PointGuard

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  1. Jason Braxton, Boston College Athletic Director Although BC has a great basketball history, it’s been 15 years since we’ve had a winning season or conference record. And the past 5 years our overall record has been 49-105. Our move from the Big East to the AAC 20 years ago hasn’t been a pretty one thus far. The prestige level of our basketball program is, along with Wake Forest, the lowest by far in the AAC. I’m tired of being the doormat of ACC and not getting to the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, the alumni and the BC Hoop Club feel exactly the same way. They’ve been bending my ear all 3 years I’ve been here as AD. The coach I inherited lasted two years under me at which point I didn’t renew his contract. Last season I made an effort to entice Fred Aura, but he showed no interest. I made the mistake of promoting Stan Whitehouse, who had been our 1st assistant coach, to be our head coach. That turned out to be a disastrous mistake! We finished last in the AAC and there was a lot of unrest on the team. It definitely was time for a major change. While I really don’t expect Coach Aura to work a miracle by turning this team into an instant threat, I decided to set some high goals: (1) no academic ineligibility (an obvious goal due to our high academic standing); (2) win 15+ games; (3) finish in the top half in the conference standings; (4) qualify for the NCAA tournament; and (5) improve our basketball program prestige. I believe Fred can achieve the first and last goals, but the middle 3 will definitely be tough and #4 is very likely just a dream at this point. But I’d rather set high goals and have him miss some of them, than to set low goals that don’t require much effort and a stretch. Actually I know he’s got a major building project that will take several years. But we need to get the Eagles back to the prominence that we had in the late 20th and early 21st century. I’m already excited by the two new assistant coaches that Coach Aura hired. They look like upgrades to those they replaced. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to land a top-flight recruit this season who will be able to significantly contribute immediately when he gets to BC. For the first time since I arrived at Boston College, the BC Hoop Club has shown optimism. That’s a major burden off my shoulders. Fred has been open with them and has gotten them to realize that the building process will be a gradual one. If we can develop and continue an upward trend, I believe they’ll be happy.
  2. 2nd Assistant Coach Chris Evans: I’m the lone survivor on the BC basketball staff. After how we did last year, I’m not surprised. I was pleased that Coach Aura liked what he found out about me as a recruiter. We only have one senior on the roster this year, so it’s incumbent upon me to find the best recruit we can land to fill that one scholarship that will come open. Based on the experience and talent on our team this season, I believe that our most critical need is at SF. But if we can’t get a strong recruit at that position, I think our secondary need is a big, strong interior player. Coach Aura concurs. With only one player to recruit, we’ll be buying the Atlantic East Regional Report and the National Report and attending the Indy Elite and Big Apple Showcase camps. Because of the high academic standards at BC with SAT minimums set at 980, that limits the recruits it makes sense to focus upon. Unfortunately this year there aren’t many recruits coming out of Massachusetts. The best on is a SG and is probably too highly rated for us to have a chance. But there are a few others we will put on our list. We’ll also put some recruits on our list from within our region and then also focus on some of the top rated recruits nationally and internationally. I’m excited since recruiting season is about set to kick off. I’ll get together with Coach Aura and the other assistants later this week to go over some of the recruits I think we should put on our watch and call lists.
