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Big D

Purple Fans
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Everything posted by Big D

  1. I think anyone who likes Will and wants him to stay should be encouraged by interview on Wyland's show today. Will said he had a "great meeting" with Benson. His tone was very upbeat about the UA program and the team next year. Wyland probably knows more than he lets on...and he was optimistic about Will returning next year.
  2. That is interesting about Hurley. Boosters/outside sources can play an important role in keeping good coaches at the mid-major level. Amaker reportedly gets close to $1 million to coach at Harvard, with the substantial majority of that coming from sources outside the men's basketball budget. I doubt there is that level of outside resources/commitment connected to the hoop program at UA, but maybe something can be cobbled together that works for all involved. I'm sure Benson will do what he can to keep Will and reward him for the team's success. .
  3. I think the number for either school will be more like $750k a year for five years. Both Pecora and Hewitt had contracts in that range. If WB is offered that type of deal, especially from GMU, it will be tough to keep him. Benson doesn't really have any control over this.
  4. Will might leverage a Fordham offer to improve his deal with UA, but it's hard to imagine he would take that job...Fordham can't win in the A-10 and may end up in the Patriot League in a few years. I can't see him leaving unless 1) he gets a big raise (think $3 million over 5 yrs) 2)at a program that can win and 3)in a location his family is comfortable. Some A-10 schools would fit that bill, but not Fordham.
  5. Given the stakes, the Hooley backstory, and how much we struggled to score during the first 39:55 of the game, that was one of the most amazing finishes we will ever see. As noted above, Mike Rowley is an unsung hero swishing two FTs under tremendous pressure. Great to see a good student turnout despite spring break. Also, it has to be said that Stony Brook fans were great, their band was outstanding, and their presence added to the electric atmosphere at SEFCU Arena. For those of you hoping for bigger arenas, playing at TU Center, etc., Saturday's game is a reminder that there is nothing better than a packed on campus venue for a college hoop game.
  6. Lillis is in Chicago working in financial services. He was at SEFCU for the UMBC last Sunday
  7. Once a year is enough for me. Also, to be fair, Siena pay day for the UA game is not really $200K. More like $80K which reflects the difference between a non Conference home game vs another team (5-6000 in attendance) and 11000 for UA minus tickets given to UA and additional cash payment. Still a great boost for them but not $200K
  8. I know some of you think otherwise, but the idea of alternating the designated “home team” at the TUC is a much less attractive option. It will never feel like a home game. At best, it will be a neutral game. Even if we had the courtside seats, the majority of the fans would still route for Siena. Also, Siena season ticket holders are strongly opposed to this concept, and do not want to be relegated to visitors seats on Siena’s home court. This creates an additional negotiating obstacle A few other points: UA has earned the right to have a home. It’s really a question of competitive fairness. As noted, Providence agrees to play at URI every other year even though thousands are closed out when the game is played at URI. Villanova plays in St. Joe’s small gym every other year. Same principals of fairness should apply to Siena-UA going forward. Dumping the game is the easy way out and I hope it doesn't happen. Most people/fans of both teams look forward to the game. It’s certainly better than the usual non-conference games against Ivy, Patriot, MAAC/AE type teams that fill a big chunk of the non-conference home game slate for both Siena and UA. Siena might be able to get a high profile team to come to the TUC once every few years, but that would be the exception to the usual boring non-conference opponent. Even more true for us at SEFCU. Playing at SEFCU every other year would add some juice to the rivalry. I’d bet that at least 500 Siena fans would find a way to see a Siena UA game live at SEFCU through team/player allotments or otherwise. (Vermont always brings a few hundred fans which adds to the atmosphere). The rest can watch on TV and look forward to a home game at the TUC the following year. The only way a home and home (TUC/SEFCU) deal hurts Siena is they have to play a true road game against a local rival. If that’s the reason why D’Argenio doesn’t want to play at SEFCU, then there is no room for compromise and the series will likely end. The ball is in his court and I agree with WB on this.
