My wishes for Central

So I get back into full swing with the blog right at the end of the year. Figures.
For now, let's talk hoops.
Ugh, what a disaster of a game Thursday night. This group has played together (most of them) for two years now. The time for the youth and inexperience excuses to be used is gone.
Coach was pretty scathing yesterday, and the preview story you'll read tomorrow in the paper will be the same.
Speaking for myself: Ken Horton has all the talent he needs to take over this league, and it's time for him to use it. There's still time for a couple of big awards for Horton, but he must go out and earn them.
Ken, remember that dunk at Wagner? Remember when things were slipping away and you dunked over two guys, pounded the floor and screamed as if to say "this game is mine and you will NOT take it from me"? Your team needs that guy to come back for the next two weeks. The best player on the team needs to take the team on his back when it matters most.
Marcus: You too are talented. You can shoot and get 10 rebounds. This is your final stretch of college basketball. Maybe your last stretch of organized basketball. Make the most of it.
David: Keep working. We all saw what you can do early in the second half Thursday. Keep it up.
Joe: Keep shooting and keep smiling. It's gotta go in eventually.
Shemik: Become the general. You are almost there. You've evolved into a leader. You've learned to be a point. Now be the man. That doesn't mean take 20 shots, it just means be the rock.
Bench: Time to step up.


update from Detrick:
Kenny and Tamir are both dressed. I was told Kenny will play but not start. We'll see.

Big correction

I wrote my preview quick today and made a booboo.

Quinny must WIN tonight for Central to have a shot at 4th. Everything else in my list (I think) is correct. It's fixed online. Sorry about that.

I'm back

Ok, much to make up for in terms of my absence.

First I wanted to touch on the last win. A phenomenal effort with just eight players. Really, really impressive. You're seeing some new faces make contributions, which can only help for the future. As I wrote then, it reminded me of 2007 again.

That effort will be needed again tomorrow night against Monmouth. It's Marcus's night , and I have a feeling he's going to respond with a bunch of 3-pointers.

As to the reference to me on the board: This is very unofficial, but my guess is that Tamir definitely plays, Kenny likely plays and Chris doesn't. That's based on stuff I've heard during the week, but please don't take that as official. Though I will take it as a good sign that Ken is listed as a probable starter on the notes I received.

One bad thing I wanted to bring up: To the CCSU students: You need to do a better job. Your women's team was playing the biggest home game it has played in ages and hardly any of you were there. this team is one of the great success stories your school has had in years and deserves better.

Ok, soapbox over. Keep firing questions, been dying to do another mailbag.

2 quickies

I'll try and write more on the guttiest win of the year in a bit, but two things first.

1) To clear up my mistake on the radio today: Well, not so much a mistake as a leaving out of a scenario. Finishing second in the NEC doesn't necessarily guarantee the Blue Devils are going to the WNIT.
Here's how they could miss:
If someone other than Sacred Heart or CCSU wins the NEC tournament, Sacred Heart would go to the WNIT as the top-seeded team that missed the dance.

2) I saw the threat on the board today about coach Mac. I'm stunned. You all went from hating him to hoping he stays?

Wow, that just happened

So that's what I get to work with when getting ready to blog again?

Ok, let's just run through things quickly, as I feel like the less we talk about what just happened the better.

First, your health update: Kenny is a "game time decision" for Saturday. Tamir, I was told after the game, does not appear to have a concussion as was going around, just a cut over the eye, but he'll be checked out too. Baskerville, Howie said, could be out for a "longer period." He also has a concussion. Dave it is believed just cramped up. Shemik, despite looking like he's just been in a car accident, will show up. He always does.

Bruce got to nickname Kenny, so I want to get to nickname Shemik. I'm thinking "The General" because he is a leader, takes responsibility for everything, never ducks it, and is just a guy you want in a battle with you. What do you guys think?

Now, onto the game. Hoops, I half-agree, half don't. The Devils are certainly a different team without Kenny, but not because the rest of the team stinks. It's just that it changes everyone's roles.

David Simmons, when left to just rebound, can be good. Tamir is really starting to come around. Can he shoot? No. Can he help? Yes. Robby is a freshman and a shooter. He must get better at finding ways to help when he can't score, like Joe does. He will.

I still believe this team is going to be good, probably as soon as next year. Right now is just what happens when a young team starts to doubt itself. Again, remember: they're almost all sophomores.

As for tonight itself: Well, 2 things. Sacred Heart is very deep. They'll scare someone in the tourney. Watch out RMU. It's hard to expect much with all the injuries, but there MUST be more effort than that on defense. Especially at the end. That was the first time I was truly disappointed in the team's effort. You can't allow a team to score 100 without a fight. Too many times there were layups with no one running back to even try and rush a shot. Just a bad night, but again, I chalk it up to growing pains.

But now is about pride. Howie brought up a good point in the postgame (by the way, he again, and, rightly so, pointed out that CCSU has the best fans in the league). This team hasn't locked up a tourney berth yet. CCSU hasn't missed the NEC tournament in 11 years. Now is just about how you want this year to be remembered. Are you going to quit or try and bounce back?

