 2016-17 Hofstra basketball season is now in full swing.

 

Every year, at about this time, I introduce the readers to Hofstra’s men’s basketball team and start the prediction process for the season.  This year is no different – so here goes…

 

I begin with some comments about last year’s team.  There were concerns, hopes, and expectations: third year Coach Joe Mihalich was back with a team that featured Juan‘ya Green and Ameen Tanksley – the two Niagara University transfers and Brian Bernardi, plus power forward Princeton transferee Denton Koon and second year center Rokas Gustys.  So what happened?  They had a great season, winning the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association).  The CAA tournament was up for grabs and I felt they had a chance to win it and earn a berth in the NCAA tournament.  We were at the CAA tournament during March 4 -7 at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore when they ran out of gas (as I had predicted earlier) in the championship game.  Nonetheless, it was a pleasant vacation and an exciting four days.  This year’s tournament is scheduled in Charleston, S.C., and it is currently on our radar screen.

 

Three of last year’s super starting five are gone.  As a former educator, I’m always interested in the disposition of the players once they graduate.  It was tough getting straight answers this year but this is what I know at this point in time: Koon is playing somewhere in Europe, with Green and Tanksley playing (I hope) in the NBA Developmental League.

 

This year’s team?  Here is my analysis at the time of the posting of this article (December 25).  The loss of last year’s BIG three was indeed BIG – the two top scorers (including Player of the Year Green) and the power forward.  The team had a decent recruiting year.  (Note: Every team claims they had a great recruiting year, so I no longer believe these press releases.)  Notable additions include Deron Power (Hampton transfer), Eli Pemberton (freshman), Hunter Sabety (Tufts transfer), and Ty Greer (Daytona State transfer).  Notable returnees – in addition to Gustys and Bernardi – include Desure Buie (out for year), Justin Wright-Foreman, and Jamall Robinson.  Are there any concerns?  Should there be concerns?  The answer is YES.  The team is presently in a developmental stage and only time will tell to what degree they will develop and improve.  They have demonstrated an ability to score – sometime almost at will, 8but the defense is still somewhat porous.  For example, they were unable to adjust and negate St. Bonaventure’s two excellent guards during an earlier loss.  And, to compound this problem, the team continues to primarily play zone defense.  On the positive side is that Coach Mihalich is playing 8 players, so fatigue will not be a problem this season.
More on this year’s personnel.  All the noise is about freshman Eli Pemberton.  Mihalich claims he will have a super career at Hofstra.  An NBA scout told me that Pemberton’s number will be hanging from the rafters at the end of his collegiate career.  He is a great scorer but (contrary to Mihalich’s comments) is short on speed and defense–but I have been wrong many times in the past.  I believe that Hofstra’s hopes this year lie with two others.  Powers is the fastest guard I have seen in years–he is grease lightening.  What an absolute great addition to the backcourt.  Ty Greer is listed at 6’6” but I think is 6’8” tall (and growing?) with a long wingspan and tremendous leaping ability.  He’s the sleeper.  However, I have repeatedly claimed that it is great guards that get a team to a championship game, but it is great defensive guards that get you to the Promised Land; i.e., win a championship.  I’m not sure that Mihalich has someone to fill that role.  Bottom line: this may be Hofstra’s year.  Then again, it may turn out to be a rebuilding season for a host of reasons.

 

Attending Hofstra games for me still remains the best sports buy in the New York Metropolitan area; its’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?  I don’t think this is an exaggeration, but almost every home game last year turned out to be a thriller.  It was raw excitement.  Share it 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/post-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:

 

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

MARCH 1:                 On the Ideal Diet—That Works