Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Well well well, where do I even start! I've been wanting to write this next post for weeks but have been putting it off until now... Let me catch you up to speed real quick and sum up what the last month or so has been like since my last update.
We are two games into the season and I could not be more grateful that we are PLAYING BASKETBALL! Being able to go home and turn on the TV and actually watch college basketball is something I will never take for granted as nobody knew what this season was going to look like or if there was even going to be a season at all... Our team at Quinnipiac has been fortunate to have stayed healthy thus far and I know not every team can say the same. But in order for these games to happen, BOTH teams have to remain COVID negative which makes things a little more difficult because we obviously have no control over the opponents players, protocols or test results...As a result our schedule has seen some significant changes over the past few weeks but we have been able to make the best of each situation.
So we were supposed to open up the season at home on November 25th and then head to Mohegan Sun for Thanksgiving weekend to play in a tournament with UCONN, Maine and Mississippi State but all that changed real quick... The team we had scheduled for the 25th came down with a positive case so that game was a no-go. Ok...we still had the tournament that weekend to look forward to, so we just went with the flow! We had everything set in terms of the practice and game schedule, itineraries & game plans and were looking forward to getting on the road for some BIG games, starting with UCONN! Maybe 4 or 5 days before we were supposed to leave for Mohegan one of the teams had a positive test so they had to drop out and then it was just a domino effect from there, tournament CANCELLED!
As a coach having the games get cancelled sucks but it's definitely worse for the players. Yes, I spent hours and hours working on scouts for the weekend but in reality the players are the ones who have been putting in the work for weeks now and are just looking forward to getting on the floor and competing. Hearing day after day that games are getting cancelled, not just ours, but everywhere, there definitely were some doubts creeping in about having a season at all.. So many unanswered questions - what would game day would even look like? How would teams travel and play on the road and then manage testing protocols? What about meals and bus/plane rides? All the things that could possily go wrong while trying to play basketball during a pandemic.
But that's looking at it with a negative perspective... why not see the positives and do everything in our power to be prepared for each and every game regardless of what may actually happen. Instead of settling with cancellations, why not just find other teams that have openings in their schedules and get those games in! Who cares if we only have 2 or 3 days to prep, LETS JUST PLAY BALL! We need to play 13 games minimum to qualify for the NCAA Tournament anyway so let's get the games in and give our players an opportunity to really compete for the first time in months.
So that's what we did, and most of the other teams in similar situations were on exactly the same page. With ALL the connections I have in this college coaching industry... (lol I have none, I'm joking) our assistants (Coach Wilson & Brennan) along with Coach Fabbri of course were able to schedule a new opponent to make up for the game that was supposed to be on 25th...our new opponent: Providence! This was on Monday, I heard Coach get pretty excited from my office and soon found out we would be playing at 1pm on Wednesday. Less than 48 hours, aka pull up Synergy and start scouting, NOW! We broke up the scout into thirds since it would be probably be way to much for one person to handle in such short notice. I covered the personnel, Brian had the X's & O's and Wex (Coach Brennan) did the BLOBS and SLOBS and everything else we all kind of chipped in on as well.
The players were hype and immediately started doing their own research and by Tuesday after practice we had established what we felt was a solid game plan. My take away from a 48 hour prep - less is more! We were able to address the most important things, really focus in on their personnel and not get overly obsessive with each and every action like we might've if we had ample time to prep. Maybe it allowed the players to play more instinctively and not think about every set Providence was running or if they were in the right spot at all times? I don't know, but we ended up coming away with our first win of the season against a Big East team. Most importantly, Quinnipiac basketball, and college basketball in general was BACK....and boy did it feel great to be back on the court doing our thing!
We followed up with a game against Villanova a few days later, another Big East team and fought back after a slow start. It came down to the wire but we ended up losing by 3. Two games in and things are starting to feel real again with game day routines coming into the picture and some sort of consistency finding its way into the mix. I'm learning a lot in terms of having to make decisions on the fly and focusing on what actually matters. Remember, this is all new to me as well and in these unprecedented times we are all just making the most of the situation we are dealt!
So do I like coaching in a mask? (I kept pulling it down, which is not good, I KNOW, I didn't mean to...) or having to scream down the sideline to get our other coaches attention since our seats our 6ft apart? Or not being able to go on the road and recruit and having to prep for games that get scheduled at the last minute... I can definitely do without the mask once things get back to normal haha but until then I'm ready to adjust to anything as long as we are staying healthy and getting these games in! If you read this far, you're a real one. I just like putting my thoughts on paper, and no I am not going to proof read, I just hit submit!
see ya the next time I decide to sit down and write!