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Harry Iacona, 3rd Assistant Coach:

Colonial Athletic Association play concluded.  Here’s the standings:

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Our regular season was a mix of positives and negatives.  Our season record shows more wins (16) than losses (14).  But our conference record is the opposite: 8 wins and 10 losses.  Meaning we finished in the lower half in the standings (a tie for 6th).  While not torpedoing our season, 2 season-long injuries really depleted our depth.  Otherwise though, we only had a few minor injuries.

We had some good individual performances:

PG Ryan Holmes: 18 points in 18 minutes of play against Drexel, hitting all 7 of his FG’s including all 4 of his 3’s.

PG Matt Settles: 19 points, 9 assists, and 6 rebounds against Delaware.

PG Billy Thomas: In his 2nd and last game before tearing his ACL, 15 points and 4 assists giving us a glimpse of his potential talent.

SG Mitchell Evans: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals in a game against North Carolina-Greensboro.

SG Ryan Taylor: 17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists against Elon plus playing well enough to start 7 games at the end of the season as a freshman.

SF Bart Rose: Hitting 4 of his 5 FG’s and scoring 10 points coming in off the bench against Delaware.

SF Eric Shannon: 15 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals and a block against William & Mary.

PF Craig Smith: Scoring in double figures in 20 games. 18 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal and a block against Northeastern.

PF Jason Vickers: 9 points, 2 rebounds, and an assist against Mississippi Valley.

PF Jason Minor: 12 points (hitting all 6 of his FGA’s), 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal during his 14 minutes of court time against James Madison.

C Nick McPherson: 12 points, 7 rebounds against NC-Wilmington.

C Melvin Steele: Playing just 18 minutes, he scored 22 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and had an assist, 2 steals and a block against Central Michigan.

But most all of our players were inconsistent.  Our only truly consistent player was Craig Smith.  He scored in double figures in 20 games, had 8 or more rebounds in 13 games and never really had a poor game. 

Some good news we got after our final regular season game: PF Jason Vickers’ broken foot has healed, so he will return for conference tourney.  It will be nice to have a little more depth up front.

 

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Janeka Aura, Early-March:

Last week we got our first coronavirus patient.  He was in serious condition and was admitted to a special ICU that our hospital had set up and dedicated for use solely for coronavirus patients.  Even though it has been limited, community spread of the virus is occurring because two more patients were admitted this week.  I was involved in their initial examination and diagnosis.  Although there has been a lot of media coverage that has high-lighted the severity of this virus, my personal observation plus the comments from those nurses and doctors who have been treating these patients in our ICU, really has brought home just how bad it is for patients who are the most debilitated by it.  Our ER policies have been modified to provide a heightened level of protection for those of us who work there.  Because I have children I am not (nor will I) be involved with the ICU. 

Whereas many countries have had to close down their societies, that has been avoided in the U.S. even though plans were developed for that should it become necessary.  Frederick was concerned that they would shut down the basketball season.  While that was discussed, it was avoided when the outbreak didn’t overwhelm our country.  But controls were instituted for players and fans.

President Otani is not only the first woman elected as president of the U.S. but also the first Asian-American to be president.  Those were huge hurdles to overcome in 2016 in what was a bitter and controversial election.  Since then she had been derided for her policies and unable to do much with a splintered population and divided congress.  That has made it difficult for her to govern effectively.  But, due to her proactive response for this crisis and her creation of a highly skilled group of advisors who have relied on science and medical knowledge to put into play a sound plan of action, her popularity which had previously been low, has now shot up dramatically.  Her re-election, which had been in severe jeopardy, is now looking very likely.

 

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Baltimore Sun article

DAY 1 AT THE COLONIAL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION TOURNEY

#10 seed Delaware FIghtin’ Blue Hens (4-14, 6-23) vs #7 seed Elon Phoenix (8-10, 10-19): Elon controlled the first half, leading by as much as 11 points and ahead 37-33 at the break.  But Delaware stormed back in the 2nd half and went on to gain a 68-54 upset win.  Reginald Clark scored 19 for Delaware and Adam Sasser had 23 for Elon.