  3. Season Results—Conference V: Two of the 16 teams in Conference V are coached by Five Musketeers coaches: Alcorn State finished 8th in the conference with an 8-8 conference record. The Braves overall record was 14-16. While it wasn’t a disastrous season, the Braves slipped a little this year even though they outscored their opponents 76.6 to 75.3 ppg. This was the first time a team coached by Ramon Montez was below .500. His 3 year record is now 36-37 (.493). Alcorn State will remain in Conference V but their prestige dropped back down to 3. Coach Montez said, “I was disappointed that we didn’t do better this year, but I’m very optimistic about how we’ll do next season.” The Braves were led offensively by their two big men, Virgil Brown who averaged 12.7 ppg and James Roberts who scored 11.0 ppg (and averaged 6.3 rpg). While Roberts and PG Kyle Rose (7.0 ppg and 4.6 apg) are graduating, 3 starters will return: Brown was a freshman as was SF Will Friel (9.6 ppg and 5.0 rpg) and junior SG Mike Gallagher (9.6 ppg). Additionally, 3 of the team’s top subs will be back: freshman C Gabriel Atwood (7.5 ppg and 3.5 rpg), junior SF Benjamin Delk (4.3 ppg), and sophomore PG Dana Turner (3.5 ppg and 2.7 apg). Maryland-Eastern Shore had a 7-9 conference record to tie for 9th place in the conference. The Hawks season record was 12-17. Coach Mike Mc Millan said, “We had a good start winning 3 of our first 4 games, but then we had 3 straight road games against top-flight teams (Stanford, Iowa State, and Vanderbilt) and lost all 3. Then early in conference play we lost 6 of 7 games which put us down toward the bottom of the standings. We gradually improved though and were playing pretty well in the last part of the season.” 17 losses dropped the team’s prestige to 4. Coach McMillan’s collegiate coaching record is now 26-33 (.441) in his first 3 years. Four of Hawks’ starters are graduating and only 5 scholarship players will return, so next season could be a challenge to prevent relegation back to Independent status. Leading the team this year were C Roby Ford (13.0 ppg and 6.2 rpg), SF Junior Sarchet (12.2 ppg and 3.7 rpg), and SG Chris Seals (11.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 3.4 apg). Only Sarchet (who was a freshman this year) returns. In the Conference V Tournament, Alcorn State and Maryland-Eastern Shore were matched up against each other for the right to play the 1st seed Kennesaw State Owls. Conference V Tournament: Alcorn State-85, Maryland-Eastern Shore-72: The game swayed back and forth for the first 5 minutes but then Alcorn State took control and by the end of the first half, the Braves led 43-29. With the Hawks shooting poorly, the Braves began pulling further away to open a 20-point lead. Maryland-Eastern Shore cut into the lead a little, but Alcorn State prevailed to move on in the tournament. The Braves were led by PG Kyle Rose’s 23 points. Rose hit 5 of 9 three-point shots. The top scorer for the Hawks was SF Junior Sarchet who pumped in 19 points. Kennesaw State-79, Alcorn State-78: Even though Kennesaw State led at one point by 11 points and Alcorn State’s biggest lead was 9 points, the game was close most all the way with 20 lead changes and 12 ties. At the end of the first half Kennesaw State led 34-33. In the second half Alcorn State scored 34 points to Kennesaw State’s 33 points. With the game tied at 67-67, the teams went at each other in OT with the Owls clawing out a single point victory over the Braves. Alcorn State C James Roberts had 14 points and 10 rebounds plus 4 assists, a steal, and 2 blocks.
  4. Kevin Abney Hi! I’m the new 1st Assistant Coach at Boston College. Coach Fred Aura apparently got rid of two of the coaches who were on the staff when he accepted the job. Besides me, he hired Robert Wilson as 3rd assistant and kept 2nd Assistant Chris Evans. Last season I was the 2nd assistant coach at Oklahoma. My primary job at BC will be as the Practice Assistant. Although I have done a lot of recruiting in the past, I feel I’m pretty good with player development and look forward to being in charge of practices and being Coach Aura’s primary bench coach. Chris Evans, the 2nd assistant coach, will be the Recruiting Assistant. He did that last season for BC and has strong abilities in that area. He’s on a 3 year contract, unlike myself and Robert who have just 1 year contracts. Robert Wilson, our new 3rd assistant coach, comes to BC after being a 3rd assistant coach across the city at Boston University. His past experience has been entirely as a Scout, so as our Scouting Assistant, I think he will do a good job.
  5. Kenyon Haynes When Coach Aura left, I let Perry Winkle know I wanted the Head Coaching job. And I know that Crash (Coach Aura) also made a pitch for me to take over. But then it was like I’d never done anything for Towson. Perry immediately opened the hiring process to others and never discussed my taking over the reins at all with me. I felt betrayed. While I’m at an age that I could (and maybe should) retire, I’m just not ready. I was late to latch on as a head coach elsewhere. Crash dangled the possibility of becoming his 1st assistant at Boston College, but I don’t want to live in that weather. So finally I opted to accept a 1st assistant job at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA...not all that far away from Towson. I imagine that will be the end of the line for me. I doubt anyone will consider me as a head coach with 70 approaching. I’ll take it year by year and see how long I want to hang around Lynchburg.
