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Username Post: The state of Brown hoops        (Topic#19992)
Bruno 
Masters Student
Posts: 921

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Reg: 11-21-04
02-23-17 10:27 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)


 
jst4245 
Freshman
Posts: 51

Age: 43
Reg: 05-23-12
02-24-17 10:56 AM - Post#223189    
    In response to Bruno

Nice post, Bruno. Lot of meat on the bone here, but I'll take a stab at it as I wait for my plane.

I believe we can attribute a lot of the current "roster" pain to two things. (1) Leland King's departure. The guy was an absolute stud. An inside-out threat capable of scoring 20-25 on any given night is something that is very hard to get. I realize he rides the pine at Nevada, but you could see it two years ago that his skill set translated at the low D1 level. Blackmon and Hobbie are nice pieces but they aren't All-League guys. (2) The junior class is a goose egg. It is very hard to win when you have an empty class - and that is what it is - especially when they become upperclassmen. This forces us to play guys, who I think are going to be good, like Anderson/Fuller/Howard before they are ready. I don't put too much weight into the "recruiting rankings" but point definitely taken. I've seen Cambridge and Choh on youtube and those are the type of athletes we need.

As far as the state of the program goes off the court I am not sure we could be in a much better spot. The alumni engagement by Martin and the staff has been unlike anything the program has ever had. I think this can be attributed to Martin not viewing this job as a stepping stone and the personal connection he has to the place. I didn't really know Happy Dobbs, but Glenn Miller and Craig Robinson clearly had wandering eyes, and Jesse Agel - I'm not going to waste my time talking about what a disaster that experiment was from the second he was hired. In addition on the alumni front, Martin was able to go out and do three things that I think are very impressive (1) HC position endowed (2) Assistant Coaching position endowed (3) funds for new locker room.

Not sure if some of the fire breathers on this board have been back to campus lately, so I will fill everyone in here - the infrastructure SUCKS. Did anyone see the locker room before it was redone? I am mean holy sh*t, how do you bring a Division 1 recruit in there and expect positive results? The OMAC - say what?!?!? And the Pitz - while it is terrific when it is rocking, there is not too much that is unique about it. You find me the competitive advantage in that place and you win salesman of the year. Now with all this being said improvements can be made to all of these situations to bring us up to par, but lets not act like we're playing a hand with pocket rockets here.

Which brings me to a final point. I think we all long for sustained success. Not a two year flash in the pan Earl Hunt supernova, but real - make the ivy tournament every other year- success. I think the best way to achieve that is find a high quality coach who will STAY. I know we are 9-26 the last 35 Ivy games, but I think we got the guy right now. Martin is organized, detail oriented, and represents the program in a first class way. He has checked every box thus far except (probably the most important) winning games. However you don't invest in a 29 year old guy (at the time of the hire) and cut bait because he stubs his toe a couple of times early on (see King departure and non existent Jr class). Now you can't go on forever not having checked that box, but I think we are a ways off. I mean what are guys clamoring for the good ole days of .... never? A hire like Al Skinner? Get a grip, boys. Be pragmatic.


 
Old Bear 
Postdoc
Posts: 3291

Reg: 11-23-04
02-24-17 03:47 PM - Post#223275    
    In response to jst4245

I think Martin is a better coach today than we was when he got here. That said, I think Bruno has hit in the head. We rarely have one head to head recruiting battles with H,Y or P in any sport, and Penn in BB.I don't know how we do against the Cs or Ds but I doubt that we dominate ant of them. We will never win a facilities war, or the fund raising war, but Hayes seems to trying to do what we can. The AI rules and Fin Aid disparities are widening the gulf. With all of the ratings and AAU play, it's now even harder to find Ivy eligible players that aren't being recruited by other Ivies, and if we find one first, the other Ivies know about it within 24 hours. I think we need help the Pres. as well as the AD.

