Press Conference and Reader Comment Reax
I wanted to respond to a couple reader comments on my previous post, and conclude my thoughts on Wednesday night’s press conference, where Rob Murphy chastised me for a speculative point I had made in a different previous post. Everybody follow that?
Kenneth Barna wrote:
I’m glad that Coach Murphy took it out on you, but not for what it may seem. You got him to verbalize his willingness to stay with the program. Not that it will mean much if he leaves, but we fans can then call him every name in the book. I would also believe that this team will be better next year, especially with the addition of Mr. Talley and Mr. Ward. I also think that Mr. Riley is getting better with every game. They are baby step increments, but he is getting there. (What we all expected)”
After thinking about the whole incident for a while, I came to the same conclusion that you did. If you ask a D-I level coach if they are happy where they are and do you plan on staying, every single one will give you a pre-packaged, “of course, I love it here” response. To do otherwise would be foolish. In specifically calling out what I wrote, Murphy was able to address the issue in a credible way.
I would also like to add that this wasn’t some Bob Knight or Jim Mora-esque outburst by Murphy. In typical Rob Murphy fashion, he was calm, reasoned, and professional. He could have grandstanded, especially after a tough loss, but he did not.
I do believe that I did make one mistake. I chose to parse Murphy’s words into a Freudian contortion, fitting a narrative that I and many readers of this blog feared may have been true. And like you said, Kenneth, Murphy did “verbalize his willingness to stay with the program.” I appreciated him saying that and putting the issue to rest once and for all.
Chief Huron wrote:
“I’m surprised Murphy gave you some heat about his commitment to EMU especially after his flirtation with Orlando as an NBA scout this past year after one year at EMU. Actions speak louder than words. Honestly I see this year ending right where they were last year 14-16. Yes I agree Murphy should hang around for two more years because he would really have an improved record with Talley and Ward plus others coming in next year. I hope they medicl redshirt Lee, he needs more time to develop, having him come back and play this year would be a waste in my opinion. I also agree that for most games this team has been very very competitive in the MAC and that’s a great sign for the program’s future.”
I was a little surprised when he addressed the issue, but I guess I shouldn’t have been. I wonder if Coach Murphy knew that there was a level of anxiety among the fan base as to whether or not he would be here long-term. I don’t think he did. It was made to seem like my speculation was the product of my own imagination, when in reality I can’t think of a single Eastern fan who has participated in this blog (you included) that didn’t worry about Murphy’s long term commitment. Now, we have Murphy’s adamant assertion that he is the Captain of this ship and he is going to take this program back to where it hasn’t been since 1998. I look forward to the future with the players you mentioned and Murphy at the helm
You did write, “actions speak louder than words.” Whatever may have happened, Murphy did choose to stay. After the Boone/Ramsey years, I think we can agree that Murphy is a breath of fresh air – a coach who can actually get more out of his players.
“Pictures are forthcoming tomorrow. I was surprised at how loud the student section was but that might be a function of being right in front of them for half of the game. For the most part, I thougth Eastern looked pretty good. It’s a shame they couldn’t have scored more points off some of those takeaways. For some reason, it reminded me of Kris Draper from the Red Wings. You’d watch him get a breakaway only to shoot wide of the net. Maybe with more experience, EMU will be a team to be reckoned with next year. One more point…I didn’t realize that Akron’s colors were black and white because it sure seemed like they had some help from the extra members of their squad wearing those colors.”
I think the people in attendance, especially the student section, made some serious noise when it mattered. I looked behind me at one point to see if more people had come in. Kudos to those that were there.
You are right that this team still lacks a cohesive transition game. Too many lobs were poorly thrown or ill-timed. The hope is that the help coming in next year will start to change that. I think the transition game is one area where Ray Lee could be helping this team right now.
The photos are great, as always.
One final point, if I may. Rob Murphy mentioned that inaccurate speculation can be damaging to recruiting. I do know that it in the cut-throat world of recruiting, everything can and will be used against you, no matter how minute. That being said I remain skeptical that I have the clout to impact recruiting one way or another.
With the incorporation of the internet and blogging into coverage of sports, politics, movies, food, etc., opinion writing is more and more often being construed as fact. Meanwhile, facts (especially scientific ones) get reduced to the level of opinion and punditry. This has blurred the line between fact and opinion in journalism. This is what allows the brain droppings of a blogger to become fodder for opposing programs. The vast majority of what I write is opinion and analysis, especially the “Game Notes” segment at the end.
And seriously, if you are an opposing coach and you are using what I write as a recruiting tool, well, that’s pretty pathetic. Is that all you got? Can’t sell your own program so you have to rely on the bloviating bleating of a blogger? Sad…
Now that that’s over with, who wants to whip Ball State and pick up the first road win of the year?