One more

on the injury front that I forgot to mention. Shemik had x-rays on his back and foot Wednesday and played Thursday.
Say what you want about him, but man that kid shows up. He absolutely went into some kind of mental funk earlier this year, and maybe it was physical too, but physically you can't question him. I thought he had an underrated game tonight as well.
The question is can they all do this again Sat. vs. FDU.
If you look ahead at the schedule, there is a very real chance of a four-game winning streak heading into the RMU game at Detrick. I can't believe I just wrote that, but it's very possible now. Saturday just became HUGE.
So to review, and again you can read below for a couple of my posts from today for more details: Robby, Dave and Tull all likely out Saturday and possibly out for the Bryant games, but the playoffs have become a real possibility and a win Saturday could set up a HUGE change in the season.
IF the Devils can win a big home game Saturday, then sweep winless Bryant, they have all kinds of mojo heading into the two games at home against the PA teams.
IF they were to go into the RMU game on a tear and then got 2 starters back, that game suddenly becomes interesting. Win that and they'll crush SFPA. That run would put Central suddenly at 7-6 in the league.
Again, not at all saying it will happen. They could just as easily lose to FDU and take a dissapointed attitude into the Bryant series and get swept. Just reminding you of how long a season is and how segments of one can be seperate from others.


First, before I forget, nice job by the students tonight. You don't need a big section, just sit together. One bit of advice: Be loud the whole time, not just during the t-shirt giveaways and on defense. They could use the lift all the time. Solid effort though.
Ok, injuries: Talked to Howie after the game. All three who were out tonight "could miss a week." Robby "probably shouldn't have played" against Quinnipiac, but wanted to give it a try.
Dave: "It was a foot in shootaround then it became a foot and a groin during 1-on-1 full."
Doesn't sound encouraging, but if the boys are going to play like that without them, all could be ok. Maybe they just needed that extra focus. Lots on this tomorrow.

update from New Britain General Hospital

oh, I mean Detrick Gym. Robby's ankle and Dave's Achillies explain their absences. Tull is walking fine, so while I don't know his issue, it appears minor.
Oh and I counted Tull twice earlier... I do know Dave is out with an Achillies, but I do not know if he's in the building.

Sometimes I feel like I work in a MASH unit

Dave, Tull and Robby are all in suits. I'm working on why.

Interesting math

I put together a piece looking at CCSU's schedules down the stretch and went over what the teams will need to do to reach their goals. Tell me what you think or ask me anything else on your mind.

Ok I'll give you this one.

Wow, that was a beating from Mr. Rutty. Joe Efese showed some defensive flashes inside. He's probably a year away from really helping. I'll put him in that list of future inside help.
In the meantime, get well soon Kenny. Please.

I've got mail, yay!

Today's question comes from Matt, who clearly has the best name of all of my loyal readers.
And I read...
"Hi Matt, Does Howie ever acknowledge, directly or indirectly, that we really need to add height to the roster (maybe when talking about Justin Alexander)? Or is he comfortable with having a small frontcourt?"