 
Bruno 
Masters Student
Posts: 921

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Reg: 11-21-04
02-24-17 10:02 PM - Post#223455    
    In response to Old Bear

I love the staff's demeanor and professionalism and presence. I like that the staff has engaged me more than ever before. (Low bar, but still.) I like that we've played a faster paced, more entertaining brand of basketball this season.

But I'd trade it all for some of the sustained success jst talked about. And I don't see where it's going to come from if not from better talent or a system that our existing talent can execute more consistently. Why can this team not defend anybody? It's not just the pace they play at - the defense has been bad. There's no answer for that. That's either selection or execution.

The institutional barriers are not going away. Between brand and facilities and fan support - you have to be really really good - or lucky - to be successful. So something still has to change - and if Mike's the guy, then Brown needs to find a way to support the program better than this.
LET'S go BRU-no (duh. nuh. nuh-nuh-nuh)


 
Ancient Quaker 
Masters Student
Posts: 581
Ancient Quaker
Reg: 11-21-04
02-25-17 10:03 AM - Post#223497    
    In response to Bruno

Please forgive my intrusion on your board, boys, but I am compelled to chime in. Lots of good points made in the thread so far. Unless the institution is willing to invest in facility improvements, anybody you hire as HC is going to start from a disadvantaged position.

Mike Martin is a class act, represents you very well, and an excellent basketball coach. He's still very young. Be patient and get your administration to spend some money on athletics. I couldn't be more confident that Mike will reward you with results beyond anything you've seen in the past.

I will now retire to my den to watch golf and nap.

 
Old Bear 
Postdoc
Posts: 3291

Reg: 11-23-04
02-25-17 10:08 AM - Post#223502    
    In response to Ancient Quaker

Agreed, AQ. I also will need a nap to stay up for the late start of tonight's Harvard Game.

 
Bruno 
Masters Student
Posts: 921

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Reg: 11-21-04
02-25-17 02:41 PM - Post#223543    
    In response to Ancient Quaker

I admire the Penn fan's everlasting loyalty and belief in MM. You guys love him.

I am inclined to agree with much of your view. I like MM as the coach. I support him, and I want to give him more time. But come on. This is year five, and the last three have been three years of suckiness. And you have to trust me on this, seeing your more athletic team be this atrocious on defense is excruciating. I don't know - maybe you're saying the Pitz is so pitz-i-ful that the home team cannot expect to play good defense regardless of the coaching. The trend is that this team is getting worse and not better - it was better with Agel's players and worse with MM's. That's just the math.

So I bristle at is the suggestion that the institutional issues give the coaching staff a total pass. And therefore it's the facilities and not the coach and so you don't hold the coach accountable no matter what the record. A complete cop out. Yes there are barriers there, and yes Brown's managed to overcome them in the past. Columbia's done that in the past, as has Cornell. The technology exists. The program needs more support, and that does not absolve the coach of the need to improve the program. I think we should be able to agree on that.

For what it's worth, I haven't lost faith that MM can be that guy. I am a supporter. But answer me this: if i'd told you that Brown would be 10-30 in the league in MM's years 3-5, would you have said that was the right path to be on? Or would you have gone a different direction? Or would you have said that it's got nothing to do with the program leadership?
LET'S go BRU-no (duh. nuh. nuh-nuh-nuh)


 
hoopla 
Masters Student
Posts: 484

Age: 43
Reg: 08-28-12
The state of Brown hoops
02-25-17 03:02 PM - Post#223546    
    In response to Bruno

Buddy Teevens the Dartmouth football coach was 0-10 in year 4! The school provided a consultant to help assess the coaching and it paid off. Sydney Johnson had Bill Carmody as a consultant. Maybe a defensive specialist should be called in to help. I agree there are tough obstacles at Brown just as there are at Dartmouth, but that doesn't mean the coaching can't be better. In Browns case it's the defense. I think some coaches don't emphasize D enough. It has become in vogue to out offense the opponent. I think we at Dartmouth are struggling with this as well with the new guy, only our O isn't very good either. I hope both Mike Martin and Dave McLaughlin are long term successes and I find myself rooting for Brown all the time except for when they play Dartmouth. I will end by saying I actually thought Agel deserved more time. If he had all his horses playing together Brown would've hit greater heights with McGonigal and CK.