#9 seed Charleston Cougars (6-12, 7-22) vs #8 seed Hofstra Pride (7-11, 9-20): The lead shifted back and forth in the first half with Charleston holding a 35-32 halftime advantage.  Hofstra gradually pulled ahead in the 2nd half and edged the Cougars 65-60.  Damon Nahra had 14 points to lead the scoring for the Pride while Rashawn Jackson came off the bench to score 12 for Charleston.

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Baltimore Sun article

DAY 2 AT THE COLONIAL ATHLETIC  ASSOCIATION TOURNEY

#8 seed Hofstra Pride (7-11, 10-20) vs #1 seed NC-Wilmington Seahawks (14-4, 18-11):  Hofstra’s defense stymied the Seahawks in the first half.  The Pride went ahead by 14 points before settling for a 35-28 halftime advantage.  NC-Wilmington figured things out during the break and came out in the 2nd half hitting their shots while keeping the Pride from getting open shots.  The Seahawks quickly pulled even and they steadily left Hofstra in the dust.  NC-Wilmington scored a resounding 75-61 victory with C Bryan Borman, who has averaged 20.4 ppg, hitting 10 of 13 shots and tossing in 23 points.  PG Kenny Rice poured in 20 points for the Pride.

#12 seed Delaware FIghtin’ Blue Hens (4-14, 7-23) vs #2 seed James Madison Dukes (12-6, 15-14):  James Madison jumped out to a 16 point lead, but Delaware cut into it late in the first half to close the half trailing 37-28.  The Dukes scored the first 4 points of the 2nd half and looked like they were on their way to an easy win.  But then Delaware caught fire and began hitting shots from all over the court.  James Madison tried to counter that with a tight defense, but only made things worse by repeatedly fouling to give the FIghtin’ Blue Hens some easy points at the line.  Delaware caught up with the Dukes late in the game.  The Delaware took advantage of James Madison’s Dennis Smith (who scored 23 points) fouling out and Chris Archey (who scored 16 points being saddled with 4 fouls and pulled ahead to score their 2nd straight upset win by a score of 77-74.  C Sean Molnar pumped in 25 points for the Fightin’ Blue Hens.

#6 seed Towson Tigers (8-10, 16-14) vs #3 seed William & Mary Tribe (11-7, 16-13): We lost by 8 when playing on their court and we won by 7 when they visited.  So while they appear evenly matched, let’s see which team can triumph on a neutral court.

1st half: Towson took a 10-4 lead after 3 minutes of play.  PF Jason Vickers came into the game with 15 minutes left in the half and scored 5 points in his first 2 minutes on the court.  The Tribe tied the game at 21-21 with 8:48 left in the half.  Hitting 46% of their FG’s and 11 of 13 from the foul line, the Tigers go on to take a 43-35 lead to the locker room.  PF Matt Settles is Towson’s top scorer with 8 points. William & Mary’s PF Matt Holt matches him with 8 points.

2nd half: PF Craig Smith scored Towson’s first 6 points of the 2nd half to put them ahead 49-37.  Even though William & Mary kept trying to close the gap, the Tigers stubbornly held onto a 5-11 point lead.  With 40 seconds remaining, the Tigers were ahead by 5.  But the Tribe then had to foul and the Tigers converted each time to crank out an 89-76 win. 

Towson dominated the boards 40-26.  PF Craig Smith tossed in 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while also getting 2 steals and 4 blocks.  PG Matt Settles had 16 points, SG Ryan Taylor scored 11, SF Eric Shannon scored 10 while pulling down 9 boards, and SG Mitchell Evans and PF Jason Vickers both had 10 points coming in off the bench.  Leading scorer for William & Mary was Steve Webber with 15 points.

#5 seed Drexel Dragons (10-8, 11-18) vs #4 seed Northeastern Huskies (10-8, 16-13): The game was close for most of the first half, but Northeastern built a 30-24 halftime lead.  The Huskies maintained control through the 2nd half to come away with a 67-57 victory. C Marlon Tucker and SG Antonio Augustine both scored 14 points for Northeastern.  Drexel didn’t have any players scoring in double figures but had 5 players score 8 points apiece and two others add 7 point each.

