Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's Thoughts......FDU &SHU

As promised here are my thoughts on FDU Men's Basketball. I need to start by saying the FDU Basketball program is a true sleeping mid-major giant based on being in Bergen County NJ (turns out some decent players) which is down the road from Paterson NJ (home of Paterson Catholic, Eastside and Kennedy) and its proximity to New York City (8 Miles) and Essex County NJ (no more than 15 miles), all basketball hotbeds for great mid major talent. So what's the problem? I again refer you to my formula for success at FDU:

SC+DB+FI+GM+FS+GP+GCS=S

SCHOOL COMMITMENT + Decent Budget + Facility Improvement + Great Marketing + Fan Support + Good Players + Great Coaching Staff = SUCCESS

School commitment seems to have always been lacking. Despite this Tom Green won much more than he lost. Yet the school replaces him as if he did something wrong! Was there a deal made between folks involved with basketball? Why would new guy hire a person from California as an Assistant? Who is this guy and who does he know lol? Lets see if FDU gets a few California kids in this recruiting class. Lets watch closely this season where movement occurs and where folks wind up in the future. FDU needs to support the Basketball program better. When I lived in that area the University President at that time rarely attended a game. Crowds of 200 in a 5000 seat facility was not uncommon, and no one seemed to mind. Students did not bother to show up and neither did local people from Bergen County. A D1 program right there and no one including the University even cared accept when they went the NCAA Tournament and the press made a big deal over a close game on national TV.

The Budget must be very small because when you see FDU Assistants out they are driving cars that they might have owned for 10-12 years. Appearance including how you arrive is very important. Not saying they needed $35,000 cars. But they could have had nice Chevy cars or Toyotas. Just seems they cannot compete with the other area mid majors such as Manhattan, Iona, Hofstra, and Siena which could be a blue print for mid major success.

Facilities have become worst last time I looked. I cannot believe they took the end stands out of the Rothman Center. Why? I guess they want the HS look lol. They need to redo all the seating in that arena and make it 4 sided again, but with portable chairbacks. I still remember the day it opened with great fanfare! What a day, what a facility at the time! And please do not forget the weight room if it has not been redone. Only place I have seen that is less impressive is the weight room at St. Peters College.

Marketing the FDU program seems to be a challenge. Why are they not developing a future fan base through a Junior Knight type Program, a Golden Knight Program for area senior citizens, special package deals for area residents only, and a super push to area alumni with town captains from the various towns pushing the drive with an annual luncheon to the town with the most season tickets, etc. Also what are they doing with print and electronic media in the area? Why are more games not shown on local cable to develop fan interest? How about partnering with local malls and larger stores such as Bloomingdales, Red Lobster, The Cheesecake Factory, Saks, etc. Mall specials could be done. I can think of alot more as well. But the bottom line is No One Even Knows a Game is Going On when FDU plays at home. Is it worth having a D1 program if it has no impact and no one cares?

Fan support comes with marketing and winning teams. The winning has occurred and the crowds still stayed at home. Now is the time to put money in marketing to support the past winning ways.

Good players will come with winning and what has been mentioned. Right now FDU is looked at as a low end D1 program that people barely notices.

Coaching has never been a problem at FDU to me. It has always been the things I mentioned above. Heck Tom Green is an OUTSTANDING COACH who just needed help doing the things above. I am sure the new coaches will do just fine as well. But it will be hard without support in the ways I have listed. On the Mid Major level alot depends on X and Os. Time will tell if the staff in place is capable. Recruiting is one thing and game coaching is another.

Well, we are down to the "S" in my formula. Before discussing the "S" O need to say graduation rates, and academic support should be incorporated as well. Not sure of what happens at FDU, but this is a very important part of having a great basketball program. And yes the "S" stands for SUCCESS!

Last Blog Post

Explanation of last blog post concerning Seton Hall University. It seems that alot of people are disagreeing with me regarding my thoughts on recruiting great HS players to a program. Honestly the folks in question make some outstanding points!!! Unfortunately I still stand by what I have said and honestly it is a compliment to the Seton Hall program as opposed to a put down. In its own way, the staff at SHU has put together a very good group who could compete for a serious seed in the NCAA tournament if they jell. With that in mind I need people to remember it is a difference from being a Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA, Kansas, and even UConn program and a program going after its first High NCAA seed in many years. Those mentioned programs have a track record of getting 5 Star and 4 star kids who often wait their turn to shine based on tradition, winning, kids to the NBA after waiting their turn, and other factors I am sure I do not need to talk about that excite kids and their parents and advisors.

Other programs without the tradition cannot expect to have a bench of 4 and 5 star players waiting their turn. Jordan Theodore was a different type of kid and did not mind waiting backing up Eugene Harvey as he stayed close to home for college. Bur you do not see this often at the places that are not what many call the Super D1 programs. Of course SHU will be in the running for very good players. Heck with a great NCAA run they could be in the running for a 5 star player or 2 especially at certain positions. But it will be hard to recruit kids who want to start from day 1 at positions already filled for this season and next. Of course a kid with Michael Jordan confidence will come aboard after SHU averages 8500 fans at home games and goes deep into the NCAAs. They might feel they can win certain spots on your roster as starters. But again, kids who do this these days are limited at most schools other than the Super elite D1 programs. Now if the SHU roster was full of seniors, the team ends up top 20 at the end of the season (something that might just happen by the way), and attendance records are broken at the Prudential Center, it would be different.

Please keep in mind that a great HS center should be attracted to SHU because the position could be wide open with Garcia being a 5th year senior. But if Melvin Oliver is a beast or shows tremendous potential, it will make it difficult. If Jeremy Hazell goes in the draft, that also becomes a place you could get that super player. But if he comes back, kids know he will play 32 minutes. Mitchell and Pope also would be hard for kids to beat out. So yes SHU can get some good players interested. But it will take a super job closing deals with many when you could have 4 starters returning.

