Future Opponents Fold

Well it’s official, despite (or perhaps because of) their self proclaimed “owner savant,” the Corning Bulldogs have thrown in the towel.  This would be funny except for the fact that Halifax had three games scheduled against them, including two at home. Continue reading

“Strong Island” defeat Rainmen, 92-90

– Close game, the sound got a few lucky bounces in the fourth quarter and found some holes down low.

– When Halifax had the ball with 10.5 seconds left the Sound only had two team fouls, so after the inbound they let three seconds tick off the clock and fouled.  Then they did it again.  Leaving 3 seconds on the clock for Halifax to chuck one up.  This was good coaching… which is why they ultimately won.

– Halifax had a big lead to open the game but let the Sound back into the game.  Halifax are good, but they lose concentration and let the other team come back/get way ahead.  Lewis refuses to call time outs during these sitautions.

– Halifax had a trap this game.  It worked okay, but they were slow to bring the second guy sometimes.

– Kadiri Richard is a beast.  He had a handful of blocks and altered even more shots.

– Wiggington-Downey had some time in the third quarter and was absolute trash.  He ruined three offensive posessions, picked up a bad foul and got yanked.  It was during this period that Strong Island gained some momentum at this point.  Booooo.

– Attendance looked to be about 700ish… not good.  But, it is Wednesday night.  I don’t think that the losing is helping attendance.

No time for a preview (Strong Island)

Chris Kallan at the Daily News wrote a piece on Devino Williams in this morning’s issue.  Looks like Williams decided to play here instead of the NCAA in order to get to the NBA sooner… yikes!  I really enjoy Rainmen games, but I am not going to kid myself into thinking that anyone here is going to leapfrog into the NBA.  At best I see the ABA as a good place for injured euro league players to rehab close to home.  It also appears that Williams played at a junior college for half a year before leaving the team – my guess is that he may have been ruled academically ineligable and decided to turn semi-pro.  But I have no research to back it up – just a guess… which is why I write a blog, and not for a newspaper.

 Chad Lucas continues to be the best basketball writer in Halifax with this article on the cluster-fuck that is the ABA.  It looks like VP Operations Brad Hester is trying to slow things down and stablize the league.  Bravo to that.    Hester is shockingly honest about a number of things, including being critical of Joe Newman (ABA owner/CEO/founder), which is kind of surprising.

 The game starts in an hour, the Daily News article has a few details about the fame but some fast thoughts:

– I have a cold so expect less heckling.

– I am showing up late because I hate the way too long introduction at the begining of the game.  It makes me less excited about the game.

– The Rainmen have injury woes.

– The Sound split time pretty equally among players and seem to share the scoring load… should be interesting to see how the game goes.

Crazy ABA Rules

 

I want to go to bed, but I am watching the Steelers play the Dolphins and there is a good chance I may see the first game since 1943 that finishes regulation time without a score. 

So here is a random thought about ABA rules since a few of my friends who went to the game on Friday asked about the 3D rule:

The 3D rule works like this:

If a team turns the ball over before having posession in the front court (picked off pass, ball tossed out of bounds, steal, etc.) then the christmas lights behind the backboard are turned on and the 3D rule is in effect.

If the team which now has posession scores you add an extra point to the score. If the player is fouled then they get an extra free throw. The 3D light goes off if the team loses posession or scores.

Other crazy rules:
half court shots are worth 4 points.
Players don’t foul out. Instead, when a player gets a sixth foul they can still play. But if they foul again the other team gets an extra free throw AND they get posession of the ball after the free throws.

So theoretically the following could happen:
Team A throws a pass from the backcourt which is picked off by team B in team B’s backcourt (3D light is on)
Team B shoot from their own half and score (4 pointer plus the 3D rule = 5 points)
Team A fouled Team B on the shot and the player who fouled had six fouls, so team B gets two shots (1 for the normal foul, plus 1 for the sixth foul rule)
Team B hits both shots (7 points)
Team B now gets possesion of the ball.

7 point play, plus posession of the ball… so this is basically slam ball.

Quick Update

My laptop is broken (right before the finals crunch begins… great timing) so expect updates to slow down. I will try to put together a preview/scouting report on the Strong Island Strong Island SOUND before Wednesdays game.

Two quick thoughts:

1) I have had 3 people visit this site from google after searching “Rob Sanders Rainmen Blog”. hmmmm….

2) Why does a team (Halifax) which is committed to running and playing an uptempo game not have a respectable full court press? Particularly in a league with crazy ass rules which reward teams who press? (7 seconds to get it over half court, the 3D christmas lights) In late game situations someone on the floor will start yelling “PRESS! PRESS!! And two or three guys will try to go full court man to man. The other two will forget and stand around in their zone on the other side of the court. The worst part is that they don’t even attempt to trap, even when someone is pinned between the sideline and the halfway line, is powerforward, and has picked up their dribble. The level of disorganization that the Rainmen sometimes show on the court really shocks me considering how long they’ve been practicing together.

