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Username Post: Fans, coaches and teams        (Topic#21279)
Dr. V 
PhD Student
Posts: 1401

Reg: 11-21-04
03-05-18 04:21 PM - Post#250942    

A coach is the most publicly visible representative of a team's performance and fortunes, and there are very few occupations in which a person's daily choices and decisions are as open to review, analysis and criticism as that of a coach. It is, thus, unsurprising that we fans tend to focus our frustrations on him/her when we're unhappy with how a season or even a single game may have turned out. But even though we often operate with fairly superficial information and limited knowledge, that doesn't stop us from leaping to all kinds of generalizations and conclusions about a coach's abilities or likelihood of success. And often those generalizations and conclusions are based on the unstated assumption that a coach is a puppeteer who, if only he really knew what he/she was doing, would have pulled the right strings to achieve success.

The other team for which I root and the other league that I follow are Michigan and the Big Ten. There were two examples from the Big Ten that are strongly suggestive of what actually influences success and failure. Last year Ohio St.'s coach half retired because of a health issue and was half pushed out. The team's record last year was 18-15 and OSU was not happy. This year the team improved significantly to 24-8 and was in first place in the league for much of the season. So the new coach was a genius, or at least better than the old coach, right? Not quite. OSU this year was led by a junior who was the Big Ten POY. He had missed all of last year with an injury.

Nebraska has had the same coach for 6 years. Last year the team won 12 games. This year it won 22! So the coach must have gotten much smarter over the summer, right? I presume that coaches, like any of us, learn things each year that we do something, but it's much more likely that the 10-game improvement had something to do with Nebraska getting two very good transfers, one of whom made first team all Big Ten.

So what happened with us and where are we? I believe that the most important factor in our case was bad luck with injuries and illnesses, but there was also one quite unexpected regression. We missed Kyle Castlin for half a season, and he didn't round into full playing shape until the end of the season. That was a huge loss b/c he was a senior, a good defender and a good rebounder. We lost Meisner for a while, earlier with an injury and then in the next to last game with the flu. We lost Killingsworth, who had started 14 games as a first year, for the entire season with some physical issue. And we lost C.J. Davis for the entire year also with some physical issue. What stood out for me was that both Killingsworth and Davis had positive assist/TO rates last year: Killingsworth had 26 assists to 16 TOs and Davis had 34 assists to 24 TOs. They also had pretty decent FG %s: Killingsworth shot 398% and Davis shot 444%.

On the team that we did have left we had a PG who at times could do wonderful things but whose 3 point % dropped significantly from 382% to this year's 308%. This may have been due to his simply having had to do more, but whatever the reason, that was not an insignificant drop. And as various posters have noted during the season, the fact that both our 1 and our 2 were undersized was a liability, probably more on D than on O, but probably also on O. Smith is listed as 5'11" and Adlesh as 6'.

Aside from the injuries/illnesses referred to above, there were two unexpected developments from last year. One player improved notably and one regressed. Adlesh significantly improved his game overall and in particular his shooting. He put more arc on his jumper and raised his % from 402% to 442%, which is a very large jump, particularly since after the season got going it became clear to opponents that he was our top sharpshooter. The other surprise was Hickman. We needed him on the court because he has some size at 6'4" and often because he was the only guard on the court for us who could defend at least some of the bigger wings that our opponents had when we were playing our smaller guards and who also had the size and strength to drive to the basket and pick up some FTs. But, for whatever mysterious reason, his shooting % took a dive from last year's 398% to this year's 367%, and, perhaps even more perplexing, his three point % dropped from last year's 355% to this year's 295%. And, his assist to TO ratio was not helpful at 38 assists to 43 TOs. That's a very tough ratio for a guard, and even more so for a senior guard.

Our two 5s, Tape and Faulds, were basically playing for the first year, Faulds is literally a first year and this was Tape's first year of any significantly playing time as a second year. We missed not having wings with size who could shoot from beyond the arc. We were not deep to begin with, and then we had the injuries discussed, so we really missed Killingsworth's and Castlin's offense. Some of other players simply didn't demonstrate that they could generate any offense at all. We started the season with a murderous away schedule, part of which was due to past years' home and home agreements.

