January 1, 2011

Janus, Part I

In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of beginnings and ends. He had a head constantly looking forward and another looking back, simultaneously looking into the future and past. As the calendar turns to Janus' month, I think there's no time like now to review 2010 and suppose about 2011. This is the first installment, looking back at 2010.

The Men

2010 Record: 23-14
Biggest Win: @ Hofstra (09-10, CBI Tournament), 74-60. IUPUI's very first Division-1 post-season tournament victory.
Worst Loss: @ Duquesne (10-11), 81-54. After beating the Dukes in The Jungle last year, the guys went and laid a major egg in Pittsburgh. They weren't over-matched, they just played like they had never seen a basketball court before.
Player of the Year: Robert Glenn. Without a doubt, Rob had the biggest impact on the floor. His ability to beat the stronger players by being more agile, and the more agile players by being stronger was and one-in-a-million for a school like IUPUI. Since he left, post play has taken a serious turn for the worst. He's currently playing professional ball in Spain.
Newcomer of the Year: Stephen Thomas. The Dayton transfer is finally seeing time on the court after sitting out his required season (2009-2010). He's scoring 10.5 ppg at 50.8% FG, including 2.6 apg, and 1.3 spg. His ability to drive inside, as well as his leadership were two things the Jaguars truly needed coming into the season, and he's delivered in both areas. He mixes the quickness of Greg Rice with the basketball IQ of Billy Pettiford into one super-player.
Three Things to Take Away:
1) Alex Young Keeps Getting Better. He may not be the next coming of Michael Jordan, but Alex is obviously improving his game, one aspect at a time. 
2) Recruits, Recruits, Recruits. Associate Head Coach Todd Howard was able to parlay his Kentucky prowess into getting four (1 from the class of 2009, 3 from the class of 2010) of the top recruits in all of the Bluegrass State. 
3) Success. Despite an overwhelming winning percentage, IUPUI's ability to stay in the top three in the Summit League is impressive. They made it to the championship game in March, and are showing real improvement from their drubbing at Gonzaga to their dismantling of Western Illinois.
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The Women

2010 Record: 5-23
Biggest Win: Southern Utah (09-10), 59-55. The battle for #8 was split 1-1, though Southern Utah ended up making the conference tournament and IUPUI did not.
Worst Loss: @ Ohio State (09-10), 88-33. To say they got beat would be an insult to getting beaten. It was no contest.
Player of the Year: Kerah Nelson. The only player to consistently start and contribute to the Lady Jaguar offense, Kerah is a force inside but struggles with turning the ball over. She suffered a knee injury early in fall, but has come back to start the last two games of the year.
Newcomer of the Year: Everyone New. That's right, everyone. Anyone who was willing to take a chance on the brand new head coach deserves a load of credit. IUPUI boasts freshman from Nevada, Michigan, Illinois, as well as others from Florida, Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, and Kentucky. To come all the way to IUPUI to play for a first-year coach is impressive.
Three Things to Take Away:
1) A Clear Team Mentality Is Developing. Though IUPUI might not be winning every game they play, there is a very obvious chemistry between the ladies that has been cultivated since the athletic department fired Shann Hart.
2) Austin Parkinson. If I were to tell you that a man with zero head coaching experience left the men's team to come over and lead the crisis-mode women's program, what would you say? Yeah, that's what I thought. But it's not that bad! Austin is slowly getting his sea legs and figuring out what it takes to lead a program. He's done the best that he can do with what he was given.
3) Almost. 2010 was rough. But the program isn't far from righting the ship. That being said, I'm a pretty optimistic guy.

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