Halifax Lose to Manchester 121-112

Sorry that this is being updated late, but I had to go to work after the game. I’ll update using the ever popular bullet point form:

– Kadiri Richard started and played 40+ minutes last night. The boxscores on the Rainmen website do no include minutes played anymore. He was a big part of why the game was closer. He put up six blocks, including one on 6’11 Wane, but he also had nine points and didn’t miss a shot (4-4 from the field, 1-1 from the line). He also altered shots and played tough D on Sanders. His shot blocking really lets the Rainmen run the floor, I hope Lewis keeps giving him time.

– Halifax came out with much more energy and focus early, but the late second/early third quarter killed us. Part of the reason that we got so far behind is that Lewis kept his starters in for virtually the whole game until the fourth.

– Halifax’s pre-game introduction is way too long. The whole thing last thirteen minutes, and by the time the starting line up for Halifax is announced everyone is bored and just wants to see some basketball.

– Manchester shot really, really well all weekend. They were

– The crowd was okay again tonight. I would say it was about 1700. The thing that gets me is that on opening night there were probably 600+ people there just for Derico Wiggington Downey – all chanting his name, tons sitting courtside in their dope-as-fuck suits and cheering as soon as he did anything. Well where the hell are you now? Showing up opening night is not supporting him and the team – showing up every night is. Is it because we’re losing? Because he isn’t getting playing time? Because it was cool to play big-shot in courtside seats once, but now you’re bored? Fair weather fans.

– The Rainmen adjusted and played a 1-3-1 zone that caused lots of headaches for Manchester early on, but they figured out how to break it during their run in the middle of the game and the Rainmen stuck with it. I felt like they should have switched into man for that stretch when Manchester were shooting the lights out. Oh well.

– Me and my buddy’s heckling has been getting some recognition from the media. The Daily News mentioned some of my pre-game heckling during the introductions in their article. Chad Lucas’ excellent blog on the Herald website mentions the fact that we believe that Rob Sanders is a jerk. I am always impressed with how much crap the people who sit around us put up with.

– Rob Sanders is a jerk.

Rainmen lose to Manchester 124-106

Tough loss. It was a bit out of hand but Halifax closed the gap late in the fourth, Manchester threw their starting PG in and retook control. Quick thoughts:

– The Weather Girls have the exact same number of plays as the Rainmen – three. I already know what all three of those plays are move by move, and most of the steps to the dances (it’s a lot of clapping your hands and gyrating).

– Kadiri Richard did not play, despite Silverhorn getting in early foul trouble. I had thought that maybe he’s injured, but I learned after the game that it was a coach’s decision to sit him on the bench. That is insane. We got run off the boards and had no help defense at all on penetration: exactly what Richard brings to the table. Plus our starting SF was in foul trouble. What a questionable coaching decision. (Derico Wiggington warmed up but also did not play, and James Booyer was on the bench in street clothes).

– Attendance was probably in the 1000 – 1200 range. Not bad at all but probably below the break even. I think the crowd will be bigger on Friday when it’s not a school night. Programs also increased in price from $1 to $2. The crowd had good energy.

– Every time on defense the announcer/DJ does not need to pump in pre-recorded “D-FENSE” chants. Let the fans choose when to be loud, don’t drown them out (there were times where a chant started organically from the crowd and then was thrown off by the recording).

– Jermaine Anderson is really, really good and needs to start. The offense was much better and more organized with him in the game. Other teams seem to have identified us as a team that can’t deal with pressure.

See you all tomorrow at the game.

Starting Lineup for Tonight

There are a few options that the Rainmen could go with this Thursday:

– They could start all the Atlantic Canadian guys again just to please the homers in the audience. But I think that doing it during the home opener is enough and they realize that winning this game will draw more fans than losing it.

– They could go with the line up they used on the road:

PG – Benoite
SG – Blandon Ferguson
SF – Silverhorn
PF – Eichelberger
C -Crookshank

Of course, that line up got blown out twice.

– I’d like to see them do this:

PG – Anderson
SG – Williams
SF – Silverhorn
PF – Oliver
C – Crookshank

Then bring Benoite off the bench at the PG when we need defense/ball handling, and Riley in when we need energy/scoring on the full court offense. Eichelberger as the first big man off the bench, with Kadiri Richard coming in at the 3 from the bench (and moving Silverhorn to SG).

Having Richard at the 3 allows him to provide help defense against Manchester’s bigs – he is a good shotblocker off the ball, but he gets in foul trouble bodying up against other big men. Silverhorn alsowould cause match up problems for John Huggins, Manchester’s starting two guard. He’s only 6’2 and is a jump shooter. Silverhorn can easily shoot over him, and Huggins doesn’t penetrate, meaning that Silverhorn’s lack of speed won’t be as big of defensive liability (plus it forces Huggins to shoot over him).

The main thing here is that Jermaine Anderson needs to start. He is the best player on the team and definately our best point guard. And we need his decision making at the point to keep things running smoothly. The number of turn overs we had against Vermont, particularly early in the game, killed us.

However, my gut says that the local guys all start and then Rick Lewis decides to try to go(even) small(er) and run against the Millrats… which may or may not work.
See you at the game!

