And the Winner is??

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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby hoopsisme » Sun Dec 24, 2017 11:12 am

Regardless of what people think about the make up of the roster, one thing is certain. The program has been spinning it's wheels for a very long time. No league finals or semis. Can't win even a quarter final. If they keep doing what they have been doing, how does the result change? Maybe should consult with VT, Stony Brook And Albany.
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby Maine19Fan » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:25 pm

Lenny, yeah I'm "older," but not ancient like 55!
And my thoughts on college basketball, I hope, aren't antiquated and outdated!
Plus, 1985 wasn't that long ago. I could have been 10 years old when I watched that game ... but, obviously, I was a little older than that.

Admittedly, I don't get out as much as you, it seems, for summer leagues. But, I do get out to some of the AAU tournaments and I haven't seen anything from Maine in recent years that indicates D1 possibilities. And, as you know, AAU and summer league ball is a vastly different animal. Next to no defense is played. Players look better in that situation. But, yes, we are in full agreement that just taking 8-to-12 Maine kids over four-year time frames is dooming any program to abject failure.

I highly doubt that coaches worry much about players fitting "the mold." They look for players that can help, plain and simple. I can name countless players at the mid-major level who were a couple inches "too short" who had success. One coach I know very well had this philosophy: "I don't look at what the player can't do, I look at what he can do." Not all feel that way, but the good ones do.

As for the message boards ... I know dozens of college coaches. I don't know a single one who cares anything about what gets posted on message boards. They know the posters, almost universally, know next to nothing about college basketball. You think Walsh would care anything about what bcbc55 posts in these forums, or what he writes on his newspaper blog? You think he even takes time to read all of that crapola?

From what I remember about the Vill-NC game of a couple of years ago, Vill most definitely collapsed inside to prohibit the ball from getting inside. And, when there's ball pressure, the best ways to beat it is with crisp passing or drive-and-kicks to get open looks on the perimeter. That NC shot 11-of-17 from beyond the stripe in that game says plenty about it getting wide-open looks from long range. If a team shoots that well from 3, even 55 would have to admit that it should have taken more!

Also, responding to hoopsisme: You're right, the program has been spinning.
Do you have answers?
I'm not sure there are any that we can identify with any certainty.
Albany has a great coach, been in place almost 20 years. Also, a terrific location, strong academics and many, many more course offerings than Maine.
Vermont has had its ups and downs, but has a terrific coach in place now.
Stony Brook had Pikiel, a terrific coach. It now has Jeff Beals, also doing a good job.
Beals came in after having been the chief ass't at Ohio State for seven seasons. He was probably making twice as much money as Maine pays its head coach. His base salary at Stony Brook is $260K.
Maine''s less-than-half-of-that salary isn't going to attract quality assistants from high major-level programs.

So, Maine has to find a coach elsewhere. It took a shot on Walsh, a very highly successful DIII coach in the region. Up to you guys/gals to determine whether Walsh is a good D1 coach. The results so far, I know, aren't favorable.

The bottom line is that it's all about talent. Coaches have to be able to bring in talent, or their teams won't win. That's the only thing that works.

Maine's handicaps in securing talent?
- Location. What high school kid wants to move to the backwoods of northern Maine and endure those winters?
- No in-state help. The one thing that could work in Maine's favor is if the state produced actual D1 players that, out of loyalty, wanted to play for their home school. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Our state produces far too few real D1 players for that to work.
- The school's commitment financially. Not only is the head coach among the lowest paid of any D1 coach, but the same holds true for assistants. And, the staff has just two full-time assistants, while every other America East program has three full-timers.

I guess those are the three biggest factors, and they're huge ones. There are others.

As I've advocated in previous posts, the coaching staff really has to think outside the box. First, players from wherever you can find them. Keep the connections overseas open. Accept transfers and find grad-school players that want to come in and play for one more year, etc. The more "channels" to bringing in players, the better.
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby hoopsisme » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:59 pm

Maine 19. Good points And Merry Christmas. Solutions, yes.
A major mistake was made after Keeling left. Mike Laplante should have been named interim coach. He would have brought 7' MCI prep center Mamadou Ndiaye with him. Mike instead gets the asst job at Auburn. Ndiaye goes to Auburn. Parlays that into a solid NBA career.
There were others in the fold. Mike was a western mass guy, Umaine grad.
Maine has never put the resources into men's bball that they should have. Many rumours that Maine could have switched conferences . Higher profile conference means more money. Have heard many say that schools recruit to the level of the conference.
Unfortunately those ships have sailed.
Moving forward. For far too many years I watch Maine not improve. Dribble around the perimeter, tap the head or pull the shirt then force up a questionable shot. I don't advocate dropping football but it was the smartest thing Vermont did. I lived there during that time. Once Brennan got hired, the program took off. They have been competitive since. Burlington is a unique place, as is Albany. But if location is the key, why has st John's struggled, Fordham is not in the national picture.
It will take someone who has a dynamic personality, who can truly teach and the team looking as though they improve.
It will take someone who can think outside the box. VT had no success prior to Brennan. You could go to Patrick gym and nobody went. This can get done if hard decisions get made
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby Maine19Fan » Mon Dec 25, 2017 3:36 pm