  6. Season Results—Independent Teams Two of the Independent Teams have coaches that aren’t part of the Five Musketeers. Those teams are theAlabama A&M Bulldogs and the Presbyterian Blue Hens. Alabama A&M won their last 3 games, but finished their Division I schedule with a lackluster 5-10 record. After winning just 1 of their first 10 games, Presbyterian lost their final 5 games to complete their Division I season with a 6-9 record. Here’s the records this season for Independent teams with coaches that are part of the Five Musketeers: Dixie State Trailblazers: 4-11. The Trailblazers sustained a 7-game losing streak that torpedoed their season. They then won 2 of their last 3 games, but it was too late to avoid ending with the worst record of all 5 Independent teams. Coach Terry Morillo said, “Playing 11 of our 15 games on the road was a recipe for disaster. That ended up saddling us with 9 of our 11 losses. But even though we only won 4 games, we nearly scored as much as our opponents.” (73.0 ppg for the Trailblazers versus 73.9 ppg for their opponents). The team’s prestige dropped to 3. Coach Morillo now possesses a 15-30 (.333) record over the course of his 3-year career. Senior SG Jerry McCutcheon and junior SF Chad Bain led the team’s scoring in most all their games. McCutcheon averaged 14.7 ppg and Bain scored 13.1 ppg (he also pulled down 4.4 rpg). PF Gregg Linney (a senior who averaged 9.3 ppg and 6.5 rpg) and C Vincent O’Bannon (he averaged 9.3 ppg and 5.5 rpg) did well inside for Dixie State. Junior PG Joel Knight scored 8.1 ppg while dishing out 4.4 apg. The two primary subs were senior C DeWy Smith (6.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and senior PG Antonio Huss (3.4 ppg and 2.1 apg). Tarleton State Texans: 6-9. The Texans had more wins this past season that they totaled in their first two years. Coach Ken Yamoto’s coaching record is now 11-34 (.244). Tarleton State was weak defensively giving up 77. ppg. “We have a long way to go, but the guys improved a lot this year,” said Coach Yamoto. “Mark Pryor really stepped up to lead the team this year. He’s a hard worker, going from Harley playing at all as a sophomore, to being our 6th man as a junior, and then leading the team in scoring in most all of our games this season. I’ll sure hate to lose him, but fortunately Keith Brown looked real strong subbing for Mark.” SF Mark Pryor averaged 15.3 ppg. C Tyson Chambers averaged 9.3 ppg and PF Brent McCoy hit for 9.1 ppg and together they averaged 10.4 rpg. SG Simon Brown scored 8.2 ppg and had 3.1 apg. All four of those starters were seniors. The only starter returning is junior PG Mark Jordan (8.4 ppg and 4.7 apg). There was a lack of depth inside for the Texans this season, but transfer C Elijah Acorn will become eligible this coming season. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions: 11-8. By achieving the best record of all 5 Independent teams this year, the Golden Lions will be promoted to Conference V this coming season. Arkansas-Pine Bluff was selected as the 6th seed in the South Region of the NIT Tournament. They played #3 seed Northern Arizona Lumberjacks from Conference R. The Golden Lions fell behind by as much as 20 points in the first half and trailed at the break 46-29. But Arkansas-Pine Bluff came out in the 2nd half as a completely different team. They played lock-down defense and shot the lights out on offense. They took the lead late in the half and with 2 minutes to go led by 5. But they had to hang on to eke out a 76-74 upset victory. PF Dexter Thorne scored 21 and had 7 rebounds. The win put them into Round 2 against the Bradley Braves from Conference I who had upset Auburn in the first round. Arkansas-Pine Bluff again fell behind in the first half. After trailing by 9 they closed behind by 2 at 35-33. As in their previous game, they slammed the door defensively in the 2nd half, holding the Braves to just 21 points to score a decisive 65-56 win. SG Danny Logie led the scoring with 18 points. In the Regional final, the Golden Lions took on Conference H’s Drake Bulldogs. The pattern continued as Drake moved out to a 36-27 halftime lead. This time the Golden Lions unleashed a potent offense in the 2nd half, scoring 51 points. They opened a 14 point lead but then had to hold off the Bulldogs in the late going to pull off their 3rd straight upset victory, 78-72. SG Danny Logie scored 19 to lead their scoring. The Semifinals had Arkansas-Pine Bluff vying with the Nevada Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels from Conference E while in the other Semifinal game North Carolina A&T against Duke. In their game against UNLV, Arkansas-Pine Bluff hung with the Runnin’ Rebels in the first half, trailing by a scant 2 points at 44-42. But UNLV had just too much talent, propelling past the Golden Lions in the 2nd half enroute to a 99-77 crushing. Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s SG Danny Logie scored 18 in their losing effort. UNLV went on to beat Duke for the Championship. Coach Dontell Spencer ecstatically exclaimed, “What a team! My guys really showed what they’re made of by running off 3 wins in the NIT and getting to the Semifinals! During pre-conference play we exhibited similar effort, winning 8 games against much higher rated opponents. But to score 3 comeback wins in the NIT was amazing. That was great preparation for next season conference play.” Coach Spencer now possesses a 26-25 (.510) record in his 3 years of college coaching. SF Marcus Huld tore his Achilles tendon early in the season but should be recovered in time for the upcoming season. The other 4 starters return next season as well. SG Danny Logie scored 15.1 ppg, C Imari McDonald averaged 12.1 ppg and 6.1 rpg, PG Milton Cox scored 9.7 ppg plus had 5.5 apg, PF Dexter Thorne averaged 6.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg, and SF Marcus Huld was averaging 7.4 ppg before he was injured.
