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Username Post: The state of Brown hoops        (Topic#19992)
Old Bear 
Posts: 3438

Reg: 11-23-04
04-02-17 02:22 PM - Post#228449    
    In response to Old Bear

I should have added subsequently before "admitted to other Ivies".

Silver Maple 
Posts: 3218

Loc: Westfield, New Jersey
Reg: 11-23-04
Re: The state of Brown hoops
04-02-17 10:23 PM - Post#228462    
    In response to Bruno

  • Bruno Said:
There was a time when Yale and Harvard felt like similar situations to Brown. Consistent also-rans that finished bottom half more than they finished top-half. They didn't have storied facilities that kids were dying to play in like Penn had, or impressive fan turnout like Penn and Princeton had. Their main asset was academic reputation, and that didn't translate into recruits or wins. It didn't change until they got game changing coaches, which over time led to better recruits and better programs.

Cornell turned that around too. Then Steve Donahue left and they lost the appeal.

In short, not too long ago, two of the top programs today were beset by the similar institutional disadvantages to what Brown faces. And they overcame that, and became choice places to play in the Ivy.

I think that in most cases it is about who the coach is. That's what gets you over the hump. And yes, humps exist. But they haven't only existed at Brown.

I don't agree with this version of events at all. SG is correct-- the hiring of Amaker coincided with a complete transformation in the university's attitude towards basketball. We'll never know, but had everything changed but Sullivan, Harvard might still be pretty much where they are today. Frank Sullivan was a very good coach who was forced to work with virtually none of the support Amaker has.

As for Yale, Jones' hiring had nothing to do with their recent success. He's been there 18 years. The difference is that Yale has been able to recruit much more effectively than it used to, partly because of its financial aid advantage, partly because the university is actually trying to put a winning team on the floor (this is relatively new), and partly because Harvard's turnaround has made recruits view Yale in a new light.

And regarding Cornell, Donahue was a good coach who labored in obscurity for years. Then three exceptional players basically dropped into his lap-- prior to that Cornell had had very little recruiting success. Donahue, being no dummy, knew exactly what to do with those guys, and won three consecutive titles with them. However, once those players were gone, Cornell's basketball program, which clearly enjoys no institutional support, was going right back where it had been. So Donahue got out of town. We'll see what Brian Earl is able to do there. My expectation is that he'll make things a bit better and then leave for a better job.

So, I think the lesson here is that while coaches matter, without institutional support, John Wooden himself wouldn't be able turn out a winner. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. You can keep telling yourself that Brown is just a magical coach away from Shambala, but I think you're dreaming.

Posts: 171

Reg: 06-06-12
04-03-17 05:47 AM - Post#228467    
    In response to Silver Maple

I agree with SM and SG. Browns' greatest success on the hardwood over the last 50 years were the Phil Brown era and the Earl Hunt era. During Phil Browns' time the Bears competed for the title in an era when the league was still strong. And their coach was a Brown grad who wasn't looking to climb the coaching ladder and jump ship. Unfortunately that great recruiting class of '71-''72 was not followed up with another. It almost felt that to excel in athletics was wrong and gave the wrong impression. Plus H and Y sucked and they held a lot of sway. So Brown had better tow the line and get back to sucking, too. Aside from the lone Championship in '86 aside during a low ebb for the league, the only other era of competitiveness was the Earl Hunt era, but the coach did jump ship and that success was fleeting.

Now that H& Y think it is OK to compete with the P's and not damage the brand with athletic excellence, Brown has a coach that may stay and not leave at the first chance. It is time for Brown as a business to step up and capture the moment. I'd love to see plans for a new facility and greater institutional support. Where it would be built, I don't know as the complex is quite full with space at a premium. But with the right vision and imagination it can happen. Leave the Pitz for wrestling, fencing, gymnastics, etc. It's time they take basketball "uptown" in this sports crazed society and strive for the success the university does in many other areas. Get rid of the guilt complex of being successful in athletics. Go for it and don't look back.

Masters Student
Posts: 976

Loc: Brooklyn, NY
Reg: 11-21-04
Re: The state of Brown hoops
04-03-17 09:03 AM - Post#228470    
    In response to Silver Maple

We seem to be talking past each other. Yes the resources and commitment by the institution matter. Yes the coach matters. You cannot separate the impact of one from the other. By the same token, you cannot absolve only one. That's what you seem to be doing, so let me know if you think I'm reading you wrong.

You're just wrong about Donahue. He inherited a terrible program, got it better every year, and then RECRUITED three game-changers. He gets credit for that - it's not the kismet you seem to suggest. The Cornell story is, quite plainly, a very different trajectory from what we've seen at Brown, where in the last two years the team is materially worse than it was in the first two.

Amaker is a game-changing coach. And yes, his hiring was clearly an outcome of increased commitment to hoops at Harvard, and a willingness to upset the apple cart. And to suggest that it's all Harvard and it ain't him isn't correct.

Jones, you're somewhat right. Except note that Jones won the regular season championship in year 3, and since then has had winning records in 2/3 of his seasons.

My entire purpose in continuing this rant is borne from your argument presuming it's mostly about the facilities and resources and that they are impossible to overcome, and that you put the impact of the coaching staff third or fourth. No.

(Full disclosure: I lead a business that advises on the impact of leadership, and how in most - not all, but most - cases it is THE top predictor of success. I have biases, as you see, but biases backed by behavioral and organizational science.)

So - does Brown need to step it up? Yes. See the first post in this thread. More support. And, it needs to consider the coaching in that context, and agree that the accountability for sustained performance is shared. It's not chicken, it's not egg. It's chicken omelette.
LET'S go BRU-no (duh. nuh. nuh-nuh-nuh)

Posts: 4584

Reg: 11-22-04
Re: The state of Brown hoops
04-03-17 08:13 PM - Post#228496    
    In response to Bruno

Well. I think Donahue at Cornell is different as well. I don't think he'd have any shot in the league right now at Cornell. Yes, he did a great job there consistently improving the team, and yes he hit one great class that he absolutely should get credit for. But that team stepped into a gaping void to win the league as sophs (that first champion would have been fighting for the 4th spot in the Ivy playoffs this year).

Ever True 
Posts: 36

Age: 22
Reg: 02-02-15
04-04-17 05:16 PM - Post#228527    
    In response to SomeGuy

In the past year, Brown Athletics has constructed an indoor golf facility, renovated the baseball and softball complex to the tune of $5 million, started construction of the Berylson Football Complex, which will cost $12 million when all is said and done, and endowed the Men's Basketball coach position and renovated the locker rooms for $1.2 million. I'm probably missing some things, and I have no knowledge of how long it took to collect the funds for those projects, but it seems as if Hayes and the athletics department have been successful in getting donors to open their wallets, part of larger trend that has characterized Paxton's presidency. Hopefully updates to the hockey and basketball facilities are in the works.

On the court, this incoming class, even minus Newman, has the potential to contribute right away, I think/hope. Choh was First Team NEPSAC Class B and MVP of the Class B title game. According to Bill Koch of the ProJo, he may be the second most athletic player on the roster next year, after Okolie. Cambridge was First Team All-Prep and Prep Player of the Year in New Jersey, in addition to being voted the state's best dunker. Mawanda-Kalema was First Team All-State in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association and DeWolf was HM in NEPSAC Class A. Doesn't necessarily offset the senior losses or the lack of a real senior presence next year, but I'm hopeful that they might inject some life into the program.

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