Another season is upon us. A clean slate and an opportunity to be optimistic, for a brief period. The odd aspect of every Dayton basketball season is that I’m forever clueless as to where my expectations lie. I have no inkling whether this particular team will breakout and finish in the top three of the league or if they will crash and burn like they did just a year ago. There isn’t another team I follow where this is an issue, I usually have a pretty good understanding of what to anticipate going into the first game on the schedule.
Transfers, freshmen, conference upheaval, coaching changes, all these factors have created the unknowing eye of your average Dayton basketball fan. The one thing I’m certain of is that UD, opening its season with three straight games against 300+ RPI candidates, should head down to Atlanta with an unblemished record. Outside of that, your guess is as good as Donoher’s.
Or as good as Ken Pomeroy, who has UD going 18-11, excluding the two unknown games from Maui, this season:
On the plus side, there will be no losses to Xavier this year, and an unopened tomato can, the Mighty Mastodons of Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, come into the Arena on Saturday to open the 2013-14 season.
The Mastodons are coming off a season of textbook mediocrity, finishing 16-17 overall and 7-9 in Summit League play. IPFW, entering just its eight season in Division 1, returns three starters from last year’s team, featuring what coach Tony Jasick believes will be the school’s deepest and most versatile roster he’s had since stepping on campus three years ago. Jasick , in his third season at the helm, is charged with cleaning up the tidy mess that his predecessor, Dane Fife, left for him.
Speaking of Dane Fife, this is one of the more depressing passages I have read in a while, taken from an article that appeared in the Fort Wayne News Sentinel back in 2011:
Fife currently makes just over $85,000 annually, which is astoundingly low for a Division I basketball coach. Comparatively, Ball State coach Billy Taylor makes $196,851. It’s not just the IPFW head coach that is underpaid in relation to his peers, but his staff is also. The Cardinal program has four coaches on its staff (one serves as Director of Basketball Operations), while the Mastodons have just three. Ball State pays two of its assistant coaches nearly $10,000 more than IPFW pays its associate head coach (Tony Jasick). In fact, the aforementioned Director of Basketball Operations makes a higher salary ($40,000) than two of the full-time assistants at IPFW.
The Director of Basketball Operations at Ball State (whose sole job function is to deduce which cheerleaders will “play ball” with the head coach) makes more money than the assistant basketball coaches at IPFW? Where is the justice in this cold world?
To give you a bit of perspective, the average salary for an assistant coach on Dayton’s WOMEN’S basketball staff is somewhere in the neighborhood of $50K per year. I assumed that assistants at low-level D1 basketball programs weren’t exactly living like kings, but I thought they at least made enough money to keep the lights on. The kids on IPFW’s basketball team should be paying the school to play, at the very least chipping in for uniforms.
Fife, by the way, is now an assistant at Michigan State, even though he played ball at Indiana, where he is likely earning at least double what he was making as the head man at IPFW. He no longer lives in the woods.
Meet and Greet
The Dons are led by senior wing Luis Jacobo, a 6’5″ senior who averaged 11.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season. A former JUCO, Jacobo is the Mastodons most versatile scoring threat, a small forward that connected on approximately 40% of his three-point attempts a year ago.
[quote_box_right]IPFW has been picked sixth in the Summit League’s preseason poll. That ain’t good.[/quote_box_right]
IPFW has no idea what it is doing as far as the point-guard slot in concerned. It would appear that senior Pierre Bland will get the nod based on seniority, but expect junior Isaiah McCray (4.5 PPG/2.5 APG) and freshman Mo Evans to get some time as the team’s primary ball-handler as well.
Joe Edwards, a 6’4 sophomore, will team with Jacobo in an undersized frontcourt. Edwards scored 7.5 points per game last season, shooting 51% from the floor. Jasick describes Edwards as a slashing wing who can finish around the basket. In other words, give Edwards plenty of room to shoot. Derrick Rose with a blindfold on has a more accurate jumper (that’s bad, right? I know next to nothing about The League). Will Dunn is referred to as a “high IQ, team guy,” which in coach-speak means he is white and has the floor burns to prove it.
Michael Kibiloski (6.8 ppg/3.9 rpg/36% 3pt) would be playing on Notre Dame if he was a tad taller, socially awkward and talented. The burly 6’7″ senior likes to hide out on the perimeter and is coming off of back surgery — he is basically the old guy at the Y, even has the male pattern baldness to solidify the look. Joe Reed is another big body that will get minutes for the Mastodons, his range is like the chance you will ever find happiness, extremely limited. Brent Calhoun can be best described as sloppy, he literally took a redshirt last season because he was too fat to play. The 6’8″ freshman has cut down to “285” pounds and is looking to force himself on people down low.
On a sad note, this guy has graduated:
Although IPFW claims to have depth, especially in the backcourt, it lacks the size, and dare I say heart, to battle with UD’s bigmen. Last year’s squad was below average in just about every valid statistical category you can think of, and that trend will likely continue this year as the Mastodons are playing plenty of underclassmen. I’d expect IPFW to come out with the style of play UD fans have come to expect from most of the Flyers’ early out of conference opponents — plenty of passes around the perimeter and hurried three-point attempts (or as we like to call it, the modern college basketball game.)
Jordan Sibert is going to come out and once again establish himself offensively, he wants everyone on the team to know that he didn’t transfer from Ohio State just to pass the ball to fucking Matt Kavanaugh or some freshman. Devin Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre will battle for both rebounds and shot opportunities. Dayton wins in methodical fashion, 77-64 over the Mastodons.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.