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

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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

 

 


ON THE NESMITH BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME

September 1, 2016

September 1, 2016      

I always wanted to go to the basketball Hall of Fame (HOF) in Springfield, MA.  Well, it all came to be this winter on Wednesday (February 23) when we (along with another couple) drove up to Springfield on Tuesday in weather that could best be described as a snowy-wintry mix.  The 135 mile trip took 3 hours.  What follows are my edited transcribed notes on the trip.

 

  1. All basketball fans should visit the HOF.
  2. All non-basketball fans should visit the HOF at least once.
  3. If you plan to stay/sleep over, as opposed to a day trip, I suggest staying at the Hilton, which is immediately adjacent to the HOF.  Also, consider the package deal that includes admission and breakfast for 2.  It’s a beautiful hotel and worth the price.
  4. The HOF is 3-stories high.  The third floor contains photographs and writings of all the members of the HOF.  I was shocked at some who are members and some of whom are not members.
  5. One floor down is where you want to spend most of your time.  Here, you will find lots of goodies: early history, old-timers, stars of yesteryear, today’s heroes, the media, coaches, administrators, referees, the various conferences, etc.  There were guides there to keep the conservation flowing.  One guide – who never played basketball – had to be nearly 100 years old but lived in the area, was a riot.
  6. A basketball court is located on the bottom/first floor.  Your author’s 2-handed fowl shot of yesteryear went 10 for 25 despite shooting around 80% during earlier days.  My low times have changed.  Incidentally, your author was nicknamed “The Judge” during those earlier years because he spent so much time on the bench.
  7. The first floor also housed a very spacious and comfortable theatre.  My companions requested the movie on MJ although I would have preferred the one on Wilt.

 

Overall, it was a unique experience and would give it a grade of B.  Why not an A, you ask? A few things caught me wrong.  On reaching the third floor, I came face-to-face with the likes of Rick Pitino, Jim Calhoun, John Calipari, John Thompson, Mike Kriyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Dean Smith, etc. – individuals who have, in some form or another, disgraced the game of basketball.  Here are a few other sticklers.

 

  1. There was a very small section in a corner devoted to the NIT.  Isn’t the NIT a major and integral part of the game’s history?  How could this be?  And not a mention of Jack Powers, who served as the Executive Director for 21 years.  (Note: I have formerly nominated Jack for the HOF for the 2017 year.)  I hear admission is very political; but Matt Zeysong (4132315523), the Hall’s curator and historian, has assured me that it is not.

 

Is Jack a worthy candidate?  You be the judge.  He was a 4-year starter and star at Manhattan College, a 2nd team All-American, a coach at Manhattan College, and Athletic Director at Manhattan.  But if he is to be inducted, it will be as an Administrator because of his involvement with the NIT.  At the time of visiting the Hall, the NIT had been around for 74 years.  There have been countless games, innumerable players and coaches, and (of course) millions of fans.  It has endured wars, scandals, and NCAA expansion to continue showcasing some of the finest teams, coaches, and players that college basketball has to offer.  It has, however, fallen on hard times as of late.  Today’s NIT is a men’s college basketball tournament that is now owned and operated by the NCAA.

 

The idea of crowning a national champion began to surface among the New York City sportswriters, initiated by the late Irving Marsh of the Herald Tribune and the late Everett Morris of the Times.  In 1938, the idea became a reality when 6 teams were brought into the old Garden at 49th Street and 8th Avenue to find out who was the best in the land and subsequently being crowned NIT champion.  Enter the NCAA the next year.  “Many thought that when the NCAA Tournament later expanded its field to 64 teams, the NIT would just go away.  But that did not happen.  The NIT presently provides a much needed opportunity to programs that are on the upswing, to clubs that were disappointed by the NCAA selection committee, and to teams that had successful regular seasons but were upset in conference tournament play,” explained Powers, who—as mentioned earlier–ran the NIT for 21 years.

