After a disappointing performance against Saint Louis, the Flyer’s look to regroup in the best way possible, a game against Fordham. The Rams are reeling, winless in conference, and have already accepted their fate. It’s up to Archie to make sure the Flyers deliver the killshot later on tonight.
For those of you making the trip to Rose Hill tonight, there is a possibility of some killshots outside Fordham’s campus as well, so make sure to tell everyone you pass on the way to the game that you are in fact carrying a gun (also, carry one bullet in your pocket and show it to people — explain that “this one, this one here, is for me.”)
I’ve asked Jaden Daly, from A Daly Dose of Hoops, to help provide some color on the Fordham Rams.
Q&A With Jaden Daly
TB: Tom Pecora is entering his fourth season at Rose Hill. His three preceding teams all finish dead-last in the Atlantic Ten. Is there still momentum in the program, is Pecora still seen as the answer as the head coach of the Rams? What are the expectations for this year’s team?
JD: Depending on who you talk to, that answer varies. There are some fans who recognize how much of an absolute dumpster fire the Fordham program was when Pecora took over, and are therefore giving him a long rope with which to work, but there is the other faction of impatient fans who have grown agitated with the continued lack of a successful product. This year’s expectations were to turn the corner, which they have shown signs of, but going 7-6 with one of the softest non-conference schedules the program has played in recent years isn’t exactly what most fans around Rose Hill were hoping for. The Rams can still eke out a few A-10 wins, but it looks like Pecora’s fourth year at the helm will likely be another one on the south side of .500 after a promising beginning.
[quote_center]”I walk slowly but I never walk backwards.” — Tom Pecora[/quote_center]
Jon Severe is an offensive weapon the Rams haven’t had in quite some time. Talk about his impact and when can we expect him to transfer?
Severe has been an enigma, but he brings a scoring punch and shooting touch that has gone unseen from every program around the New York area, let alone Fordham, for quite some time. However, he’s a double-edged sword. As much of an offensive sparkplug as he is, the freshman sensation’s tendency to shoot; too often for his own good at times, has stolen some of the thunder from Mandell Thomas in a sophomore season in which he was using as a springboard to bigger and better production. I wouldn’t expect Severe to transfer yet, but you can expect him to get his usual 15-20 shots on Wednesday.
Big picture — what are some of the obstacles that are holding Fordham back from being competitive in the A10?
In a nutshell, Fordham is held back by its old venue, (say what you want about Rose Hill, but it’s not exactly getting any younger) as well as everyone else in the Atlantic 10 getting better. The continued success of programs like VCU, Saint Louis, Dayton and La Salle, coupled with the resurgence of George Washington and UMass among others, isn’t making things any easier for the Rams as Pecora moves forward, but the program is in much better shape than it was when Dereck Whittenburg and Jared Grasso left it.
You can check out my insightful Q&A with Mr. Daly right here.
Fordham is Fordham, ain’t a damn thing changed. A quick look at the amount of losses over the eight seasons clearly reflects a consistent losing spirit that must be admired.
Fordham, already 0-2 in league play (losses to Richmond and Duquesne), is on a five-game losing streak. The Rams are 7-8 on the season, with five of those wins coming against teams in the +200 RPI range. Fordham’s motto is “anytime, anyplace” as long as your school is located at least five hours away from an airport. Looking over Fordham’s schedule I’m not sure if they are capable of pulling out more than 2-3 wins over the next fourteen games.
On a positive note, the Rams return four starters from last season and seemed to have placed an emphasis on offense this season. The Rams are averaging 77 points per game this season, an increase from 64 points last year. Fordham pushes the pace, one of the quickest in the conference, averaging 71.9 possessions per game. Pecora has a fairly deep team this season, ten players are averaging ten or more minutes a game. For a team that lacks size, the Rams crash the glass effectively, grabbing 37 boards per game — good enough for second in the conference.
Meet and Greet
Jon Severe, he’s good. The touted freshman leads the league in scoring at twenty-one points per game, converting nearly 40% of his three-point attempts. A former AAU teammate of Scoochie Smith, Severe is a 6’2″ slasher capable of scoring from pretty much any spot on the floor.
Fellow guard Branden Frazier is the A10’s third leading scorer, dropping a healthy 18.9 points per contest. Frazier had a 29 point effort against Richmond this past weekend. Frazier isn’t an accurate scorer, but he is a scorer — and you can never have too many of those (that’s not really true).
[pull_quote_center]“Obviously, going into Fordham is never easy,” Miller said. “Any game on the road, in particular in conference play, is difficult. These guys present a unique challenge. They have two guys out there who can really put up points in bunches. If they ever get going together, they’re going to be a high-scoring duo. It makes it very, very difficult for anyone on the floor to survive that. Those two guys, behind the 3-point line, have really done some damage here early. That’s going to be our biggest challenge: stopping those two guys or at least limiting them and making them take tough shots.”[/pull_quote_center]
Mandell Thomas (13.5 ppg/5.1 rpg) and Bryan Smith (6.8 ppg/5.8 rpg) round out the Ram backcourt. Thomas was one of the better freshmen in the league last year and has picked up where he left off. Smith is built like a truck and was the team’s best three-point shooter last season. Sophomore Jermaine Myers (1.6 ppg/1.6 apg) is a role player for the Rams.
Fordham’s frontcourt is led by Ryan Rhoomes (7.6 ppg/7.5 rpg) and Travion Leonard (5.3 ppg/4.6 rpg). Leonard used to be a big ol’ fatty fat (once tipping the scales at 340) but has trimmed down to a svelte 260. Rhoomes is one of the worst foul-shooters you’ll ever see. However, he is active on the boards and is capable of scoring a few easy buckets a night.
6’9″ junior Ryan Canty will likely start tonight, working himself back into the lineup after taking a “leave of absence” from the team earlier in the season. Canty reportedly took the break from the team to address “personal issues.” Playing for Fordham is like serving in Iraq, post-traumatic stress disorder is a factor.
Is Rollie Massimino’s grandson Matt on the team? He sure is, fella, he sure is.
UD is 13-2 over the last 15 meetings with Fordham. The Flyers desperately need to get a league win, a roadie no less, and I think the odds are clearly in their favor. Rams keep it close though, 77-70 Gem City.
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.