None of this is to suggest that we couldn't or shouldn't have performed better in some games, but as to the question whether we had quite a bit of talent and underperformed or whether we were quite thin and over performed so as to be close in many or most games, and to win a few against teams with more talent, I am in the latter camp.


 
Columbia Alum 
Junior
Posts: 247

Age: 32
Reg: 11-15-11
03-05-18 05:29 PM - Post#250966    
    In response to Dr. V

This is sugar coated and looking at the season through optimistic goggles. The injuries, I agree, are beyond our control, but the lack of (or very slow) player development is beyond question. Importantly the whole league was terrible this year, the bar to be top 4 was so low! We had our best players healthy for the vast majority of the ivy schedule, our defense was appalling. Yale lost Mason AND Bruner, you would have expected them to go 5-9 but Joe Jones got them firmly in 3rd place and with a reasonable shot at the NCAA. Whatever our bad luck this season, we didn't hold a candle to Yale. Harvard lost Siyani and Aiken and still dominated. This should be our coaching standard, not weak excuses for below average play. My outlook would be the same had we just made the ivy tournament. This was a good year for us to be 10-4 or 9-5 not 5-9 or 6-8.

I'm personally not sure if Engles deserves another year, but the ice should be thin in this fan's book. Columbia is a top university in a flourishing New York City, we should be a basketball Mecca for student athletes who also care about academics, not some bottom half D1 conveyor belt.

 
Chet Forte 
Postdoc
Posts: 2038

Reg: 03-02-08
03-05-18 06:11 PM - Post#250978    
    In response to Columbia Alum

A coach is not just the visible representative: he is the engine, the inspiration, the leader. Al Bagnoli took a program in receivership and turned it into a top team. It is all about coaching in this league, not just in terms of Xs and Os, but in terms of recruiting, inspiring players, improving existing players, and demonstrating passion. What I saw this year was a meltdown: 0 road wins, and let me repeat that, 0 road wins. What I did not see was significant improvement either in the team as a whole or in individual players as the season progressed. In fact, the Dartmouth game showed me the opposite.


 
Columbia 37P6 
PhD Student
Posts: 1561

Reg: 02-14-06
03-05-18 08:30 PM - Post#250997    
    In response to Chet Forte

The city of Columbus, Ohio is virtually my second home so I can reply to Dr. V in both good conscience and fact that his well-intentioned, but faulted apology would fall on deaf ears among Buckeye supporters. There is no way Coach Engles would survive the blistering criticism that is given out regularly at the weekday luncheons in Columbus that are attended by many Ohio State sports fans. Criticism of basketball and football coaches at Oho State and other Big Ten schools resembles a torrential rain storm and not the light sprinkle of a few genteel Ivy League fans. Engles has had a two-year honeymoon at Columbia which some have suggested is the norm for new coaches in the Ivy League. Engles is Columbia's coach, so we wish him well, but there is no way that he would still be on a honeymoon if he was coaching at Ohio State or any other Big Ten school.

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4605

Reg: 11-22-04
03-05-18 08:36 PM - Post#251000    
    In response to Chet Forte

My outsider’s view is that Columbia about hit my expectations, playing around 230 in Pomeroy. Losing your best player, treading water from 2017 seemed a reasonable expectation.

I get where the prior poster is coming from talking about the down year for the league, etc. One odd thing about the league this year is that I assume Penn and Harvard outplayed their ratings by a decent amount — with everybody bunched more in Pomeroy, it seems like there could have been more parity. Instead we got two 12-2 teams.

 
Murph 
Masters Student
Posts: 613

Age: 58
Reg: 09-13-11
Fans, coaches and teams
03-05-18 08:55 PM - Post#251003    
    In response to SomeGuy

Even Bagnoli went 2-8 and 3-7 in his first two years as Columbia’s Head Coach.

And Smith finished 5th and 6th in the Ivies in his first two years, about the same as Engles.

IMO, Engles should be given at least enough time for his first recruiting class (Faulds, Stefinini and Bibbs) to mature.