First my take, then I'll get to your direct answer.
The key here is to differentiate between height, and the bigger issue, which is rebounding. Remember, this is the same "too small" team that outrebounded Sacred Heart last week.
Last week Chris, who was off his game for some reason Saturday (Coach said Chris "felt awful" but that Howie "loved his work ethic") had 10 boards and Dave had nine. They didn't get any smaller in the last week, nor did SHU sign Shaq. Sacred Heart only missed one fewer shot yesterday than it did last week. Central missed a bunch more, but had 12 offensive rebounds to SHU's 15.
Dave didn't have as good a night, and Markeys was too busy trying to carry the offense to worry too much about rebounding. So that's the big problem, pun intended. Where height comes in is that Central's frontcourt isn't good enough or big enough to withstand two poor performances on the same night.
Frontcourt depth is a much bigger problem.
Would height be nice? Yes. And to answer the other big question of the week, which I thought I had mentioned before, but just in case, yes Justin Alexander is coming next year. And yes he is listed at 6-foot-9. And he will at the very least provide that depth. Next year you'll have Kenny, Alexander, Dave, Markeys and Chris to fill the frontcourt. One more big would be great, but that's not a bad start in a guard's league.
But let's not turn him into the savior because he's 6-foot-9. There will be a learning curve, and we don't yet know if he can play. I'm not saying he can't. He might be a star. But just look at some of the other kids in the NEC who are tall. Height doesn't necessarily guarantee success.
"Get tall guys" is not necessarily the recruiting strategy needed to fix rebounding woes. I'd rather have Charles Barkley than a taller stiff.
Now, with my 2 cents in, your direct answer is "not really".
Remember the big phrase of the year? "Heart, not height."
Howie has said repeatedly that height isn't the only determining factor in getting rebounds, and he's right about that. He often says being undersized isn't an excuse. His theory basically is if you're shorter, you just have to work harder.
Depth and consistent work rate is what this team needs inside. Height is fine, but only if it's good height.
Ok, let the replies about how dumb I am and how wrong coach is begin in 3, 2, 1.
Reply here or to or on the post dedicated to this mailbag at Just keep the namecalling to a minimum.

Updates from home

Where I finally am after a long stretch of games and running around.
I wanted to give you 2 quick words... Friday I'm going to sit down and do a bunch of catching up on your questions.
There's one I wanted to get to immediately, however. Delta Guy asked me about Ross Pentland, and I checked tonight. I have to find out if the information is public knowledge, so for now I'm not going to share all I learned tonight, but for now I will tell you this: His absence is excused and he is not in any trouble. It's not grades or discipline. He just needs to be away right now.
As for the recent debate about Howie losing the team... that's the type of overblown hype that happens during a losing streak. Do they get frustrated at him yelling? Yes. Anyone would. But does he get them to play hard? Absolutely. I think the losing streak wore on them as much as anything.
It's not like they played hard Saturday to spite him and then decided not to tonight. The problem is there just isn't enough offense right now with Ken and Robby out. But I'll have more on that soon. The other news I wanted to mention was that Howie is hopeful that Robby can play Sunday. If not, it will be soon. He's "close" to quote coach.

A request

While I revel in my Jets victory (where's Hud when I need him?) and get ready for lots of CCSU talk this week, I saw something that reminded me of something I wanted to post on here:
Americans have donated $20 million to the Red Cross since Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti. But it's not even close to covering what they will need.
So here's what I want you to do. Text the word Haiti to 90999. That will automatically charge your phone bill $10, which will go the Red Cross. It's $10. If you don't have $10, look at the pictures and video of what's happening there. If you still don't have $10, do me one favor in return for all the running around I do for you guys. Spread the word.
If the 1,500 or so CCSU averages give $10 each, that's $15,000. But let's make it more realistic. If 10 people who read this donate today, that's $100. I'm working on trying to organize something bigger, but $100 is $100.
Who's with me?

Cleaning up loose ends

Wow, when it rains it pours, eh? I knew CCSU was in trouble when, during that first half run to get back in it, Shemik accidentally knocked the ball away from Vince.
Two things for the night: 1) I didn't get to ask about Nick G, it wasn't the right time after this one. Also, wanted to clear one thing up: Usually I don't go to practice much once the season starts, I'm there a lot before the year. So it's possible he's been practicing for awhile. But I don't recall him on the bench, either.
2) I asked for a Robby update, and Howie said he didn't know, though he's out Saturday. He didn't sound as pessimistic as the other night, if that's any indication.
3) Interesting to see that it was the perimeter (again) that killed Central. Howie pointed out how well Simmons does traditionally against Rutty, but (me talking now) if no one is going to stop Feldeine or Twyman there, it's not going to get any better for Central.
Ken or a 6-9 post player can't help with getting out on 3-point shooters.