hoopsisme: Thanks for contributing.
But, are you kidding? Mamadou Ndiaye was NEVER coming to Maine, not even if Maine had brought in John Wooden to coach.
No future NBA player in this era is going to come in to better himself by playing in America East. When's the last time an AE player actually went to the NBA.

Maine isn't switching conferences. As you note ... new conference, particularly a step up ... means a lot more money. Remember, a conference switch doesn't involve just men's basketball. It involves the entire athletic program. Maine is exactly where it should be philosophically, geographically, financially and competitively.

How does a higher-level conference mean more money? It means more money has to be spent with a very unlikely return financially.

And, "once Brennan got hired (at Vt.), the program took off?" More like it sunk like a lead balloon.

Brennan's first 15 seasons at Vermont: 175-240 won-loss record, Never won more than 16 games in any season. Things finally turned around when a couple of state-level players, most notably, Coppenrath, came into the program.
There's the answer: Talent. Get lucky with a state-bred player who is actually real good and wants to stay home.

I do agree that there needs to be thinking outside the proverbial box. But, Brennan was no savior at Vermont, not for his first 15 seasons there.

Burlington is indeed a unique place. It has a lot greater fan support than Maine, and had that even before the program started to have some success. Brennan, by force of his vibrant personality, helped create and maintain interest even when his teams pretty much stunk for 15 years.

Albany isn't unique ... it just has a lot going for it: a good location, state capital, many free-time opportunities in the immediate area, outstanding academics, many more course offerings than most schools, etc. Plus, a great coach, and a real commitment financially to athletics.
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby Maine19Fan » Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:19 pm

One addition to the thought that Maine ever considered going to a higher-level league.

About 15 years ago, a good program from a mid-major league about at, or maybe a half-step higher, than America East, considered looking into a move to the Atlantic 10 Conference.

A feasibility study was undertaken. It showed that the school would have to make an ADDITIONAL $2 million commitment to its athletic program to make the move.

The finances include, among other things, more coaches. The A-10 requires certain numbers of full-time coaches for its teams; competitive salaries for on-staff coaches, travel increases, increases in recruiting budgets, etc.

Of course, the expenses were related to all the school's sports combined. When a school changes leagues, its entire athletic program makes the move, not just men's basketball.
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby hoopsisme » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:59 am

Maine 19. With total certainty, Ndiaye would have been a black bear. Be was not an NBA player entering as a player. Be was 4 years later. Not an NBA star but a solid career. I knew Mike well. Was very close to max good MCI prep coach. Our family regularly hosted many of the prep players who could not travel home on breaks. Ndaiye was loyal to Laplante.
Brennan's arrival at VT changed the culture. Attendance up. The culture changed. Patrick gym became a crazy place to play. His Philly area connections were a help. He got kids who had something to prove. Coppenrath also grew over the end of HS to college.
When Maine would play at uvm I use to make a point to trek to Vt from Maine. Fun environment with the VT students behind the visitors bench!
Brennan coached for a ridiculously low $$. He was also dj on the radio station. My younger brother was one of the students on the hiring committee for that job when tb got hired. I remember him saying what a dynamic personality.
No reason for Maine to be this bad. If someone had told a VT fan in the early 80s they would get to the dance and win a game over Syracuse, they would have been sent to the Looney bin.
Not asking to win the conference every year. Once would be nice. The administration needs to be all in or it will continue to spiral. Imagine recruits right now contemplating Maine. What would draw them. Great topic.
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby Maine19Fan » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:22 am

With total certainty, no coach is going to be given a job based on he "might" bring a 7-footer with him that he coached in prep school.
With total certainty, Ndiaya was NEVER going to come to Maine. He was a developing talent with great potential. That he went to Auburn is strong evidence that he wanted to go to high-major basketball.
Would he have been a first-round NBA draft pick coming out of Maine? Of course not. You think he wasn't thinking about his professional future when he was selecting a college.
Yeah, he went to Auburn because LePlante went there. Would he have come to Maine if LePlante was hired? Of course not.