 
JadwinGeorge 
Junior
Posts: 274

Age: 70
Reg: 12-04-15
Re: Fans, coaches and teams
03-05-18 09:17 PM - Post#251007    
    In response to Dr. V

Wow...who wants to read 1000 words about Columbia basketball? A little full of yourself?

 
roarlionroar 
Freshman
Posts: 52

Age: 22
Reg: 02-05-14
03-05-18 10:30 PM - Post#251014    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

Don't believe your team has a game this coming weekend, which saves all the time in the world for you to get through each one of those thousand words.

 
cc66 
PhD Student
Posts: 1631

Reg: 10-09-09
Re: Fans, coaches and teams
03-05-18 11:22 PM - Post#251016    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

Clueless Princeton fan comes on Columbia site to complain that he's reading too many words about Columbia basketball???

Fortunately, we have a remedy for that. I'd direct you to the Princeton site, nearby on this very same board.





 
Chet Forte 
Postdoc
Posts: 2038

Reg: 03-02-08
03-06-18 07:29 AM - Post#251026    
    In response to cc66

The Bagnoli comparison is way off base. Al inherited a program that was at death’s door. Engles inherited a program that had just won 27 games. Al had a team in year one which improved from week to week, beat Yale on the road, and was competitive from the start. Al’s second year was marked by what was the best freshman class in the Ivies, some fantastic games against stronger teams, another road win, and improvement from week to week. Al was and is friendly to the fan base, is passionate on the sidelines, and has players who will run through a wall for him. And finally, Al has a fantastic, and I mean fantastic, group of assistants.


 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 18824

Reg: 11-21-04
03-06-18 10:03 AM - Post#251035    
    In response to Chet Forte

"The Bagnoli comparison is way off base. Al inherited a program that was at death’s door. Engles inherited a program that had just won 27 games."

Actually, it's a very good comparison. Engles inherited a team that won 25 (not 27) games, true, but it had lost Lo, Mullins and Rosenberg, who as seniors accounted for 54 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists a game. Wonder why Smith actually left? He left almost nothing behind that would be competitive for a few years. So Engles was inheriting not a 25 win team, but one that had to be completely rebuilt, like Bagnoli. And Al took 3 seasons to get to a point where he had a winning record (and remember, he won 4 games at the end, so even there he did a really good job to get to that record).

You have to give Engles a chance. This isn't Ohio State, and despite the rhetoric of being in New York, Columbia has done a lot more losing than winning in the last 40 years. It takes time to recruit to compete and he did not inherit a winning roster.

 
Chet Forte 
Postdoc
Posts: 2038

Reg: 03-02-08
03-06-18 11:18 AM - Post#251046    
    In response to palestra38

This is rich. A Penn guy wanting to give Engles a chance. And I wanted to give Jerome Allen a chance. I wanted him to be Penn’s coach for life. As far as Al, our football program wasn’t just bad. It was not even close to competitive.


 
palestra38 
Professor
Posts: 18824

Reg: 11-21-04
03-06-18 11:25 AM - Post#251047    
    In response to Chet Forte

Jerome wasn't qualified to be hired in the first place....and he got 5 years.

But lacking an argument, why don't you criticize a "Penn Guy" for posting on this board (my law degree from CU should grant me the necessary ticket to do that anyway, if not the regular midcourt Levien game I played for 3 years).

 
Murph 
Masters Student
Posts: 613

Age: 58
Reg: 09-13-11
Fans, coaches and teams
03-06-18 01:07 PM - Post#251067    
    In response to Chet Forte

And not only did Smith finish 5th and 6th in the IL in his first two seasons as Columbia's Head Coach, which is exactly where Engles finished, in his third year at CU, Smith finished last in the league.

In fact, Smith only finished as high as 3rd in the IL once, his last year of coaching. That's a pretty low bar.

 
cc66 
PhD Student
Posts: 1631

Reg: 10-09-09
03-06-18 05:21 PM - Post#251112    
    In response to Murph

Per P38, the analogy to Bagnoli is actually quite accurate. After the graduation of Lo, Mullins, and Rosenberg in the CIT tournament victory, Petrasek was really the only remaining player whose game had matured. Once he left, all we have is a lot of young, but as yet unrealized, potential.