 

No discussion of the NIT would be complete without a discussion of the NIT’s battle for survival between the original NIT and the NCAA.  In 2005, the NCAA ultimately purchased 10-year rights to the NIT from the MIBA for $56.5 million in order to settle an antitrust lawsuit spearheaded by Powers, which was in trial and being litigated until very shortly before the settlement was announced.  The NIT did not initially move from New York City.  However the NIT is presently located in Indianapolis, IN, home of the NCAA.  The selection committee was changed and Powers was unfortunately relegated to member status.  What do the fans in the reading audience think?  Give me a call at (516) 742-8939.  Your comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

 

  1. There was absolutely no mention of the point-shaving scandals in recent years and during the barnstorming days of the original Celtics.

 

  1. There was absolutely no mention of the corruption charges that have been leveled at the NCAA.  No doubt the reader is aware of the recent Boeheim, Pitino, Calipari, Dean Smith, Calhoun, etc.,   scandals.  Note that all of above are members of the HOF.*

 

  1. There was absolutely no mention of the student-athletic scam being perpetrated by the NCAA.*

 

  1. There was absolutely no mention of the adamant refusal of the NCAA to pay players a fair salary.*

 

*As documented in my recent “Basketball Coaching 101” book, I first brought this to the attention of the basketball community 12 years ago.

Bottom line:  It was a worthwhile experience despite the Camelot whitewashing.  I suggest you consider a visit this fall.

 

 

 

Visit the author at:

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

 

NEXT POSTINGS:  (tentative):

 

OCTOBER 1:             On the OHI Day IV

NOVEMBER 1:         On “THE” Election

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2016-17 Hofstra Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             One Purely Chaste, Pristine, and Random Thoughts XXIV

 


ON BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA V

May 31, 2016

 

June 1, 2016

 

As the winds of war were approaching a Category 5 hurricane during the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, there were two political camps in our nation:  one favored isolation and the other was anti-isolation.  The isolationists either refused to believe or ignored the atrocities being committed by the Nazis against Jews, Poles, and (soon after) the Russians, and the Japanese against the Koreans, Chinese, and other southeastern Asian people.  It is now widely accepted that this ideology led to the death and suffering of millions of innocent people; earlier intervention could have unquestionably prevented this.  The isolationists chose to look the other way for fear of shedding American blood on foreign soil.  Joining these isolationists was England’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.  However, former Secretary of State Henry Stimson detested the isolationists.  He warned that “lawlessness in the international order did not confine itself to a few spots; if not contained, like fire, it sparked and flared outward until it burned everything around it.”  Few were ready to heed his warning.

 

What subsequently occurred is now history, and it is Winston Churchill (my hands-down selection for Man of the 20th Century) that we now have to thank for both our survival and current way of life.  Keep in mind that we, as a nation, have a past history of ignoring danger, of underestimating evil forces, and of lacking discipline and resolve.

 

When growing up, I was told in school that we can learn a lot from history.  Have our current leaders learned anything from history?  You be the judge.  But, I believe Barack Hussein Obama (BHO) is the second coming of Neville Chamberlain.  Thanks to BHO, with his reckless and insane policies, the world today is fast approaching the equivalent of WWIII.  At a minimum, this supposed man of peace has wrought devastation on the Middle East and Eastern Europe.  Some people simply can’t handle certain jobs.  BHO is one such individual.  One can only hope that his conduct and actions will be corrected in the very near future.

 

But there is more, and that is what this 5th article on BHO is all about.  It seems that anything this guy touches or gets involved with either goes wrong or turns out to be a disaster.  The guy is absolutely uncanny.  And yes, for those who faithfully read this newsletter, there were the 7 articles in 2009-10 detailing that BHO is (1) dumb; (2) lazy; (3) un-American, (4) corrupt; (5) lying; (6) racist; (7) egomaniac; and, believe I could prove in a court of law that (1) – (7) were in fact true.

 

Did I mention that there is more?  Here are some notes from my BHO files since the BHO IV article last year.

