Saturday, February 28, 2009

Game 2: Men's Lacrosse @ Ohio State

  • Your final from Columbus: Ohio State 11, Fairfield 6. More to come.
  • OSU is moving awfully slow on offense. Seems like this one is all but said and done.
  • Not looking good for the boys in our red. Ohio State leads, 11-5, with a little under three minutes to play in the game. OSU has certainly slowed the pace down on offense, playing a conservative, "four corners-esque" defense. That gameplan, coupled with Fairfield's young offense, is the product of your score.
  • Stags get another flag thrown on the Buckeyes on the face-off. That's four penalties near midfield on the face. Another EMO chance, and an opportunity to get some momentum as the quarter starts.
  • End of the Third: 9-5, OSU.
  • Five minutes later, still no video. I bet they do this to Michigan fans all the time.
  • Again, the video feed goes down. About more that mid-way through the third, and still 9-5, OSU.
  • Fairfield back on EMO on an illegal procedure on the face-off, again. Nothing doing. Fairfield retains possession, however, as a pass was deflected away from Ajemian. We're back to six-on-six, however.
  • OSU's Jeff Green dodges, never gets picked up, and scores on a pretty bounce shot passed Cipriano. 9-5, Buckeyes.
  • Stags, again, answer. An illegal procedure on the faceoff led to extra-man offense, and Fairfield scores (their second in there chances on EMO). Can't tell you who scored - the Ohio State play-by-play guys has no clue who Fairfield is or who they're players are - but it looked like an attackman. Ohio State's Radio is no VOF.
  • Jeff Ryan with a goal on a slide from Fairfield. Delgarno, an attackman, drew the slide after he was matched up with a short-stick defender. 8-4 Ohio State early in the third.
  • Halftime at the Horseshoe: Ohio State leads, 7-4. As the teams head to the locker room, the marching band blares the unmistakable Ohio State fight song. Speaking of which, is there any band better in the good ol' U.S.? The best I've seen in person was Texas A&M back in the old Kickoff Classic at Giant Stadim as a kid. But 'Script Ohio' is as college football as Bear Bryant and the Heisman Trophy. As the saying goes, "They're the best damn band in the land". And even us northern Yankees (as my advertising professor from Indiana calls Fairfield students) can appreciate it. Classic.
  • Fairfield answers, and the score moves to 7-4 with :07 to play in the second quarter. Missed who scored it, but I'll get that to you as soon as I can.
  • Midway through the 2nd: Ohio State leads, 6-3.
  • Awful, awful video feed from 'Bukeye Vision' on - you'd think that a big-time program like that would have their story straight. Good to see, though, that online feed problems are not just immune to mid-majors.
  • Weather in Bergen County, NJ: 40 degrees and partly sunny. In Columbus? They're indoors. A prominent 'OHIO STATE' end zone marks the midway point of the end line on the field of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, the indoor complex that James Tressel and Co. call home. I always hated playing on a field specifically designed for football, can be awfully confusing with lines (especially sidelines, which are classic thick white in the Hayes Center)

Copelan conquers Columbus?

Big, big game about to start in Columbus, as the Stags take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in the team's second game of the season.

Fairfield enters the game coming off of a thrilling, 10-9 win over UDel a week ago. The Buckeyes are 2-1, and currently sit at 18th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll. Today marks the seventh time, surprisingly, that Fairfield and Ohio State are meeting in lacrosse.

The old GWLL foes have won four of seven.

Stay here for some live updates and analysis. If you want live game coverage, then head on over to the official Ohio State athletic website, where they've got live stats and a game feed (if you're willing to pay the price).

And if you're looking for trash talking to a friend of red and gray, look no further than our picture - hope you weren't alarmed by it. Ohio State (yes, the Ohio State) has a pistol team. A Division-I pistol team. They also boast a rifle team and synchronized swimming. You can't make this stuff up.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Men's Basketball vs. Manhattan

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Stag-tastic Votes

And, no, I'm not referring to today's FUSA Elections on campus, which are in the process of being held as we speak. [Editor's Note: Don't even get me started on the fact that there's no opposition for FUSA President]

I'm talking about the most recent Nike/Inside Lacrosse poll, which listed Fairfield among the teams that also received votes (albeit, one). Wonder if that one vote was UDel coach Bob Shlinglaw. The Stags also received recognition in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Coaches' Poll. Ohio State, the team's next opponent, sits at 18 in that poll.