Edited by hoopla on 02-25-17 03:05 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
hoopla 
Masters Student
Posts: 484

Age: 43
Reg: 08-28-12
02-25-17 03:04 PM - Post#223547    
    In response to hoopla

Had Rafi been allowed to play that first year, things would've maybe been different for Agel and the program.

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4224

Reg: 11-22-04
02-25-17 03:25 PM - Post#223550    
    In response to Bruno

Well, my concern for Brown (and Cornell and Dartmouth) is that the playing field has changed extensively from when Miller and Robinson were fielding good teams, and it has even shifted since Agel. And it certainly has shifted since Cornell was winning the league. I'm not sure these teams can compete with HYP when those schools are focused on basketball. They are just bringing in too many players who are much higher level recruits now. Those schools have financial and brand advantages, and they are the places to go play basketball to boot.

The rising tide may eventually lift Brown -- if enough 3 star guys are thinking Ivy, eventually HYP just can't take them all and there may be a flattening out of talent across the league. But right now, the talent gulf is widening. I'm not sure a different coach or approach bridges that gap.

 
mrjames 
Postdoc
Posts: 4855

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
02-25-17 06:38 PM - Post#223576    
    In response to SomeGuy

Brown's a 300s program without Mike. I'd be patient. Yes, the transfers hurt, and that's on Mike, but he's bringing in quality players to a school that wouldn't otherwise be getting them. Desmond Cambridge could be a star in this league as a frosh. He's got some serviceable bigs coming in that should stop the bleeding inside after Maia and CK's departures. Still some targets out there too that could make push this class closer to the HYPP ones that are pretty stellar.

Now that Cormier was let go and Kyle left for USF, Mike is clearly the top "Performance Over What Resources Would Suggest" coach in the Ivy League and would have been in the conversation with those two even if they were still here.

If the plan is to sign a coach for near 7-figures and extend a proportional increase in resources surrounding the program, shoot for the moon, folks. But taking resources as given, you're gonna be really hard pressed to do better than Mike.

 
Old Bear 
Postdoc
Posts: 3291

Reg: 11-23-04
02-25-17 09:00 PM - Post#223647    
    In response to mrjames

Amen.

 
Bruno 
Masters Student
Posts: 921

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Reg: 11-21-04
02-25-17 09:28 PM - Post#223654    
    In response to mrjames

Translation: "10-30 is as good as you guys can be given your resources. And you can't possibly expect to attract someone who would have done better." Without a hint of condescension. Got it.

I will say it again - because I get concerned about the perception that I don't want MM as our coach. I support MM.
But this talk about about how lucky we are to be in the situation we are in is inane. "Without MM you'd be even worse so be glad for what you have because you can't do better."

Invest more in this program? Yes. Suggest that your 10-30 coach is the best you could hope for? No.
LET'S go BRU-no (duh. nuh. nuh-nuh-nuh)


 
Corms 
Pre-Frosh
Posts: 3

Age: 39
Reg: 10-17-16
02-27-17 06:39 PM - Post#223934    
    In response to Bruno

My brother coaches at Cushing Academy and Kuakamensah's brother is on the team. He has loads of potential and could really help Brown if it works out. I tend to sympathize with coaches so I hope it works out for Mike who I've heard from Brown people is terrific for the school.

