Enough is Enough

Okay.  This is just getting absurd.  Rick Lewis is an absolute menace and needs to be stopped.   The guy is the Mike Dunleavy of the PBL.  Has there ever been a case of a guy lucking into a (relatively) high profile job he is totally unqualified for and actually keeping it for two years like Lewis has?  What is the equivelent to this?  The only thing I can think of is Adrian Grenier from Entourage.  Lewis lucked out when the original coach bailed/got fired and now he’s just destroying this organization from the inside out.

First he puts together a line up without a centre or shooting guard, then he goes through training camp without putting in any offensive sets, then he proves to everyone that the team has no confidence in him, then he manages to suspend the star player, now he’s publicly calling out a hardworking player after benching him.  This guy is a plague on the franchise.

I also challenge the basic premise of his benching of Jeanty.  Lewis said “The things Cordell’s been giving us in the past few games did not call for him to be on the floor at this time,”  Cordell didn’t play great but over the last four games he was averaging 8.5 ppg and 5.5 rpg in 24 mpg.  He was shooting 53% and had a total of 3 steals and 3 assists compared to just 3 turnovers.  Yeah – cut his minutes, but to bench him and publicly berate him is just plain excessive.

There seems to be consensus that Rick Lewis has something on Andre Levingston – I think we need to start a collection to hire a Private Investigator to not just find out what it is he has, but if it’s something that can be stolen to steal it.  Once we acquire said pictures/documents we will use them as leverage to force Levingston to bring in a real coach.  This is unbearable.

Let Shannon Hansen take over.  Les Berry is currently unemployed.  Hell, Garry Gallimore looks like he’ll have some spare time on his hands now.  Both Andre and Jad are more qualified than Lewis.  This has crossed the line from bad for the team on the court to the point where keeping Lewis around is costing Andre, Jad, et al. tens of thousands of dollars.  After tomorrow morning’s Metro comes out it means that there will have been a negative story about the team appearing in at least one paper in 3 of the last 4 weeks.  Great PR.

I came into this season optimistic and willing to give Lewis the benefit of the doubt.  I was telling myself things like “He was thrown into the job last minute,” “He’ll go to some clinics, read some books, and order some DVDs in the off-season” and “Andre Levingston is a smart guy.  He wouldn’t bring him back if he didn’t think he could handle it” but I am at the point where I am considering printing up “FREE CROOK” and “FIRE LEWIS” t-shirts and selling them outside the MetroCentre.

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41 thoughts on “Enough is Enough

  1. This is crazy now. He is making things very personal. And not only is he messing up his team, he is messing with thse players careers.

  2. I want to return my season tickets. Can’t they ask him to step down for “personal reasons” to save some face? Why not offer Strickland the coaching job? He will need to find work when he can’t play any more and this would be a good fit.

  3. I am absolutely surprised with the lengths that this team has gone to to put together a first class squad to be a strong contender in the PBL, as well as keep the Crookshank suspension an internal matter, then to allow Rick Lewis to keep publically calling out players in the media and taunting them while benching. No wonder the team seems to be in such unrest and maybe SirVal was speaking some truth (while I don’t agree with his choice to speak to the media in such a manner) regarding the idea of speaking up. A good coach has the respect of his team – and it seems that the only respect Lewis has is from Levingston. This season, which was a hope from Andre to our city, was to bring quality minor league ball to Halifax, yet he’s allowing it to be a farce with all of the current happenings with the team.

  4. THAT ARTICLE IN THE METRO IS ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING. SHAME ON LEWIS!!! I THINK IT IS TERRIBLE FOR LEWIS AS A COACH TO PUBLICLY CALL OUT A PLAYER LIKE THAT!!! I AGREE WITH BALLER, THAT THIS IS TURNING INTO A FUCKIN CIRCUS-LIKE, SOAP OPERA SEASON FOR THE RAINMEN…WHICH IS SAD SEEING AS AT THE START OF THE SEASON THE TEAM REALLY HAD THE POTENTIAL TO GO ALL THE WAY!!!
    WHEN THE HELL IS FRONT OFFICE GOING TO WAKE UP AND PUT A STOP TO THE MADNESS THAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS TEAM???
    THE FANS ARE TRULY FED UP NOW!

  5. Enough is enough. I was stoked for the season and am ready to call it quits as a spectator. Is it the coach – seems like it to me. How about we bench Lewis for a game or two and see how it goes!