  7. Perry Winkle, AD at Towson Damn! While I’m glad that Fred Aura got a great new job, I sure hate to lose him. He’s really turned things around here. In his 6 seasons with Towson he had a 137-60 (.695) record that included 3 conference titles, 4 NCAA appearances including getting to the Sweet 16 once, 4 times with 20+ wins, having the university’s first player drafted by the pros, and being chosen as the CAA Coach of the Year 4 times. I’m afraid Fed will find that trying to take a team from the bottom to the top of the ACC may not be possible. How do you overcome the likes of Duke and North Carolina. Now I’m saddled with finding a replacement. Coach Aura highly recommended that his 1st Assistant, Kenyon Haynes, be hired as the new head coach. I like Kenyon and he did a good job filling in for Fred this past season. But Kenyon’s 68 years old and I really want a new, fresh energy taking over the reins. When Kenyon realized he wasn’t in the running for the job, he quit. He didn’t find a head coaching job, but was hired by Liberty University as their 1st Assistant Coach. It took me nearly a month, but I finally was able to hire 51 year old Nate Brown as our new head coach. Nate is an outstanding recruiter. He wanted his own staff, and subsequently hired 3 new assistants. Their salaries are a little lower than what we were paying Fred’s assistants so that means more money left for recruiting. As is often the case, some of the players Fred had recruited and who had played for us, decided to transfer after Fred left. That likely means our fortunes on the court will take a downturn for a year or two until Nate has had to recruit some good players and institute his philosophy and strategies.
  8. The Proposal The college came back with a pretty strong preliminary proposal. Jason Braxton, my agent, set up a meeting. I flew north. Arriving at Logan International Airport, I was met by Roland Hastings, the Athletic Director, who whisked me away to the campus of Boston College. The two of us had a good meeting and I was shown the athletic facilities at the college. We then got together with other officials at the college. They put me up in a very nice hotel in Boston and that evening Roland took me out to dinner at the Boston College Club along with the president of the college, the chairman of the board of trustees, and the director of the BC Hoop Club. Following an enjoyable dinner, Roland met with me privately to make a formal offer for me to be their next head coach and outline the specifics of their offer which included a 3-year contract at $414,000/year. But he also guaranteed a job for Janeka within BC’s William F. Connell School of Nursing. He said he knew that the education of our children was important to both Janeka and me. He also said that he knew Omari (who will be a HS junior) and Malik (who will be a HS freshman) are good basketball players and he would ensure they are accepted into Boston College High School which has high academics and a strong basketball program. He said that many of the high school’s basketball players get basketball scholarships to many different excellent basketball programs. He also recommended that we consider having Devany, who is going into the 3rd grade, attend Saint Columbkille Partnership School which is a K-8 school that has partnered with BC to develop a national model of excellence for elementary and middle school education. Later that night I spoke at length with Janeka. She particularly appreciated that Roland had considered our kids, and since we’re practicing Catholics, that he’d provided strong Catholic education options for all 3 of our kids. Of course, she was thrilled that she could be close to her parents. The next morning I spoke with Jason Braxton and then went over to visit with Janeka’s parents at their home. I returned to Boston College for more meetings in the afternoon, and after speaking with Janeka again, accepted the college’s offer. The following day I met with the basketball team and staff. Further review of the team roster made it quite apparent that the coming season would be a tough one. That afternoon the college held a press conference to announce the hiring and introduce me.