  9. The game is good for the area and should be continued if rational minds sit down to work out a solution. WB's arguments have less to do with money than with competitive fairness. There are two equitable ways to continue this game. The first is to have a traditional home and home series the way it is done with most non-conference rivalries. One year at Siena’s home venue (TUC) with Siena keeping all the revenue. The next year at UA’s home venue (SEFCU) with UA keeping all the revenue. Those Siena fans who have suddenly become advocates for the “community interest” in having as many people as possible attend the game, should be honest with themselves…they're not using this line of argument because they care about the community, but rather as a pretext for not yielding on the current arrangement. There are numerous examples of other local rivals agreeing on a home and home arrangement. Providence College and URI have a long standing home and home series, even though an extra 5000 get to see the game when it is in Providence (12,500 vs. 7500). Boston College and Harvard have been playing home and home (9000 seats at BC vs. 2100 seats at Harvard). The other option is to have the teams alternate as the home team at the TUC. That’s the way Providence and URI used to do it in the 80s-90s. That’s the way Villanova, Penn and St. Joe’s used to do it (using the Palestra as the venue). Any other proposal is based on a false narrative…that Siena and UAlbany are not competitive equals. That narrative was true 10 or 15 years ago but no longer. Losing 4 of the last 5 years should make this clear to even the most delusion Siena fan. I personally prefer the traditional home and home arrangement, and think alternating sites would add energy and interest to the game. The rivalry is fun and the game gives the area sports fan something to look forward to each year. If the series is cancelled, both sides lose, but it should not continue on the current terms.
  10. I'm with you on Burlington, but most D1 hoop prospects don't care much about ski mountains, hiking gear, etc.
  11. I doubt Vermont aspires to move up in conference. Hockey is the only other sport of significance at UVM, and they already play in the Hockey East, which is one of the top conferences for that sport. UA's future in hoops is obviously tethered to football and lacrosse, and I agree moving up in conference level would be a challenge for many reasons, the most important being money. That should not be an excuse for mediocrity in the AE basketball conference. The first step to growth is sustained excellence in the conference you play in, whether it is the America East or elsewhere. Vermont can do it with different coaches, substandard facilities, remote location, etc. We should be able to do it as well. Maybe not every year, but most years. Butler moved up because they dominated the weak Horizon conference, Creighton dominated the stronger Missouri Valley before they moved up, VCU did the same in the CAA.
  12. Haha, I hope too! Just trying to figure the facts, comparisons etc behind why there's a ledge people are on with the program being on a 'downswing'. People can feel anyway they want we are all entitled to that, I guess I look for facts and figures which tie to real expectations.. not just what "I feel" as a fan should happen, but realistically what can happen based on history. Not saying UA couldn't make history, we could I guess.. but not sure how realistic that is. Anyway, I just enjoy the wins, stay through the losses, clap that we have smart kids on the team, be optimistic that would get to the tourney every year and in 22 years hope we can finally have a home game against Siena. MsGDG, you seem like a knowledgeable and enthusiastic supporter of the UA hoop program and I have no problem with your positive, “glass half full” appraisal. I don't think the current state of the Siena program has anything to do with the trajectory of the UA program since Jamar graduated. I use Jamar as the touchstone because we squandered the opportunity to leverage the success he brought to the program. Some programs havea special player who not only wins while he is there, but also transforms the program going forward. Contrast our performance "post-Jamar" with Vermont's performance "post Coppenrath". Before Coppenrath played for UVM, the Catamounts were a perennial losing program and a frequent doormat in the AE. From 1970 to 2001 (32 seasons) UVM never won more than 16 games and had a losing record in 25 out of 32. Since 2001 (Coppenrath's freshman year), Vermont has won 20 or more games 10 of 12 years, with 8 AE championship game appearances. Clearly, the success of the Coppenrath years raised the UVM profile, which was used by Lonergan to land better recruits (Trimboli, Blakely, Voelkel, etc), and perpetuated Vermont's success. We have not come close to replicating that kind of sustained excellence in the AE. I am realistic about the UA program...there are structural limitations (especially the bball budget-which is low major for sure) which make it hard to move up. The hoop budgets for teams in the CAA are substantially higher than ours. Hoop budgets in the A10 are 2-3 times larger than ours. That may continue to be a challenge down the road, but there is no reason why we should not win 10-14 games in AE conference play year in, year out. Injuries, JUCO's who don't pan out, bad calls by refs, and all the other micro-explanations can no longer be used to justify a sub-.500 conference record in the AE. Six years ago, I thought the balance of power had shifted from UVM to UA. I thought every home game would be like the Big Purple Growl by now. The reality is that very little has changed. I still enjoy going to games, will still support the team in other ways, but the program seems to be stuck in neutral for the foreseeable future.
