With the most disastrous season the Cleveland State men’s basketball team has had in the Gary Waters era in the rear-view mirror, this would normally be the time for everybody to take stock on what exactly went wrong. After all, if there’s something that you can fix to make next season better, you’d probably want to look into that, right?
But with the question of what is going on at CSU left completely answered for nearly an entire year, it’s pretty clear that at least from an internal standpoint, it’s nobody’s fault the way things went. The message seems to be that it was just a string of really bad luck because of all the transfers.
So, from Cleveland State’s view, nobody can be blamed for anything that transpired afterwards.
That means it’s nobody’s fault that the Vikings were left with Myles Hamilton and walk-on Nelson Maxwell as their only true point guards. And it’s nobody fault that Hamilton and head coach Gary Waters were never on the same page, which eventually led to Hamilton’s dismissal from the team after a verbal altercation during the Green Bay game.
It’s nobody’s fault that prior to Hamilton’s departure, Waters read his team the riot act for an hour after the game against Kent State at Quicken Loans Arena, much like he did the season before after CSU melted down and lost to Bowling Green. It’s also nobody’s fault that his lecture did absolutely no good, considering Hamilton’s ouster and the subsequent suspension of Vinny Zollo.
It’s nobody’s fault that the arrangement between Cleveland State and the Q was essentially a wash in its first year. Nobody can be blamed for the fact that all the non-conference games at Quicken Loans Arena were basically stacked with fans from the Mid-American Conference schools that the Vikings faced.
It’s nobody’s fault that Waters doesn’t like this deal, either, debating any home-court advantage his team had. It’s also nobody’s fault that Cleveland State won a grand total of zero games at the Q this season, emboldening Waters’ conjecture.
It’s nobody’s fault that the Wolstein Center, which was a ghost town when the Vikings were actually winning at home, was the loneliest place on the planet. This means that nobody could have possibly seen home attendance drop off to its lowest numbers since arriving at the Wolstein Center.
It’s nobody’s fault that the television deal set up by Learfield Sports was absolutely horrendous for any fan that didn’t subscribe to Time Warner Cable. Nobody could have seen coming the road game at Wright State being completely blacked out on ESPN3 for those non-Time Warner subscribers. Clearly there could be no fault found in the fact that students living on the CSU campus (where ESPN is not available to them) are completely out of luck.
It’s nobody’s fault that in spite of everybody’s best efforts, the Viking Village section of the Wolstein Center was completely abandoned during the winter break. So there was no way that students, who get in free to all sporting events, could have been incentivized to show up during the break at all.
It’s nobody’s fault that Cleveland State still struggles with deciding between live music and a DJ, leading to another head-to-head match-up between the pep band and MJ the DJ. So, there can be no fingers pointed when the aging season ticket holder base scratches their collective heads when can’t figure out what they’re supposed to be turning down.
And It’s nobody’s fault that the media, particularly the Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com, Advance Ohio (or whatever the hell they call themselves these days) has completely abandoned the men’s basketball team the way it disavowed any knowledge of any of Cleveland State’s other sports.
So, because nobody could possibly blamed for the all-around debacle surrounding this past season, everybody at CSU Athletics will be back to try it again for another year. Since it was obviously a case of Cleveland State being subjected to a terrible set of events that couldn’t be avoided, staying the course is the current strategy for the Vikings.
Plus, there will be games at Quicken Loans Arena, both MJ the DJ and the pep band will likely be back and Learfield Sports will set up the television package for next season.
If it isn’t broke, then there’s really no need to fix it, is there?
Vikings Sign Peppers, Addressing Point Guard Issue
While it’s nobody’s fault that Hamilton didn’t pan out, Waters made it his top priority never to be left in the same lurch again at point guard. And he looked in the junior college ranks to sort this one out, signing Gavin Peppers from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming.
The 6-2 Peppers, who hails from Brookeville, Maryland, split his juco time at two schools, the first being Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington. In his sole year at Olympic, he averaged 15.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and three assists per game before transferring to LCCC.
His year at Laramie County ended with Peppers averaging 18.7 points and 3.8 assists per game. He also shot 37 percent from beyond the arc, which will serve to address another major deficiency the Vikings had over the last season.
With the addition of Peppers, coupled with the debut of Oral Roberts transfer Bobby Word and the return of three-point specialist Daniel Levitt, Cleveland State may yet get out of the offensive funk that was a running theme throughout the past season. The next challenge for Waters will be to fill the remaining two scholarship slots, with a second point guard, wing and big man being on his wish list.
Email Bob at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @bobmcdonald.
Image via CSUVikings.com.