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Baltimore Sun article

SEMIFINALS AT THE COLONIAL ATHLETIC  ASSOCIATION TOURNEY

#4 seed Northeastern Huskies (10-8, 17-13) vs #1 seed NC-Wilmington Seahawks (14-4, 19-11):  NC-Wilmington was on top most of the first half and went to the break with a 37-32 lead.  They opened the 2nd half with a long run that gave them a 20 point lead.  But Northeastern then began to eat away at that lead, but didn’t have enough time and lost to the Seahawks 77-70.  C Bryan Borman hit for 28 points plus hauled down 8 rebounds for the Seahawks.  SF Ronnie Henry scored 23 points for the Huskies.

#6 seed Towson Tigers (8-10, 17-14) vs #12 seed Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens (4-14, 8-23):  Delaware had a horrible season and conference record, but beat the Tigers by 5 at home and lost to the Tigers by 8 when playing at Towson. And the Fightin’ Blue Hens have been fighting in the tournament, scoring 2 big upsets.  Towson has won 5 of their last 7 games.

1st Half: Towson fell behind 11-4 and had both C Melvin Steele and PG Matt Settles saddled with 2 fouls apiece within the first 4 minutes.  The Tigers fought back and tied the game at 21-21 midway through the half.  Delaware’s offense was on fire though.  They hit 56% of their FG attempts, 6 of 9 from beyond the arc, and 16 of 19 at the free throw line.  Towson hit 52% of their FG attempts but found themselves trailing 52-46 at the break.  PG Matt Settles scored 11 points for Towson but had 3 fouls on him.  Delaware’s SG Damon Cabrera also had 11 points.

2nd Half: Delaware continued to score freely but with 10 minutes to go, Towson had narrowed the gap to 77-75.  With 9 minutes remaining the Tigers finally edged ahead 80-79.   With 4-1/2 minutes remaining Towson, which by then was sinking 59% of their shots and 54% of its 3’s, had pulled away to a 92-82 advantage.  The Tigers went on to win an offensive battle 101-91. 

Towson outshot Delaware 58% to 49% and hit 15 of 29 from beyond the arc.

PG Matt Settles scored 22 and had 6 assists.  SG Ryan Taylor popped in 19 points.  PF Jason Vickers had a second straight strong game with 11 points and C Melvin Steele added 10.  Top scorer for Delaware was Damon Cabrera who scored 17 points.

“Delaware was so hot.  They were shredding our defense.  No matter what we tried, we couldn’t stop them.  But our guys never gave up and finally just got hotter than the Fightin’ Blue Hens.  It was a darned exciting game, and certainly one I’m happy we pulled out,” said Coach Frederick Aura.

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Posted (edited)

Baltimore Sun article

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME AT THE COLONIAL ATHLETIC  ASSOCIATION TOURNEY

#6 seed Towson Tigers (8-10, 18-14) vs #1 seed NC-Wilmington Seahawks (14-4, 20-11):  Before the game, Coach Frederick Aura said, “We're really excited to be in the championship game.  Given how our season went, it’s a surprise to most everyone that we are.  But going up against NC-Wilmington is a huge challenge.  They’ve shown throughout the season that they are an exceptionally good team and have been the class of the conference.  Not only that but the clobbered us in both games we played against them this season.” 

The Seahawks beat the Tigers by 20 and 14 points in their two contests.  NC-Wilmington has 4 players averaging in double figures, led by C Bryan Borman’s 20.6 ppg.  Borman has scored 20+ points in 16 games and has been held to less that 10 points in just 2 games this season.

Game Results:

1st Half:  Towson took an early 11-3 lead and stayed in front the entire rest of the first half.  The score at the break was 35-33 in favor of the Tigers.  C Melvin Steele had 10 for Towson.  NC-Wilmington’s C Bryan Borman scored 12.

2nd Half:  Both teams battled it out throughout much of the 2nd half with the lead shifting back and forth and neither team being able to pull away.  With 6 minutes left the teams were tied at 55-55.  But NC-Wilmington then asserted dominance and gradually pulled away to achieve a 73-66 win over Towson.  The difference in this game was turnovers with Towson making 27 while the Seahawks had 18. 

For Towson PF Craig Smith had 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks for the Tigers and C Melvin Steele finished with 12 points, 7 rebounds, a steal and 4 blocks while SG Mitchell Evans added 10.  NC-WIlmington was led by C Bryan Borman who scored 20 points, pulled down 8 boards, and had 4 steals and 2 blocks.