That said, I must say I was disappointed by the lack of player development this year and somewhat bewildered by Engles' manner and affect. Although Steffanini certainly progressed, the list of players who didn't includes Tape, Faulds, Bibbs, and most surprisingly for a senior, Hickman. When players don't develop, one naturally looks to the coach, and here Engles is a puzzle. Maybe it is his conception of himself as a soft-spoken teacher or just a preternatural calm, but I don't get much sense of a emotional connection. Do the players like him? Is what I see somehow connected to a failure to mentor and the players' slow development? I don't know, but I do wonder.



 
JadwinGeorge 
Junior
Posts: 274

Age: 70
Reg: 12-04-15
03-06-18 09:45 PM - Post#251149    
    In response to cc66

#%$@ you, Steve Honzo!

 
Murph 
Masters Student
Posts: 613

Age: 58
Reg: 09-13-11
Re: Fans, coaches and teams
03-06-18 09:51 PM - Post#251152    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

  • JadwinGeorge Said:
Wow...who wants to read 1000 words about Columbia basketball?



I do. In fact, I read the post twice.


 
JadwinGeorge 
Junior
Posts: 274

Age: 70
Reg: 12-04-15
03-06-18 09:51 PM - Post#251153    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

Oops! My entire post was not sent. I apologize for the snarky message. My upset over the Tiger's collapse clouded my judgment. And I am still smarting from the Newmark, Dotson, McMillian playoff at St. John's a few years ago. I blame Steve Honzo.

 
Sagatius 
Freshman
Posts: 16

Age: 70
Reg: 11-17-15
03-06-18 11:20 PM - Post#251168    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

I agree that player development has been below par. Maybe the blame falls on the assistant coaches and on what appears to be a lack of a big man coach?

Last year’s recruits appeared to be much better coming in than they were able to show in games. Only Stefanini showed some progress, and like the rest of the team, he was inconsistent.

The most frustrating aspect of the season is that for large parts of most games, Columbia showed it was as good or better than the teams it was playing. Yet, it couldn’t sustain the effort for 40 minutes and lost way more often than not. My recollection is that in the early years of his tenure, Smith’s teams suffered from the same issue. As players gained experience, their ability to finish games improved. Let’s hope Engels’ teams follow a similar pattern.




 
Chet Forte 
Postdoc
Posts: 2038

Reg: 03-02-08
03-07-18 07:38 AM - Post#251173    
    In response to Sagatius

Here is the unofficial deep throat administration rationale: we would have made the tournament if Meisner had not gotten sick and missed the Dartmouth game. The fact that he could not play caused us to come out flat and play a dispirited first half. Yet despite that setback we battled back heroically and almost pulled out the game. So if it were not for that bit of bad luck we would have had the tie breaker over Cornell.


 
Columbia Alum 
Junior
Posts: 247

Age: 32
Reg: 11-15-11
03-07-18 10:06 AM - Post#251180    
    In response to Chet Forte

I don't think meisner being there and us making the tournament would have saved the season for me. Other teams (Dartmouth, Yale, Harvard) had much greater obstacles to overcome. we have stagnated at Kenpom sub 200, and actually slowly deteriorated as the season has progressed to KP ~230. If you want to look at our program through a historical lens of being perpetually mediocre, bottom half D1, then sure Engles has done as expected.

But I look at our program through the potential it has, with the Ivy improving in recent years, better financial aid leading to a greater pool of recruits, NYC flourishing as a city, Columbia as a university and Kyle Smith's last year and the Football team's last season showing that we are not doomed to suck at the two biggest sports. Through this lens, we are severely underperforming our potential, and nothing about our current program is giving me hope that we will recognize our potential any time soon.

 
LionFan 
Senior
Posts: 398

Reg: 11-07-06
03-07-18 10:07 AM - Post#251181    
    In response to Chet Forte

That's not just the "deep administration", it was obvious from observing the game itself. Meisner may be the best player Columbia has - a key to the offense, the defense and rebounding, an efficient scorer, and a calming influence. Unfortuately, he is essential and no one on the team has the broad skill set to replace him. (Smith needs to become more efficent with the ball to surpass Meisner - but he may not have the team around him to allow him to do that. With the exception of Petrasek, Smith left the cupboard fairly bare. The quality and synergy of the players on the team for the last couple of years is a signficant drop-off from the 25 win year. That's just the way the roster is. It doesn't look like coaching. Regarding the tournament slot, I wouldn't be too concerned because even if things had worked out, this year's team didn't deserve it.

