Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

Maine has work ahead to stop a repeat of this season

March 3, 2014 Columns No Comments

It’s not like anyone couldn’t see this coming. With Maine’s personnel, a season like the one that is mercifully nearing an end looked possible, even likely almost a year ago.

The Black Bears were already going to lose two seniors. Then Justin Edwards transferred and Alasdair Fraser opted to pursue a pro career overseas a year early, and leading three-point shooter Jon Mesghna followed them out the door. With that, the Black Bears had been gutted of talent and experience. Then junior Killian Cato missed the first semester due to academics, as if that wasn’t bad enough.

With that, it’s no surprise that Maine didn’t win a Division I game until the calendar was about to turn over into 2014. The shocker, in hindsight, is that they beat Middle Tennessee on the road; the Blue Raiders are in a four-way tie atop Conference USA.

The Black Bears weren’t necessarily going to be favorites in America East this season if Edwards, Fraser and Mesghna were back, but they might been top half team capable of getting hot in the conference tournament. Now, it would almost be a miracle if the Black Bears get past the quarterfinals of next weekend’s America East Tournament. As it is, their 4-12 finish puts them in a three-way tie at the bottom and sets up a date with Stony Brook, who in theory should dispatch them quickly.

And it’s not as if the Black Bears have been a model of tournament success lately. They enter this with a nine-game losing streak in the tournament, one that could very easily reach double digits.

You can see hints of potential with this team. You can see Shaun Lawton get to the basket and realize he has the physical gifts to be a good point guard, especially since his body can still mature. You can see Xavier Pollard being one of the better scorers in the conference, especially when he goes 6-8 from the field in the first half against UMass-Lowell. Similarly, you can see Till Gloger being one of the better frontcourt players with his ability to score in close with his body and subsequently hit from mid-range. And you can imagine what this team can be with the shooting of Zarko Valjarevic, who went down with an injury late on Thursday night.

But you can also see why this team has won just six games all year, too, and why this team won’t simply be better just from guys being a year older. Lawton picked up a technical foul late in Thursday’s game to end his night. Pollard missed all five of his shots in the second half of the same game. Gloger has a good body but averages just 3.5 rebounds per game. Valjarevic is one of the best shooters in America East, but he can be neutralized to a degree if others don’t develop.

Maine hasn’t done a lot of things well this season. Opponents shoot 47 percent from the field against them and out-rebound them at a clip of nearly seven per game. The Black Bears give the ball away almost 15 times per game, and get out-scored by just over ten per game.

The Black Bears don’t have a senior on the roster, so they should be significantly more experienced next season. But most of all, they need their holdovers to get better this off-season. Being a team of potential simply isn’t enough, and bringing everyone back isn’t necessarily ideal, especially when they come from a team that is 6-22. Granted, this season’s results don’t surprise many people, but the challenge now will be to not let this be the team’s destiny beyond this season.

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 – 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.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, the business of college sports, as well as that of sports media, takes center stage. We talk about the layoffs at ESPN, college basketball’s opening night, and Wichita State’s departure from the Missouri Valley Conference. We close with thoughts on a departed friend of the media business as well.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017 by

In our first off-season edition, we look back on the season that just ended, including redemption for one team and a big development for a conference that has had more questions than success on the hardwood. We also look at players coming and going, as well as big coaching news on a day where there was a lot of it.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – April 3, 2017

April 4, 2017 by

We look back at Monday’s national championship game, which was not a thing of beauty but had plenty of drama. Along the way we share some post-game quotes from both coaches.

College Basketball Tonight – April 2, 2017

April 3, 2017 by

In our Final Four special edition, three head coaches join us to offer their insights on the Final Four, as well as their own programs.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

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.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale preview

June 24, 2016 by

We look ahead to the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, held at a familiar location in Boston.

At the 2016 Boston Shootout, host BABC has a big day

June 8, 2016 by

Sunday was a big day for the host program at the 44th Boston Shootout