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The Town Crier

November 08, 2017 - 01:43 AM

Youngstown…you’ve heard of it, right? But I doubt you know where it’s located. Well, maybe you’ve heard it’s in Ohio, but walk a couple miles east from Youngstown and you’d be in Pennsylvania.

Population: 66,000 and change. But the town’s dying. In 1930 there were 170,000 souls here. It’s been a steady decline ever since…a downward spiral for nearly 90 years. You’ve heard about the Rust Belt. Well, Youngstown has one of the bigger layers of rust. Yeah, we’re the county seat, but so what! The whole county is wasting away.

I grew up in Youngstown and still live here. In fact, I’ve hardly even gotten out of the county. My dad never made much money, and as the manufacturing jobs disappeared, so did a series of low-level jobs for him. After finishing high school, I was able to go to Eastern Gateway Community College since it didn’t cost all that much and I could live at home. But there was no way I could afford to follow that up at a 4-year college. 

But you read this because you were interested in basketball. And what’s all this got to do with round-ball?

I wish I could say it was to tell you about my stellar basketball career. But hell, I’m only 5’7” tall. I thought I was a good player, though. So I turned out to make the high school team. The coach quickly dispelled me of my lofty opinion of my own talent and any dreams I might have had. So rather than play sports, I inhaled them vicariously….watching and reading about all kinds of sports and playing pretty much any video sports game I could get my hands on.

So is this about how I learned so much about the intricacies of basketball that I became a great basketball coach? Sorry, no way. I’m not that talented nor am I a masochist. Besides, my temper would result in me leading the nation in technical fouls, ejections, and enough fines to eclipse my salary.

While attending Eastern Gateway CC, I wasn’t even much of a student. I attended when I had to and did enough to get by with lots of C’s. But I did enjoy my journalism courses, and one of the journalism instructors encouraged me and made sure I wrote for the college newspaper. When she realized that I wasn’t going to be able to take any college courses beyond my 2 years at Eastern Gateway, she pulled a few strings with an editor at The Youngstown Vindicator to land me a job as a sports reporter for that daily newspaper (such as it is—like all newspapers readership and circulation are dying).

I guess the next logical question is...who am I? I’m Steve Porter. I’ve now been a sports reporter for 6 years and am still on the staff of The Vindicator. Not going to get rich, but I like what I do. I cover any and all local sports, but my favorite is basketball.

Five Friends/Foes (DDSCB2017)

April 13, 2017 - 09:53 PM

Over the years through premier youth basketball, AAU basketball, and college basketball, five players became friends. Sometimes they were on opposing teams and at other times they played on the same teams.

After graduating from college, all five eventually became assistant coaches. 

In 2016, college basketball realigned into twenty-two 16-team conferences. These were set up based on the present strengths of the 352 teams with the 16 best teams in Conference A, the next 16 best teams in Conference B, and all the way down to the lowest rated 16 teams being in Conference V.

Due to this drastic change, many coaches left or were fired so there were many colleges needing to hire coaches. The five assistants, who had continued to communicate regularly, decided the time was ripe for all five to apply for head coaching jobs. Since they would be rookie head coaches, they realized that they would have to aim for head coaching jobs at lower rated programs. They wanted to try to get jobs where they would be in direct competition with each other as much as possible. Since many of the colleges in Conference U had openings, they decided to focus on applying for jobs at colleges in that conference. During the spring of 2016 the five friends each landed a head coaching job at a college in Conference U and therefore, while remaining friends, were now also foes.

DJ Brower became the head coach for the Chicago State Cougars in Chicago, IL. Academics at Chicago State are rated as C- and its facilities are rated D+. Their team prestige is 13 and minimum SAT score is 860.

Kyle Anders landed a job with the Wofford Terriers in Spartanburg, SC. Academics at Wofford are rated B+ and facilities are rated C. Team prestige is 13 and the minimum SAT score is 960.

Monroe Thurlow became the new head coach for the Cal-Davis Aggies in Davis, CA. Academics at Cal-Davis are rated B and facilities are rated C. The minimum SAT score is 940.

Parsons Nyland is now the head coach for Jacksonville Dolphins in Jacksonville, FL. Academics at Jacksonville are rated C and facilities are rated B-. The minimum SAT score is 880.

Vernell Strom was hired to coach the Texas State Bobcats in San Marcos, TX. Academics at Texas State are rated C+ and facilities are rated C. The minimum SAT score is 900.

[This dynasty was developed to test the game’s multi-coach component. Therefor this dynasty report will focus mostly on how each of the coach’s teams are doing rather than developing a detailed story line. All team functions are being handled by the AI and games are being simmed to avoid favoring one coach over another.]
Chicago State—3 scholarships to fill; no recruits signed.

Wofford—1 scholarship to fill, verbal acceptance by PF Ron Leonard, a HS senior from Duncan, SC, a good defender and scorer who is ranked as the #593 best recruit nationally.

Cal-Davis—4 scholarships to fill, no recruits signed.

Jacksonville—2 scholarships to fill, verbal acceptance by PG Josh Jones, a HS senior from Daytona Beach, FL, a good ball handler and passer as well as a strong defender and good scorer who is ranked as the #1437 best recruit nationally.

Texas State—4 scholarships to fill, verbal acceptance by PG Collin Jackson, a HS senior from Lorenzo, TX, an excellent passer and good ball handler who is ranked as the #1441 best recruit nationally.

Obviously the five rookie head coaches and their assistants sucked with their recruiting efforts (well, with the exception of Kyle Anders at Wofford who had just one scholarship to fill but did so and seems to have gotten a fairly solid recruit). But since the other 4 programs only filled 2 of 13 available scholarships, that puts the onus on those 4 head coaches to do some heavy duty work over the winter and particularly in the spring.
Lamar is expected to top the conference, but with respect to the teams being coached by the Five Friends, Texas State is predicted to finish in 2nd place followed by Chicago State in 3rd and Cal-Davis is 4th.Jacksonville is pegged to finish 8th and Wofford 11th.