  13. I'm frustrated that we struggled to beat Binghamton and UMBC at home. I expect more than that from the Men's hoop program at this point. Yes, we can explain away a bad performance in any single game based on almost anything ( injuries, missed foul shots, matchup problems, hot shooting opponent, etc. etc). A large sample of games tells a more meaningful story, and I must admit to being very disappointed with the evolution of the program since Jamar graduated. Since then (6 1/2 years ago), our AE conference record is a thoroughly mediocre 49-53. We should dominate the America East. Vermont is 76-25 in conference play during the same time frame. Beyond that, our attendance is static, community interest is no different than it was 7 years ago, and there does not appear to be any reason to think league dominance is coming anytime soon. There was a feeling in 2007 that the UA hoop program was on the launching pad, and that with a few more good recruiting classes, we would outgrow the AE, and every game would be close to a sellout. That has not happened. I like a lot of our current players, and I certainly appreciate that WB recruits high character freshman who are student-athletes. I like coach, respect what he does, and have supported him when others were " calling for his head" in the past. Mike Brown's layup vs. Stonybrook in the AE tourney, followed by the terrific win at Patrick in the AE final, earned WB another contract, so talk about coaching changes are pointless for at least a couple of years. Coach Abe is a good example of what a talented coach can do for a program. That is a discussion for another time. What we need in the short term is on the court talent (4 year talent, not JUCOs who may give you one productive year) and a plan for growth, not sustained mediocrity.
  14. Tough to watch the last 25 minutes. Siena looked like they wanted it more...played harder, contested every shot we took in the 2d half. No reason to hit the panic button, with some winnable games coming up, and conference games not starting for a couple of weeks, but this loss revealed a lack of toughness, that is always a cause for concern. We never attacked the Siena press. Siena was not turning us over much, but we wasted 10-15 seconds each possession breaking the press without gaining an advantage or getting any easy baskets. We also stopped pressing, which allowed Siena to comfortably work the ball inside on almost every possession. Time to hit the delete button and move on with the season. s a final thought, this game really should be played on a Saturday night. The TUC had almost no energy at the opening tip. Announced attendance was a joke. Maybe 6500 bodies in the building. Many empty lower bowl seats (including the UA sections which our ticket office claimed were "sold out" last week).
  15. On the court performance against Siena has a lot to do with off the court leverage. The more we win, the more we add value to the matchup in terms of fan interest, ticket sales and ultimately $$$. So as much as we gripe about contract terms, playing on the road, etc., the reality is Siena has the upper hand because they have been the better program over the last few years, based on wins, attendance, recruiting and any other metric of success you want to look at. I don't like that, but it's true. Unless there is a major change in the status of the two programs, Siena will never agree to being the visiting team on its home court. My strong preference going forward is to have the series alternate between the TUC (Siena home game-they get all the $$) and SEFCU (UA home game-we get all the $$). Time Warner is televising the game this year, so that should continue (at least for UA home games, since SEFCU would certainly sell out). The bottom line is a couple of more UA wins would really help make what is now a fun college hoop "event" into a true and equal "rivalry".
  16. Putting the UA-Siena game on TV is a mistake. Attendance will probably suffer. One of the main reasons Siena likes this game (especially with the trajectory of the two programs the past few years) is the 4-5,000 attendance "bump" vs. another out of conference opponent. I realize we don't get any financial benefit from higher attendance, but the game remains important in terms of recruiting, fan interest and media attention. Capital region fans shouldn't be given any reason to stay home. If you want the UA-Siena series to continue, it should not be on TV.