  6. Wow, this is just absurd. How can this guy still have a job? I imagine a lot of guys on the team are pissed. He wasted a year of Eric’s career. He cut Val without notice while Val could’ve finally got a big payday playing in France. Now he calls out Jeanty even though Jeanty even backed him up during the Eric fiasco. Lewis might have an eye for talent and is a good scout, but he is just incredibly stupid. Mike Dunleavy might be too good a comparison for him, he’s Isiah Thomas’s slightly less retarded brother.

  7. It’s really time for Lewis to go. I am not just saying this because of the two losses over the weekend.

    Remember Thursday, January 29th. I was happy for the win but I never felt confident that the Rainmen had everything sorted out. I left the Metro Centre knowing that the team just barely hung on to the win.

    The core fan base of about 2,000 fans are very knowledgeable.

    If this team just continues on it’s current path the enthusiasm will dampen.

    I LOVE basketball but it’s hard to be in LOVE with what’s going on here.

  8. The players in that locker room are the ones I feel sorry for.

    They must be frustrated knowing their potential and management holding them back.

    Damn this sucks.

  9. Right now, only two players on this team are probably happy with things, and they are Dandridge and Bennett.

    As for unhappy players, the list is growing.

    Crookshank – Screwed over.

    Jeanty – Screwed over.

    Hammack – Screwed over.

    SirValiant – Cut.

    Silverhorn – Best friend suspended.

    Sanders – This offence opens up nothing for me.

    McNeal – Bench warmer.

    Strickland – Loves Halifax, frustration growing with Lewis.

  10. Maybe this is a situation similar to the Maple Leafs. Levingston doesn’t care as much about the on-court product, as long as there are enough a$$es in the seats to turn a profit.

    There are lots of uirky things going on with the franchise, from the terrible anthem singer, Puddy and the coach. They new a makeover.

  11. MickeyNS might have a point. Maybe Levingston believes there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    Family commitments kept me from renewing my season’s tickets this year (loved last year’s weeknight schedule, Sunday afternoons don’t work for me) and I’ve only seen 2 games this year but I’m actually glad I didn’t renew. I’ll watch games on Haligonia but I cannot support this club with cash any more until the coaching staff and front office cleans up its act.

  12. I’ve always thought that the team is in it for the money – why else get into business? Andre is a smart business man it seems. But, look at the cost of games, cost of merchandise, and the reports that the team doesn’t get treated right outside. I’m not a hundred percent sure that they are complaining this year – but I know they were last year. Could that much have changed?
    The players do things in the community the right way it seems. They are a bunch of nice guys after the games, signing for every kid there, chatting with the fans. It always ends with “I’m gonna see you next home game though, right?”. Kinda like a script.

    The one thing that irks me about the merchandise though? At the end of the night, why not take the money out back, or wait until the fans are gone to count the money? It looks terrible to see they can’t wait to count the cash in front of everyone. Every game there’s someone laying out the cash on the table, right where the autographs are signed.

  13. Well I think they’re in it to make money (welcome to life in a liberal-capitalist order) but that can’t be the primary reason they’re doing it. Minor league hoops is a bad investment if you just want to make money. Jad and Andre both really like owning and running a team and I think ultimately they really, really care about the community and the city. I don’t doubt their good intentions at all. As for the counting money on the table thing – that’s a dumb idea mostly because you don’t want to get robbed, but I am not so concerned about it. But I also don’t have a kid (thank god) looking for autographs.

    This coaching situation is just absurd. I can’t even explain how Levingston hasn’t fired him yet. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

  14. How can a place like Manchester have a PBL franchise?

    Every picture I see from a game looks like there is 50 fans there.

    Okay mabye 200 fans. How could they cover the teams expenses on that?

    It bothers me that a team with one tenth the fan support has a way better team then ours.

  15. Very low costs compared to Halifax: not playing in a huge arena, having lower travel costs, etc. They have a fair number of local guys on the roster which keeps costs down, plus they’re also bankrolled by a very wealthy majority owner. I actually think that the talent level of Manchester and Halifax are about even the difference is two things: 1) Coaching 2) Manchester have players in every position who can play (i.e. two good centres, a host of real shooting guards).

  16. Even from afar this season has been ridiculous. Keeping Lewis will push people away from the games and the team can’t afford to loose fans over it. People don’t want to deal with the drama and will stay away while Lewis is still there.