Another number to chew on: LaxPower's rankings, an RPI-like ranking that combines overall record, strength of schedule, and, ranks the Stags at 29 overall. The team directly above them?

The Ohio State Buckeyes.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Live Game Blog: Fairfield vs. Hofstra

Men's Lacrosse vs. Delaware

A beautiful day for Fairfield University Lacrosse

I'll start the first spring blog of the year with that quote in the title, something my old high school lacrosse coach used to say everyday during warm-ups on gameday (except switch FU with 'Bergen Catholic'). In any event, it is a fairly nice day for the end of February.

Here's a few pre-game notes:
  • Andy Copelan, first game. You know the deal.
  • While this is the Stags first regular season game of the season, Delaware has already seen action twice this year. Following a season-opening win over St. Joseph (Pa.), the Fightin' Blue Hens dropped a game to UMBC, 15-7, who currently sit at #11 in the LaxPower national rankings.
  • Delaware and Fairfield have played one another three times in  the season series; UDel has won all three games.
  • Rookie attackman John Snellman, currently slated to start at attack, was named a preseason ECAC Co-Rookie of the Year. Another talented, young offensive player for Fairfield, joining Doug Kuring and Ryan Mulford as the Fairfield "different look".
  • Speaking of Doug Kuring, it sounds as if he will be out today because of a rolled ankle. Tough blow for a young group, but the attack is relatively green to begin with. That news from Fairfield S.I.D. Chris O'Connor.
  • No word on goalkeeper yet, but my money would be on second-year man Joe Marra. [UPDATE: Freshman Charlie Cipriano from Williston Park, NY is starting in net. Shows how much we know here at 'The Mirror']

Saturday, February 14, 2009

LIVE from Harbor Yard: FU/NU

That's E-S-P-N

Our quirky, die-hard friends over at the message boards are trying to come up with the ideal Fairfield-related 'ESPN' acronym for tonight's game on the Deuce. Creative... so Tom and I figured - eh, let's give it a shot and get in on the fun:

1. Everybody knows the Stags will Pound Niagara
2. Eatin' Some Poultry (i.e. purple eagles) Tonight
3. Evanovich Shaves Pretty Neckbeard
4. Edney Screams, Patella Nagging
5. Ed Shushes Patsos Nonsense
6. Ed Shows-off Polished Necktie
7. Every Stag Please 'No-get-hurt'
8. Even assistant coach Bob Simon Protects Nero injury
9. Ed Cooley Studies and Prepares for Northwestern Med School ["I should be an MD" - Cooley on team's injuries]

Chime in with some thoughts and keep it up, boys.

A Fairfield/Marist Running Diary? I think so!

College kids and Thursday nights are infamous. Some go home for the weekend, some study, some visit their local watering home. Me? I travel with our own Tom Cleary to PoTown to catch the Stags face Marist. I summoned my inner Bill Simmons and (attempt to be funny) follow the game with a running diary. Enjoy:

7:03 TC and I arrive at the McCann Center and play a little cat-and-mouse game with the parking attendants at Marist. We go through this every game, for some reason. At the gate, we were told to continue to the parking lot closest to the gym. Moments later, they blocked us from the VIP Parking and told us to go to student parking all the way on the other side of campus. Long story short, Tom and I pulled the ‘media parking’ card, got a grand tour of the Hudson Valley, and then parked next to the Stags’ Dattco bus. Now that’s dedication.

Once we got inside, we were greeted by some screaming and yelling Marist cheerleaders, who handed me a game program and a free alarm clock courtesy of the school’s AD. Why can’t we get that kind of treatment at Harbor Yard? Imagine Lucas the Stag giving out day-by-day calendars and taking pictures as you walked in? But in all honest, Hutch, you’re doing great.