  9. Coaches’ Outlooks as 2032-2033 Season Nears: Ramon Montez, Alcorn State Braves: As an Independent in my first season with Alcorn State, we were 8-7 against Division I opponents which was good enough to get us promoted to Conference V. Last year in the Braves first season in Conference V we won 9 and lost 7 in the conference which put us into a 5-way tie for 5th place. Our season record was 14-14. So we’re one game over .500 during my first 2 years at Alcorn State. We’re picked to finish 6th in the conference this season, but I sure would like to finish in the top 4 so we could move up to a new conference. Our strength is up front while our guards are not that strong this year. SF Benjamin Delk and PF James Roberts ae the core for out team. Delk started 95% of our games as a freshman and sophomore and is a solid player. Roberts hasn’t started any for us but he’s come in off the bench to be very productive offensively so I expect he will be even better as a starter this season. We’re going with Gabriel Atwood, a freshman, to start at C. He has looked good in practice. Guards Kyle Rose and Nick Gervin have been used sparingly in my first 2 years here, so they’re going to experience a lot of pressure this year. I like SF Tony Fife as our 6th man. Our pre-conference schedule is touch. We start by taking on Gonzaga and then have a number of other strong teams to go up against. But that should prepare us well for conference play. Terry Morillo, Dixie State Trailblazers: We improved from 4-11 in my first year here to 7-8 last season. We need to improve further so we can be promoted from being an Independent to being in a Conference. We’re very deep at guard positions. Jerry McCutcheon has been our scoring leader both seasons at SG. While we have some very solid natural PG’s, I plan to start Joel Knight, who considered himself a SG when he came to Dixie State, but has played mostly at PG the past two season, starting 2/3 of our games there. We have 3 good size PG’s (6’4” to 6’5”) who will can come off the bench to play either the 1 or 2. Chad Bain started a few games at SF as a freshman and played well, but then sustained an injury last season so played little. At PF, Greg Linney has started every game during my 2 years here and is a good scorer and strong rebounder. There’s competition to start at C. At this point I against big-time programs: Georgia Tech, Miami (FL), and Arizona State and just 4 of our 15 Division I games so that’s another big negative on our winning enough to get promoted. Ken Yamoto, Tarleton State Texans: We’ve had two rough seasons, winning just 5 of our 30 games. It’s tough building a basketball program in a small town in southwest Utah. Time to turn things around and surprise people. We have a better schedule this season with almost as many home games and away games. PG Mark Jordan is probably our most talented player. He started all games during his freshman and sophomore seasons the past 2 years. Senior SG Simon Brown gets his chance to be a starter this year. Mark Pryor has improved significantly every year. This season he’ll start at SF. Brett McCoy started last year at PF, played very well, so will be starting for us again this season. C Tyson Chambers had a similar season to McCoy last year and will repeat as a starter this season. We don’t have a lot of depth, so need to stay injury-free. Mike McMillan, Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks: I’m really excited about our team making it into Conference V after last season. We improved from 6-9 the first year I was coaching here to 8-7 last season and hope to see further improvement this season. Midway through preconference play this year we have 3 straight road games against the likes of Stanford, Iowa State, and Vanderbilt…no bed of roses for us. The main thing is to get prepared to play well once conference play starts. Roby Ford is a senior who played very well coming off the bench for me the past two seasons, but will be our starter at C this year and could very well be our team leader. PF Pete Dennis had a limited role for us the first 2 years I was here, but I think while he likely won’t be a star, should be solid for us in a starting role. We have 3 good point guards, but it looks to me like David Bradley, who was our starter last season, should prevail against the competition to start at PG. At SG Chris Seals looks like he’s ready to go from a lightly-used sub to being our starter in his senior season for us. And at SF we’ll have freshman standout Junior Sarchet starting. So who’s our best player coming off the bench? I’d say C Mike House who played well for us last season. Dontell Spencer, Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions: Our strength this season should be from our big men. PF Dexter Thorne started for the Golden Lions the first year I was head coach, then played a backup role last seasons but handled that well, and now is ready to move back into the starting lineup. At C will be Imari McDonald who did a heckuva job for us starting for us last season. David Brown and Marcus Huld look like they will share starting at SF. Danny Logie, coming to us this year as a JC transfer where he played SF, will start at SG. Logie has played extremely well during practice. At PG, Milton Cox has been our starter the last 2 seasons and played extremely well so will be our court leader again this year. I would like a deeper bench that we will have, but you gotta do with what you have. We improved from a 6-10 record the first year I was coaching to 9-7 last year with a berth in the NIT last year. I’m focused on getting us up into Conference V after this year. We’re going to have to really play hard since we only have 4 home games while there are 11 away games.
