Rebuilding

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UMass87
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Rebuilding

Post by UMass87 » Sun Feb 15, 2004 10:58 am

In the past three years we've heard a lot about how UMass is "rebuilding". I thought it might be instruvtive to compare the current "rebuilding" with the previous two efforts at rebuilding at UMass:

Ron Gerlufson was hired to rebuild a program gutted by Ray Wilson and Tom McLaughlin.

The UMass aggregate record in the three years prior to Gerlufson's hiring was 19-64. That's a 0.229 winning 'percentage'.

Gerlufson proceeded to amass a 34-51 record in his first three years. That's a 0.400 winning 'percentage'.

John Calipari was hired to finish what Ron Gerlufson could not. Gerlufson't last three seasons resulted in an aggregate record of 30-52. That's a 0.366 winning 'percentage'. Clearly Ron was better than his predecessors but nobody I knew at UMass at the time was happy that kind of record.

Calipari proceeded to amass a 47-45 record in his first three years. That's a 0.511 winning 'percentage'.

Steve Lappas was hired to replace Bruiser Flint who was widely credited for allowing the program to return to the ignominious days of the 80's. How little thiose many fans suspected that it could get MUCH worse. Bruiser Flint's record in his final three years was 46-47. That's a 0.495 winning 'percentage'.

In Steve Lappas' almost completed three years he has amassed a record of 33-47. That's a 0.4125 winning 'percentage'.

I have only included the past three "rebuildings". If you go to theUMass historical records at the UMass athletics website:
http://graphics.fansonly.com/photos/sch ... byyear.pdf

You will find that, amazing but true, never in the history of UMass basketball has a coach been hired and stayed for three seasons who has done so poorly relative to his predeccesor than has Steve Lappas.

Please, along with the ridiculous 'youth' argument, please don't continue to parrot the 'rebuilding' argument. I agree with VoxPop that UMass is in such disasterous financial shape that buying out coaches is not a palatable option. Steve Lappas should resign and walk away from any additional financial renumeration from UMass. Never in the history of UMass basketball has so little been achieved for so much money.

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krkess
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Post by krkess » Sun Feb 15, 2004 11:54 am

Let's get something straight, UMass tanked under Ray Wilson and Ray Wilson alone. McLaughlin started to bring the program back from rock bottom, his results were somwhat meager but at least he doubled the wins in his first year. In fact, there hadn't been a single DI win the year prior to him taking the job. He brought a lot of excitement back to the Cage for the first time in years. His success was cut short when Gerlufson reported the misuse of meal money to the administration and he resigned. So Gerlufson was not hired, he stabbed his boss in the back and took the job over.

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Kosty
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Re: Rebuilding

Post by Kosty » Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:19 pm

UMass87 wrote:Steve Lappas was hired to replace Bruiser Flint who was widely credited for allowing the program to return to the ignominious days of the 80's. How little thiose many fans suspected that it could get MUCH worse. Bruiser Flint's record in his final three years was 46-47. That's a 0.495 winning 'percentage'.

In Steve Lappas' almost completed three years he has amassed a record of 33-47. That's a 0.4125 winning 'percentage'.
So with the same exact number of loses and only 13 less wins, with at least 7 games left in his third season, you would consider that MUCH worse??? Little hyperbole maybe?? He wins the next 7, he's only 6 wins short of Bru, for a .459 winning 'percentage'. Yeah, 3% is MUCH worse.

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Post by UMass87 » Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:35 pm

krkess - I stand corrected on the nefarious Gerlufson.

here's what many have used as a justification for Lappas' troubles his first season:

"But dude, Lappas inherited a team of stiffs that was missing the leading scorer from the previous season"

That simply NEVER happens and there was no way Lappas could have overcome that insurmountable obstacle. Or was there? This has been addressed but I think it merits some closer attention:

Lappas DID inherit a team that was absent its leading scorer, Monty Mack, who averaged 19.5 points per game (28% of the offense). There can be no debate - Monty Mack was a great player - both offensively and defensively. Mack was from the line of UMass warriors.

On the other hand, Lappas inherited something he has been decrying the absence of for the past two years. Senior leadership. Shannon Crooks is the UMass player at the number ten position all time in assists. He reached that status by playing point guard in two of his three years at UMass. Shannon Crooks averaged more assists per game than Charlton Clarke. Steve Lappas CHOSE not to use his Senior point guard as a point guard. That was his decision.