  17. Aside from Twyman (very late addition), Silverhorn, and *cough* Crookshank *cough* this Rainmen team is pretty much all-new vs. last year. That’s the nature of the beast in minor independent pro sports…

    …but…

    …how does the club try to attract recruits for next year with all this coaching/front office BS? Word travels fast, esp. with Internet. Suppose they need to find 8 guys for next year. What kind of quality is going to come here and deal with this junk? Life’s too short.

  18. What would it take for Rick Lewis to get fired? Punch Andre Levingston in the face at a charity event? Eat a puppy in front of the media? I am starting to think that Lewis wants to get fired.

  19. I know the front office reads this blog. How can they continue to stick their heads in the sand? Andre is a successful businessman, isn’t he? How can he not see that Lewis is messing up so much that this team, as a business, may not last long enough to make it to next season?

    With only a handful of home games left, what the Rainmen need is a total transformation from a team with talent that can’t win the tough games into a talented team that has a chance to win it all. The real answer is THE COACH HAS TO GO.

    Andre, other professional sports teams fire their coaches all the time. When the talent on the field exceeds the talent on the sideline but the team still falters, it is obvious what part of the equation has to change.

    Andre, do what is best for the business. Emotions are not part of it, look how negative emotions hurt the business with Lewis punishing talented players for daring to question his authority. The players are punished but it is the team, the fans, and ultimately your bottom line that will suffer.

    Forget about the majority of posts on this blog, which happens to be the main source of news and opinion about the Rainmen. Read the fan comments, a couple of us used to give Lewis the benefit of the doubt. SirVal merely expressed what all of us here have been saying for a long time now. Lewis is the obstacle to the Rainmen’s success. With all of the recent negative press about the Rainmen, people who are just learning about the Rainmen are getting a lot of reasons to decide against buying tickets, let alone buying any merchandise.

    I personally had two friends buy season tickets this year, based on my bringing them to a couple games last year with my season tickets (which I renewed). One of these friends, a regular commenter on this blog, has seriously wondered aloud to me about getting a refund. If he is thinking like that — and he is a basketball fan, an athlete, and a coach — imagine what a casual observer must think about the Rainmen and whether to even attend a single game or not. This all adds up to losses for the Rainmen and I am not just talking about the score at the end of each game.

    How about next year? With Crookshank and Jeanty — two talented and experienced players — being benched over coaching disputes with Lewis, if the coach is still with the team next year, how many new recruits will you get?

    Halifax has the potential to be the most successful team in the league. We have the population, the venue, and the talent on the court. What we don’t have is the coach to bring success to the team. It would deeply sadden me as well as a lot of other fans in Halifax to see the Rainmen fail because of Rick Lewis.

    Andre, if it has to be about the dollars and cents, then so be it. Lewis must go.

  20. BDP
    Absolutely agree. I can imagine that many mediocre coaches with a 6-5 record would be able to stay on in their roles. You get a couple bad breaks, hot shooters on other teams, lose to a better team and you can give a little forgiveness. However, when it is consistently coming down to coaching then this needs to be rectified. I will claim one thing right now that for as nice as a man, as well spoken a man that RL is, he is obviously over his head coaching. Last year when I went to one game v manchester, all I saw was Eric getting the ball outside and then going 1v1 while everyone cleared out.

    Now, I see the high screen, with some movement off the ball on the baseline. I see attempted penetration by guards and some kickouts for long threes. I see long threes by Dandridge and Silverhorn and Sir Val and our other guards with absolutely no setup play and no rebounders underneath. I don’t see any plays setup from timeouts, nothing new anyway, no backdoor screens, no focussed game planning. I see little reaction to anything that other teams are doing (Manchester with numerous threes to cut the lead), the fast break is scary as noone has any idea what the other will do and no usage of timeouts.

    Now, to get six wins with a mediocre coach is good. But, there is so much talent they have brought here! We have seen what all of the players can do when playing well: Ramey and Hammack in pre-season, Rob, Jimmy, Silverhorn, Tony, Strick, pretty consistently, Dandridge in his breakout game last week, Mayes with his energy, McNeal (still not sure on) Jeanty when given minutes and focussed on getting to the hoop is great at breaking down 4 guards 1v1 and Bailey who I love with blocks, energy, and easy buckets on boards. if they had direction and coaching, I would feel like they can match well with any team in the league.

