Friday, January 22, 2016

James Madison Away - Postgame

The below is written by Jay Koeppel - The infamous "DrexelJay" of the CAAZone.  We welcome back Jay and thank him for his contribution below.

Final Score: JMU 68 Drexel 45
Drexel Player of the Game: Kazembe Abif
Key to the Game: Bench points. Points in Paint. Rebounding. 2nd Chance Points.
Next Game: Sunday January 24, Noon - vs UNCW

Tonight's game ends my personal boycott of Drexel basketball - but for only one game. I promised myself over a year ago that until Bruiser and Zillmer were removed from the Athletics Department, I would never watch another Drexel Dragons men's hoops game. I also made a promise that as soon as they were gone, I would pledge my support to the new leadership in hopes of helping get the program back to something that we can all be proud of. While our fanbase may not always get along,  everybody in our fanbase - but we have always had the same goal in mind. We want this team to WIN. We hold the team more accountable than our Athletic Department does. And the vast majority that I have spoken to have accepted that the time has come for changes to be made.

With all that said, I never expected this year's team to be this bad. 3-14 is shocking (even to the most cynical fan) and even though I am not watching the games, I still read this blog. I respect the people who put it together and the passion they display. But 3-14 is enough to get me to watch a game. Why? I want to see for myself if it is really that bad. I wrote this intro 45 minutes before tip-off knowing absolutely nothing about this year's team besides their record. I know nothing about JMU either. I have watched a lot of college hoops this year - but I haven't watched any CAA hoops. I am not going to go too crazy breaking down the x's and o's. I am simply going to give this team the eye test.

First Half Comments:

1. What a sad fan turnout for a first place JMU team. That gym is less than half full at tip-off.

2. Four of the first six Drexel shots were 3 pointers (3-6).

3. Drexel goes up 17-13 with 9:35 left. Solid defensive effort thus far.

4. JMU up 28-18 at halftime. Drexel scores 1 point in final 10:29 of first half.

Postgame Comments:

5. Drexel winds up shooting 31% from the field including 3-18 from 3 point range (0-12 after starting 3-6)

6. Points in the paint: JMU 34 Drexel 10

7. Bench Points: JMU 27 Drexel 0

8. 2nd chance points: JMU 17 Drexel 3

9. Drexel was out-rebounded 44-20. (15-4 offensive)

This was painful to watch. An absolutely pathetic showing. Today is Throwback Thursday and this was certainly a Bruiser Flint throwback game - only worse. Those were problems of the good old days. I feel like I have watched the final 10+ minutes of the first half at least 20 times before. The Bruiser Flint extended offensive droughts are the staple of our Drexel fandom. It is mind-boggling to think that a team could play more than a quarter of a game and not hit a single shot.

The shame of it is that James Madison is also a bad team and they are in first place in the CAA and just beat us by 23 points. Please don't tell me that they aren't bad. Any decent team from the golden era of the CAA (George Mason, VCU, ODU, even Drexel) would mop the floor with the JMU team I saw play tonight. It is amazing that we play in a conference that is so winnable - yet we continue to regress.

I am not going to write about any of the players. They are not the ones to blame. But now - at 3-15 - I can't figure out how anybody willingly watches this. At halftime, my girlfriend needed me to help her pick up empty boxes from a neighbor's house in the freezing cold. It was the most entertaining part of my night. And with that, I will be fading back in to my self imposed Drexel basketball ban. I wish I could write more but I am not quite sure what else to say that hasn't been said yet - except...

See you when I see you. The apathy is real.


  1. Hi, Jay. Thanks for pitching in this week! I wanted to add some observations from my snowy Delaware apartment:

    1. Injuries - Before the game it was announced that Austin Williams and Tyshawn Myles were injured and would not be playing. This reduced Drexel to just seven regular players and their two walk ons. Take a look back over the last couple of years, and one will see that the vast majority of injuries that this team has suffered have not occurred on game day. Once again, the question needs to be asked: “What happens in practice that results in so many injuries?”