“NC-Wilmington was every bit as strong as we figured they would be.  We played a helluva game but fell apart in the final few minutes.  We came up 7 points short of making the NCAA tourney.  But NC-Wilmington played well all season so they deserve going,” said Coach Frederick Aura. He added, “Gotta give some credit to the officiating crew.  It was a physical battle out there, but the refs called few fouls and didn’t take the game away from the players as some other refs may have.”

Edited by PointGuard

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Janeka Aura, Early April

Based on the findings in countries with extensive coronavirus infection, we know that older adults, particularly those with other complications, are more seriously affected by what is now called COVID-19.  Because of this, President Otani announced that nursing homes and long-term care facilities have been undergoing extensive testing to avoid what could be a devastation amongst their patients.  Thus far this has worked and prevented staggering death totals that are affecting some other countries.  People continue to experience infections here but these have been controlled due to extensive testing and contact-tracing.  Our hospital has been able to avoid being swamped, and due to the pre-planning, our physical resources and available medical staff have been able to handle this.

Meanwhile, the world death toll has been rapidly and steadily increasing.  The virus has completely devastated both the populations and economies of many countries.  President Otani’s coronavirus task force provides regular briefings and dissemination of information and guidance which is keeping our population not only informed and proactive, but also has begun re-uniting segments of our population that in the past were in diametrical opposition to one another.  The two branches of Congress which are controlled by different parties have developed ways to work toward common goals which many of us thought was no longer possible.

Our hospital continues to get some coronavirus patients and there have been at least two patients who have died at our hospital due to the disease.  A friend who works in the ICU has told me how draining physically and emotionally it is for their staff to effectively respond to the dire conditions of some of the patients.  Intubations are necessary for those sicker with the disease and no one wishes that on anyone.

The director and two department heads at a nearby nursing home have been fired due to their facilities failing to meet the strict federal and state measures that were instituted to keep prevent contagion and keep it from spreading should it occur.  Their replacements have quickly stepped in to harness what could have been a terrible outbreak. 

The government has been cracking down on fraud and exorbitant profiteering by individuals and companies who have sought to take advantage of people who have been scared by this virus.  There also have been a number of charlatans who have been making false claims about drugs that they have alleged (without scientific proof) that can prevent or treat the virus.

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TOWSON TIGERS PLAYER STATS LEADERS, 2019-2020 SEASON


PPG: Craig Smith-11.8; Melvin Steele-9.1; Matt Settles-8.7; Ryan Taylor-8.6; Eric Shannon-8.2; Mitchell Evans-7.6; Billy Thomas-6.5; Ryan Holmes-6.0; Nick McPherson-4.9; Jason Vickers-4.5; Jason Minor-4.3

RPG: Craig Smith-7.2; Melvin Steele-5.1; Nick McPherson-3.7; Erick Shannon-3.4; Billy Thomas-3.0; Mitchell Evans-2.9; Matt Settles-2.7; Ryan Holmes-2.4; Jason Minor-2.4

APG: Matt Settles-4.1; Ryan Holmes-3.2; Billy Thomas-2.5; Mitchell Evans-1.5, Melvin Steele-1.4; Ryan Taylor-1.3; Eric Shannon-1.2; Craig Smith-1.2; Nick McPherson-1.2

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Michael Snoddy, 2nd Assistant Coach:

It’s not surprising, but the only team in the Colonial Athletic Association to make it into a post-season tournament was the NC-Wilmington, the conference champ.  We had the most wins this season (18) of any other team.  But we figured there was no way to get into a tournament based on our 6th place finish in the conference and our poor RPI (237th best in the country) even though we won 6 of our final 9 games and made it to the conference championship game.  So…we get to spend the next few weeks watching tournament games on TV.

NC-Wilmington is the #13 seed in the West Regional and will go up against #4 seed Arizona.  The Seahawks are going to need a lot of good luck in that one.

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NCAA Tournament

#13 seed NC-Wilmington Seahawks vs #4 seed, 8th ranked Arizona Wildcats: Close for 3 minutes but then Arizona began to pull away.  By the end of the half the Seahawks trailed 37-25.  The Wildcats wasted no time asserting their total dominance in the 2nd half and made the game a wipe-out.  Arizona led by as much as 34 points before winning by a final score of 93-64.  If it hadn’t been for NC-Wilmington’s C Bryan Borman’s 27 points and 7 rebounds, the rout would have been ever greater. 