    I wish there was a coach that could make comments on the message board and tell us if we are wrong on what is happening on the court. Please let us know if we are wrong. I love the team and enjoy the fan experience, heckling etc..

    If Lewis stays next year, I will have to resign my season tickets as I am afraid my heart can’t take it anymore. Bring Crook back, sign a decent centre, stop burying Hammack, Jeanty and Ramey and lets get back to winning.

  21. Here’s a creepy idea:

    what if the front office’s goal is to have the club play well at home and intentionally just miss the playoffs? There was certainly no upside in going to the ABA’s joke playoffs last year. I wonder if there is any upside to PBL playoffs? Maybe the revenue of an extra home game or two is wiped out by travel costs, extra player salary, and front office expense.

    So, as soon as the team looks like making the playoffs, they shoot themselves in the foot to make sure they do not incur that added expense.

  22. So what are Coach Lewis’ qualifications anyway? Did he have any basketball success anywhere?

    Although I have given Levingston the benefit of the doubt in the past, it’s getting harder and harder to justify driving in from the Valley (with 3 others) to watch the games, especially when this type of drama is happening.

    As of right now, after this latest unprofessional outburst of drama, our support will be non-existent, until at least Levingston can show he deserves it.

  23. It is a funny conspiracy theory…

    Does anyone remember the movie “Major League”. A movie about a team owner trying to get his team to lose?

    Almost feels that way sometimes..

  24. OK it’s a kooky conspiracy theory.

    But you don’t have to look at Hollywood movies. Just look at the LA Clippers. Or Golden State. If baseball’s your game, it’s the Royals, the Pirates, whatever. Ther are pro sports franchises that exist where ownership does not want their team to contend.

    Hire a bad coach. Give the team an Achilles heel, like not signing any centres. If the team still starts the season too fast, find a way to sit your star player for the rest of the year.

    All right, what I’m saying seems nuts. But the bottom line holds: Front Office is not doing everything possible to help this team win, and by leaving Coach Lewis in place, they’re helping the club lose. What I want to know is: Why ?

  25. I would guess that Lewis and Levingston have become good friends, but they are keeping this going at the expense of the franchise.

  26. Bluenose, I think your theory is kind of nutty and really wrong. Levingston is a basketball fan and a competitive guy: he wants to win. He’s spent a lot of money bringing in guys who can help this team win but I think he’s keeping Lewis around for personal reasons, both because he now considers him a friend and because he believes in giving Lewis the full season to prove himself.

    The way I look at it there are four reasons why a coach deserves his job and Lewis as shown incompetence in all of them:
    1) On court success – Despite a talented team Lewis keeps friggin’ things up. We’ve hashed it out enough on here.
    2) Player Development – He’s a great trainer, for sure but his players don’t like playing for and he doesn’t make players smarter which is one of the major hoops guys need to get through to get to the “next level.”
    3) Personal Obligation – Levingston feels like he owes Lewis the right to complete the season, but what about the obligation to the 12 young men and one not so young man who are in Halifax with the intention of furthering or continuing their careers. Getting insulted in the press by the coach, suspended, or benched doesn’t just hurt them today it hurts them in the long run with their careers. How is Kevin Hammack’s agent going to shop him around in the off season? Keeping Lewis around does serious damage to the professional and personal lives of a lot of other people.
    4) Business success – The best way to bump up attendance numbers is to win and Lewis does not help that at all. He’s also generating ungodly amounts of bad press and suspended the most popular player which scares off casual and die-hard fans. The more intense amongst us have been driven mad by the lack of improvement over the 16 months by Lewis and seeing the exact same thing over and over again. Every week he is still with this team costs the Rainmen thousands and thousands of dollars in lost revenue. I really believe he may kill minor league basketball in this city.

  27. I think it is an overstatement to say Lewis is killing minor league basketball in Halifax. At worst he’ll force pro basketball and Halifax to divorce for another decade or so. 😉

    And, road losses don’t really matter as far as “bums in the seats” is concerned. 3-1 at home is pretty good and if the Rainmen finish the season 7-3 at home, there isn’t a lot to complain about there either. Admittedly, the last couple minutes of a Rick Lewis coached game are unnecessarily dramatic.

  28. I do think road wins matter – the average sports fan is much, much more likely to back a winner and they don’t look at home/away wins, they look at total wins and where the team is on the the table. If Halifax finish 8-2 at home but miss the playoffs then no one will care about the home record. People like backing winners.

