The NBA season staggers on with the playoffs in full swing, but there are still some lingering questions I have concerning the University of Maine men’s basketball program and the Bangor High School boys basketball program.
I think these are questions that coaches, fans, parents, taxpayers, players and readers might also want to ponder
Here’s some history on the UMaine men’s hoop program:
— It has never qualified for the NCAA Tournament. Its best conference regular season finish is second, 1959-60 in the old Yankee Conference, starting four Maine natives. It also finished second in America East in 1999-2000.
— Its best conference tourney finish was in 1999-2000, losing in the finals when key point guard Andy Bedard, a Mainer, was unable to play after he broke his left wrist in the semifinal. Maine also compiled its best regular-season record that season, 24-7.
— Its best finish in the past six years was in 2009-10, (19-10), third in America East, with a loss in the quarterfinals, starting three Mainers.
Here are the questions to ponder for the UMaine men’s program:
— Why is its roster overloaded with guards and not more big players recruited?
— Are four new scholarship recruits better basketball players than Maine’s best high school seniors and prep players and are efforts being made to recruit Maine players?
— Are preferred walk-on players promised future scholarships?
— Which player will next leave the program?
— How can the team have a solid inside game without effective post players?
— Will pressing full-court and letting players dictate the offense get Maine to the top half of the conference?
— Could the state’s best talent, plus better big players, do better than two years of a combined record of 9-50 and two first-round tourney losses?
The answers to these questions could give a clear picture of the program’s future and are questions taxpayers deserve to be answered.
Concerning the Bangor High boys basketball program, here’s a brief history, including the seasons when I was head coach from 1969-77:
— In 95 years of tournaments, Bangor has missed the tourney only 16 times.
— The lowest points of the program were 1967-68 (0-20 record), 1968-69 (4-14), 1977-78 (1-17) and 1978-79 (5-13).
— The program made it to the tourney eight consecutive years (1969-77).
— The program made the tourney 29 consecutive seasons before not making it last season. It also missed the tourney in 1981, ‘84 and ‘86.
— Coaches can rebuild programs immediately, like in 1969-70, when my first Bangor team (16-5) went to the Eastern Maine Class A finals with mostly the same players that went (4-34) the previous two years. Roger Reed went 7-11 in his first year as Bangor’s coach in 1985-86 and then posted 26 straight winning seasons.
Here are some questions to ponder for the Bangor program:
— Who will be the next coach and who will make the recommendation to the superintendent and school board?
— Is the program on a downward cycle, can it be quickly rebuilt or does it need it from the ground up?
— Has losing the Bangor Y gym and travel programs hurt the program?
— Has reducing middle school schedules hurt the program?
— How are participation numbers throughout the system?
— If the Maine Principals’ Association’s five-class proposal passes, will it hurt the program?
— Will Bangor hire from within, like it did for the football program, or go outside the system?
I’ll try to answer these questions on UMaine and Bangor next week.