 

  1. Bergdahl debacle;
  2. Left equipment in Iraq;
  3. Returned troops to Iraq;
  4. Joe Biden (talk about dumb people) claims victory in Iraq;
  5. ISIS continues to operate;
  6. ISIS continues to expand;
  7. Requires political correctness in military;
  8. Many military feel a sense of betrayal;
  9. Many can’t understand how some serve in the military with BHO at the helm;
  10. The “red line in the sand” comment refuses to go away;
  11. Turned the military into a social experiment;
  12. The dismantling of the military;
  13. Refused to take steps to stop Putin in the Ukraine;
  14. Refused to take steps to stop China in the China Sea;
  15. Signed a nuclear deal that will not prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power;
  16. Provided Iran with 150 billion dollars on a no-strings-attached basis;
  17. Released Guantanimo inmates who reportedly later killed Americans;
  18. How can a supposed constitutional scholar refer to the 57 states?;
  19. How can a supposed constitutional scholar refer to the corps as corpse?;
  20. Continues to miss many daily meetings;
  21. Continues to ignore earlier Black Panther voting violations;
  22. Told O’Reilly there was “not a smidgen of evidence” concerning the IRS/Lois Lerner conduct;
  23. Maintains that health costs will be cheaper;
  24. Maintains you can keep your doctor;
  25. Palled around with the Castros;
  26. Played golf immediately after a recent massacre;
  27. Attended a basketball game after a recent massacre;
  28. Continues to divide our people;
  29. Refuses to condemn the Black Lives Matter conduct and has instead embraced them;
  30. Provided reduced sentences for convicted drug dealers;
  31. Supports sanctuary cities;
  32. Refused to support Kate’s Law;
  33. Opposed to all forms of firearms;
  34. Opposed to all forms of fracking;
  35. Blanket support of economically disastrous climate change policies;
  36. Supports regulations that are crippling small businesses;
  37. Supports regulations that are stifling jobs;
  38. Continues to ignore his rejection of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission report that he requested;
  39. His domestic policies will ultimately allow democracy and the constitution to be slain in the name of democracy and the constitution;
  40. There are problems for those who do not share BHO’s views; and,
  41. Continues to claim that relations with Israel have never been better.

 

Here is a bit more.  Although not totally a fan of Trump, he and O’Reilly have it right claiming the media is corrupt.  Here is an example of what we are fighting.  A recent New York Times article titled, “Eight Years after the Crash” noted that “unemployment is at 5 percent, deficits are down, and the Obama economy is growing”.  Of course unemployment is not at 5 percent, the deficit is approaching 20 trillion dollars, and despite capitalism – where downturns are almost immediately corrected – the economy is still stagnant.

 

My apologies if I’ve overdone it with BHO.

 

Visit the author on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:  (tentative):

 

JULY 1:                      On Financial Inequity I

AUGUST 1:                On Financial Inequity II

SEPTEMBER 1:         On the Nesmith Basketball Hall of Fame

OCTOBER 1:             On the OHI Day IV

NOVEMBER 1:         On “THE” Election

DECEMBER 1:          On the 2016-17 Hofstra Basketball Season

JANUARY 1:             One Purely Chaste, Pristine and Random Thoughts XXIV

 


ON HOFSTRA’S 2015-16 MEN’S BASKETBALL: A SUMMARY ANALYSIS

April 1, 2016

April 1, 2016

 

This is the third and last article on Hofstra’s 2015-16 Men’s Basketball team.  Here is a summary report of what took place this season and what to expect for the following year.

 

This was a banner year for the club.  The team basically featured a near dream offense that was unfortunately complemented with a porous defense.  There was the starting five that consisted of Rokas Gustys (C), Denton Koon (PF), Ameen Tanksley (SF), Brian Bernardi (#2), and Juan’ya Green (#1).  Rokas – who I refer to as “The Brute” – came into his own this season and probably should have been behind MVP Green for MVP honors.  Freshman Desure Buie had a decent season.  The club beat Florida State (neutral site), lost to South Carolina at the buzzer (neutral site), and beat St. Bonaventure (at Olean).   The club’s record, prior to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) tournament: 22-8, 14-4.