  10. Coaching Options: I hired an agent, Jason Braxton, and he got the word out that I was looking to make a move. I was extremely pleased to learn that there were a number of colleges which were interested. The interest in my being a college’s head coach went beyond schools from lower ranked conferences to quite a few within mid-major conferences. And there were even a few that were at programs in the power conferences…of course, those were at schools with basketball programs that were in the lower depths of those power conferences. Most of the jobs just didn’t work, since they weren’t near where Janeka’s parents live. So the list narrowed rapidly. Janeka’s parents live in New England so that left out possible jobs in all other areas of the country. I’d expected to get a job at a college in a mid to lower ranked conference, but had a couple schools in mid-major conferences that were showing interest. Jason Braxton began negotiating with those. Then when I was getting ready to focus on just one of those, Jason got a call. It was from the athletic Director from a school that had contacted me a year earlier. I’d told them at that time that while I was interested, I wasn’t going to leave Towson. They’d ended up moving their 1st Assistant to Head Coach after that. But the team tanked and they were ready to drop their experiment after one season. The location was ideal since her parents live just outside the city where this college is. I told Jason to let them know I was interested. Things went rapidly after that. It became apparent that they really would like to have me as their head coach. Money wasn’t really an issue since the figure they floated was far above what I had been receiving at Towson. The school had some other things going for it beyond location: (1) high academics which fit perfectly with my priorities; (2) a history of basketball prestige; (3) a budget that would allow the hiring of decent (but not great) assistants and aggressive recruiting; (4) a name that would attract recruits; (5) a top-flight conference. There were some negatives of course: (1) basketball prestige was in the rather distant past; (2) the team was a consistent dweller in the lower reaches of the conference; (3) last season’s record was abysmal; (4) even though the budget was much higher than the budget at Towson, it was lower than that any of the other colleges in the same conference and orders of magnitude beneath some of the opponents to be faced in the same conference; (5) the team had a couple strong players but the overall talent level wasn’t high (certainly it was beneath the talent I’d mustered at Towson) and there was little depth and only one senior so no chance for a quick fix. Obviously accepting the job at this college would definitely entail a major rebuilding process that wouldn’t be quick and getting truly competitive within the conference would be a big challenge. But I didn’t go into coaching to take the easy path. I told Jason to try to get a preliminary proposal from them and set up a time for me to get together with them so we could see if there truly was a good match.
  11. Coach Frederick Aura I finally got back to full-time coaching at Towson for the Conference Tourney. It felt good to be back. I was excited about how well the team performed during that tournament. And it was good to be able to return to the NCAA Tournament. We gave it all we had but just Mississippi just had more than we could handle the night we played them. It was a disappointment for the entire team, but I told them that advancing in that tournament takes preparation, teamwork, execution, and also luck, since at times one team is hot and the other not on a particular night. With the right amount of effort the Tigers are talented enough to return to the NCAA Tournament next season. My parents have progressed reasonably well in their rehab from the automobile accident in which they were involved and for which I left the team to help them during their recovery. I hated to miss coaching the team for almost the entire season but am glad I was able to help my parents when they needed it. Two days after our March Madness loss, Janeka and I received more bad news though. Her mother has been diagnosed with cancer that will require both radiation and chemo. Janeka is devastated by this. My intention was to return to Towson for another year at the least, particularly since I’d been with the team so little in the previous season. But after doing what was necessary for MY parents, I felt that Janeka needed to be with her mother (and father) as the cancer treatments proceeded. I talked with AD Perry Winkle and told him I felt I needed to see if there was a coaching job that was near where Janeka’s parents live. He said he really wanted me to stay at Towson but that he understood and would give me permission to get out of my contract if I was able to find a job that worked out so she could be near her family.