Guacamo’s Pizza in the media room, a local classic for those of you from Poughkeepsie or know friends that go to Marist. I’m not sure what it is, but there is just something about pizza in New York. No offense to the Nutmeg State, but it is the equivalent of watching the JV team or the varsity: they’re close, but they’re not quite there yet. Maybe it’s the water (as my old grandma always said), maybe it’s the Italian influence, maybe it’s that once you cross the border into New England it’s illegal to do so. But it’s there and it’s real.

Speaking of JV team, a
Marist radio broadcaster drops a heart-werenching line to Stags’ fans in the media room: “We can’t lose this game. This isn’t even their varsity team”. Has it really gotten to that point?

7:22 Marist takes the court to… “Knock on wood” by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Am I missing something here? Does Notre Dame come out of the tunnel at Notre Dame Stadium to Radiohead or STP? Does UNC come onto the floor listening to Sound Garden. When did mediocre 90’s alternative rock become the go-to song for D-I college basketball?

Speaking of which, what does this say for the future of fight songs and pump-up band music in our future? Are we supposed to prepare ourselves for the days when the Stags take the court to the All-American Rejects when we’re forty. I’ll be long retired by then

7:25 Women’s game score update #1. Sensing a trend

7:33 Big Ed emerges from the locker room looking spiffy as always. He takes a drink of water at the end of the bench. Given Tom’s most recent column, I can’t help but wonder if it was to wash down a Tums.

7:36 Stirring national anthem from the Marist Pep Band, clearly trying to make amends for the Bosstones slip-up. The Marist production people follow that up with Jordan-esque lineup calls and ‘Sirus’ from the Allan Parsons Project. I’m a fan of the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the announcer clearly has been drinking Red Bull and popping Osi Umenyora’s Five-Hour Energy pills all day. No other man should ever get that excited saying the name “Ryan Schneider”. No one.

7:38 In a stunning turn events, the band director comes onto the court and begins to dance. The players are then hushed to the sidelines as the ban director leads a chorus of singing in the middle of the court. Marist. I know you’re trying. But I know Ohio State. I’ve worked with Ohio State. And you, sir, are no Ohio State.

As a side note, is there anything funnier than a sixty-five year old man with his pants as high as Steve Urkel screaming, “Scratch em! Claw ‘em!” five feet from Ed Cooley? I’m pretty sure he didn’t laugh that hard the first time he watched “Coming to America” And what do you do if you’re a Marist player on the court waiting while this guy is singing? I’m pretty sure you put your head down and wonder if you were one sprint, one rep, one shot away from being up the Thruway at a Big East school.

7:41 Tom mentions that Lyndon Jordan is not on the bench. Clearly we’re off our game to have not noticed this until three minutes into the game. “That sucks,” he adds. Well put, sir.

7:42 Cooley takes a timeout after Ryan Olander egregiously misses an open assignment. He gave Olander one of those Ralph Kramden looks and, predictably, tells Ryan to pop a squat next to associate head coach Bob Simon. Oh, freshman. “One of these days, Ryan!”

7:43 Women’s basketball update, number two: Marist leads Fairfield, 29-20, on the Guacomo’s out-of-town scoreboard. Obsessed, much? I’m pretty sure the entire Hudson River Valley will go into a coma if this team doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament later next month. It’ll be worse than the Red Sox comeback in 2004. Worse than the ‘Miracle at the Meadowland’. Worse than the time the raccoon got stuck in the copier.

7:44 Herbie Allen drains a three-pointer to put the Stags on the board. So much for the injured wrist that ‘The Mirror’ reported earlier this afternoon. What are we paying these guys for, anyway? Dejuan Goodwin answers on the other end to push the Marist lead to seven.

Jacked-up announcer guy makes arguably the greatest media timeout call I’ve ever heard: “Timeout…. Timeout.” Watch your back, Michael Buffer. This guy’s a mover-and-shaker.