  17. Dartmouth is the worst job in the Ivy League, by far. I'd be shocked if they match Brown's UA salary, let alone give him a meaningful increase in $. Maybe he's looking at the Donahue model for success at Cornell, but the only reason I can see Will taking the Dartmouth job is because he thinks he has no future at UA (i.e. he thinks things won't get better next year).
  18. I hope my comments are not constued as part of the "let's make a coaching change" drumbeat. Mine are more along the lines of can "coach make the changes necessary". Your four year example above however is a bit unfair to those that are extremely disappointed with the direction of the program. Including the NCAA years and not including this year (which is half over)? Right now it's the trend and the prospects for the next year or two. As much as we want to point at Will Harris, what if we didn't have him? Who do we see as providing offense to this team next year. Some want to point at Tim, good and bad, but if he continues to be inconsistent, where does the scoring come from? Forgetting the Yale game, has our offense looked good at any other point this year. CB just doesn't seem to be willing to change. In my opinion the stagnant offense is three years now. This causes a number of issues, many amplified by losing. Kids want to play a better brand of offense (see Siena) and the offense we run makes it difficult to recruit and will continue to do so. And on the flip side up tempo brings in offensive minded players (and yes they need to play some D too). It is also very difficult to watch. And from the board, and trust me, from the fan base this is a problem. Part of his job is to put fans in the arena. Do I want 100 pts a game, unrealistic. I do want more 70 point games than 50 point games, yes. His love of Giff is unexplainable. We start every game stagnant. We start every second half stagnant. Common thread is that at best you have four offensive options on the floor. Add to it that our 4's are not offensive threats either, we are at 3 threats on offense. Is Blake Metcalf the answer? Maybe, maybe not, but let's find out. We know what we have with Giff. How do other schools have multiple 3-pt options, and we have one - our small/power forward. Are our redshirts any good? The other real issue is that the number of better players that have left the program. There is always a reason, personality, didn't buy in, homesick etc. The fact is some of our best prospects are gone. Josh Martin was a good PG as a freshmen. Al Turley, offensive threat and tough precense on the floor down low. Raffa, hard nosed, tough, scorer and TO machine. At least two of these would be starters on this team. And if Raffa agreed to be a shooting gaurd, maybe 3. Whatever the reasons (and not the point in this debate), they are gone. I agree with most of your observations. Something will need to change in the next year or so. Hopefully it's the players getting better and winning more games. Again, my point is that Will has earned the right to have a bad year. (I don't consider the previous two years "bad years" in the context of UA Div. 1 basketball history). Drop offs are inevitable at the AE level. UVM went 13-17 the year after Coppenrath/Sorrentine graduated. Look at UMBC. They go from 24 wins and an NCAA berth 2 years ago, to 15 wins last year, to 1-14 so far this year. This is not the ACC, and we are not N. Carolina. You raise good questions about the freshmen and the redshirts. We have seen some good things from Tartt, Aronhalt and Metcalf. None of them look like all league players right now, but we hopefully will have 3 1/2 years to watch them grow as players. I want to see wins this year as much as anyone, but I'm trying to take the longer view, and more to the point, the head coach deserves our patience.
  19. The "let's make a coaching change" drum beat is premature and counter-productive. Will Brown has earned the right to have a bad year. Over the 4 years before this one, Will is 74-52 with two NCAA appearances and 15+ wins each season. By comparison, Lonergan is 78-49 with 0 NCAA appearances and 3 15+ win seasons. BU under Wolff the last 4 years was 52-67, with 0 NCAA appearances and only 1 15+ win season. No other coaches in the AE have records that are even close to Will and Lonergan. By the way, I also "like Will Brown as a person" but do not have "a personal relationship" with Coach, and have never met him. We are all disappointed with the results this year, but to say Will should be fired is ridiculous. I'm definitely concerned about the prospects for success with this current group of players. I see flashes of potential here and there, but I haven't seen one or two guys who are guaranteed all league type of players. Like some of the critical posters, I don't love Will's offensive system. Recruiting is another concern. We should be able to recruit upper echelon AE talent. UA is a good school, with good facilities, community support, and is a place with a recent tradition of winning basketball. We have alot of advantages over other AE schools, but it has not panned out thus far in the post Jamar/Lucious/Lillis era. My patience is not unlimited, and if we end this season at only 10 wins, and next year is as bad or worse, we can revisit the coaching conversation. But for now, Will Brown deserves the benefit of a doubt and the support of committed UA hoop fans.
