Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Empty Feeling

Written for your enjoyment by: Raff

Make no mistake about it - I'm a Mount fan.

And I've had tonight circled on my calendar for a long time. So when I got up this morning there was an extremely empty feeling within me. And I think its going to be there for awhile - not even the realization that ABBA was coming to the Majestic Theatre on Saturday night could do anything to cheer me up this morning.

Because there will be a game tonight. They will crown an NEC champ. Somebody will lock down their bid to the NCAA tournament (and maybe even avoid Dayton). But it won't be the Mount.

And when I thought about this team and this season, there was hardly any way that the Mount wouldn't win tonight - or wouldn't at least be playing in the game. Two years ago - on a team with only one senior among its regular rotation - the Mount made a glorious run through the NEC Tournament - won the whole shibang - won the play-in game, and lost to Carolina in the NCAA tournament. I think we all assumed that with the group that got them there - 5 sophomores and freshman among the top 8 - that at least one more trip to the Dance would be in order. And maybe, just maybe, they could get the lead in one of those tournaments and play the starring role of Cinderella.

But something happened in those two years. And really to put my finger on it and say this was it - I can't do it.

However, I sense it was a combination of the following:
  • Chris Vann, Sam Atupem and Markus Mitchell were all more important than we ever gave them credit for.
  • The Mount offense, which was unleashed in late January of that glorious season and was new to all the opponents at that point - became a better known quantity and allowed opponents to adjust and find ways to at least slow it down if not stop it.
  • Some injuries and eligibility issues kept guys from stepping in and contributing when they were needed.
  • There weren't enough balls on the floor offensively. The Mount had enough balance to be effective - but too many guys who could have been stars. During the first year, everybody was happy because the team was winning and it was new. And for that matter there weren't enough spots on the floor. Will Holland, Kelly Beidler and Jean Cajou had to share two positions. And it certainly hurt Holland - at least last year - when he went from being a starter during that great run to a reserve last year. And this year - four or sometimes five, interior players rotated through two spots.
  • The focus of the offense seemed to change a bit - or at least what opponents allowed did. This team was never best in a half court set - yet it did improve through time - and the interior play became as important as the perimeter.
  • Confidence seemed to lack when things didn't go well. At the end of 2008 - and the start of the 2008-09 season this team played as well as it ever did. But a tough schedule and some bad breaks made them second guess themselves - and then when things didn't go well it was tough to overcome.
So certainly I'm disappointed. I thought that this group would achieve a lot more than it did. But that isn't to say that this group wasn't enjoyable or that I'm happy to see them go. I'm going to miss Jeremy Goode, Kelly Beidler and Will Holland. Miss them a lot. They are going to be missed in Knott Arena. And not just for the play they brought to the floor. But for the way they carried themselves.

These guys end up as one of the most successful recruiting classes in Mt. St. Mary's Division I history. They made the NEC tournament four times, winning 6 games, they played in the NCAA tournament and helped give the school its only Division I tourney win. So when I think back on these guys down the road, I'm going to think of what they accomplished - and not what they didn't. Because I think the total picture, they accomplished a lot more than they didn't.

They deserved to go out in a better fashion than they did. Deserved to get one more standing ovation from the Knott Arena crowd - deserved to finish one more left handed dunk - deserved to get an open look for three and bury it from the wing - deserved to get one more scoop to the hoop for the hoop and the harm.  

Yes, there will be a game tonight. And they'll crown the champion and the winner will rejoice on making the Dance. But I for one won't be watching.

Car Mount for DROID by Motorola


  1. Richard2:44 PM

    You have similar feelings that I have today. It all still just seems unreal. Honestly, do you really think we will continue to be amongst the top 4? For how long? I love reading all of your blogs. Thank you so much Raff. If you only knew how your blogs have helped me gain valuable knowledge.

  2. icepack6:43 PM

    Richard and I agree - Raff, you are a good writer and the information you provide enriches us all. You hit a nerve with the 'empty feeling' appellation.

    Further analysis - I don't personally think the Vann, Atupem and Mitchell combo was near as talented, but the teamwork always is more important than the vertical lift, so to speak.

    Hard to predict the future - but Goode, Cajou, Jackson, Beidler and Holland will be a hard recruiting class to beat.

    Coach produced all this - remember to thank and believe.

    I agree so much with all the comments on the class of our program and the suck crap elsewhere.

  3. Richard7:11 PM

    Here it is 3 minutes into the game and RMU has done fouled QU about 10 times and none were called. I am straight up sick of it!

  4. Richard7:55 PM

    At the half RMU has fouled QU about 25 times and only has about 8 called on them. If this keeps up I will be turning it off. Damn something needs to be done about them. Also how in thee hell do they allow Rice to keep coming out so far on the floor? Never before have I hated a basketball team like this. The only team that comes close is Duke.

  5. Anonymous9:05 PM

    On the bright side, this is probably it for Rice. I hope he fails miserably at his next stop.

    Oh well. QU win wouldn't have made up for Sunday anyway.

  6. Richard9:24 PM

    I sure hope I never have to see him again at a game against the Mount. I am sure a person of his character would need to have a bodyguard. I hope he goes to Fordham- and Xavier, Temple, and Dayton put him in his place. I hope the next team they face destroys them. Even if he came back next year, I do not see how they could continue winning. Then again it shouldn't have happened this year. His team is not that talented and neither is he. I'd love to tear his ratface nose off of him. I'd gladly go to jail to teach him a lesson.

  7. Richard9:28 PM

    As good an offensive team that Quinnipiac is and they scored almost 90 points against them this season. Something is not right at all. I wish one day that Mount players and coaches, as well as other teams go public about RMU. Then again, I guess their hands are tied to or else they could get suspended if they said something. Raff, has any of the players or coaches of the Mount ever expressed their anger and disdain for RMU?