A little more info

Nick Gerrity is a 6-4 swingman from Stratford. He attended St. Joe's High School. He is listed as a freshman and 200 lbs.

roster update

Nick Garrity (I have to check the spelling) is the newcomer. He'll be with the team for the second semester. I've never seen him at practice before. Will ask where he came from.
From here he appears to be the exact height as Pentland, but a touch skinnier.

Some immediate help

Word around Detrick has it that Central will be getting a walk-on onto the roster tonight. More info as I get it.

I've got mail

One quick one today:
Matt (obviously a fine gentleman with a name like that) wants to know what to expect from Justin Alexander next year.
I'll say that I have some quotes about him for a quick feature I've been meaning to do for a month that keeps getting sidetracked because of other things that come up. But for now I'll say this.
I don't think the key is what he does, it's what he allows everyone else to do. If he can just play well enough to start and get, say, 6 and 6 a night... that lets you go Alexander, Simmons, Horton, Robby and Shemik. It gives Central an inside-outside offense, makes life easier on Shemik, who won't have to create as much but instead can just drive and kick or dump it inside when he doesn't shoot it himself... and it lets you have a bench of Markeys, Vince and hopefully one of the young kids who develops, plus Chris. When you put two starters on the bench and make another starter the fourth option, your team gets a whole lot deeper. And that doesn't count the other freshman.
Now, can Alexander step in like this? To be honest, I have no idea. I've never met him, never mind watching him play. I will say that I believe Howie when he says this kid can help and that Efese will be good.
I do think next year changes everything. But the kids here now have to develop some, ahem, fortitude, as you will read about in tomorrow's paper.
In the meantime, all questions, comments, complaints, insults, praise predictions, rants and anything else you can think of, fire them away to I'm looking forward to more dialogue.

A separate thought from the email before I go back to work: Howie said once again that you are the best fans in the NEC, pointing out that "teams that are winning" don't get "the love" that his teams get. Don't make a liar out of him. There will be Bobcats and Bobcats fans in town Thursday. Your job is to drown them out. If you're going to demand more from your players, they get to demand more from you. Show up and be loud Thursday, or no complaining Friday about the lack of a student section or anything else.

The bad news keeps on coming

From coach D: Robby to miss the weekend and he (Howie) is "not optimistic" going forward. We'll know more tommorow, but again, no Robby until at least next week.

The future

So I wrote a big thing for today about the future of this season, but since the talk is all about next year, let's look at it for a minute.
The biggest key involving Kenny's return (and see the blog below for news on that) is that he makes everyone else better by taking D off them and making them more complimentary guys. Dave becomes the tough guy again and his improved scoring goes from critical to a great bonus. Markeys becomes a great option off the bench or for stretches at a time as a starter.
The backcourt gets to be the backcourt again; Robby doesn't have to be a forward anymore. And the guards can be scorers, not carriers. Huge difference.
HOWEVER.... all this works only if Kenny is back not just physically, but mentally. The only knock he's had since he's been her is that he's too nice on the court. He's as nice a kid you'll ever meet off the court, but on it he must get mean. I go back to that Wagner game last year, when he made that huge play in the lane and screamed as if to say, "get off me, this game is mine." Does he have it in his personality to be the man? We shall see.

1 quick thing

Guys, was going to go into more detail now, but to be honest it's 2:06 a.m., I just got home and I'm beat. So we'll do it soon.
But I did want to give you a couple real quick things that I'll forget if I don't say them right now.
First, great job by Tom and Jason on the broadcast tonight. I was sitting right next to them, and got to hear more of it than I usually do (I'm usually on the other side of the floor for home games and farther down the table on the road, but I was literally the next seat over tonight).
To do that on that short notice was impressive. Get better Bruce.
Ok, more to something u guys will be interested in. Saw Kenny playing with some kids after the game tonight and he looked GREAT. Moving really well. Like, really well. Also, he told me he felt well and was certain he'd be fine next year. And someone else told me he was ahead of schedule in his rehab. So, good news there. I maintain my position that his mere presence on the floor makes everyone better next year. But let's get through this year first.
A 7-point possession? Ugh.

