Cleaning out the Notebook: State of the basketball program

I want to start off by thanking everyone involved in these last two articles on the William and Mary basketball program. From the coaching staff, to the recruits, Athletic Director Terry Driscoll, all the high school and AAU coaches interviewed to Sports Illustrated’s Bill Trocchi, all were open, honest and helpful throughout the process of putting these two pieces together. I can’t thank them, as well as Kris Sears and Pete Clawson, enough.

Now, to the stuff left in the notebook:

-Assistant Coach Ben Wilkins was not optimistic about the Tribe getting a home game against a high-major opponent any time soon; however he could imagine two scenarios where a big-name team would come into Kaplan Arena:

“The one thing that can help us is you hope a North Carolina-type school has a kid that is local, so hopefully they have that incentive,” Wilkins said. “I also think the unfortunate situation with the economy will help mid-majors and low- majors. The high-majors who don’t have as much money as the Kentuckys or Kansases are starting to get into a bidding war they can’t win. So some of their ADs are going to them and saying ‘We can’t pay as much as these other schools, so you’re going to have to be creative.’”

-Athletic Director Terry Drisoll on whether he sees the budgetary differences between the Tribe and other CAA schools every potentially becoming a problem:

“Yes and no, because some people are spending more who are not as successful as we are. The dollars don’t absolutely guarantee success. Obviously the opportunities to do things are there, to maybe do more things, and maybe we can’t do things as quickly as other people. The reality is there is a point in time, whether it’s for academic standards or for other reasons, that if it every got to the point where we could no longer be competitive, then you have to reassess your situation with the athletic department.

-An interesting note on the intercollegiate athletic department audits: each school self-reports its own statistics, leading to maybe some discrepancies in the numbers. Now the numbers are generally trustworthy enough, from what I’ve gathered, that I felt comfortable using them in the article, but each school may have different approaches to deciding what expenses fall under Recruiting and what falls Other Expenses, for example. Just something to consider when examining the numbers.

-Wilkins said the Tribe scheduled their games against Connecticut, Wake Forest and Maryland this season under the assumption that all three schools had dynamic guards who were turning pro. Former Demon Deacon Jeff Teague did declare for the NBA, but Connecticut’s Jerome Dyson and Maryland’s Greivis Vazquez ended up staying, leading me to ask whether Wilkins had ever been burned like this before:

“I mean, I didn’t feel necessarily all that good this summer when I learned Vazquez was staying. But it worked out,” Wilkins said, laughing.

More to follow…


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