7:48 Ryan Schneider drives on Greg Nero, who looks like my grandfather trying to keep up with him and trail his man to the basket. Seriously, I don’t think anyone realized how hurt this man has been playing all season. You can see it in his mannerisms. On a related note, I hope CC Sabathia is taking notes.

7:49 Just as I stop typing, Nero drains a three. He’s a gamer. Simmons was right. Maybe Neroisms are the next big thing on North Benson. Did you know that Greg Nero doesn’t read books? He stares at them until the knowledge comes to him telepathically.

7:52 Dejuan Goodwin hits a three, resulting in Ed nearly taking off his jacket. For those of you that don’t know or aren’t fans of our blog, Cooley takes his jacket off when he’s really, really irked. In his first season at Fairfield, I think his average “Jacket on the back of a chair” time was well over 30 minutes a night. With a much improve team, though, he’s far more reserved on the bench – and likely helping his wallet from incessant dry cleaning bills. He may turn back the clock tonight if this keeps up.

7:55 Sean Crawford drains a three, and Chuck Martin burns a timeout to discuss the defensive miscue. Now that Tom and I think about it a little more, Frank Romano’s “Crawford is our Stephon Curry” sounds a little bit better right about now.

7:58 Another nice play by Crawford as he picks Schneider’s pocket in the glass and causes a turnover. He, like most of the Fairfield guards is awfully raw, but at the very least this group will be battle tested going into March and into the future.

Speak of those pesky underclassmen, Ryan Olander hits a fifteen-footer, displaying some of the range that Ed Cooley spoke of in our meeting of Tuesday. “He could be one of the best that’s ever played here,” Cooley said.

8:06 Despite a switch to a 1-3-1 zone to prevent things like that from happening, Ryan Schneider drains a three and pushes the Marist lead to ten points, the highest of the night. And for those of you at home playing the “Marist hits a three” drinking game, you probably should quit while you’re ahead. [Editor’s Note: Schneider hit another three-point shot literally ninety seconds later, as in three possessions. You can’t make this stuff up]

8:19 As the Stags take the court to warm up for the second half, the Marist Pep Band breaks out the Dropkick Murphy’s, causing Tom to think of the bygone glory days of Troy O’Leary, Lou Merloni, and John Valentin. Ah, Red Sox fans. Hope springs eternal. [Another minute, another scoreboard check. We’re on pace for over twenty here, people. That has to be some sort of record.]

8:36 Sign of the Apocalypse if you are a Fairfield fan: forward Greg Nero emerged from the locker room in a grey jumpsuit and a handbag. The man practically played crippled tonight, and you have to wonder if the bang and bruises are just beginning to take a toll. As we speak, the Fairfield bench is now down to seven men. Seven. If they shut him down for this season, this team may not win another game all season.

8:41 Sign of the Apocalyse, Part Deux: Mike Evanovich begs, pleads, and implores Jamal Crawford to give him the ball in the post. This is where it gets good: Crawford actually gives him the ball, and Evanovich makes a halfway decent move and scores. [Marist leads, 45-29 with 15:37 to play] Back courtside at the press table, Tom and I are considering writing about spring training in next week’s issue to avoid manic depression. At the very least, we may take a side trip to Mohegan Sun on the right home from PoTown just to ease the pain. Oh, the humanity.

Speaking of Evanovich, what’s with the beard? It’s not a full beard, given that there is no moustache. But it’s an awfully suspect impression of a chin strap and it is bordering on neckbeard territory, dangerous waters for any self-respecting gentleman. Tom can’t seem to figure out what it is either. I say we name it. I’m thinking, “The 41 Special”. No, wait, “The Iowa State ‘Stache.” Feel free to chime in with names if you’re actually reading this blog.

8:54 Evanovich, from the top of the arc, lobs a gorgeous alley-oop pass to Yorel Hawkins, who slams it down with authority – a much needed shot of momentum for Fairfield. Who is this guy anyway? He posts up. He catches. He shoots. He passes. He goes down stairs.