 
Bears03 
Freshman
Posts: 55

Reg: 02-23-12
03-04-17 12:31 PM - Post#224711    
    In response to Corms

Miller was considered by many to be our strongest X's and O's coach in decades, but without Hunt and Nuu would those teamshave been above 500? I think Mike is a coach we can continue to build on and grow together with. He's strengthen the alumni bond, is well liked by the players (from what I hear, and it seems like the attrition rate has slowed), but he has a relatively young supporting staff so there's going to be a learning curve there. Linehan has the most steals in ncaab history, time for him to steal a few recruits.

There are a lot of things we can't quickly change - facilities, AI, finaid. So in my eyes this all comes down to recruiting.

 
Old Bear 
Postdoc
Posts: 3291

Reg: 11-23-04
03-04-17 04:13 PM - Post#224749    
    In response to Bears03

I'm not, and never have been, concerned about the "attrition rate". In Martin's case,and in most cases in the Ivies, it has nothing to do with the coach.

 
Bearswin 
Freshman
Posts: 61

Reg: 01-06-14
03-20-17 01:42 PM - Post#227797    
    In response to Old Bear

Bull crap Old Bear. 4 kids (so far) have quit for next year and it has everything to do with Martin. He is an arrogant jag *ff who is unwilling to change his ways or listen to his assistants.

I know the answer, but someone else on campus should ask the departing seniors if they would have chosen to play for Martin coming out of HS - knowing what they know about him now. Ask them if they had 1 ounce of fun playing for him.

New recruit families who read this board - you have been warned.

 
jst4245 
Freshman
Posts: 51

Age: 43
Reg: 05-23-12
03-21-17 09:13 AM - Post#227849    
    In response to Bearswin

Bearswin - tell us how you really feel. I would be interested to know who quit so if you have that intel please pass it along. Although I can make some educated guesses.

Kids quit all the time in this league. Most of the time it is kids who were not good enough to play D1 hoops, other times there are injuries etc. Having played at Brown and followed the program closely over the years I have rarely been shocked at a player quitting the team. The one (recent) exception was Kennen Jeppensen (sp?) - he was an All-League type of talent - or maybe he was even All-League I can't remember.

Where Martin has fallen short (and I believe I have highlighted this before) is in his recruiting. We have several guys on this roster who are NOT Division 1 players. And I am sure that most of the time they have mommy and/or daddy on the phone every night telling them how good they are, and how they deserve to play more, and how the coach shouldn't be mean to them because they miss shots or continue to act like a statue on defense. So a lot of time, those players and or parents pin the blame of the kids athletic shortcomings on the coach, and say he is a meanie or "arrogant jag*off".

I mean not for nothing when you have no scholarship hanging over your head and the waters get a little rough out there (losing season) this is a good test to let the staff know how bad you really want it. If I am a coach and this is my livelihood, I want the guys off the roster who don't really want it, who don't feel the same pressure as me.

So if 4 kids quit, good. Nothing wrong with it - go enjoy Thayer street, we just now know you aint built for it and we don't have to continue to hold a roster spot.

So parents beware - your son is going to play D1 basketball. He is going to held accountable.

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4224

Reg: 11-22-04
03-21-17 08:11 PM - Post#227868    
    In response to jst4245

I'm guessing the "4 kids quit for next year" is (hopefully) a poorly worded reference to King, Williams, and the Masseys, who would all be seniors next year.

 
JBears 
Sophomore
Posts: 147

Reg: 06-06-12
The state of Brown hoops
03-22-17 04:38 AM - Post#227873    
    In response to SomeGuy

The Providence Journal this AM mentions that Corey Daugherty is leaving the Brown Basketball team. No reason is given. He will be staying at Brown. The story does mention a strong recruiting class that includes two guards that will push for immediate minutes. I doubt Corey would be intimidated by that challenge. Perhaps it's residual effects from the concussion he experienced. But that is pure speculation on my part. I did hear the other day that the other three players leaving played minimal minutes. No names were provided.

Also, Bryant star sophomore guard Nisra Zouzoua is leaving their program. Player defections happen more frequently these days.

Edited by JBears on 03-22-17 05:01 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
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