  12. SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN? [This dynasty report carries on Coach Frederick Aura’s coaching career using DDSCB2021 (rather than using DDSCB2020 as was the case with the original dynasty report “Fedora”). Coach Aura’s attributes, skill levels, and philosophies remain as they were when the previous dynasty report concluded as does his personal life at his present age of 48. As a coach he’s a disciplinarian, believes in high academics, doesn’t bend the rules, and has a bit of a temper. He prefers a deep bench, has no problem with using young players, crashes the boards, likes employing a pressure defense on both ends of the court, and prefers using a man-to-man defense about 75-80% of the time but works a zone in and out to keep the other team off-balance. His strengths are recruiting, player development and defense. His weaker areas are scouting and offense. This dynasty report will continue with similar settings that were used previously: use of NCAAhoop’s Real World Mod (option 03), brutal recruiting difficulty level, 200% injury level, illegal recruiting allowed (of course, with Aura’s high integrity he doesn’t get to indulge in that), underclassmen can declare for the pros, no conference movement, and a high level of job pressure. And now…on with Coach Fed’s story.]
  13. Thoughts of Coach Ramon Montez: “The reorganization by the NCAA was a welcome act and one that was past due. So I salute the NCAA on doing so. But their decision to place 5 teams in a form of purgatory…on the periphery of but not really a part of Division I…while initially intriguing, has put the 5 schools that were assigned to that purgatory in a very precarious position with some definite undue burdens that I believe were not initially foreseen. I say this with a deep appreciation that I, along with 4 other coaches who had excelled as high school coaches, were given the opportunity to move into the collegiate coaching ranks. But the Independent ranks have severe limitations. First, Independents are only able to play half rather than a full season of Division I basketball. And only one of the five can ultimately be successful each season. Second, scheduling is not only difficult, but more significantly it most often results in the Independents being penalized. Most colleges won’t play Independents. If they do, most want to play at home against the Independents. So most Independents play a very high percentage of their games on the road, thus often ensuring they will have a losing record. Third, the fact that the Independents are not really a part of Division I makes it exceedingly difficult to recruit. Not only is it extremely difficult for Independents to have a chance at landing talented recruits, but it’s now obvious that for many of the Independents, it is nearly impossible to fill vacant scholarships. This then creates a downward cycle for an Independent team where they have fewer scholarship players and are forced to have more and more walk-ons. When that happens, how can they be expected to contend successfully? So rather than a “Scarlet Letter A”, these initial Independent teams were tattooed with a “Scarlet Letter I”. And for the 2 teams that were placed as Independents that never before had been a part of Division I (Tarleton State and Dixie State), the “I” was a bright fluorescent scarlet letter. I say this with a sense of “there but by the grace of God go I”. Alcorn State was extremely fortunate to have prior-history in Division I and then achieve the best record the first year of this new organization of teams. So we were able to escape the clutches of Independent-hood quickly. If we had not, we’d be in the same predicament as the initial 5 that still are trapped in the quicksand of being an Independent. After getting into Conference V, recruiting is still difficult as would be expected for a team in the lowest conference tier, but it’s noticeably easier than it was as an Independent. And now that MD-Eastern State has followed us to Conference V, I believe that after a season in Conference V, their recruiting will improve as well. Given what we now know about being an Independent, I have encouraged the remaining coaches of the initial 5, to try to escape by whatever means possible. And the way would be to walk…apply for and get hired at a college that presently is in a Division I conference and walk away from their existing Independent predicament. I realize that given the existing promotion/relegation system, one college each season will be dropping into the Independent ranks. I hope and believe that those colleges who initially were thought of as “Conference teams” have been inoculated from the Independent curse. Recruits won’t be so reluctant to accepting scholarships from those colleges and other colleges won’t be so averse to scheduling games with them and playing on an Independent’s home court.”
