Written for your enjoyment by: Raff
No doubt about it, its been way to long since I last posted here. I apologize to those of you who noticed. But with July getting rolling, I'm ready to get back in the swing of things.
So sort of a hodgepodge of things to comment on in getting started.
As far as next year's schedule goes for the Mount, I'm not sure if it is all still in tact or not. I know the Mount is looking for a game right around Christmas time, just before the break. But I think there was one opening to begin with. I have some concerns about the Siena game. Way back in April, Siena announced or Pete Iorizzo wrote about Siena's non conference schedule. At that point, the Mount game (the return trip from the overtime loss last year) was scheduled for November 27th. Now, I've heard some buzzing about Siena looking for a game for Thanksgiving weekend. That is where my concern comes from. There is no confirmation of any of this, but just things to keep in mind.
The Mount did land two players in the late period - and they'll enroll this fall. Both are guards and I see that as a good thing. The three departing seniors all played on the perimeter so it is need. Julian Norfleet can flat out shoot the basketball and it was nice to see the Tidewater connection stay in tact for now. Josh Castellanos is a winner - and a leader - and the Mount needs that. He also plays the point guard position and with 4-year starter Jeremy Goode departing - that position is wide open. Lamar Trice hasn't shown that he is ready to man the position on a consistent basis, and there are rumblings that Jean Cajou is going slide over. I haven't written Trice off entirely, because there have been flashes where he has looked ready, he's just got to prove he's ready to handle that responsibility full-time.
But back to the signees....the Mount was in a tough spot. Getting these guys this late in the game means a couple things - A) the new staff had enough contacts to go out and grab these guys and B) they probably were still available for a reason. That is not to say that guys don't get overlooked each and every year, it just means that the pool at this pool was much shallower than normal.
With that said, welcome to the Mount to Julian and Josh. We wish you lots of luck over the next few years - and look forward to watching you develop. And of course plenty of Mount W's.
I guess I've got to mention BG and his blog - and all the stuff he stirred up. Truth is, I tried to stay away from that. And that isn't to say I don't agree with Brad on some of the issues, I do. But he's definitely a little younger than me, and probably a little more adventuresome.
As far as the coaching search went, it wasn't handled the way I would have handled it, but it wasn't my job to handle it either. Yet I appreciated the time and effort that was put into it. And I think that the committee was comfortable with the hiring. Yet I do believe that the final choice was made by the President.
All, in all, I'm happy to have Robert Burke as the head basketball coach at the Mount. At least until he calls timeout with 30 seconds left of the first half of his first game, and draws up a play that results in a turnover or a forced shot at the buzzer.
And I certainly wish Milan Brown and his staff the best at Holy Cross. They all deserve to succeed - and I'll be rooting for them. I'm interested to see how it turns out.
As far as losing Justin Burrell goes, I was definitely disappointed. But I'm not sure that his departure will end up having as large of an impact as many assume. And the fact of the matter is that - the only way Burrell was going to succeed was if he was fully into coming to the Mount, ultimately in the end he wasn't. So from that standpoint it was a good thing for all parties.
I still think that next year is going to be a rebuilding year in some sorts. I think that the post players are as good as the Mount has had at the Division I level - but combining a new system with the inexperience on the perimeter could be a tough chore. And don't forget that it took Milan Brown a few years to get things rolling. His first team didn't win as many games as the team had the year before with many of the same kids. You'll remember that Jim Phelan's final season brought Landy Thompson, Chris Sumner, Kiel Butler and Charles Cook to the Mount. As freshman they won double digits games - but as sophomores, Brown's first year as the head coach they won several less.
So be patient with the new staff - and enjoy the ride. I'm certainly looking forward to see how it develops.