Lastly. Do not think the SHU Staff is doing a bad job. They are doing a great job!!! This is staff that has done alot to get in doors and establish positive relationships with many. In fact Bobby Gonzalez is a master at this as is Dermon Player. They both know how to make even the lowest AAU or HS coach feel special! They also are smart enough to list Mitchell and Lawrence as seniors on the roster when they really are Jrs eligibility wise and Pope as a Junior when he is a sophomore eligibility wise. Why? because they know kids look at rosters to see potential playing times. Check out the on line roster on the SHU site, which by the way is very good!

6 comments:

Portside said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Portside said...

LF, I have to give you grief about your praise of Tom Green as an "OUTSTANDING COACH". I think your compass is way off on this one. Tom had 407 wins in 26 seasons. That averages 15 a year. That's 15 wins a year in a conference where 2/3 of the teams in the Northeast Conference were for the most part consistently horrible for the better part of his tenure. The only thing more horrible that Tom Green's comb-over was the way he treated his players and how stupid he was for never trying to establish relationships with local high school coaches. You can probably count on one hand in the 26 years Tom was at FDU the local players that went there. When I say local players I mean kids from Bergen County. Most knew after any interaction with him thay should stay away.

The ultimate measure of a good college program to me is the amount of ex-players involved with the program. Again, I can't think of one ex-player that was on the FDU staff in those 26 years. When I see UConn, I think the same thing. Why are there no ex UConn players on Calhoun's staff? Calhoun's is a notorious jerk and the fact that none of his former players appear not to want to be around him speaks volumes. How depressing must have been in the Big East tournament to have all the Syracuse crew sitting behind the bench. I then look behind the UConn bench and see no one. Where was Taliek Brown, Cliff Robinson, Kevin Freeman etc. That's why when I see Syracuse, Duke, BC-I know Al Skinner has 2 of ex R.I. players coaching with him and Mike Brey has a few ex-players on his staff. I think more kids should use that as one of their top priority when choosing a school.

Getting back to Tom Green. FDU could do better, the community and so could college athletics. Remember this guy probably applied for every mid-major head coaching job that came up over his 26 years and I think only made a short list once. Again, that should tell you something.

jimmyhoops said...

I would bet Tom Green's termination had to do more with code of conduct and behavior issues. I have no info that would back that up. Tom being dismissed is the middle of summer just smells of something other than wins or loses. I heard stories from people he recruited over the years. One told me that FDU recruited him hard and early going into his senior year but big times schools started to get invloved. So FDU backed off and had little to no contact. He then signed with a solid mid major school. Tom and his assistant called him and told him that he just made a mistake and he could never play there. This all after he verbally committed and was going to sign his letter of intent. This all after FDU had no contact with for weeks and knew they had no shot to sign him.

LF, I would disagree with your championing Tom Green a great coach. A great creep is more like it. I have heard stories from players at FDU that would make you sick.

LFBall said...

Wow!!!!!!!!!!!

Though I do agree with the reaching out stuff and community relations or lack of, I think Tom was a very good coach. maybe Great was the wrong term. I know Tom Green very well and have been to his practices. I am far from an expert but what In saw in him as a coach was very good. And I have been to manyb colleges watching practice. As far as the way hetreaated players? This is somthing I did not know nor see during my many years living in the area and attending FDU games and knowing coaches there. I NEVER HEARD that he was not nice to players! I did hear he was cheap with the gear and even had lots of sneakers in his home never used and turning color lol. But bad treatment of kids? Never heard that!

FDU is a hard job at this time. But with the right person it could be one of the great mid major jobs. But as I said, they first must address facility issues and get a better committment from the University administration.

Thanks to both of you for the well thought out comments. They are much appreciated.

Nicholas said...

@Portside--

Dimari Riddick was a former player who served as an assistant under Coach Green.

Portside said...

LF, I'm confused. You said that Tom Green was an "Outstanding Coach". Where is your evidence to back it up? Just because someone lets you into their practice doesn't mean they are a good coach. Also, 1 former on your staff in 26 year is flat out horrible. Again Tom Green's record was barely over 500% and he averaged only 15 wins a year. Just to provide an example Dean Smith whom I consider an outstanding coach averaged 24 wins a year in a tough conference. The Northeast conference was horrible for most of his tenure. The last time I saw FDU play was a home beating back in the mid 90s to Davidson. Davidson was decent program back then and you saw an outstanding coach in Bob Mckillop beat a mediocre coach.

One thing I want to backtrack. I said Tom was horrible to his players and that was a little too strong. I have heard stories but it's basically hearsay. Maybe JimmyHoops has more direct insight which I would love to hear. This I know for sure however. Outside of wins and losses Tom Green had little use for his players. The coaches I classify as outstanding took their responsibility not only to develop better basketball players but also better students and better men. Tom Green would never fit in that category for me. Since 99% of college basketball players will never earn a living playing basketball it important that coaches develop better men and better students as part of their job responsibilities. The best at this I believe are John Wooden, Dean Smith, Coach K and John Thompson.

It's funny what Jimmyhoops said about the recruit being called after the player had verbally committed to a mid-major school. I wonder if its the same player. The player who also told me the same story. The player told me that Tom and has assistant were nasty and trying to put him down as a player. They just wanted to take out their frustration I guess for seeing countless number of area players dismiss them after getting bad vibes.

Tom's problem is that he would contact the local high school coaches for players who would never consider FDU ever. Then when local coaches called about two/three star players who coaches thought could play at the next level he refused to listen. It was just weird.

This is my last post because I don't want to start a Tom Green bash fest. I just can't let anyone classify Tom Green as an outstanding coach without throwing my two cents.