Post-Season Championships:

NCAA Championship:  Virginia-85, Maryland-77

NIT Championship: Cincinnati-79, Georgetown-68

CBI Championship: Wright State-73, South Carolina-71

CIT Championship: Creighton-76, Ball State-68

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Omar McDade:

We have five seniors graduating:

PF Craig Smith—Craig will be tough to replace.  Not only was he our leading scorer (11.8 ppg) and rebounder (7.2 rpg) but he was our on-court leader.

PG Matt Settles—While Matt was our primary starter at PG, he also played at SF in all our games and also filled in occasionally at SG.  He averaged 8.7 ppg, 4.1 apg, and 2.7 rpg.

SG Michael Evans—Michael averaged 7.6 ppg and hit 44% of his FG attempts and 39% of his 3’s.  He also occasionally filled in at PG.

PG Ryan Holmes—Ryan was a solid point guard who averaged 6.0 ppg, 3.2 apg, and 2.4 rpg.

C Mike Edwards— As a walk-on Mike only got into a few games for short periods, but his regular participation in our practices helped us prepare for our upcoming opponents.

Taking their places will be our 4 recruits:

SF Keiron Stone—6’7”, averaged 13.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.8 bpg, and 3.0 spg at Kent Island HS in Stevensville, MD.  Good inside scorer, good passer, and strong rebounder, quick hands allow him to get a lot of steals.  Posted up at times in HS, so we’re hoping he also can play PF for us.  196th ranked recruit in the nation.

SF Wayne Burrough—6’8”, averaged 14.8 ppg, 1.3 apg, 7.9 rpg, and 1.5 spg in his senior year at Kane Area HS in Kane, PA.  Good scorer with excellent outside and good inside shooting abilities and an excellent rebounder. 220th ranked recruit nationally.

PG Adrian Brown—6’0”, averaged 16.9 ppg, 4.9 apg, 4.3 rpg, 2.0 bpg, and 2.7 spg in his second season at Noble CC in Noble, OK.  Hard worker, good scorer who has an excellent eye from outside.  We hope he can step right in as a starter for us.  253rd ranked recruit within the country.

PG Mateen Carroll—6’1”, averaged 12.1 ppg, 5.7 apg, 4.3 rpg, and 3.2 spg at Francis Scott Key CC in Union Bridge, MD.  Very good outside shooting skills, likes to step out to take 3’s, excellent passer and good ball handling skills, very good at stealing the ball, hard worker who has few injuries.  1089th best recruit in the nation.

I’m pretty sure Adrian will step right in and contribute, most likely as a starter.  Mateen should also be ready to go, although maybe not as a starter.  We’ll have to see how ready Keiron and Wayne are, but they’ve been good in HS and I’m positive about both of them.  

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Baltimore Sun articles

1ST TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE FOR TOWSON’S SMITH

The Colonial Athletic Association presented its season awards yesterday.  Craig Smith, senior PF for Towson University was named 1st Team All-Conference.  Tigers’ head coach Frederick Aura said, “We’re really proud of Craig.  He did such a great job for us this season that he’s very deserving of this prestigious award.  We’re going to definitely miss him next season.”

NCAA CRACKS DOWN ON 3 PROGRAMS

The NCAA has announced that 3 basketball programs have been put on probation for recruiting violations.  Richmond received a one-year loss of scholarships for minor recruiting violations involving two recruits.  Richmond’s head coach Antonio Jenkins was found to have been involved and his firing is expected.  The same punishment has been given to Tennessee Tech for minor recruiting violations.  Their head coach, John Bedard is likely to lose his job.  Adam Giles, the head coach of Missouri, was found to have been involved in providing bribes to two recruits.  Missouri’s athletic department has announced a press conference for tomorrow.  Sources at the university have confirmed that Giles will be fired.  The NCAA announced that Missouri will be penalized b losing scholarships for 2 years and be banned from post-season play for a year. 

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Janeka Aura

Several colleges have shown interest in having Frederick serve as their head coach, including Southern Illinois, Missouri State, and South Florida.  But Frederick wants to continue his work at developing the Tigers here in Towson.  I’m really happy about that since I have no desire to move our family again.