As for recruiting, consensus is this year is unusually thin in the high school ranks so there isn't quality volume available. Columbia also opens only two slots from graduation. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) Ivy basketball teams have recruiting limits like football teams. So even if there were great players to choose from, Engles might still be limited in bringing new players in.

As for player development, Smith certainly improved over last year. If you watch last year's and this year's early season film and compare it to this year's late season film, you will see marked improvement in Tape, Faulds, Adlesh, Hunter, and Stefanini. Bibbs and Hanson had moments that looked like improvement at midseason - I don't know why they disappeared, injury or the doghouse? There's a long way to go, but the players are making progress. It's not clear yet whether they have the ability to become top contributors. Engles can take some responsibility, but if so one has to recognize he has shown some results.

It remains to be seen whether Engles can recruit well enough to raise the program to a consistent winner. Smith didn't do that, and he wasn't there long enough to show that he could do it. No one has done it for decades. Can Columbia compete annually with Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Penn for enough top talent to move into the upper division? That remains to be seen. But remember, Engles hasn't fallen from that level; CU hasn't been there since Tom Penders left in the 1970's.

As for my suggestions, I'd get a game or two in the Garden and the Barclay Center to help recruiting. I'd have Mike Smith binge on Alton Byrd film, to see how an undersized guard can distribute the ball, score efficiently and make his team better. And I'd look to see whether there's a current equivalent of Pete Newell's big man camp and send as many as possible of Tape, Faulds, Eberle, Brumant and Hanson as can go. Or ask Smith if he can use his NBA contact to find similar experiences to his of last summer for any of those guys.

Other than that, it's a waiting game. It may take two to three more recruiting years to see progress in the W-L. Meanwhile, look for incremental improvement in individual players and hope for some entertaining games. Or perhaps this young team will learn how to win close games and turn things around as soon as next season. They were fairly close this year.

 
SecS3 
Freshman
Posts: 36

Age: 70
Reg: 03-17-16
03-07-18 09:59 PM - Post#251325    
    In response to JadwinGeorge

The only person to blame for that one was Jim McMillan.

 
Chet Forte 
Postdoc
Posts: 2038

Reg: 03-02-08
03-08-18 07:50 AM - Post#251353    
    In response to SecS3

I was actually quite disappointed to see that Meisner did not at least get HM consideration this year. Although he sometimes lacks aggression, he may well be our best player. However, he may have been responsible for a true low point: during the winnable second Penn game, he allowed Brodeur to stuff a tree point shot and go coast to coast. I think that the embarrassment of that one play had an adverse impact on his mentality. So I think he needs to become more aggressive and frankly angrier on the court. There aren’t many front court players who can match his complete game. As far as our other best player, the role model for Mike Smith should be Isaiah Thomas.


 
Chet Forte 
Postdoc
Posts: 2038

Reg: 03-02-08
03-08-18 07:50 AM - Post#251354    
    In response to Chet Forte

Meant three point shot, obviously.


 
Big R&B Truth 
Senior
Posts: 394
Big R&B Truth
Loc: Back Waters of New Englan...
Reg: 11-23-04
03-11-18 05:58 PM - Post#252052    
    In response to Chet Forte

I have lived in Columbus, and I can echo Columbia 37P6 comments. The football and basketball coaches of Ohio State are the two most visible people in a city that is getting close to a million people. Even more than the governor of the state. The pressure of these jobs, especially the football coach, is unlike very few places in the country.
The former basketball coach, Thad Matta, could have survived one bad season where his star player was injured, but the team had been on a downward trajectory for the last 5-6 years. He was also losing top Ohio recruits that use to come to OSU when Matta was in his prime. Any comparison to an Ivy League program is irrelevant.