    2. The post-game interview - There was one telling exchange in the radio station's post game interview with Bruiser Flint. It was pointed out how well the team played in the first ten minutes of the game, and Bruiser was asked, "What happened? What changed?" Bruiser's response: "You're asking the wrong guy." No, COACH. He was asking exactly the person who should know the answer. His answer, in my eyes, was completely inexcusable. As the coach of a team, it is your job to scout during the game, figure out where your team is failing, and make the changes that need to be made off the court to create the desired effect on the court. Bruiser should know exactly what went wrong, and exactly what he should have done to fix it. Failure to do either of those things just further reinforces his inability to manage this team.

    He made another statement later where he talked about how JMU adjusted to the success of some of the Drexel forwards. ADJUSTED. That is such a key ward for me, and almost a mantra when talking about how Bruiser coaches. Most of the time I say, "He should have ADJUSTED" or "He needs to ADJUST." He fails at that time and time again.

  2. The world supports winners. It is sad, but true. True fans support their teams, through good and bad. That is the definition of a fan. True fans do not boycott. True fans try to find the good. True fans do give constructive criticism. Some might even say, the myriad of injuries that Drexel has endured has made things difficult. People looking to bitch, would say, what is it about practice that causes so many to be injured? Give me a break.

    1. Let me explain to you why your comment is not accurate in this case. I am a Mets/Jets/Knicks fan in addition to being a DU hoops fan. The Knicks and Jets have never won a championship in my lifetime and I am 36 years old. The Mets last won one when I was 7 years old. With that said, this is the only time I have taken a stance like this in ANY sport.

      For example, I have gone to every Jets home game (except the day I moved in to my college dorm) since I'm 8 years old. I even travel to a few road games a year. I am frequently at Citi Field (and Shea Stadium before that) cheering on the Mets. Same with the Knicks. I do not expect my teams to win championships because I have gone about 90 straight seasons without seeing one. What I do expect - however - is that the people in charge of running the teams are doing everything in their power to TRY and win a championship. While I believe that Woody Johnson (owner of the Jets), the Wilpons (Mets) and James Dolan (Knicks) are a major part of the problem - I do believe that they all want to win. I do not get that same feeling with the Drexel Athletic Department.

      Last year, when the Jets left over 20 million dollars unspent (under the salary cap), and the Jets marched out a low level college quality defensive backfield - and then Idzik stood in front of television cameras at 1-7 telling fans that everything was going to be ok - that did not sit well with me. Not because the team stunk… but because I lost faith in the management of the team. I felt like the effort to win wasn't there. So I did something about it. Whether or not it made a difference is debatable. What is not debatable is that the front office heard us loud and clear and now there is a line of communication open where we can voice our opinion in less dramatic ways. There is a mutual respect between us because they know I was coming from a good place. I cared and that HAS to be a GOOD thing.

      Sticking with Bruiser Flint for 15+ years despite never winning the conference is absolutely absurd. As a fan, it is insulting to me that we are force fed the exact same story every year with this team. It is no longer fun to follow because I don't believe that they have any chance to win. I never feel that way about the Jets and Mets. Every year - when pitchers and catchers report - or when training camp starts - the records are reset to 0-0, I have renewed excitement.

      I used to look forward to the start of the Drexel basketball season. I no longer do. You can't fake excitement. It is either there or it isn't. And I have ZERO faith in Bruiser or Zillmer to fix it. Until they are gone, watching games (in my opinion) is a waste of time because (again in my opinion) the ending to the story of every season has already been written before tip off of the first game.

      I am not a fair weather fan. To label me as one is misunderstanding where I am coming from.

    2. I'm with Dan. While I cant speak to boycotting, I have to say that I can attest to what I see and watch on the court. In the past couple of years I've been to a vast majority of the team's home games, especially as a season ticket holder, and I have noticed a few things on the injury front.

      I have seen players come off the court and get a brief evaluation and be put back into a game that is either an out of conference game, or one that is out of reach. The injured players are not managed in a way that I would see as being prudent for the student or for the team.

      Now, we have also seen a significant pattern of injuries that have occurred away from game day and arguably, they have occurred at a higher rate than other teams one cause from a season or two ago, if I remember correctly, was a puddle of water on the floor that was caused by a leak in the gym, but there have been a number of others that have gone unexplained so yes, I DO wonder, what goes on? Is it poor player preparation for practice (ie the guys are not being conditioned or stretching enough, are not being taped up effectively etc) is it Bruiser pushing them hard, and then when someone goes down telling them to "play through the pain?" This year its been Canaday, Fields, and now Myles and Austen Williams. Four players. All injured away from game day. To me that raises a cause for concern.

