Thanks to the Big Ten Network, the TV transmission of the Quakers’ embarrassing blowout loss to Iowa should now be somewhere in the vicinity of the sun’s Oort Cloud, just a few hundred billion miles behind the transmission of their mostly noncompetitive loss to Penn State just a few days before. Courtesy of these electrometric waves moving at the speed of light, Penn’s hoops futility will now be preserved for eternity. There is apparently a reason why it is so quiet in space— as on Earth, nobody up there wants to see the kind of dysfunctional brand of basketball that the Quakers have been playing.
Last year, there were potential excuses aplenty as to why the team wasn’t winning and they were not at all unreasonable given the circumstances: the team was young, there was little depth, star players were injured, and most of the assistant coaches had left for other programs. On the other hand, this was supposed to be the year that Jerome finally put it all together with “his” guys. This was supposed to be the year the Quakers took that “next step” back to respectability. This was supposed to be the year they would once again challenge for the Ivy title. But instead of commensurate team growth and maturity what have we seen? The exact same thing as last year: too many turnovers, too many fouls, lackadaisical defense, bonehead passing, poor overall team play, terrible rebounding, wildly inconsistent scoring, far too much Henry Brooks, and most disturbing of all, the absolutely inexcusable apparent lack of desire. Here are some of the post-game quotes following the loss to Lafayette, a formerly 0-5 team:
“We need somebody that wants to defend, that’s all they want to do.”
“We just didn’t have the mentality for [rebounding] today… They imposed their will and we didn’t really show up. They did a great job on rebounds today.”
“We get a possession where there’s two guys locked in and the other three guys are out to lunch.”
I ask you: Are these the comments of a championship team? Better yet, are these the attributes of a championship team? Aside from the blowout win over Niagara (which at this point I consider to be nothing more than an aberration), a generally bad team aside from Antoine Mason, these remarks unfortunately have already become a recurring theme both last year and throughout this young season. Unlike his Ivy coaching colleagues namely, Messieurs Henderson, Martin and Smith for example, Jerome is somehow not getting “the message” through to his now more seasoned charges.