 

Perry Winkle, Athletic Director

Got together with Coach Aura today to go over his performance.  While he didn’t meet my goal to finish in the Top 3 in the conference, his team exceeded the goal of games won during the season.  I expressed my support for what he did and my confidence in where he’s taking the team. I told him I’d like to see the team with the conference tournament this coming season.

He’s keeping his staff together which I think is a sound decision.  The continuity will be good for the program.

He asked for a budget increase.  But there’s just no way we can do that, particularly with the reduction in attendance due to required social distancing and the added testing and cleaning and the uncertainties that this Covid-19 outbreak continues to impose on us.  We’ve cut back whatever we possibly can just to get through this period.  Frederick was understanding but jokingly (I hope) said he’d just ask for double after this next season.  I replied, “Win us a national championship and we’ll discuss it.”

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Omar McDade

As we head into summer, we reviewed our upcoming team.  We had just gotten word that our incoming recruit class was rated as the 118th best in Division I.  Good but not impressive.

The consensus amongst we coaches was that overall our team would be a little stronger this coming season.  Our depth is likely to be a little better than last season.  We’re relatively strong at all positions with the exception of SF.  But Eric Shannon, who while a natural SG filled in nicely at SF last season, has really worked hard in the weight room and his new strength should improve his rebounding.  And it’s possible that the two SF recruits coming in could provide some depth that we lacked last season.  Steele and McPherson continue to develop well so we should be solid at C.  Jason Minor may be able to fill the PF spot that Craig Smith anchored last season.  Our two new point guards should be able to handle that position along with Billy Thomas whose MCL should be healed by December.  Taylor and Thomas will be able to handle SG for us.

We’re making sure all of our players get some good training this summer and we’ve told Matt Heard to stay the hell out of China this summer.  When we’ve gone through our fall training in October, we’ll have a better idea of which players are most ready to carry the load.

We also discussed this season’s recruiting.  Given we have but two seniors (Eric Shannon and Nick McPherson) we’ll only have two scholarships to offer.  Our recruiting budget remains as meager as last season,  But since we have just two scholarships to fill we are going to not only purchase the basic Atlantic East Regional report but also the basic National Report and attend both the Big Apple Showcase Camp and one of the National Camps.  That will definitely limit the number of recruits we focus upon.  Coach Aura wants to try to get a highly rated recruit.  I’m unconvinced that this will work, but against my better judgement I’m going along with it to see if we can pull it off.  We’re going to hone in on getting on big man (preferably a C) and one SF.  By not also looking closely at guards, that will help limit what we spend.

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Michael Snoddy, 2nd Assistant Coach in charge of Player Development:

I tried to convince Coach Aura to cut SF Ross Davis.  We redshirted him last season so he’s still a freshman as far as eligibility goes.  I’d hope to see a big improvement in his skills, but don’t feel that occurred. 

Coach A said, "Davis has a lot of potential.”

I had to agree, but replied, “But if he’s not going to develop that potential, he’s not going to provide us with any value.  Also at just 6’5” he’s not as big as I’d like to see for a SF.”

Coach A hates cutting players.  I argued, “if we cut him we’d be able to go after a talented transfer player.  While a transfer player doesn’t provide us with an asset for this season, I don’t think Ross will give us much of anything this season either.  And you know as well as me that ‘potential’ is a crap shoot, so we may never get a lot from him.”

I added, “There’s a high-scoring SG who played for UC Irvine and scored 16.8 ppg as a freshman.  There are several other very good transfers, although those players think they will be picked up by major programs whereas the UC Irvine guard is looking at lesser programs so I think we have a good shot at getting him.”

Coach A seemed to be wavering but then declared, “Michael, thanks for raising the possibility.  But I just don’t want to cut Ross.  I like his shooting eye.  While he has a ways to go on the rest of his game, I want to see how he develops.  Since he was a redshirt, we haven’t been able to watch him in game action yet.”

So no transfer players.  I kept track of where transfer players were going and the two I was most interested selected Oregon and Ohio State.  So we probably wouldn’t have been able to get them anyway.