    3. it's too late to criticize drexel fans. if you're still around in some way shape or deserve credit. you should've been around to criticize fans 2 or 3 years ago (and longer ago in some cases) when we were still relevant yet some of our own fans gave us no chance against the likes of vcu/gmu, made excuses for our coaches/administration, and then bailed when i called them out for being frauds. they thought it was more important to be right and be buddies with the program than say what needed to be said.

      what we have right now just can't be supported. this is something like 13 out of 15 years with nothing to look forward to but a first round loss to end the season. it's not like we're building towards anything.

      asking about the injuries is more than a fair question and if anything serves as an excuse that people can latch on to. that's what i call "bitching". maybe "bitching out" is a better term since we've had too many people over the years who accept things the way they are and don't hope for anything better.

    4. Of course the world supports winners, winning is much more fun than losing. I’ve often compared Bru to Andy Reid (both, at the time, long-time coaches of teams I rooted for that are/were seemingly coach for life) as both are decent to good coaches that have fundamental flaws in their coaching DNA that will forever scuttle their ability to win the ultimate big game. I actually always thought that Bru was given a bad rap up in Amherst as nobody was going to be able to duplicate what Calapari had accomplished. I still believe that landing Bru was a fairly big coup for Drexel and their move into the CAA. The fact that Drexel had the 4th most conference wins from their joining up until the defections started, speaks to his ability to bring in talent that fit his philosophy. The problem was that the conference went through the big 3 from VA, and, more often than not, Drexel would get blown off the court whenever they played one of them on the road (it should be noted this went beyond those 3 as Drexel, at one point, had, I believe, a 14-15 game losing streak for any games played in the state of Virginia.) His other downfall has been the most important weekend of the season, the CAA Tournament. If Drexel is the lower seed, you can just write them off in the first game, as they’ve never pulled an upset. Even when they’re the higher seeded team, they lose about 2 of every 3 games.

      As far as injuries, some have been just bad luck. Fouch landing on a photographer, Lee tearing his ACL during game play, but all of these other nagging injuries can’t just all be a coincidence. I’d actually be willing to buy them being a coincidence save for what has transpired the last two seasons. Last year and this year has seen players from outside the program (Sooren and Ahmad) transfer in and be sidelined for most of their first/only season due to knee issues. Now, either we’ve suddenly become a magnet for glass players, or there is something going on that is eating players’ knees for breakfast. I was actually happy to not have to read that somebody tore a rotator cuff while having a snowball fight on Saturday.

      The overall theme is that 15 years is more than enough time, sometimes it’s time to just move on to something else. One of the main arguments on the Zone regarding Bru’s firing was that the new coach could send the Hoops program into the gutter. After winning 50 games in 2 seasons, we’re now working on season 4 with only 43, and are currently 3-16 – we’re officially in the gutter. I know you yearn for the good ole days of college athletics, but the genie is out of the lamp and those days are gone (although there are beginning to be signs that the wishes aren’t going as well as the wishers wanted). I don’t know if autonomy was/is an attempt by the Power 5 to price the undesirables out of the highest division, but it seems that providing the Cost of Attendance stipend is going to be standard operating procedure for Division 1 basketball in order to keep up. Drexel is already behind in other categories, they need to come to a final conclusion on COA and where they want to be as an athletic department. If they want to be D1, fine, act like it and be a bit more transparent. If they don’t like where athletics is headed and creating hierarchies of athletes, they should drop down to D3. I’d be fine with that too if they provided clear reasoning for the move.

  3. Alan, I think if giving constructive criticism, which is certainly one of the pillars of this blog, that when we see a pattern of injuries, it's fair to ask why and try to use data to investigate. I won't speak to boycotting, other than to say that while others may not be actively boycotting, the DAC is as empty as it's ever been in the last 15 years and I can't blame people for speaking with their wallets. Jay was very succesful working with the Jets on having fan opinion heard, and the fact that NFL ownership will get proactive and listen but the Drexel Athletics establishment thinks that they are above that is stunning. So I'll defend both the article and the commenter bith because I think there are areas where they are both certainly right, and also that anyone who posts here and can backup their posts with data is welcome here.