Friday, August 30, 2013

Why it Matters

22 years ago - or somewhere thereabouts - I walked into the Carrier Dome as a very green college football fan.

I had grown up in South Central Pennsylvania and really didn't know there was much to College Football other than Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions. Like most Pennsylvania youngsters, I grew up rooting for the Lions. I remember Craig Fayak beating #1 Notre Dame at Notre Dame Stadium, I remember Kevin Baugh running punts back in the Sugar Bowl, I remember Pete Giftopolous intercepting Vinny Testaverde one last time to give the Nits a National Championship in the Fiesta Bowl.

In reality, I was probably ticketed for Penn State. And I was fine with that. Perhaps even happy about it. But I took a chance with an application to the best journalism school in the country. Something separated my application from the others. Perhaps it was that letter of recommendation from none other than a Penn State grad. So when so many of my high school friends went to State College, I went further north.

Either way, I went to Syracuse as a Penn State fan. I didn't tell many people that. After all, that was blasphemy on the Hill. But I did win a friendly wager with another freshman when Penn State shellacked Georgia Tech in the Kickoff Classic before I ever saw the Orange play. Tony Sacca threw a bunch of touchdowns if I recall.

So when I went into the Dome, I wasn't quite sure to expect. I had great seats, I remember that. 2nd row on about the 25-yard. I'm guessing sending that ticket application back fast and holding the class registration papers had something to do with it. Priorities.

Vanderbilt was the opponent that afternoon. Gerry DiNardo brought success with him from Colorado, and some new Vandy helmets designed to make them look more Coloradish. The Orange was clearly the better team that day. Guys like Tony Montemorra, Tim Sandqvist, Marvin Graves, David Walker, Qadry Ismail, and the late great Kevin Mitchell made an impact on me that day.

I was hooked.

Raised to be a Penn State fan.

Now, Orange for Life.

So as I walked out of the Dome that afternoon, I wanted only one thing.

A chance.

A chance to play Penn State.

Finally, some 22 years later we're getting that chance. I know we played them, twice in fact, several seasons ago. But that wasn't real. Greg Robinson had hijacked our football program and that wasn't really who we were. I didn't wake up on either of those Saturday mornings expecting anything out of the football game.

So now, I'm back in South Central PA. I've got all these Penn State fans around. And I'm the guy wearing the Syracuse colors to work the day before the game. I'm the guy driving the car with the PA license plate that reads - "GO CUSE".

I couldn't be happier.

We've got our chance.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mount St. Mary's Has Chance To Get Big Victory For NEC | Big Apple Buckets

Mount St. Mary's Has Chance To Get Big Victory For NEC | Big Apple Buckets:

Here's John Templon from NYC Buckets appraisal of the Mount's schedule. I'll try to get mine up within the next 24 hours. Templon, per usual, makes some very good analytical points about the possibilities. Enjoy!

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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Class of 2014 North Carolina Top 50 Rankings - Phenom Hoop Report

Class of 2014 North Carolina Top 50 Rankings - Phenom Hoop Report:

Mount Commit Junior Robinson ranked 15th in North Carolina by Phenom Hoop Report

Plus 2 new videos of Robinson Vs Westover vs Oxford Webb

Can't wait to see this guy in the Blue and White

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Friday, August 23, 2013

The High Road


The elimination of the men's and women's golf teams and the men's soccer team at the Mount last year wasn't something anyone wanted. Unfortunately, in today's world those decisions become reality. Richmond dropped it's men's soccer program as well recently.

So when I clicked on this story by Mount golfer Eric Flockhart, I expected to read one story, instead I got another. Lots of class shown by Flockhart in his recount of his one season of Division I golf.

Best of luck to him in the future.

Feeling Shortchanged

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Sky is Not Falling

Shivaughn Wiggins and Melvin Gregory have both left the Mount St. Mary's basketball and will not return to the school.

Yesterday's news of Wiggins' departure has sent some shockwaves through the Mount basketball fanbase. If you don't believe me, your inbox wasn't as full as mine this morning.

No doubt losing Wiggins is a blow to the Mount's chances to win the NEC Title that many fans are predicting and hoping for this year. But it by no means eliminates those chances. How big a blow? That remains to be seen. The Mount returns three All-NEC capable guards and brings in three freshman who the coaching staff has praised.

Head Coach Jamion Christian has talked about building a culture among his team and his program. This is just another step in realizing what that culture is and allowing that culture to take shape. The program has made it known that they want not only to win games, but have class individuals representing the University while doing so. Therefore, as we've seen in the past, Christian will choose to handle situations as he sees fit for the betterment of the program and the University.

Examples: Kelvin Parker didn't make the trip to DC for the Mount's win over George Washington and contest with Georgetown. Wiggins wasn't in Bloomington Indiana or Kalamazoo Michigan for the Mount's Midwest trip right before Christmas last year, and Xavier Owens didn't accompany the team on its NEC Postseason run.

Here is a quote from the Mount's release from Christian about Wiggins' departure.

"We are working tirelessly to establish a strong and consistent culture on an off of the floor," said Christian.  "In our first season we were able to make tremendous strides in these areas and we are committed to doing so on a daily basis.  Shivaughn had an unbelievable freshman year for us here at the Mount and was a big contributor to this past season's success.  We will continue to wish him the best in any of his future endeavors."

A lot has been made of the six departures since the end of the season and what is the cause of that. Some have even questioned whether it might be a long-term problem. My opinion is that each situation was a little different than the other and there is not cause for long-term concern. Statistics show that over 40% of college basketball players transfer before the end of their playing careers. When coaching changes occur, those numbers always seem to escalate.

And when someone steps in, as Christian and his staff have, changes the way things have operated in the past additional change is needed and necessary.

Let's be honest, there really is only one reason anyone is concerned about the six departures.

Last year's success.

If the Mount had gone 10-18 as many suggested they would, nobody would care if folks were leaving campus. Some would even help them pack their bags.

But the expectation of what's to come, an expectation that wouldn't be there if it weren't for the steps that the coaching staff has taken, has made fans worry about what these departures mean. And question whether it is rocking the foundation and core of the program.

The answer is absolutely not. The foundation and core of the program is that these student-athletes are going to be held responsible for their actions both on and off the court.

It was that foundation and core that allowed for the success that was achieved last year.

It is that foundation and core that is going to allow you and I to be proud of a basketball team that is going to provide us with great entertainment and many many wins in the years to come.

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Thursday, August 01, 2013

Q&A with Mount St. Mary's coach Jamion Christian - baltimoresun.com

Q&A with Mount St. Mary's coach Jamion Christian - baltimoresun.com:

Some good stuff from the Mount head coach in this Baltimore Sun.com piece.

For what it's worth, the injuries to Whack and Prescott are not deemed serious and both are expected at full throttle come October. But missing time in the summer never helps. So it's never a good thing. Still better July than January.

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