My redesign ideas

First, I haven't been to the new Monmouth place (Man I wish I could have gone today), but it's supposed to be amazing. I'll ask around when the teams come home.
Also, planning on going Saturday. So you'll have even more than today, and you'll have breakdowns of today's games too.
Speaking of that, don't give up on the women yet. Give them time to figure things out.
Now, loved the talk of how to dress up Detrick today. Finally, some talk of realistic goals.
Yes, it was my fault for not mentioning the court being fixed. It was the first thing I saw in practice in October, and I meant to mention it 11 times, and I don't think I did until later, which is bad since I ripped them for it for a long time.
As I mentioned before, my approach would be go with "historic" Detrick Gym. The place is old. But that's not always a bad thing.
Put pictures of old games all over the lobby, and all over the walls inside. And I'm not just talking about the 2000 team. I mean old, old games. Mention in the notes, program and anywhere else you can a list of historic games played there.
I don't know if the banners would hang across the ceiling, I'd have to ask. Not sure if anything is even up there. I like the banners themselves, they're different. And I like the blue for the women. Though they should have made a big deal about raising it. I'd also put up any old DII things, too. Play up the history.
Been to Gampel this year, and I do love the new scoreboards, but 1) they cost $$ and 2) I don't think they'd fit the vibe I'd be going for. Would the old Boston Garden have worked with a jumbotron?
And while the hustle stat board is cool, it's not a huge necessity.
I've talked to enough people at CCSU to think a student section is doable. You just need to go in an orderly way and set up a meeting, and you'd need to do the organizing I think in coordination with them. In fact, if someone from the student government wants to set something up and can't get the right people, contact me and I'll ask if we can arrange something. You'd just have to promise that there would be student support and that you wouldn't be crazy in a bad way. Loud doesn't mean obnoxious.

Now this is fun

LOVE the hoops debates we have going, let's keep it up.
RR, you're going to be my hoops Hud, and I mean that as a compliment. Love the debates.
First, not sure which post you were talking about, but I was saying in the last one CCSU should make the Sun their Civic Center, not that they should play at the Civic Center. In other words, play 2 big ones there a year. I bet URI would play Central there every year (though judging by Saturday that would turn into a road game). The point is, you can get a game or two there, maybe even a big league game (Quinny?). That would instantly raise the cache, but the fans would then have to supply the atmosphere.
Which goes to the other point. Maybe the 1,500 who would go see Central play on the moon can talk about what they deserve, but I was talking about the fan base as a whole.
Those who deserve it are getting quite a bit (I'm going to Jersey this weekend for example). There are some big names on the schedule every year. Next year you're going to get to watch a team with a legit shot to make the dance again. Which, if it happens, would make the average about once every three years.
My biggest fight on this topic of "Central can't get better" is that some people don't seem to appreciate what they already have. Would you rather have Quinny's money or Central's success across almost all sports?
Yes, they need to figure out a way to market better. I've told everyone who would listen that they need a student section. But then the students have to promise to fill it. Will they?
There should be more billboards. You have a state treasure coaching the men's team and a women's program on an historic climb. They should plug the heck out of that, but some of that has to do with money. Some of it has to do with the need for better marketing.
Oh, and RR, one more point I forgot. You're right that I was using an extreme example with URI because of who they were playing. But let me close with this question. If Central had been the first game, how many more people would have been there? If they were playing OK St?

A fair compromise

Talking to my esteeemed colleague Ryan Pipke, and we've come up with an interesting compromise. Central has made a habit of playing at the Sun, and loves how they're treated.
What if they made it their Civic Center and played 2 big games a year there. Will you promise to go, unlike yesterday?