Catching up

I'm writing this during the Bryant game, which CCSU leads by two as I write.

But wanted to catch up on the week. Thursday's effort was called many things by Coach D, but I'll add inexcusable. You're in a dogfight boys, you have to show up. Despite popular belief on the boards, it's not necessarily a talent thing, it's just an effort thing. It's totally understandable for a young team (remember LIU last year) but it's no less disappointing. I stand by my position that this team will be dominant in the future, perhaps even this year you won't want to play them in the NECs, but for now they're still too dang young.

I will say this though. I can't tell you how much respect I have for Shemik. Here's a kid who bleeds like crazy but still plays with a broken face. He goes into every interview blaming himself for anything, too.

Turnovers. His fault. Bad defense. His fault. Kenny can't get looks? His fault. He should have gotten him the ball. CCSU can't stop anyone inside? He shouldn't have let the ball get inside.

He's a great kid, a leader and willing to take the bad with the good. He'll be the general before he's gone.

Btw, CCSU won the game. More on that to come.

Change of plans

I was going to catch up on the last 4 days or so of hoops, but I can't help getting sucked into this debate, especially since I was now asked.

Blue: Since you asked, I'm sorry but you're crazy.

Where to start? First off, Ken does have to keep bulking up. He's not a guard and what makes him so effective is his ability to play inside and out. Therefore he needs to be able to be solid inside.

And when he "disappears" it is often because he has two, sometimes three players on him. What makes him have the chance to be a star is that he doesn't try and force offense. Sorry, but him working on two defenders isn't as good an option as getting someone else the ball. And how about the other night when he had four points but 12 boards? He finds ways to pitch in. As he gets older he'll get more of the mean streak he needs, but to knock him is just silly.

Joe has actually picked up his offense in recent games. And he actually has done a decent job filling in at the backup 1 at times lately.

Dave is shooting 58 percent this year, up from 43 last year. How is that not making strides? Tamir played some of the best ball of his career during that last road trip by the way.

The comments about not practicing correctly or being coached are too wild to even respond to. I know you're cranky that Robert Morris beat them, but really, you can't possibly believe that.

Let me take you back to 2005. I bet, had I been doing this blog, I'd have seen you rip that team for finishing eighth with a bunch of kids on it that had no help. That team had a ton of underclassmen who went on to do some pretty good things if you recall.

Now look at this year's team. I had them 12-6 before the year and that's not yet impossible, but they won't be more than a game off that total. Shemik, Ken, Dave, Tamir, Aaron and Robby have two or three more years in them and we haven't seen what Rosario can even do yet.

To say this team isn't getting better is also wrong. The Devils are in a fight for a home game in the tourney, something they didn't get last year. Am I guilty of thinking they'd progress a little faster? Yeah. But am I going to let you say that a team with ONE SENIOR that is in the top half of the league is poorly coached and has no potential? Heck no.

Should they have lost at Monmouth? No. But young teams drop bad games once in awhile. If they had given up one fewer basket at the Mount are we even having this conversation? No. As for Saturday, they lost to a good team that is playing unbelievably well right now.

I appreciate that everyone wants to win now. But to lose focus on the big picture, or to just say that everything stinks because your team isn't winning every game is foolish.

Clearing up a misunderstanding

I'd have to go back and listen, but I believe the actual conversation we were having last night during the pregame was that Vince could be a backup for Shemik next year. Maybe I misunderstood Bruce and agreed with something he said that I didn't catch, again, I'd have to hear it, but I didn't mean to say (if I did, which I don't think I did) that Vince is set to start next year. I've never seen him play, so I can't say either way. He might, he might not.

Catching up

Hope you all read all the things that have been in the paper lately that have kept me busy. I twice started to blog but got called away both times.

Anyway, let's catch up, starting with hoops. Coach called the Wagner win "special," and I agree to some extent. The opposition wasn't the top of the league, but gutting out the win was impressive on the road, especially when the home team made so many runs back at the Devils.

Saturday was less impressive, though not unexpected. I think Central was looking forward to getting home and faced a good team that couldn't miss. It happens.

It can't happen tonight, however. No looking ahead to this Saturday is ok at all. The Devils not only need a win tonight, but need a nice easy one heading into Saturday. That's a huge one, but it loses some meaning if tonight gets away.

I also wrote a breakdown of how the women stand in the NEC... basically the worst they should do is third. I honestly can't do it for the men right now as it's just too bunched up. Maybe in another week.

Onto football: I don't think many fans will be happy with the class, but give coach Mac this much: he is putting his stamp on the program. For better or worse, he's going to try and play smashmouth football, and the quotes from his story today (cheap plug) in the Herald speak to that. Bigger linemen and a star running back. No receivers coming in.

I still say if he wins people won't care how, just like no one knocks the weave when Howie's teams dance. We shall see though.

Thoughts from the masses?