 

I attended the CAA Tournament in Baltimore in early March where I was treated to 7 thrilling games over a 3-day span.  What a great vacation.  The tournament itself was the culminating event of the Hofstra season.  Without going into details, the team made it to the finals but lost to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) in overtime.  The general consensus of the media following the loss was that Hofstra suffered from “fatigue” and “was running on fumes” while the UNCW defense – particularly against the two Hofstra guards – contributed significantly to the loss.  The season ended with a thrilling but another heartbreaking 2-point loss in the NIT at George Washington; interestingly, GW then went on to decisively win the NIT championship at the Garden.

 

Here is what I had to say earlier in the season:  “This may be Hofstra’s year.  Then again, it may turn out not to be for a host of reasons.  At the top of the list is a porous defense, following by the lack of a backup center, the lack of a shot blocker, and the lack of a great defensive guard.  Furthermore, Coach Mihalich appears constrained by a 5-man rotation due to the loss of Malik Nichols, which could expand to six with the addition of Buie; this might spell disaster in a potential 3-day/3-game tournament in March.  I maintain that 35+ minute players in a high powered offense will unquestionably cheat on defense – and this problem needs to be addressed.”  No one will ever convince me that a 35-40 minute starter will play with the same intensity defensively as a sub who knows his playing time is limited to under 10-12 minutes.

 

Here is a comment from afar from two fans on this season.  Bob Hausner:  “The Pride lived up to expectations.  The CAA proved to be competitive and Hofstra was in the mix.  They came down to the wire and lost heartbreakers in the tournament final game and the NIT first round.  Their starting five was the equal of any other team in the CAA.  Green lived up to all preseason expectations.  Unfortunately, the loss of Nichols, the 6th man, was devastating and hurt the team.  The short bench resulted in their running out of gas in the last game.”  Ed Borenstein:  “As a former alumni and long-time Hofstra basketball fan, I was very excited that Hofstra finally won the CAA conference plus had the CAA player of the year in Jaun’ya Green.  Although it was disappointing that they lost the championship game in the CAA Tournament, they played hard and got into the NIT.  I’m looking forward to next year and have confidence that Joe will build on the progress they made.”

 

Next season?   Assuming Rokas and Buie will not transfer, the club should have a reasonable chance to again be in the hunt for top honors.  With only minimal improvement, I would expect Rokas to contend for MVP honors the next two years.  Three point specialist Bernardi should be set for another good season.  Buie is the wild card.  He could make the Hofstra faithful forget about the great guards of yesteryear – Speedy, Charles Jenkins, Moore, Green, etc.  He too could become part of the MVP picture during the next three years.  He should improve dramatically in the future but what I love most about this skinny impersonator for a basketball player is his great defense.  Remember what I stated in my book Basketball Coaching 101:    “In reality, defense has recently emerged as the name of the game.  The author has 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, defense has almost always been an afterthought…  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.  Bottom line:  defense doesn’t get the credit it deserves in the role it can play in determining the outcome of a game.”

 

All in all, it should be another very good year, particularly if the team exceeds the minimum requisite defense DNA.

 

Here is a comment from afar from an avid fan on next year’s season (Bob Bernstein):  “This will obviously be a very difficult season with the loss of Green, Tanksley, Koon and Nichols.  But there is some good news: two notable additions are 6’8” Oceanside transfer (from Tufts) Hunter Sabety, and guard Deron Powers from Hampton College.  Notable returns, in addition to Rokas and Bernardi, are 6’10” Andre Walker and small forward Jamail Robinson.  There are a lot of positives.”
Here is some personal information on the three seniors as the spotlight dims and they ride off to a new way of life – perhaps never to be heard from again.

 

  1. Kenton Koon, the graduate transfer from Princeton University. I dubbed Kenton the most underrated player on the team, primarily because of his court savvy.  He was also the only player on the starting five who didn’t look for his shot.  He was my type of contributor – a true team player.

 

  1. We are all hoping that Green will be drafted (by the NBA) sometime in the coming months. He has a legitimate shot because of his great passing, excellent foul shooting, and tremendous court presence.  Shooting, speed, and defense may be questioned by some interested teams.  From a personal perspective, I would draft him because great one (#1) guards have always been close to my heart.  Perhaps Speedy Claxton can help.
  2. Ameen Tanksley probably hopes to make it in Europe and he has a reasonable shot to succeed. He had a great CAA Tournament.  The main problem is that he is a “tweener”, i.e., too small for a small forward (#3) and not possessing the qualities for a #2 guard.  But he is all heart and tough as nails.  His four years with Coach Mihalich is obviously a plus.