9:07 The Stags are on a mini-run and pull to within fourteen. On a fastbreak, Yorel Hawkins whiffs on a fastbreak lay-up opportunity, causing his head coach to put his head in his hands and scream. Can somebody pass the Tums?

9:27 Yorel Hawkins is forced to foul Korey Bauer to keep Fairfield’s grim hopes at a win alive. It was Hawkins fifth foul of the evening. He immediately yanked his jersey out of its typical tucked-in mode. When did this become the standard in basketball? I’m blaming Rasheed Wallace, somehow.

9:29 With 33 seconds remaining in regulation, I’ll let you decide which scenario is more surreal: a) Sean Grzeck with four fouls, b) Jimmy O’Sullivan calling for “one more” on an offensive play and getting it, or c) all of the above.

9:31 David Devezin drains two free throws to push the Marist lead back to eight. “That should seal it,” Tom proclaims. For the game? Probably. For this blog post? Yes, sir.

9:48 But, wait! There's more. Here's Ed Cooley's top four lines from an unfortgettable post-game press conference: 1) "We took too many 'Christers' tonight: a three-pointer that you hate it from the second it leaves they're hand and hope to Christ it goes in," 2) "Lyndon looked sick as a dog when I saw him today. I had to drive him home. He said, "Coach, I think I just pee'd myself'," 3) "Nero looked at me and said he wanted to play. How can I coach not respect and love that kind of fire?," 4) Zero turnovers? I'm pretty sure Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles were doing the scoring," and, last but not least:

5) "We're going to be a scary, scary team up in Albany. My focus is to get our team ready for three days in March. Trust me, you're not going to want to be the team that plays us come the MAAC tournament."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Back from Marist/Nero possibly out for year

Just got back from the Stags tough loss to Marist in Poughkeepsie, where unfortunately there was no wireless internet, so we could not use CoverItLive. But Keith Connors did keep a running diary, a la Bill Simmons, and will post it tomorrow.

A lot more tomorrow, but for now just a few notes from the game/post game:

First of all the Stags committed zero turnovers, a big step up from the last time the Fairfield played. Although in the press conference head coach Ed Cooley questioned the zero turnovers stat, saying that "Ray Charles or Stevie Wonder" may have been keeping score.

Also, the Stags could not seem to stop the Red Foxes from shooting from long range, and made multiple mistakes on the other end, which cost them the game. Herbie Allen and Mike Evanovich continue to step up, scoring 21 and 18 respectively, in the 75-66 loss, but those two cannot continue to carry this team.

And the biggest news from Poughkeepsie is that junior forward Greg Nero, who left the game after the half and did not return, may be the latest Stags player to be out for the remainder of the season. While Cooley said he wasn't sure whether he would be shut down or not, he thinks it is possible he will not play again this season, whether that includes the post season or just the regular season was unclear.

Cooley was upbeat, as upbeat as possible, but was more in disbelief of the way things have gone lately for Fairfield, with the injuries and illness. But he stressed that he will make sure that his squad is a difficult team to play in Albany.

Again, Nero may be out for the year, which would be another huge loss for Fairfield.

-Tom Cleary

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Basketball vs. Marist

Allen likely to ride the pine

Just a brief follow-up from Tom's blog post last night: all indications from head coach Ed Cooley on Tuesday afternoon indicated that senior guard Herbie Allen (very sick, not to mention banged up)  is likely to sit out tonight's game. Allen logged 36 minutes and totaled six points in the Stags' win over Marist on Jan. 30.

Allen has missed a few games this year due to a nagging wrist injury suffered on Jan. 17 against Siena.

Then again, junior forward Greg Nero was supposed to sit against Manhattan. Cooley said he couldn't help but play him after the Nero begged from the sidelines in an attempt to create a spark (Nero did play the second half and nearly spurred a second-half comeback). If the Stags are in dire straits again tonight, it wouldn't shock me to see the senior step up in a similar fashion.

More to come from Po-Town.

