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Username Post: The state of Brown hoops
Masters Student
Posts: 968

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Reg: 11-21-04
02-23-17 11:27 PM - Post#223166    

The questions about the state of the team are now out there again. Given the last five losses and the way they've been lost, it's unfortunate and understandable and it makes you step back and want to evaluate where this program is.

At the time of his hiring, I did not think Mike Martin was the right choice for Brown. In hindsight, his hiring made a lot more sense than I thought at the time. And after his first two seasons I was thrilled to be proven wrong. He showed early and often that despite a relative lack of experience, he's a pro. He engaged alums in a way not seen in recent Brown history. And I liked the direction.

In those first two years, playing mostly with inherited players, Martin's team was solid and greatly improved. That was a much-better-than-typical two year stretch for Brown basketball - nothing thrilling, but two 7-7 finishes in the league, one postseason appearance. And strong defense, by the way.

Since then, with rosters of almost exclusively kids Martin's staff has brought in, they are 9-29 in the league. They lose three out of every four. That's the worst in the league, worse than Cornell, worse than Dartmouth, worse than Penn. And our defense has gotten progressively worse over that time - from solid to below average to among the worst in D1.

This Ivy season has been painful. His first banner class - who we all think is made up of really good talents - are seniors. (All except Leland King, he of Nevada bench-riding-and-occasion al-dunking fame.) We're 2-8 in the league. And next year looks worse. Potentially a lot worse.

Brown is the only Ivy team who on verbalcommits.com doesn't have any player - either who plays today, is committed for next year, or in the pipeline for future years - who is listed above a rating of 2. Every other program has at least one, and outside of two programs, they all have a good number with ratings above that.

One thing the program has done has been to attract a different kind of player to Brown, one that's more athletic and can get up and down the court. That was part of the promise and that's largely happened. But it hasn't translated, and his more athletic teams of the past three seasons have been materially worse than his less-athletic programs that finished 7-7 and at higher kp.com ratings. And while you generally attribute athleticism to more defensive ability - at least I do - we have seen the team get worse there.

There are no doubt some institutional barriers at Brown in men's basketball. The coach can't be held accountable for history or lack of exciting facilities. He can be for Alumni engagement (which is much stronger than I can ever remember it being) and to some extent for fan turnout (which remains in the same range). So you don't put everything on the coach, but it's clear he has not been able to overcome the barriers that two of his three predecessors have overcome, albeit for short periods. Either he and his staff need more support, or something else has to change.

This year is maddening. They are 2nd worst defensively in D1 in eFG and in 2-point shooting percentage. And in the Ivy the defensive results are dead last in both 2 and 3-point shooting percentage. I'm not sure exactly what to attribute that to, but I know I see more penetration and easy buckets against this team than ever before. We don't stop people from getting into the lane, and we don't have anyone to turn shots away when they do. We don't recover quickly. And they seem to be missing some fundamentals. I winced last weekend watching Obi Okolie with his head turned completely lose his man who cut to the basket for the easiest lay in of the night.

Mike was Jack Hayes' first hire, five years ago. It's time for Jack to look closely at Brown basketball and determine how to help this program get better.
LET'S go BRU-no (duh. nuh. nuh-nuh-nuh)

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