 

Baseball has arrived.   As my father often put it:  Let’s go Mets.  But it will be a while before this Hofstra basketball season leaves some of us.  But nonetheless, Coach Mihalich, his assistant coaches, Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway, and all the players need to be congratulated.  Thank you all for an exciting season.  It was also a memorable year in that Tom Yaeger, the CAA Commissioner since its inception 31 years ago, announced that he was retiring.   He and his wife plan to remain at their lake home in Virginia.  Congratulations, good luck and good health to Tom.

 

I close with a poetic executive summary of the 2015-16 season.  My thoughts often turn to the passage of time which, in turn, are reminders of sayings involving the orbiting of the sun that have withstood the test of time.  Here is a sampling.

 

Henry David Thoreau

Walden. I, Economy

To him whose elastic and vigorous thought

keeps pace with the sun

the day is a perpetual morning.

 

Minot Judson Savage

Things Not Done

There comes an hour of sadness

With the setting of the sun,

Not for the sins committed,

But the things I have not done.

 

Edward Young

Night Thoughts

Like our shadows,

Our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.

 

How does the above relate to this narrative?  Darkness is now approaching for the two kids from Philly who provided two years of immense basketball talent as they prepare to ride off into the sunset, awaiting a new beginning.  But then, having stepped out of the darkness and experienced the early morning rays of light upon the darkened sky, Buie now awaits his day in the sun.  Perhaps Scarlett O’Hara (Vivian Leigh) said it best when the curtain descended on Margaret Mitchell’s classic “Gone with the Wind” “After all, tomorrow is another day.” (perhaps drawn from Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixode – tomorrow will be a new day?).

 Visit the author on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:  (tentative):

 

MAY 1:                       On the 2016 East Williston School District Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Barack Hussein Obama V

JULY 1:                      On Financial Inequity


ON PURELY CHASTE, PRISTINE AND RANDOM THOUGHTS XXIII

February 27, 2016

 

This a unique one.  Rather than to provide 25-30 one-liners, I’ve decided to do something different for this 23rd edition of the “random” series.  This one contains a short paragraph on topics of interest to me.  Here is a dozen.

 

  1. The Hill. I open with Hillary Clinton.  Here is my description of the Clintons:  They are two thoroughly rotten human beings: lying, manipulating, deceiving, exploiting, etc. have become a way of life for both of them.  Her laugh and cackling are totally artificial.  Polls seen to indicate that young women voters are rejecting her.

 

  1. Hofstra Men’s Basketball (2015-16). This may be Hofstra’s year.  Then again, it may turn out not to be for a host of reasons.  At the top of the list is a porous defense, followed by the lack of a backup center, the lack of a shot blocker, and the lack of a great defensive guard.  Furthermore, Coach Mihalich appears committed to a five-man rotation due to the loss of Malik Nichols, which could expand to six with the addition of Buie; this might spell disaster in a potential three-day/three-game tournament in March.  I maintain that 35+ minute players in a high powered offense will unquestionably cheat on defense – and this problem needs to be addressed.  Nonetheless, it’s been a great year and they have a solid, exciting club.

 

  1. Basketball Coaching 101. My Basketball Coaching 101 (436-page) book is still out in the marketplace at either Amazon.com or createspace.com for $17.95.

 

  1. Society needs to come to grips with the reality that environmentalists and their supporters are probably the greatest threat to society.  They are a frightening group that is fanatical.  This group will do anything – lie, manipulate, deceive, etc. – to achieve its misguided goals, including saving Mother Earth from itself.  Most of my colleagues in the field and I have separated ourselves from these sickos.