  29. Of course road wins matter in terms of “bums in the seats”.
    If the team can’t win on the road, fans ARE NOT gonna be motivated to come out and watch them play at home!!! To suggest otherwise is absurd!!!!

    I agree with chris, real basketball fans like backing winners. No one gives a shit about a “home record” at the end of the season if we can’t even make the playoffs! And with Lewis at the head of the helm, our playoff chance is looking slim to NONE!!! The two losses this past weekend and then benching Jeanty is like putting a nail in the coffin.
    Christ, no wonder the D League won’t even piss on Halifax’s application for a team. Gimmie a break…we can’t even get our act together in this league!

  30. Baller said “I agree with chris, real basketball fans like backing winners.”

    You couldn’t be more wrong. BANDWAGON FANS LIKE BACKING WINNERS. It’s starting to sound like a Vancouver Canucks forum here

  31. Straight from Chad Lucas (columnist at the Chronicle) and I couldn’t have said it better myself…..

    “Then there’s Cordell Jeanty, who has fallen out of Lewis’s rotation. He played just 14 minutes in last Thursday’s win over Manchester — and only four after the first quarter, despite the fact he had four points and five rebounds in the game’s first 10 minutes. He played 19 minutes and scored one point at Vermont, and then he was benched completely in the loss to Manchester on Sunday. To be honest, I’m baffled on this one. Unlike some of Halifax’s more offensive-minded players, Jeanty strikes me as someone who contributes even if he’s not scoring: he’s tenacious, he’s selfless and he goes to the glass as hard as anyone on the team. He’s also been an all-star with each of his last two squads. Why does he seem lost with the Rainmen right now? Wouldn’t he have made a difference down the stretch on Sunday, when the Millrats’ Desmond Ferguson DESTROYED Halifax’s smaller guards in the fourth quarter? And the bigger question, the one fans are asking, is this: Why has the team resorted to benching two different all-stars this season?”

    Lets see if front office has the decency to respond to us the fans regarding our bloody concerns ~cough~LEWIS; and try to clean up this mess. I really think that PR lady needs to put something out right now.

  32. @Chris902:

    I’m not sure if I believe my own nutty theory. You follow the team more closely than I do, so I’m tempted to defer to your judgment and just say I’m wrong. That said, the following facts are not in dispute:

    –In the ABA season, Halifax fared very poorly against teams with winning records. Most of Halifax’s wins came against Montreal, Quebec, a Boston team who could only bring seven players across the border (who beat Halifax in Boston with their full squad), and Maywood who brought six players. As much of a joke as the ABA was/is as an entity, on the floor Halifax was a mediocre entry.

    –Rather than play in the ABA’s playoffs, Halifax withdrew from the league. (At the time I supported this decision.)

    –For the PBL season, we did not acquire a true centre. No one will confuse Kadiri Richard with Kareem Abdul Jabbar, or Baby Shaq with Shaquille O’Neal, but not trying to get **somebody** is grossly negligent.

    –This year the team’s best returning player was suspended for the year. If the club publicly said why, we could weigh the motivation. They said nothing.

    –Your post that started this thread calls Coach Lewis a “plague on the franchise” and says he is “destroying this organization from the inside out”. And Levingston has done nothing to remove him.

    Levingston can say whatever he wants at his pressers and his interviews, and try to reassure fans as walks about the stands. That’s his right; he owns the team (or is the managing partner anyway). But these above actions, inactions, and results, taken collectively, do not point to a front office that wants to hang a banner in the rafters.

  33. Brett: I backed the Rainmen last year and will continue to back them, even if they were losing (I do want to keep in mind that Halifax are still above .500). But the average sports fan or person look for entertainment is more likely to support a successful team than a mediocre team. Should people support the Rainmen regardless of record? Of course I think that the answer is yes. But bandwagon fans pay the bills.

    My problem is not with Halifax losing – it’s the fact that Rick Lewis is embarrassing on the sidelines and in the media. The solution is so blatantly obvious and the organization continuing to ignore it is really, really frustrating.

  34. I have been to watch sporting events in the US. Fans there have no trouble booing their own team or certain situations.

    Are the people of Halifax too nice to boo their own team?

    Do people want to pay $18 to watch a team and boo? I thought going to a sporting event was supposed to be fun.

    Is it wrong to say that I would be happy booing our team’s coach?

    I’m a homer but I have a right to boo what I want 🙂

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