  14. Recruiting Hell Recruiting has been the bane of most of these 5 coaches. Landing 2, 3 or even 4 recruits is a lot of work, but certainly within the realm of possibility for most colleges. For teams that are off the radar of Division I basketball, it’s even tougher. But this season some of the 5 coaches will have a large number of available scholarships. Here’s the recruiting challenge for each of the 5 coaches and how they did during the summer and fall: Ramon Montez at Alcorn State: The Braves had 4 available scholarships and their biggest need was for guards. By Nov. 13 they had verbal commitments from 3 recruits: PG Josh Branson, a 6-1 HS senior from Senatobia, MS who is an excellent outside shooter and a great passer; PG Todd Young, a 6-0 HS senior from Okolona, MS who’s a very good passer and ball handler; and C Jarrett Dudley, a 6-9 HS senior from Purvis, MS who looks to be a sound rebounder. Coach Montez said, “I was really happy to get a couple of good PG’s. For the remaining scholarship, we’re going to go after the best recruit we can land, regardless of position.” Coach Terry Morillo, Dixie State: Coach Morillo said, “We’ve filled 2 of the 6 scholarships we have coming open after this season. While I’m happy to have landed those two, still having 4 to to fill means we need to be successful this spring.” The recruits who intend to come to Dixie State are: PF David Greer and PG Nate Johnson. Greer in a 6-7 high school senior from Orem, UT who averaged 10.3 ppg and 5.4 rpg as a junior. He has good athleticism so should have the stamina to play long stretches. His main forte is rebounding. Johnson is from South Jordan and as a junior he scored 16.1 ppg and had 3.2 apg. He’s an outstanding outside shooter and a good passer and ball handler. The Trailblazers also like his height, 6’4”, feeling he can be an asset at either PG or SG. Coach Ken Yamoto, Tarleton State: “We may not be the best recruiters, but we’re not incompetent.” But the Texans again failed to fill any of their scholarships thus far. So with 6 to go, things aren’t looking good for yet another year. Coach Mike McMillan, MD-Eastern Shore: The Hawks are another program having recruiting problems. They had 7 scholarships to fill and only filled one of those thus far. That person is PF Tony Reuter from Tamaqua, PA. He’s a 6-6 high school senior who as a junior last season averaged 13.0 ppg and 6.6 rpg. He’s a good inside shooter and a better outside shooter. Reuter’s a very good rebounder, is very athletic, and hasn’t had any injuries. Coach McMillan said, “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that we only filled 1 of 7 scholarships. It’s not that we weren’t trying. We had 3 guys turn us down. The big problem for us comes down to money. Our recruiting budget is just simply inadequate. That paints a bleak picture for the remainder of this year in trying to get recruits interested in us.” Coach Dontrell Spencer, Arkansas-Pine Bluff: “I’m happy we have 2 recruits who have given us verbal acceptances. I’m unhappy that we still have 4 scholarships to fill,” said Coach Spencer. He added, “We missed out on a couple guys we thought we’d land and now we don’t have much money left in our coffers.” One of the recruits coming to play for the Golden Lions next year is SG Paul Marley who is a 6-0 high school senior from West Memphis, AR and who averaged 15.2 ppg and 2.9 rpg in his junior year. Extremely athletic, Paul is a very good scorer from outside. He’s also a very solid passer and ball handler meaning he may be able to handle the point as well as the 2. The other recruit they landed is C Jaraan Daniels. Daniels hails from Sherwood, AR where he is a junior college sophomore. In his freshman year last season he scored 9.6 ppg and hauled in 7.4 rpg. He’s a solid interior player, rebounding strongly and exhibiting excellent inside shooting skills, but he needs to put the ball up more often.
  15. Awards: Dominick Collins was the CAA Player of the Year Dominick Collins was selected to the CAA 1st Team All-Conference Donyell Porter was selected to the CAA 1st Team All-Conference Matt Barnes, 2nd Assistant Coach (Recruiting) We had absolutely no money left in our recruiting budget so our efforts the past few months have been limited to making phone calls to recruits. Even so, in mid-April we landed our 3rd and final recruit…SF David LeClercq, a 6-8 HS senior from Leonardtown, MD. We’re looking at him to play mostly PF for us since he’s a good rebounder and a good inside scorer. Neither he nor our other two recruits this season (PG Glen Fox and SG Marcue Worrell) are standouts. While unlikely to become stars, I believe they can develop into solid players for us in the future. [With the development of DDSCB2021, I decided to finish the season I’d already started using DDSCB2020 and then move on to DDSCB2021. I therefore flew through the 2024-2025 season…my apologies for imposing a no frills season on you. Kenyon Haynes didn’t really want a bunch of different people reporting about “his” team. Now that season is over. So this post closes out this dynasty report. But the Frederick Aura saga continues…he transitions to DDSCB2021 with a move into a new dynasty report (“SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?”).]