 

  1. Global Warming. Environmentalists justify their conduct by arguing that over 90% of the technical community supports their position on global warming.  But nearly all of the 90% they refer to have vested interests in their being this catastrophic problem facing society.  If there is no problem, most of these so-called experts will be out of a job.  At a minimum, there will be no tenure, no promotions, no articles, no consulting, no books, no government grants and contracts, etc.  And, the environmental organizations that also support this scam will have greater difficulty in generating funding, donations, and government support.  Finally, nearly all my colleagues in this field do not support the environmentalists’ claims.

 

  1. Killeen’s Tavern. It has been 60 years since the birth of the Killeen’s Tavern basketball team.  The relentless passage of time has taken its toll on the group.  However, here is how Ron Roel described the Boys of Killeen’s in a feature Newsday front-page article (May 12, 2005) titled “Pivotal Friendships”:  “They teamed up 50 years ago on a tavern basketball squad and their connections still have bounce.  When the boys of Killeen’s Tavern gather to remember the times they spent as a tough and talented street basketball team decades ago, the rules are quickly evident, even to newcomers:  you’d better duck… From the moment you enter their company, the wisecracks whiz by, sometimes from unexpected quarters, like a behind-the-back pass.  But, by most standards, this team has shown remarkable resilience and continuity, meeting once or twice a year, socializing in smaller groups, attending the weddings of each other’s children, occasionally vacationing together, and watching TV sporting events like ‘March Madness.’  A number of the men have died.   And while most of the remaining team members still live in the metropolitan area, a few come from Florida, Georgia and North Carolina to attend the reunions.”

 

  1. Eli Manning. The New York Giants are toast.  There is no hope for the next season and any other season if Manning is quarterback.  He is definitely the most overrated and luckiest quarterback of all time.  Their only hope is to draft a quarterback and start anew.

 

  1. The Factor. It’s primarily the main non-sports show that I watch.  I don’t read papers.  I definitely don’t read The New York Times; the same applies to Newsday.  I don’t read magazines.  I don’t watch any news programs on TV.  I have come to intensely dislike Megan Kelly (Fox) who I earlier immediately described as a phony.  Bill O’Reilly’s (BOR) Factor is all I need for news.  Our nation should be grateful to BOR for providing, unlike most news sources, fair and balanced news coverage.  Nonetheless, I’m still annoyed that BOR has failed to acknowledge my dedication to him in one of my recent books.

 

  1. Great Eats. There have been several requests for a follow-up on an earlier article entitled “Great Eats.  It would not be feasible to address all the various ethnic restaurants but will limit it to Italian for this short paragraph.  The best pizza remains Vincent’s (Albertson).  For dinner, I recommend Angelina’s (Williston Park), Vincent’s Clam bar (Carle Place), and Umberto’s (off Lakeville Road in New Hyde Park).

 

  1. As noted some time back, people are now finally coming to grips with the corruption within the NCAA.  The recent findings of the phantom programs, inflated grades, no-show courses at the University of North Carolina for the past 20 years are just the tip of the iceberg.  Violations are popping up at nearly all the schools with major basketball and football programs.   The reality is that nearly all the programs (if not all) are cheating in some manner or form.  The only difference is the degree of cheating.

 

  1. Man of the Century? I have Obama in the running for Idiot, Boob, and Traitor of the Century.  I have Hill and Bill as the two most rotten individuals of the Century.  But the Man of the Century? Or is it woman? That has yet to be decided.

 

  1. Barack Hussein Obama. The reincarnation of Neville Chamberlain.  Where does one start? Or is it end?  I believe that a fair, intelligent, and objective individual – after examining all of BHO’s actions, policies, background, appointments, and comments – would have to conclude that he has served as a major liability to our great nation.  I just can’t see it any other way.   Has he knowingly and deliberately attempted to hurt us?  Perhaps Dick Cheney said it best:  “If you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing.”

 

I’ll return in 8-10 months to the usual format with a couple of dozen one-liners.  Hopefully, they will engage (or perhaps enrage) the reader.

 

Visit the author  on his Facebook page at Basketball Coaching 101

 

NEXT POSTINGS:  (tentative):

 

APRIL 1:                    On the Basketball Hall of Fame

MAY 1:                       On the 2016 East Williston School District Budget Vote

JUNE 1:                      On Barack Hussein Obama V

JULY 1:                      On Financial Inequity