And, despite your strong support of LePlante, he got his shot at being a head coach at Jacksonville State which gives much greater support of every kind to men's basketball than Maine. He coached there eight years: two winning seasons, a career 95-137 record.
You know him far better than I do, but where is he now? Is he even still in basketball at any level?

As for Tom Brennan. He changed the culture? His first 15 seasons at Vermont resulted in an abysmal W-L record.
Yes, he brought in fans by the force of his personality. But, he didn't bring in victories for 15 years ... not until Coppenrath showed up.

Yes, Maine would be overjoyed to bring in a coach who would take the to the NCAA Tournament and get an upset victory over Syracuse.
But, would Maine fans be willing to wait 19 years for that to happen?
Of course not. Bcbc55 would be advocating for that coach's firing after seasons of 5-23, 3-24 and 6-21. Those were the records at Vermont during Brennan's first three seasons.
By then 55 would be telling us daily how much better a job he would have been doing!
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby hoopsisme » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:21 am

Maine19. Some additional thoughts. Then I have to work a little. You know, those dam bills!!

Conference change. 100% agree on the cost. But, at the time the additional TV revenue which the A10 had would have offset a large piece of what they needed. Now without a dramatic change it won't happen. Think of the teams who have left Maine's conf. America east, NAc,.

No need to discuss the Ndiaye situation any farther other than this. He stayed at our home many times right here in Orono. We used to laugh that when he came to Maine I would need a new house with higher cielings. An excellent student and fun personality. The knock on him was that many were not sure how tough or hard he would work. It still makes me shake my head that the committee and ad Tyler went another direction. Mike had much to do with him being at MCI getting him here from Senegal.
It has been far too long that Maine has not even been a factor. I don't have all the answers. Wish I did. But its painfully obvious that this program is in deep doodoo!!
Thanks for your excellent posts. Holds you are enjoying the holidays. Bill
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby Maine19Fan » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:06 pm

A-10's TV budget wouldn't make up a $2 million increase in expenditures.

And, those figures were from close to 15 years ago, and the study was done by a school that was already spending nearly double on its athletic programs than Maine does (taking football out of the equation since my school in question does not have football).

So, the actual increase would probably be closer to $3.5 to $4 million annually. Where does that money come from? Better get basketball_guy working on that fund-raising!

Might even be more than that since the only league that makes geographic sense for Maine is AE.

Joining, say, the A-10 ... almost every away game would require a flight, a huge expense increase compared to the majoriity of its current trips taken by bus.

Same with the CAA. And, remember, it's not just the basketball team that makes the move. It's every team sponsored by the school.

Maine isn't getting into the Patriot League (an collection of high academic institutions) or the MAAC (which is a collection of small/private schools). What else is out there?

So, where does the additional revenue come from? Home-game ticket revenues?

Not likely, since A-10/CAA are leagues that are considerably more competitive. For Maine to lose its home games by 30/40 points nightly ... no one would show up to watch.

Does getting into one of those leagues help Maine attract better players? Not likely since the location would remain less-than-desirable.

I really don't have answers, either ... just my advice to think out of the box when it comes to recruiting players. Taking 8-to-12 Maine-bred players during every four-year, though, isn't the answer unless the question is: How do we lose 25 games annually in perpetuity?

We'll disagree on Ndiaye. You know LePlante far better than I, so maybe there was a chance (although I doubt it). But, I'd be interested to know LePlante's connections to Ndiaye that would have had the player considering Maine. Loyalty is one thing, but playing at the higher level available is almost always the determining factor.

As for the state of the Maine program ... yes, in deep doodoo. It has been forever, it seems. How many long-established D1 programs have never been to the NCAA Tournament? Not many.
Maine just has any number of detrimental aspects that hinder success.

Hope you enjoy the holidays, too; and, I hope someone eventually has the answers for our state's program. Honestly, I don't know if there are answers.
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Re: And the Winner is??

Postby parquetfloor » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:47 pm

Holy cow...I was gone awhile and have missed all the fireworks. Anyway, I am also familiar with Mike LaPlante and I believe he is now a practicing attorney down in Alabama. Hoopisme is exactly right about N'Diaye. At the time, Mike was working as a consultant with Senegalese Basketball as well, which he parlayed into a recruiting opportunity. The fact that N'Diaye ended up at Auburn shows how loyal he was to Mike, not that N'Diaye was destined for high major college hoops or the NBA. He was very raw but had loads of potential. That coaching change/situation really was a debacle and was very unfortunate. At that time, Maine wasn't floundering the way it is today.

I look at that and then a few years later when Bedard broke his wrist in the AEast Tournament as the 2 times when Maine Basketball was going to be knocking on the door to being relevant in the world of Men's College Basketball.
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