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Janeka Aura

Excuse my French...but...Damn it!  Another nurse, who I interacted with a lot at the hospital, tested positive for Covid-19.  I got tested and it came back negative, but because the test has a lot of false positives, I am self-quarantining at home for 14 days.  That means I am staying in our master bathroom (with a master bathroom) and have kicked Frederick out and am keeping him and our children away from me for 14 days.  I’m just in my 3rd day and am absolutely hating it!  Reading, watching TV, doing crafts, doing a puzzle, etc, etc.  But all those get old when you can’t do whatever you want.  And listening to my kids through a closed door but not being able to hold and hug them is breaking my heart.  While I’m pretty sure I haven’t been infected, I just can’t chance exposing my family or the others I work with at the hospital or the patients I would be helping.  I’m not sure how the other nurse came down with Covid, but think she was not being careful during her socializing.  She’s had some tough days but fortunately isn’t so bad that she needs to be hospitalized.

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Frederick Aura

Today is Janeka’s last day of self-quarantining.  About damned time!  Playing Mom and Dad the past two weeks has been hell.  I think the kids were unhappy about not having her with them and also saw an opportunity to take advantage of the situation whenever they could.  And they're getting older and wanting to be more independent which leads to differences in opinion between them and me.  My response to their efforts was occasionally over blown which made things worse.

Even though she is in the same house and we talk through the door, I’ve missed her a lot.

I’ve told Janeka to spend as much time as she can with the kids the entire week after she gets “freed”.  I’m then planning to take her on a surprise weekend…just the two of us.  I’ve got my parents coming to our house then to take care of the kids.

Then a few weeks later, the whole family will go on a great vacation to the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

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Posted (edited)

Omar McDade, 1st Assistant (Recruiting) Coach

We’ve only got 2 scholarships to offer this year.  We’re going to focus on getting at least one interior player and maybe two.  But if we can’t get a 2nd big man, we’ll go after a guard.  Crash (Coach Aura) wants to try to land high flyers this year.  I reminded him our college's name was spelled T-o-w-s-o-n rather than D-u-k-e and tried talking him into lowering his sights a bit, but he was adamant.  So I’ll give it a try, but I think we could get shut out his fall.  

Anyway, we put together a list of some very good big men and I’m starting to try to get them interested in us.  It’s a struggle.

Edited by PointGuard

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Omari Aura

Hey, this is Omari Aura, but most guys just call me “O”.  My whole family and I are up in Nova Scotia. We’re into our 2nd week of an extended family vacation.  I think my Mom and Dad are doing this to make up for all the Covid-hell we’ve been through the past few months.  It’s really cut into my socializin’.

The last few days we were out on Prince Edward Island.  Went there because my Mom is a big fan of “Anne of Green Gables”.  Since the author was from there and based her story on that place we went all over the blasted island going form one “Anne” location to another.  Pretty damned boring for Malik and me (and I think my Dad also even though he doesn’t say so), but Mom was in heaven.  She was in a Green Gables fog and tried to excite Dee (Devany) about the story even though Dee is only 4 years old.  She even made us all go to the island’s playhouse one night and watch an entire play about the story.  The ferry ride over to the island was cool though.

The tides on the Bay of Fundy are also pretty cool.  But the best thing about the Canadian Maritimes are the Canadian girls.  Super friendly!  Maybe I will move up here after high school, although I don’t think the level of basketball is strong enough…and I want to continue that for sure.  Oh yeah, and the lobsters here have been great too.

Like normal, my parents are also trying to get Malik and me to understand what being black is like here in Canada and telling us about the history of blacks in the Maritimes.  Some came here as slaves from the Caribbean primarily and others as came as free (including 3000 who transported to Nova Scotia and given their freedom by England for supporting the British during the American Revolution).  Slavery was outlawed in 1833.  My impression is that there is less overt racism here, but prejudice still exists and Blacks are economically disadvantaged as they are in the States.

We’re going to take a larger ferry (my Dad says it’s like a ship) to leave Nova Scotia and return to St. John, New Brunswick in a couple days.  He says that trip takes a few hours.

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Michael Snoddy, 2nd Assistant Coach

Been getting reports about how some of our guys are doing in summer leagues and summer camps.  Sounds like Ross Davis is doing pretty well, so maybe Coach Aura was right not to cut him to try to get a highly talented transfer player.  Wayne Burrough is also performing well this summer and from what I hear, he could be ready to be a starter as a freshman for us this season.  On the other hand, I’m hearing that Keiron Stone needs a lot of maturing.  That probably means we wont be getting much out of him this season.  Redshirting is a possibility.