  20. Smoky Joe's is another good pre or post game spot near the Palestra. When the place is full(which it won't be tomorrow) and the games is close, there is no better place to watch college hoop.
  21. I didn't see the loss as having anything to do with a lack of intensity by the coach or the players. The sad reality is there is a wide disparity in talent level between Siena and UA right now. R. Moore is a great point guard. He brings the ball up at 100 mph, and finds the open man without turning the ball over much. He makes everyone else on Siena much better. It looked like Will decided to pack in the defense and give up the outside shot in order to deny Rossiter and Franklin inside. Not a bad game plan (Siena doesn't shot the three that well), but Jackson was hot early, we were turning the ball over early and often, and Siena was off to the races. The bigger concern was the inability to get good looks at the basket on the offensive end. Again, alot of credit goes to the unrelenting defensive pressure from Siena. I know the scoring problems have been hashed out at length here, but in our best years, we shot almost 40% from three as a team. With the current group of players, everything looks like a struggle, no baskets come easy. Recruiting good mid- major DI talent is an art, not a science, but something has been missing the last few years, and it seems we have squandered the recruiting opportunities which came from the NCAA years.
  22. Disappointing finish after a good effort from this young group. Morgan St. has several good all around players. Danes did not execute down the stretch, after grabbing a 4-5 point lead with about 8 minutes to go. Student turnout was excellent, with good energy from students sections even though we were behind most of the game. The non-student turnout was disappointing for a home opener. As others have noted, positive contributions form Black, Tartt, Lindfors and Aronhalt. They will add much needed depth to the rotation. I'm not sure if this is a 13 win team or a 19 win team, but it was good to see some new faces who are ready to contribute.
  23. I think they'd be better off without him. Perhaps they'd lose a few years, but college athletics at this level isn't about winning if you aren't winning the right way. College sports at this level cost every single school millions of dollars a year. Its a pretty poor investment to "mortgage" your credibility for a 14-16 seed. Do it the right way or don't do it at all.
  24. A bench player like MCCray getting kicked out of a practice should not be news. Of course, in the "digital age" of news, a beat writer like Singelais will blog about little things like this to keep the Times Union relevant. The team is down, so this tidbit of information about internal strife adds to the "Brown has lost the team" narrative some posters (both pro and anti UA) are trying to push. No need to lock threads though. Differing opinions are the reason these fan forums exist. I have never been a fan of Brown's offense...too deliberate and too easily exploited by an aggressive overplaying defense denying the wing pass. But I also know this same offensive set has produced 20 win seasons. Yes, Jamar was a big part of that, but we also had a complimentary group who could consistently make shots from the perimeter. The current group does not have that. In the two latest losses, Danes have made exactly 2 out of 25 3pt attempts. Harris is 0 for his last 14 over the last 4 games. That level of ineptitude speaks for itself. The bottom line is that this team is not very good, and Raffa has not been himself since the foot/toe injury. My hope at this point is we make the AE Quarter final game on Sat and win it. Anything after that is gravy this year.
  25. I generally agree with UAMA's take on the game. The ball was definitely bouncing UVM's way most of the night. But I also thought they were much more focused on both ends of the floor, and executed their game plan better than we did. As for the Lillis/Ambrose comparison, Lillis definitely was prone to the two quick reach in fouls his soph and junior year. The difference is that Lillis was a role player on those teams (especially on offense). Ambrose is the primary scoring threat on this years team. We have enough trouble scoring even with Ambrose on the floor. Playing the first half without him made it extremely difficult to get good scoring opportunities. Barazza's shooting kept us in the game, but Ambrose was the one guy who could have attacked Vermont's aggressive man to man. Lets hope for a strong finish in conference play, and we may get another crack at UVM in the AE tourney.
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