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Date Posted: Wednesday, May 04, 08:14:54pm
Author Host/IP: cpe-184-153-246-121.twcny.res.rr.com/188.8.131.52
From the start, Paulus has preached a culture of family, loyalty, and winning. With the exception of Solomon, who left because of an argument with Smothers, who, too, has since left, all of these players were told to leave the program. They did not go voluntarily into the portal seeking something better. Levnaic, in particular, was told he could only be on the team as a walk-on. Even though he had been a loyal teammate and scholarship player for four years, and with two open scholarships, he was sent packing. Kuakamensah and Roberts, who stayed and helped the team win, almost had their jerseys and other memorabilia knowingly thrown out by the DOBO the morning after Senior Night. So much for how you treat your alums. If there is a sense of loyalty and family, it does not appear to go both ways.
Paulus is entering his fourth year on the job and has the vast majority of his wins the credit of Casey recruits. He has only one recruit from high/prep school who has stayed in the program, Traore. At this point, next year's team will be composed of Traore, a D-1 transfer (Iorio), a D-2 transfer (Gray), four JUCO transfers, and four freshman. These 11 players have a total of 178 games of experience at the D-1 level (Iorio, 110 games; Thomasson, 30 games; Traore, 28 games).
Paulus has been equally successful in filling his coaching staff. Ervin, his top recruiter and bigs' coach, is gone. Smothers, who was deeply unhappy, left as well, but only after chasing Solomon out. Kelley, the DOBO, treats the players like Kuakamensah and Roberts poorly. And then there is Devitt. He never even played high school basketball. Can you think of any collegiate sport (at any level, no less D-1) in which there is an assistant coach who has never played the sport at any level beyond middle school? Football? Volleyball? Baseball? Swimming? No. Overall, not a stellar cast, and one unlikely to develop talent like Traore and Harlan Obioha (recruited by Ervin, by the way). Thus far, Devitt has brought in no one. Kelley played in high school. Antone Gray played D-3. Paulus, of course, played at the highest level, but as head coach cannot also shoulder player development, especially for bigs.
Reliance on the JUCO and transfer markets may be a winning way--and there is nothing wrong with that--but will not build a culture of loyalty and family. It's simply a short-term rental market. With eight new players coming in, that's a lot of promises. The same type of promises that were made to get Rob Brown, Julian Mackey, and Tajhae Hill to come. And now leave. The story of the transfer portal is as much about broken promises as it is about irrational expectations.
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