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Late August 2020: Coach Aura Receives a Phone Call (VOTP = Voice On The Phone; CFA = Coach Frederick Aura):

VOTP: Hey, is this Coach Aura?

CFA: Yes.  Who’s this?

VOTP: Let’s just say I’m Your Lucky Day.  I’m going to get right to the point.  I hear you’re trying to recruit Kenley Carter.  The kid’s great.  I’ve watched him play since he was in junior high school and am amazed how he’s developed and now stands head and shoulders over any one he’s ever played against.  He’d make your team into a real contender.  But the kid is getting recruited by a lot of big name powers.  So you’ve not got a chance. Unless…

CFA: Unless what?

VOTP:  I’m a good friend of the family.  They know Kenley’s going to star for someone.  They’re a good family but they got nothing.  In fact, they’re in debt up to their ears.  Kenley’s their chance to finally get a leg up.  So if you want him on your team, you’re gonna need to ante up. 

CFA: Hey, I’m just going to hang up.

VOTP:  No problem, but hear me out at least.  As I said, I’m not part of their family, but have good connections with them.  Obviously doing what’s necessary to get Kenley leading your team to the promised land is risky.  But as the family’s intermediary, I can make things not only happen, but provide a way for everyone to keep their hands clean.  There would never be a trail between you and Kenley and his family. If you want to move the Tigers up in class, you need some real talent and Kenley Carter is it.  I’m just giving you the chance for that to happen….to make your dreams come true.

CFA: Look My Lucky Day, I think you’re My Ticket to Infamy.

VOTP: (Laughing) Well, actually I think I’m your ticket to the NCAA Tournament and doing well when you get there and you know it.  So let’s quit beating around the bush and make this happen.

CFA:  ** CLICK **

 

A week later, Omar McDade (OM) walks into Coach Aura’s (CFA) office:

OM: Crash, you’ll never guess what happened today!

CFA: You won the lottery?

OM: (Laughing)  Not quite, but sort of.

CFA: What the hell you getting at?

OM:  Well, you know we’ve never made any inroads with Kenley Carter, that hot stud center from across the border in Pennsylvania.  Well today, I  made my umpteenth call to him.  His father answered the phone and instead of hanging up put Kenley on the phone.  I’ll be damned…the kid actually talked with me and opened up.  He ended up saying he had become really interested in our program.  I nearly fell over.

CFA: Strange.  Why do you think things turned 180 degrees around all of a sudden?

OM: Beats me.  I have absolutely no idea.  But as they say…don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  All of a sudden I’m thinking we have a good chance of getting this guy.

CFA: Maybe, maybe not.  I think we need to not get over our skis on this one.  Let’s just slow up a little and give things a chance to percolate rather than jumping in head first on such a sudden change of heart.  If the kid really is interested, taking things one step at a time is the way to go.

OM: It’s your call, Crash.  But if we go too slow, there are others who are trying to scoop this guy up and won’t take their time landing him if he shows interest in them.

 

That night, another phone call to Coach Aura:

VOTP: Hey Coach, you may be a hot-shot coach, but it will take years for little Towson to get strong enough to be anything but a good team in a so-so conference. But things could happen overnight and I hear your 1st Assistant got a surprise today.  I told you I could make things happen. 

CFA: Look, I don’t need an intermediary.

VOTP: Yeah, yeah…and Henry Ford didn’t need the Model T.  Listen up, we need a more secure way to communicate, so here’s what you need to do….

CFA:  **CLICK**

 

The next night, yet another phone call to Coach Aura:

VOTP: Coach, this is your last chance. Don’t screw this up.  You’ll never handed such a golden egg again.

CFA: **CLICK**

 

Two days later, Omar McDade returns to Coach Aura’s office:

OM: Well Crash, I called Kenley Carter again.  I’ll be damned.  I didn’t get a chance to say a thing before he told me where I could stick it and hung up on me.  I don’t know what to make of it.

CFA: What you make of it is to take him off our list.  We got better things to do than chase after him.

OM: [Expletive deleted]

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