 
Dr. V 
PhD Student
Posts: 1401

Reg: 11-21-04
03-11-18 08:43 PM - Post#252148    
    In response to Big R&B Truth

I thought that what I had written was pretty clear and simple, but apparently not to some. I was not comparing Ohio St. with the Ivies or coaching in the Big Ten to coaching in the Ivies. My point simply was that which players a coach has/doesn't have available in a given year due to injuries or, in one instance, transfers strongly influences that team's success/failure in that year. This was in support of my strong suggestion that this year's CU team had really been hurt by the losses of Killingsworth for the entire season, Castlin for much of the season and Meisner for parts of the season. I chose examples from a non-Ivy league to avoid any of the emotional sympathy/antipathy that we may have for a given team or players on that team.

 
Columbia 37P6 
PhD Student
Posts: 1561

Reg: 02-14-06
03-11-18 10:24 PM - Post#252199    
    In response to Chet Forte

I'm still puzzled by Dr. V's lengthy attempt to exculpate the coaching staff for any share of responsibility for the disappointing season. It's all well-written and interesting, but I just don't get it, right up to his last paragraph, which reads, as follows:


"None of this is to suggest that we couldn't or shouldn't have performed better in some games, but as to the question whether we had quite a bit of talent and underperformed or whether we were quite thin and over performed so as to be close in many or most games, and to win a few against teams with more talent, I am in the latter camp."

In my opinion, Columbia Alum, cc66, Chet Forte and Sagatius have offered more reasonable explanations. At the very least, I just don't see how anyone as smart as Dr. V is could reach the analytical conclusion that we "...over performed so as to be close in many or most games, and to win a few against teams with more talent." I love Dr. V because he shares my passion for Columbia athletics, but I cannot accept his conclusory remark that this team in any manner "over performed."





 
cc66 
PhD Student
Posts: 1631

Reg: 10-09-09
03-12-18 12:55 PM - Post#252391    
    In response to Columbia 37P6

Actually, I am kind of an agnostic on these issues. I see talent, but I oscillate between thinking we have exaggerated the potential of our recruits and blaming Engles for the failure to realize that supposed potential. Dr.V is absolutely right about all our injuries--C.J. Davis for the whole season, Killingsworth for something like 25 of 27 games, Castlin for two-thirds of the season, and Meisner when we most needed him. If any of the latter three had been available, we would have won 3 or 4 more games, lost to Harvard in the tournament by less than Cornell, and established a better foundation for next season.

2018-2019 is really a fork in the road for Engles' and the whole Columbia program. We have three players whose starting role is pretty much a given--Smith, Meisner, and Adlesh. The offseason will determine who starts at center, in particular, by whether Tape or Faulds become more of an offensive threat and learn to pass better out of the high post. The position that is obviously most up for grabs is SF: it could be Killingsworth if he comes back strong, Ellis if he is as good as reputed, or even Hunter if after three years, he ever displays an offensive game. We will certainly be better. The problem is, of course, that with no seniors on any of the All-Ivy squads, an awful lot of very good players are returning, so that we could have a higher KenPom rating and still finish lower down in the IL.

In sum, as I have said elsewhere, I hope 8-19 is our version of Engles' 1-30 his first year at NJIT. If everyone develops and remains healthy, we could make the conference tournament. It is just as likely, however, that we will rise in KenPom and end up somewhere between 5th and 7th in the league.


 
Dr. V 
PhD Student
Posts: 1401

Reg: 11-21-04
03-12-18 05:09 PM - Post#252528    
    In response to cc66

I did not try to exculpate the coaching staff from any responsibility for the season. I was reacting to some of what I consider off the reservation comments about our coaches.

In all normal circumstances (normal in the sense that the new coach doesn't turn out to be an alcoholic or molester), a new basketball coach gets 3-5 years to show what he can do. I don't know how this coaching staff will turn out, but it's ridiculous to claim, as some here have done, that anyone can tell that our coaching staff won't succeed. You have to have your own players, which means you need 2-3 recruiting years, because those will fit more into what you like to do and because sometimes players from a prior regime think they know more than they actually do and are a little less amenable to guidance.

