Saturday, December 1, 2012

The CAA - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The events of yesterday beckoned the title of my article.  And I needed to add the above clip to feel better. You had good news for the CAA, bad news (the recent play of CAA teams in general) and you all by now know what The Ugly is as far as the CAA.

The Good

The College of Charleston Board of Trustees vote unanimously yesterday to join the CAA.  The Cougars are a nice get for the Colonial, having had a solid basketball program for years under John Kresse and Bobby Cremins.  Doug Wojcik, a proven winner at Tulsa, is a very solid addition to a good group of CAA coaches   His team is fresh off a big upset win at Baylor and looks to contend with Davidson for a NCAA berth in their last year in the Southern Conference.

Not only that, but already Charleston will be hosting the CAA baseball championships in 2015 and 2016.  It's also a wonderful city having been there just recently for CofC's win over Towson.  Schools will enjoy visiting Charleston and there is even talk of having the CAA Men's Basketball Tournament in the the TD Arena in the near future.

The Bad

With a fifth of the season gone by, CAA men's basketball could be described as best as mediocre, somewhat chaotic and a little disappointing (which might be kind).  The supposed top two teams in the Colonial coming into the season, Drexel and Delaware,  are a combined 4-9.  Only two of the eleven teams in the conference are currently above .500.  Four teams are at .500 and the rest of the conference is below .500.

Let's look at a few teams that are struggling.  I have already briefly talked about Drexel in my new weekly "Four on the Floor" segment on Thursday.

In their last season in the conference, Old Dominion is 1-5.  ODU hasn't had a losing record since the 2002-03 season.  They are still a great rebounding team as they are 33rd in the country averaging
41.3 rebounds per game and 11th in the country in offensive rebound percentage at 42.8 percent.

The Monarchs problem is they can't shoot.  They are 328th in the country in three point field goal percentage at 24.5 percent and 280th in the country in effective field goal percentage at 44 percent.  ODU is also struggling with turnovers, as they are 250th in the country in turnover percentage at 22.8 percent.

Delaware looked to be on the cusp of being a very good team entering the season.  They enhanced their stature by making into the Preseason NIT Tipoff semifinals after upsetting Virginia on their home court.  Then they gave Kansas State all they could handle in the Tipoff semis before losing 66-63.  But they have unraveled since then losing to Pitt by twenty six points, then losing a close game at Temple.  Finally, the Blue Hens lost at Lafayette, a team that had lost five straight and just had won one game on the season entering the contest.

For the Blue Hens, it comes down to a lack of defense.  Delaware's opponents outshoot them from the field 48.4% to 47.9%.  Also, the Blue Hens have a problem forcing teams to turn the ball over.  Delaware is ranked #300 in defensive turnover percentage at 17.4 percent.  And unfortunately for the Blue Hens, they turn the ball over too much, 295th in the country in offensive steal percentage at 12.7 percent.   Devon Saddler is averaging more turnovers per game, 3.7, than assists, 3.0

Finally there is James Madison, the perennial CAA Enigma.  They are 1-5 on the season, with that one win being a one point win over Youngstown State.  This team has a lot of talent, but never seems to put it together.

This season, the Dukes are struggling on the defensive end.  They are 320th in the country in rebounding average.  But that's not even their worst defensive statistic.  They are 339th in effective field goal percentage, at 57.1 percent.  They are 335th in three point field goal percentage defense at 41.7 percent and 310th in two point field goal percentage defense at 54.1 percent.  They give up nearly seventy six points per game.

The Ugly

Unless you have been under a rock or you're not a die hard college basketball nut, you should know by now of what happened at Hofstra yesterday.  Four members of the men's basketball team; Jimmy Hall, Shaquille Stokes, Dallas Anglin and Kentrell Washington were arrested on multiple counts of burglary.  Newsday reports that court papers show that they admitted stealing over $10,000 in laptop computers. The four players have been immediately suspended from the team, classes, residence halls and facilities.  All four players have also been removed from the team roster.   Three of the four are still in jail as of last night.  Anglin was released on $2,000 bail.

Hall said in a court paper "I did something real stupid".

You think?

Simply put, these students not only robbed students of their possessions, they robbed those students of their trust,  robbed the trust of their teammates, robbed their teammates of an improving season, robbed their coaches of their trust in giving scholarships to and robbed their fans of chance to see a young and upcoming team. They put a major black eye on a program that only two years ago was improving thanks in large part to Charles Jenkins, a man of utmost character, who I am sure is quite saddened about all of this.

But most importantly, they robbed themselves.  They robbed themselves of an athletic scholarship, robbed of a chance to better themselves, robbed themselves a chance of getting a degree for basically free and perhaps playing professional basketball overseas.  All that for several laptops.

Instead, three of the four sit in a Nassau County jail in East Meadow wondering what is in store next.  It's certainly not coming back to Hofstra. They are done there.   They may not get a second chance anywhere.

Ultimately, they robbed themselves of a future. They only have themselves to blame. That is truly ugly.

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