2 quick points

From things I saw from the folks at that set me off.
First, Central's schedule. The folks defending it are right. Just because the Citadel isn't near us doesn't mean it's not a good game. That team is likely to win a very good league. Fairfield looked good, and many expect them to have a nice year. Everyone always tells me Central should go to the America East, but then complains when they play teams from the AE. And by the way, look at their record in those games.
For those who wanted a "play up" game, they went to Northwestern, who as of the last time I looked, is in the Top 25. Holy Cross is expected to win its league. Its record is more based on who they played than its level of talent.
And before you write off this year, may I remind you that starting Jan 11, 13 of the last 17 are at home?
Would it be nice if there was one more big name on there? Sure. And I'm pretty confident you'll see another next season, when Central should be ready for a run (Kenny back and everyone a year older. If Alexander is helpful, it could be a BIG year).
But that brings me to my second point. Someone mentioned that Central fans "deserved" a better schedule. Let me be objective here (some will see it as critical) and ask why.
Rhode Island had at least 5,000 people at the Sun yesterday. That atmosphere for the first game was amazing. The building was nearly full, and it felt like a tournament game. How many Central fans showed up? You talk about wanting to play good regional teams? You were playing a team that goes to the dance all the time in a gorgeous building that was just about as far away as it was for URI, and you had the option to make a night of it afterwards even. And Dom Amore from the Courant estimated it as 2,000 for the second game, and I think he wasn't far off. Maybe there was a little more there, but not much. This isn't UConn, where you can say the money they charge makes you want to wait until the big games. Ya they charged too much yesterday, but for a special occasion. Yes, URI Ok St was a better game (and a GREAT game at that), but you can't say you "deserve" better games if you don't go to the games you have.
Ok, getting off my soap box now.

It's been awhile

Just wanted to check in with you guys, hope you all had an amazing holiday, whichever one you celebrate. Writing today from the floor of Mohegan Sun Arena (how cool is my job?). If you're watching the opener (which I came early just to do), I'm sitting under the basket URI shot is aiming for in the first half.
Thought I'd get back into the flow by perusing the board and chiming in.
As to the men's schedule: A few things. First, for now, let's just say Central didn't go into the year hoping to play Savannah St. I believe (my conjecture now) both teams were unaware that the other was at the Prosser Tourney for starters, and I know Central had another mid-major game fall though, as I've mentioned before. RR, this won't happen again. And there are definitely no plans to stretch it to best of five. That was funny, I have to admit. Nice job.
As for what's ahead: I think 2-0 isn't an unreasonable expectation, as long as you don't think it's going to be easy. HC is 2-11, but look at their schedule, as I mentioned in today's preview. They've played everyone that would play them. This isn't a 2-11 team in terms of quality.
I can't say I've studied Colgate yet, but I will say that it's a road game, which is never easy, I don't care if you're playing NBHS. Could CCSU get both of these? Yes, especially how it's playing. But both won't be easy.
As for the NEC slate: I don't think any league wants to play 20 league games. But to the point about rivalries dying... wouldn't you rather see the good teams come in than an old rival? I'd rather watch a competitive game with LIU than a game with a down Monmouth (just using examples, not saying that's how these games will be this year).
But, and I've posted this before, I think there's a way to do both. Have a nice mix of teams, and keep rivalries, while locking in a set schedule (which helps rivalries, familiarity breeds contempt).
You go to 2, 6-team divisions: CCSU, SHU, QU, Bryant and two NYC schools are one. The two PA schools, Mount, the two jersey schools and the other NYC school (the split of teams can be negotiated) are the other. You play home-and-home with the two in your division (10 games) and one each against the other (three at home, 3 road, which alternate). That gives you 16 league games, 8 home and 8 road.
The league tourney is the top 4 from each division. North 1 plays South 4, North 2 plays South 3, etc. Which makes the battle for home game between the 2nd and third team in each division key, since there's more travel involved now. Or just play the whole thing here at Mohegan. You're telling me people won't drive from all over to spend a weekend at a great hotel and casino? Play 4 games Saturday at 11, 2, 5 and 8, then the semis on Sunday and the final here or at the highest seed left on whatever night ESPN wants. Tell me why this wouldn't work.
Anyway, more later, gonna watch the rest of this and see if OSU can make a run.
3-for-18 doesn't help.