That's certainly a good question J.J., and one that I've been wrestling with for a couple of weeks (and something I'll investigate deeper as we approach the 2020-21 season).J.J. wrote: ↑Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:06 amMy concern (like shoreline) is we've lowered expectations so much, what does a successful season look like next year? How long are we willing to wait for a team that can compete for a NEC championship? I'm not suggesting the expectation is a NCAA appearance, but we do expect at least a Top-4 finish and a NEC QF Tourney win, right? Is that possible next year - maybe - but if we finish in 5th place and lose in the first round, what do we do then?
If I'm Tom Pincince, this is what I'm asking myself; Can this team, led by Donyell Marshall, potentially win a title in 2022-23?
Obviously there's a LOT to that, right? Can Marshall and his staff develop and RETAIN Jamir Reed, Greg Outlaw, Myles Baker, Trey Tennyson and Xavier Wilson? Can he add players around that nucleus?
If I have serious doubts that he can do those three things (develop, retain, and add), then you're absolutely right, why bother?
But as we sit here on 2/21/20, I'd suggest that the following expectations are somewhat reasonable:
2020-21: Finish around .500 in league play (somewhere between 7-11 and 10-8)
2021-22: Finish in the top 4 (between 10-8 and 12-6)
2022-23: Finish at or near the top of the standings (12-6 to 14-4) and be in a position to win the title.
How does that happen?
1) As I said above, retain and develop the five current freshman rotation players. One of them would have to become an NEC POY level player (Reed?), while another would have to be an All-League caliber guy (Outlaw? Baker?).***
2) Find a point guard and another big- Newkirk is a solid backup but they need a lead guard, and Wallace/Wilson are good rotation players but they really need someone who can be a top-level rebounder and rim-protector (Wilson and Wallace have been good shot blockers but not good rebounders, while Ayangma is the opposite plus he's a junior and won't be there when this roster is ready to cash in- and none of the 3 are strong post-defenders).
3) Marshall has to evolve- I don't care if he decides to become pro-analytics or not, but he has to at least consider that taking mid-range jumpers >30% of the time is not working, and he has to find an identity as a coach (defensive minded, uptempo, three-point bombers, I don't really care what it is).
***By the way, I'm putting the odds of Krishnan leaving at around 50/50. Not because of any inside information (trust me, I have none), but because if I were his father I'd be telling him to up-transfer somewhere that is more stable. But of course, academics could play a role.
The thing all of you have to remember is, this is an incredibly strong year for the NEC. It is currently rated #27 (out of 32) by Kenpom, and it's been flip-flopping with the Atlantic Sun for 26th. The last time it finished higher than 29th? 2015, when it was 27th. In 2014 it was 24th.
The best teams in the league? They're losing lots of seniors:
Merrimack- Their 3 best players
Saint Francis- 2 All-NEC 1st teamers (Blackmon, Braxton), plus two more rotation guys.
Long Island- 3 starters (Agosto, Batts, and Clark)
St. Francis-Brooklyn- 2 starters and a rotation player.
Bryant- Adam Grant and Juan Cardenas
Wagner- Curtis Cobb
Robert Morris and Sacred Heart are likely to be loaded next season, assuming they return everyone that's eligible, and FDU and Mount St. Mary's are in good positions too, as is Bryant, and LIU should be ok. But the rest of the league is losing a LOT of talent. And you never know which teams will lose a stud sophomore or grad-transfer eligible junior. And if the NCAA changes the rules giving every player a one-time transfer where they don't have to sit out, even more guys will leave. It's not unreasonable to expect to see a team come out of nowhere next season and be surprisingly competitive.
So again, I'd pose these questions to Tom P. Can Marshall do this? Can he develop, retain, and add? Can he evolve? You speak with him on (probably) a daily basis, you talk to the players, you see the practices, you know what the locker room is like, you know who they are targeting for recruits, and you're talking to people in the business (plus Mr. Dickenman who has been at Detrick Gym plenty). If you think it's possible, then keep him on and let's make a run. If not, please just cut bait now and let's all get the next rebuild over with.