Home » Columns »Your Phil of Hoops » Currently Reading:

Northeastern having a tough time for a few reasons

December 10, 2013 Columns, Your Phil of Hoops No Comments

BOSTON – Northeastern wants better results than they have had thus far.  Their 2-7 record isn’t a result of not trying or wanting to win.  Part of it is from playing a very difficult schedule, but part of it is also the reality of trying to find the right personnel with a young team at a challenging time.  It has Bill Coen having to manage the confidence the team as they reach the break for final exams.

Anyone who knew Northeastern’s personnel heading into the season knew that the Huskies were going to be different this season.  Departed guards Jonathan Lee and Joel Smith were more than just the heart and soul of last season’s Huskies, so that was a big void to fill.  Who would emerge was far from a given since depth was a concern behind those two last season.  So it’s not a surprise that part of the challenge has been personnel-related.

Right now, Coen is looking for some answers.  He could use the emergence of another player or two, as the Huskies are basically a seven-man team right now and rely on a few starters for heavy minutes.  At this point, the Huskies can hang their hat on double-double machine Scott Eatherton, who hasn’t looked very rusty after sitting out last season as a transfer, junior frontcourt mate Reggie Spencer and sophomore David Walker, who doesn’t appear to be having a sophomore slump.  That’s not a bad start, but they alone can’t carry this team.

There’s a big missing link, and that’s the player who was expected to lead the way in Quincy Ford.  The junior forward had back surgery earlier in the week and will miss the rest of the season.  That means the Huskies can’t play big as easily as before, they don’t have the guy they thought would be the go-to guy before the season, and they can only replace him with several players doing more instead of just one.

On top of it all, Northeastern has had to do this against a very difficult schedule.  Their schedule is rated the 17th toughest in the country according to Collegiate Basketball News, and looking at the names it’s not hard to figure.  The only team they have played thus far that isn’t perceived as a solid postseason candidate is Central Connecticut, who they beat at home.  Everyone else is either a conference favorite or likely postseason team in some way, shape, or form.

The latest case is UAB, who beat the Huskies 74-69 on Saturday night.  Northeastern was right there throughout, even having an eight-point lead at times in the second half.  But down the stretch, it wasn’t hard to tell which team was more experienced as UAB finished the game on a 7-1 run.  The Huskies have now lost five straight, four of them coming against teams either ranked or receiving votes in one of the two polls.

“I thought it was a winning effort tonight, but we’re not getting the results we’re hoping for,” said Coen.  “Each and every time out, we’re learning a little more about ourselves.  We’re competing against some of the best teams and programs in the nation.”

The end result right now is a 2-7 mark heading into final exams.  It’s a real test for this team in terms of dealing with adversity, especially after they had a season-low seven turnovers and a chance against a team that just beat North Carolina.

“It’s baptism by fire, and these guys are learning,” said Coen.  “I know they’re frustrated.  I see a lot of positives out there.  It’s just not enough to earn us a victory.”

Demetrius Pollard has been one of those bright spots, as the junior had shown flashes his first two seasons.  He is shooting 40 percent from long range and has remained a clutch shooter.  Freshman T.J. Williams has started the last five games and appears to be growing, as he now has more assists than turnovers on the season.  No one doubts that a freshman will have adversity at that position, however.

Coen was high on the progress of sophomores Derrico Peck and Zach Stahl entering the season, but neither has been very consistent.  Stahl, in particular, has potential as he has a feel for the game, and as he played more last season including some starts, his lack of consistency is more concerning.

The Huskies haven’t been embarrassed all year.  In fact, the only double-digit loss was at VCU, and they were right in that game for most of it.  But as Coen noted, being close and winning are two different things, and this team is coming up a bit short on the latter.  If they could change that, it could do wonders for the team’s confidence.

“When things don’t go well, you can do one of two things: you can either quit or try harder,” Coen said.  “These guys are committed to trying harder.”

The hope is that the Huskies get some confidence while continuing to improve, and perhaps get a win or two to help with that.  That will be easier said than done, though, with four away from home including trips to Tulane and Vanderbilt and a home date with Richmond remaining in non-conference play.  They may continue to get better, but seeing a reflection of that on the bottom line may still be hard to come by for now.

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 9, 2017

November 10, 2017 by

The season is almost here, and we take a look at some of what to expect this coming season. We have preseason polls, conference changes, a look at some conferences and some matchups to start the season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – October 2, 2017

October 2, 2017 by

The FBI has zeroed in on college basketball in a big way, and what has happened may be the beginning of a massive hit to the sport. We discuss what we know thus far in our latest podcast.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – August 17, 2017

August 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we check in with some good news from a few teams overseas after a big scare, plus a big addition for a championship contender, a conference on the rise, and a great coach thinking about a return to the bench.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about the NBA Draft, of course, but spend much more time on the happenings at Ohio State and Louisville and the implications starting next season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – May 17, 2017

May 18, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we start with the NBA Draft Lottery, then talk about a big pickup for Duke, important transfers, the coaching carousel winding down and much more.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.