Steve Lappas also inherited Anthony Anderson. I've addressed this before as well but it really does bear repeating. Steve Lappas chose a freshman to be his point guard. Steve Lappas has said many times that AA is the best point guard he's ever had. He's also said that AA is a pass-first type of guy. I'm simply not gullible enough to believe either of these statements. Anybody who has watched AA bring up the ball on the fast-break can see that he is decidedly NOT "pass-first". What is particularly galling to me, however, is that AA has so obviously been the best shooter on the team from his first year. AA is a shooting guard, plain and simple. What's more, he's a VERY good shooting guard. He is, statistically, a better shooting guard than Monty Mack. In his second season he was the focus of oppsing defenses and yet he shot better than Monty Mack did in any of his four seasons.

I don't begrudge Steve Lappas choosing who his point guard is or instituting his own offense. I think that should be expected. In fact, given the radical change Steve Lappas was purported to bring, the expectation was for struggles in the first year. Unfortunately, this change in offense, has been a distinct disaster. The biggest change in the offense has been an increased reliance on the three-point shot. The irony is that Steve Lappas has proven singularly incapable of recruiting players who can make this shot in the game.

As I have said on a numebr of occasions, the players Steve Lappas ingherited were all better three-point shooters than the players Lappas has recruited. More important - when one looks at the dropoff in offensive production under Lappas, the ddropoff is absolutely and unmistakeably the result of a shift in emphasis from inside to outside shooting. This leads to the other bogus argument Lappas has used to explain his teams' performance. Youth.

Steve Lappas inherited a very experienced team. He inherited a senior point guard in Crooks. He inherited a senior frontline player in Eric Williams (who was a better three point shooter than any of Lappas' recruits have been), He inherited two junior inside players in Micah Brand and Kit Rhymer (Kit Rhymer is fifth all-time in blocks, Micah Brand is tenth). the thing is, Kit Rhymer is fifth all-time in field-goial percentage. How do you shift the offense to the perimetr whn you can't recruit shooters and you've inherited one of the best inside shooters in the history of the program?

the other part of the "youth" argument that galls me is what I call the "Lappas Fountain of Youth". This is the system where every year you lose players so that you can always claim your team is young. Please, don't even bother to bring up Flint's or Calipari's record on this. Neither came close to losing as many players per year as does Lappas and, more important, Calipari won and Bruiser was fired. It is utterly pointless to defend Steve Lappas by comparing him to Brtuiser - because he's fails in comparison but, more important, because Bruiser was fired - the MINIMUM expectation for Steve Lappas is that he perform better than the coach he replaced.

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Post by Wiggum » Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:37 pm

For a post dripping with it throughout, there's a troubling lack of sarcasm involved with the "He wins the next 7..." portion.

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Re: Rebuilding

Post by UMass87 » Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:41 pm

Kosty wrote:...So with the same exact number of loses and only 13 less wins, with at least 7 games left in his third season, you would consider that MUCH worse??? Little hyperbole maybe?? He wins the next 7, he's only 6 wins short of Bru, for a .459 winning 'percentage'. Yeah, 3% is MUCH worse.
Please, win the next seven? What are you smoking? Again, I've made this point innumerable times: Comparing records is complicated by relative strength of schedules. Strength of schedule is a funny thing too. Umass will have a very strong SOS this season primarily due to SJU and Dayton - this is a mathematical fact. Nevertheless, the following assertions are relatively unassailable: First, Steve Lappas' A10 record is MUCH worse than Bruiser's final three seasons' A10 record. Second, Steve Lappas OOC schedule has been considerably weaker than Bruiser's OOC schedule in his final three years.

More important, Kosty, whether you think there is hyperbole or not, the FACT is that Steve Lappas has noit managed to reach the low point of Bruiser's career at UMass. He was hired to do better than Bruiser's best years.

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chuff
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Post by chuff » Sun Feb 15, 2004 5:11 pm

Last spring, after our rapid disappearance from the A-10 tournament, a local reporter interviewed Coach Lappas (Provost in Valley Advocate). I was interested in this comment:

If Lappas can rebuild UMass, he won't do it as smoothly as he did in the past. At UMass, Lappas won more games in his first season than he did this year, his second season. Does that mean UMass is going in the wrong direction? Lappas sounds realistic about how things are shaping up for the Minutemen as the rebuilding process continues into next season. He certainly didn't sugarcoat things.

"If you're on a journey and the road is this long and the start of the journey is here and the end of the journey is there, then we're like a third of the way there," Lappas said, holding his hands up about two feet apart. "Hopefully next year we'll be halfway there."


I'm baffled by what is going on with Lappas' current rebuilding effort relative to what has gone on in the past. He did turn Manhattan around; he did resurrect a Villanova that was taking on water. With a sample size of two (and they don't get a whole lot larger in coaching) Lappas seems to know how it's done.

