10 Questions for the UMaine men’s basketball program

Ted Woodward has been the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Maine since 2004. It looks as though this is the most inexperienced, youngest and least-skilled team of his tenure.

Maine has lost eight consecutive America East Conference play-in or quarterfinal tourney games, even though the Black Bears finished as high as third in the regular-season standings in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Woodward’s record is 112 wins, 160 losses, a winning percentage of just .412.

This year will probably be more of the same. Maine stands at 1-5 with the only win over NAIA member Fisher College, which only pads their stats.

Maine has lost to Rhode Island 97-77, George Washington (108-91), New Jersey Tech (88-83), Quinnipiac (102-61) and Dartmouth (81-56) and has an average scoring margin of minus-24.4 points against  Division I opponents.

The Bears haven’t  been a very good shooting team, as they are shooting 42 percent from the floor, but only 59 percent from the foul line and 28 percent from the 3-point arc against D-I opponents. They catch and dribble the second they get the ball and do not look for open teammates first when receiving the ball.

They are poor defensively, giving up 95.2 points per game in Division I games, and they box out poorly on the defensive boards. The Bears have no inside post game and their offense is primarily just freelance dribble-drive with an occasional high pick off the dribble and a little motion.

But it is more than their offense and defense. The problems with the program extend back several years.

Some real loyal fans feel that questions need to be asked and answered for the past several seasons:

1. Why did Mark Socoby, Jordan Cook, Murphy Burnatoswki,  Jerrell Boswell, Alasdair Fraser, Jon Mesghna and Justin Edwards, etc., all leave the team before graduating? Were all of those players given an exit interview to discuss their departures?

2. Why did Gerald McLemore really not make the trip to Hartford for the America East quarterfinal game as a senior in 2012?

3. Why have some assistant coaches left for other jobs during the past few seasons?

4. Why is it that Maine goes into a tailspin during the second half of most America East seasons?

5. Why was Woodward, whose contract expires in 2015, given a three-year extension to his contract two years ago before America East Conference play started, when his contract was not up until after the end of the season?

6. Will Maine wait until a new athletic director is on board before they make a decision on Woodward and pay him the one-year buyout of his remaining contract like they did Tim Whitehead and Cindy Blodgett?

7. Has men’s basketball been dropped from a second-level sports at Maine to lower than that?

8. Has Woodward been protected by University administration in spite of his program’s lack of success?

They have stated Woodward runs a clean program, his players are good citizens and  graduate on time — if they stay. So, winning must not be an important factor.

And If winning is not that important, maybe Maine should hire all coaches from Maine and recruit its scholarship players mostly from Maine.

It would be one thing if Maine was a private school. It is our tax dollars that are being spent on this program, with most of the money for salaries and scholarships going to non-Mainers.

9. Why does the head coach stand and yell constantly to and at his players throughout entire games?

10. Will Maine draw more fans playing at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor?

You cannot expect to contend for an America East championship when winning doesn’t seem to be a priority for the administration. Woodward lost three starters from last year’s team and they were not seniors.

Some loyal Maine basketball fans anxiously await the answers to these 10 questions.

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