Why I think Halifax will win one of two games

I am convinced that Halifax will win at least one of their two home games against Manchester, and here is why:

– Homecourt advantage is huge in the ABA: Of the 16 games played on the weekend 15 were won by the hometeam. The only visiting team to post a win? Undefeated, reigning champs The Vermont Frostheaves. Halifax’s large crowd will definitely give them an even larger boost. Halifax loves these guys, and we had by far the largest crowd of any ABA season on the 15th. Even if “only” 3000 people show up (my, somewhat hopeful, guess on attendance) it’ll still be the largest crowd most of these guys have played on since college. There’s an outside chance the crowd could be 10 times the size of the crowd that saw the game in Manchester.

– New Hampshire will be exhausted: If I had to bet, I would assume that they will drive up for this game. It’s a long commute and Halifax should be able to take advantage of the fatigue and run on them.

– Halifax are a jump shooting team: And, like all jump shooting teams, they’re streaky. They already had two bad shooting nights, I can’t imagine they’ll have a third and a fourth. If they do then they’re not streaky – they’re just a bad shooting team.

– Halifax should now be able to handle big men a bit better: they hadn’t played a game against a team with real size before the roadtrip. Their preseason outings didn’t give them a chance to defend against players with size, nor did their game against the Blizzard. Rick Lewis and his assistants have hopefully come up with a strategy to contain the Manchester big men, and have had a few days to implement it in practice. And hopefully James Booyer’s height can help out a bit.

That said, even if they do win a game or two this weekend, it will be tough. Manchester are a very good team and their height will still cause Halifax problems. If the Rainmen don’t sink jump shots, and don’t limit the effectiveness of Manchester’s big men (box out, don’t give them position in the post, don’t let them set up a half court defense) then they will extend the losing streak to four.

A pair of links:

Chad Lucas at the Herald previews the game.

Chris Kallan at the Daily News also previews the game.

Kadiri Richard

 

 

If there’s one player who really stood out in the Rainmen’s home/season/franchise opener it was Brian Silverhorn. Silverhorn didn’t even break a sweat dropping 29 points, including shooting an obscene 7/10 from behind the arc. The next best player for Halifax was the man who backed Silverhorn up at small forward – Kadiri Richard. Richard played just 15 minutes but managed to block six shots and grab 7 boards.

It’s unfortunate that two of the team’s best players split minutes, but Richard didn’t seem phased – after every big play the first guy standing on the bench, cheering and swinging a towel around was Richard. He’s a long, athletic player with great timing and, by all accounts, a great attitude.

I spent some time trying to look into Richard’s basketball background and the reason that he’s as good as he is became pretty obvious. Richard was a stand out at Virginia Union University, a traditionally black university with a great academic reputation and one of the best NCAA Division II programs – they consistantly beat Division I opponents. Both Charles Oakley and Ben Wallace played for Virginia Union. Richard played his high school ball for the legendary Oak Hill Academy, a Virginia prep school whose list of alumni includes Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Rajon Rondo, Steve Blake, Josh Smith, Jerry Stackhouse, Stephen Jackson and numerous other NBA and college stars. You don’t spend high school and college in elite programs without learning something.

It’s pretty awesome for Halifax that a player with Richard’s credentials and skills is living in a house in Bedford and playing for the Rainmen. I can understand why Richard didn’t get in the game more: Boston was missing enough shots that blocking wasn’t really all that important. I anticipate/hope that Rick Lewis gets the two of them on the court at the same time in the future. Richard provides protection around the rim that the undersized Rainmen could seriously use, and his shot blocking let’s the team run their impressive fast break offense (the highlight of the game definitely came when Richard blocked a shot, pinning the ball against the backboard, threw an outlet pass to Devino Williams who lobbed an alley-oop pass off the backboard to Eric Crookshank who threw down a two handed dunk). Richard also doesn’t take anything off the table on offense – he only scored three points in fifteen minutes, but he also only took two shots (both good takes to the basket) and a free throw. He also added three assists and this video of his high school and college days show that he take the ball to the hoop. Halifax has plenty of jump shooters but its rare to find a slasher who takes it to the rim with this much power.

The two road games revealed something else that both Richard and Silverhorn have in common: they’re both being used wrong. Silverhorn is not a primary scoring threat – he is just a shooter. We need people cutting and kicking to him, or him trailing on fast breaks. Our offense can’t be to make one pass to him and have him jack it up. Likewise, Richard is not well used when he is bodying up against the other team’s power forward. He ends up getting in foul trouble. He is excellent coming from the weak side for the block because of his speed and length, but it’s a waste to have him trying to guard a man in the post.

 

If you’re at a Rainmen game, make sure you pay attention when he’s on the court. And when he’s not, take a look at the bench after a big play – I can guarantee that you’ll see Kadiri Richard, huge smile on his face cheering on his teammates.

 

(I didn’t mention Jermaine Anderson, even though he is probably the most accomplished player on the team. The reason is that he didn’t really “standout” in the first game. The way he plays is so effortless that I didn’t even notice him chipping in six assists and 17 points. He also got those six assists without having spent much time with the team. I think that once he gets used to playing with these guys he is going to be among the best players in the league and put up triple doubles most nights. I also think that there is a zero percent chance that he is still playing for this team in 12 months.)

 

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