But there's no way we're halfway there this season. I'll concede that in March, Cox and Briggs were still on the table. And Lappas did say "hopefully". In third seasons at Manhattan and Nova, Lappas won 13 and 25 games, respectively. After 4 he won 25 and 26, respectively. I don't think we're on the way to a 25 win season next year. I'm forced to conclude that something is wrong with Lappas' plan.

I think it's important that during the last years at Nova, while things didn't exactly go bad, they went mediocre, and Lappas became the first active coach ever to move from the Big East to the A-10. Now maybe Coach Lappas saw or sees his strength as resurrection, and felt the opportunity to lay his hands on UMass would be more enjoyable, more interesting and a better place to be than in the constant struggle at Nova. Given that Jay Wright has not gone beyond mediocre (ok, 19-13 his first year but 8-8 in conference), maybe Lappas knew something. Still, water doesn't flow uphill and coaches don't move from the Big East to the A-10 unless there's a push behind the move.

A whole lot of things, including my hair, have changed since the late 80's and early to mid 90's, and I'd suggest that Lappas has as well.

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Anyone else bored with this.

Post by nale » Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:48 am

What is the point of the endless comparsions of Bru and Lappas?
This ground as been covered over and over again. No one was added any new insights in a year.

BRU IS GONE !

Some think it was mistake to fire him. Some don't.
We have heard the arugments pro and con. Enough already.

Lappas was hired. Some think this with a mistake. Some might not.
Comparing the two to a waste of time IMHO.

Lappas is the coach now. Some think he should be fired. Some don't.

Weather Lappas is fired or retained has nothing to do the what happened to Bru or Wilson or any other UMAS coach.
Make the arugement that Lappas should be fired if you want. But leave Bru out of it we have heard it and doesn't change the current situation. Deal with UMASS basketball now and UMASS's basketball future.
"This is my dream job''

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Post by UMass87 » Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:05 am

Nale - you are conveniently ignoring the FACT that Lappas was hired to improve upon the record of Bruiser. thyis is INDISPUTABLY the MINIMUM expectation for his achievement at UMass. How can you possibly suggest otherwise???

What would you use as a baseline with which to judge his performance????

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chuff
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Post by chuff » Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:49 am

OK, nale. I can summarize. The point of my previous post was that Lappas once did great jobs rehabbing two teams, had trouble maintaining the second rehab, and was probably persuaded to move down in the coaches hierarchy to attempt a rehab at UMass, BUT IT AIN'T HAPPENING.

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VoxPop
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Post by VoxPop » Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:15 am

actually it is happening. This team is loaded wit6h good young ballplayers that lappas has brought in. another nice group is on the way for next season. the fans demand results however and they are growing impatient after 5 yrs of empty promises.

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Post by Wiggum » Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:25 am

This is now the third time we've been told "it's happening" without any tangible proof. A coach with a lifetime track record of mediocrity is asking UMass fans to ignore his performance and his track record and trust him when he says things are progressing.

If Lappas is brought back, no promise will be emptier than the promise made to UMass fans when Flint was fired. If Lappas is retained, UMass will deserve to have fans desert the program.
Last edited by Wiggum on Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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chuff
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Post by chuff » Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:26 am

And the Xavier game is the most recent shining example of this progress? Look at the trend line, Vox. I do like our players. It's what's happening with them I can't stand.

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Post by FRDreams » Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:10 pm

Vox I have heard just about enough Lappas backing for the rest of my life. We are still getting beat by 20 to a conference team. Period! I don't care what team it is. We are hard pressed to beat low tier teams that we should be easily beating. There has been no progress made. I agree we that we have some talent. Great! Do something with it Coach. We should not have had to wait 3 years to get players that will make a difference 2-3 years from now.

We have already set ourselves back too far. We will be lucky to have a game on television next year. We get another canadian kid who isn't named Ben Gordon and the 15th best kid in CT and you say we a great young crop. Are you kidding me? The proof is in the pudding. We are now competing with Cenn Ct. for recruits and you think we are going to be a factor.

We are going to win less games than the previous season for the third year in a row. This is not progress by any stretch. It is time for damage control and we have to do it regardless of the cost.

Go Zoomass!

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Post by VoxPop » Mon Feb 16, 2004 12:22 pm

FDR> Big Deli is going to be a super player for UMass I don't really care who we are recruting against - he is going to fit right in very nicely. Lots of kids who are not 4 star recruits nevertheless become all conference players whereas highly touted guys often wind up sucking. You should know better than to pre-judge people before they have been given a fair chance to play at this level.

LC is one of the top players at every camp he goes to. If you want to trash Lamoreaux and the rest of the guys before you even see him play then that is you perogative. Did you know who Lasme, Chadwick, Freeman were before they got here and developed and improved?

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