Predicting who will turn out to be a successful D1 coach in basketball or football is very, very difficult. Perhaps the only decently predictive factor is experience as a head coach on the D1 level and success on that level. I've been following CU basketball and football since 1971 and have seen innumerable coaches come and go both in basketball and football, and we know how that turned out. We're not going to pay somebody $2 or $3 million to come and coach for us. We hired someone who has D1 head coaching experience and unusual success at his previous venue. I'm optimistic that he will find a way to be successful because I want our program to succeed and because he has a record of prior success. Am I certain of success? Of course not. But there is certainly no well-grounded basis for some of the extreme comments claiming knowledge that there won't be success.

Any comparisons with Bagnoli are misplaced. He is near to being unique in terms of the record of success that he had at Penn as an Ivy coach. If I recall correctly, he won 11 titles in 20 years or something like that. In all my years, there are only two football coaches that have stood head and shoulders above all of the other Ivy coaches, Bagnoli and Cozza, and I think that although Bagnoli obviously had good players, I think, and our Penn friends can correct me if I'm wrong, that Cozza had a larger number of very good players than Bagnoli had. So Bagnoli, or his assistants, can today come into a recruit's house and give him and his parents a unique message: come play for us and you'll have a chance to play for a head coach who has won 11 championships. That we got Bagnoli was an extraordinary fluke of several timings coming together in a way that for once worked out great for us. There is not going to be any other new coach who is going to be in a similar position for us.

Did we over perform at times? Yes. Harvard had 3 ESPN top 100 kids on the floor against us, yet we beat them. I know that Princeton was tired from its 3 OTs plus trip from Ithaca, but on paper (recruiting rankings) they have significantly more talent yet we thrashed them. Penn has more talent, yet we played them close and tough until we collapsed at the end. Why did that happen? Was it because of some coaching shortcoming on our part or because Penn just executed and we didn't? And because, among other things, Penn had what many or most good teams have, which is good senior leadership.

The two games that were a real disappointment were the losses to Brown and Dartmouth, and the coaches must bear some responsibility for them. At Brown Smith drove into 3 defenders trying to score while Stefanini was waving his arms on the wing with no one near him. Bad play design? Bad judgment on the court? I don't know, but we should have won. At Dartmouth we came out flat. Deflated by the loss of Meisner? Trying to avoid coming out too tight? I don't know, but whatever it was, it didn't work, and the coaches have to take at least some responsibility for that, and I presume that they do in terms of analyzing what worked/didn't work this season.

 
cc66 
PhD Student
Posts: 1631

Reg: 10-09-09
Fans, coaches and teams
03-12-18 07:08 PM - Post#252570    
    In response to Dr. V

I agree. By now, we just discussing small variations within the broad middle range of what exactly was Engles' responsibility.

I do think that part of the problem is that there is such a small window onto Engles' thinking. He's hard to read during games, rarely says anything beyond pro-forma coaches' talk during interview, and generally runs too tight a media ship. If he would open up a bit and give everyone some sense of what he was thinking, it would give fans a little more confidence and perhaps even defuse some of the antipathy.

Edited by cc66 on 03-12-18 07:09 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
Murph 
Masters Student
Posts: 613

Age: 58
Reg: 09-13-11
Re: Fans, coaches and teams
03-17-18 10:51 AM - Post#253597    
    In response to cc66

One big change I'd make next season would be to put together a much easier non-league schedule. I don't know who was responsible for the difficult schedule, Engles or Pilling, but IMO it's self-defeating to play Villanova, Penn State, BC and UConn on the road. IMO, the team gets used to losing big early in the season.

On scheduling, I think Smith had it right. Play one or two national powerhouses early, but the rest of the non-league schedule should be filled with teams we have a decent chance of beating.

The difficult non-league road schedule works for baseball, but needless to say, basketball is a very different game. Basketball relies much more on rhythm, timing, flow and confidence, particularly on offense. Columbia needs to play many more winnable games early, to build confidence and to better prepare for IL play.



My only point in bring up Bagnoli was that even a brilliant, experienced, accomplished coach like Bagnoli had difficulty winning his first two years at CU, unitl his playbook began to take hold and his recruiting classes began to work through the program. All comparisons between Engles and Bagnoli stop there.


 
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