Odds and Ends/Preview of Marist Game

My column about the Jon Han dismissal and the Stags past few games went online today at the Fairfield Mirror Web site. The column came after spending the day trying to track Han down to do an interview with him and a long conversation that Keith Connors and I had with head coach Ed Cooley in his office on Tuesday afternoon. Walking into the office, just about 15-20 minutes before practice, Cooley had his head in his hands and began by talking about how stressful the past week or so has been, with the Han situation coupled with the fact he had watched another player unable to play, Herbie Allen.

According to Cooley, Allen was going to sit out of practice for most of this week and he hopes he can play at Marist, but he came down with the flu in Buffalo and was too sick to play during the game against the Purple Eagles. As of now, Allen plans to travel to Poughkeepsie with the team, but it is up in the air as to whether or not he will play.

Most of my conversation, which focused on the amount of injuries the Stags have had to overcome and the difficult decision that Cooley had to make regarding Han, can be read in my column or Keith's article, but there were a few other interesting points that Cooley brought up.

  • Cooley on the team's performance over the weekend: "Against Canisius I thought we controlled the tempo of the game. The one thing I think we have done really well is defend. We’ve defended really good, with man, zone and pressure, that has been good. We have controlled the game defensively. Offensively I think we are getting a lot of contributions from a lot of people. I thought that was great for the three games we had success, but against Niagara we just did not have enough experience on the floor against a very talented offensive team. To beat them on their floor in a building as loud as that was. We just did not have enough game experience to compete."
  • Based off of that, Cooley talked about the fact that the top four teams in the MAAC rarely use freshmen in key situations, maybe except Rider, which plays Novar Gadson about 20 minutes per game. He brought up Matt Ryan, the former BC Eagles QB as an example of someone who excelled in his first-year as a pro. He said he is a "great kid" who would always say hello on campus. Based on the conversation it seems that he values a player like Ryan who is likable, a good leader and is an ambassador for the program.
  • He also gave high praise to freshman center Ryan Olander, again using the "ambassador" phrase, saying he is a nice kid, who is also a 4.0 student and has the potential to be one of the best big men in school history, based on his pure basketball skills. Cooley said: "I’ve coached a lot of great big men, but he has what they don’t. He needs to get a little stronger, but he catches, he passes, at 6’11 that’s not paper height, he’s a long joker."
  • Cooley talked a lot about how great of a learning experience this has been for him as a young coach. He said that he had to revert back to some of the strategies he used to motivate during his first two years as a coach, because it is a much younger, much more inexperienced team than when this year started. He has a lot of work ahead of him, but he is proud of the way his players have come together at this point and he made that obvious.
As for the Marist game, the Stags are going to be facing a very different team than they did at the Arena at Harbor Yard. With David Devezin on the court, the Red Foxes are a lot smoother offensively. That will make it harder on the Stags to cover long-range shooter Ryan Schneider and they already had a hard time doing that in the last game. Plus, the McCann Center is never a fun place to play. Fairfield should win this game if they are healthy, a point Cooley stressed. Health is the key to the end of this season. This will be a key game, as the Stags will have uphill battles against both Rider and Niagara and are already in a dogfight for fourth place in the MAAC. Fairfield needs to win this game and the Manhattan game later this month if it has any chance of avoiding the sixth seed and a matchup with either Rider or Niagara in the first round.

The Mirror will be traveling up to Marist for the game tomorrow night and will bring you live coverage from the McCann Center. Also, Chris Simmons will be bringing you coverage of the huge women's showdown against Marist at Alumni Hall in a game that should decide who will win first-place in the MAAC .

Huge day for Fairfield basketball tomorrow, should be a fun one.

-Tom Cleary

Monday, February 9, 2009

Han officially leaves team

According to a press release sent out this afternoon by Fairfield Sports Information Director Jack Jones, Jonathan Han has made the decision to leave the team and will not play the remainder of the season. Han will finish his senior year academically and will graduate with his class. The release stated that he is leaving for "personal reasons."

Han missed four games following an argument with assistant coach Brian Blaney after the Stags loss to Manhattan on Jan. 26 in Riverdale. Han was suspended indefinitely on Jan. 29 for "violation of team policy," and according to the CT Post's Chris Elsberry met with head coach Ed Cooley prior to the trip to Buffalo on Thursday night. He was given an ultimatum, according to Elsberry, that stated he could either sign a statement saying he was leaving the team or that he was suspended for the rest of the season.

More on the story as news comes in. Here is the full release:

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Jonathan Han, a senior guard on the Fairfield
University men's basketball team, has decided to leave the Fairfield
University men's basketball team for personal reasons and will not play
the remainder of the season. The decision was announced Monday

Han was suspended indefinitely on January 29 for a violation of
team policy and missed the last four games played by the team. After
taking time to examine the situation further, Han decided not to return
for the final five regular season games or any post-season play.

Han finished his Fairfield University career with 1,072 points
and 526 assists in 110 games. His scoring total ranks 27th all-time at
Fairfield, while his assist total places third all-time in school

"I appreciate what Jon has done for the Fairfield University
men's basketball program," Head Coach Ed Cooley said. "We will continue
to support Jon with his academic goal of earning a degree from Fairfield

Han will remain a student at Fairfield University and will be
afforded the academic support services available to all student athletes
for the remainder of the school year.

-Tom Cleary

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Han's Time is Done?

Monday is supposed to be D-Day on the future of Stags' point guard Jon Han, marking the end of one of the strangest subplots in recent memory. Today, Ben Doody of the Trentonian had a fantastic blog post on the strange ride that has been Han's collegiate career. Seems like an eternity ago that Cooley spoke so glowingly of Han after that American double-overtime game in Alumni Hall, his first game as a head coach.

That was also my first game as a beat writer for 'The Mirror', so that game holds a big soft spot in my heart.

A few thoughts:
  • Originally, 'The Mirror' heard from a few anonymous sources that Han had decided to leave the team permanently following the shouting match with assistant coach Brian Blaney and the Manhattan game on Jan. 26. The sources also said that he was moving to Puerto Rico as soon as possible to pursue a career in the National Superior Basketball League.
  • Those day after rumors made it seem as if Han was done. Perhaps these initial sources exaggerated the story, but, looking back, they may not be all too far from the truth. Keep in mind that Han has not been seen or heard from since that night. He most certainly has not been banging down Ed Cooley's door to get back on the team. Which is an intriguing question to ask: Does Han even care, at this point, about Fairfield basketball?
  • Cooley, according to Chris Elsberry of the Connecticut Post, gave Han an ultimatum to sign one of two documents: one accepting a season-long suspension, or the other stating that he was choosing to leave the team for personal reasons. If this is true (which we should learn within the next 24 hours), then our initial suspicions from those rumors - which at the time seems ludicrous- were true: Han has played his last game as a Stag.
  • How bizarre is it to think back to the Siena game? In case you forgot, Han received a commemorative 1000th point ball from Cooley at half-court just before the tip. A surreal scene, if you look at it now. That's probably as close as those two may ever come again.
  • Lyndon Jordan put up 15 points (5-of-12 from the field) against Niagara on Sunday, a 75-50 loss in Buffalo. The more glaring stat: Fairfield turned the ball over 21 times (3 for Jordan, 5 for Sean Crawford, and 2 for Jamal Turner). Han may be Fairfield's answer to Tiki Barber/New York Giants circa 2007, a clubhouse lawyer whose abscence equals addition by subtraction. But keep in mind the G-Men had Brandon Jacobs and Derek Ward waiting in the wings. With guard depth an issue, his absence is certainly going to be felt over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bust it, baby

A look at the 2009 Bracketbuster matchups for the Stags and their MAAC counterparts, released yesterday by ESPN:

Northern Iowa at Siena (TV)
Illinois State at Niagara (TV)
UMBC at Rider
Hofstra at Fairfield (TV)
Manhattan at William & Mary
Loyola at Drexel
Iona at Boston University
Canisius at Bowling Green
Hartford at Marist
Saint Peter’s at Youngstown State

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fairfield vs. Loyola Men's Basketball Game Blog