PILOTS PROPAGANDA: VOLUME 1
November 10, 2008
THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN; PILOTS OPEN 2008 CAMPAIGN WITH 106-104 VICTORY
The 2008 version of the LSUS Pilots hit the hard-court at the friendly confines of “The Dock” last Thursday night as they squared off against the Paul Quinn College Tigers, marking the season opener of their 2008-2009 campaign. The 800+ Pilots faithful, who were led by the infamous “LSUS Baseball Bleacher-Creatures,” witnessed firsthand why LSUS Basketball has become the number one sporting ticket in the Shreveport-Bossier area as the Pilots held off a formidable opponent for a thrilling 106-104 victory.
In a press conference earlier in the week Coach McDowell was quoted as saying this year’s squad has a lot of talent, but don’t expect them to keep up with the offensive powers that were led by All-American selections Frederico Payne and Josh Porter from 2003-2008. “This year a lot of our games will most likely be in the 70’s and 80’s,” said McDowell.
The Pilots high-octane offense of the past however was resurrected when the Pilots looked as though they may drop their first home opener in six years. Trailing by 12 points with 8:00 remaining, the Pilots showed they may just have that swagger and offensive firepower of teams of old as they outscored the Tigers 38-16 over that 8:00 span en route to a 106-104 victory.
Paul Quinn gave LSUS their best shot, finishing 36-of-68 (53%) from the floor and 22-of-27 (82%) from the charity stripe. Rashaad Norman connected on four consecutive three point buckets in the second half and finished with 21 points while teammate Joseph Cormadelle poured in 30 points and collected a game high 10 rebounds in the losing effort which ended with a missed shot at the buzzer by Demarco Latham as time expired. Look out Red River Conference, Paul Quinn College is for real!
For any of the Pilots future opponents who recruit Thursday night’s game film, you will get a great look of what the Pilots have to offer this season. You will see the prototypical up-tempo offense and the team defense that tries to make opponents uncomfortable as possible. The No. 8 ranked Pilots have used these two things as their recipe to qualify for the NAIA National Tournament for four consecutive years.
At first glimpse, teams may also be relieved to see that the offensive presence of Porter, Travis Cash, and Jamon Morris are no longer in the picture. However, who they will see is a senior guard who now wears the number zero, Tyrone Hamilton. Hamilton, also referred to as “agent zero” by teammates, transferred from NCAA Division I and cross-town rival Centenary College.
Hamilton torched the twine for a career high 42 points Thursday night, falling just two points shy of Payne’s Individual Single-Game Scoring Record (44). Nine of his 42 points came down the stretch in the final three minutes of the contest. Oh, by the way, he also dished out a game high 10 assists and collected seven boards to cap of his fairytale debut in which he was quoted as saying this was “the most fun I have had since playing ball outside with my dad when I was five years old.”
It is only human nature to be in awe of Hamilton’s performance, but what cannot be overlooked was the performance of freshman forward Derrick Parker and transfers John Anthony Anglin and Brandon Mims.
Parker, a former Minden High School standout coached by Alan Shaw, poured in 20 points and collected 10 rebounds in his college basketball debut. Parker showed comparable traits of former Pilots star Derrick Sowell (2003-2005) and Jeremy Johnston (2005-2006).
Mims, a sophomore transfer from Louisiana Tech University, was on the receiving end of an alley-oop pass from Hamilton, which looked as though he could have dunked it with his elbows and sent the near capacity crowd into hysterics to highlight his 12 points.
And probably the most underrated performance of the night came from Anglin, a junior transfer from Northwestern State University. The Pilots needed someone to hit a big shot down the stretch other than Hamilton. Anglin hit that shot, twice! With six minutes remaining and trailing by 11 points, Anglin connected from beyond the arc and followed with another at the 4:55 mark cutting the Tigers lead to 95-91 accounting for six of his 14 points.
Not mentioned in the box scores are the huge minutes played by Jay Lincoln, Chris Gatlin, Gabe Hall, and Jared Stevenson. Stevenson turned in a huge performance distributing the basketball as he tallied 8 assist to only 1 turnover and came up big for the Pilots with 2 key steals. Look for the guard tandem of Stevenson and Hamilton to be among the elite duos in the NAIA this year. As the year continues and teams prepare and focus in on All-American candidate, look for Stevenson to put points on the board with his play-making ability to counter any attempt by opponents to contain Hamilton.
And for those defensive gurus out there who may cringe at the fact that the Tigers broke the century mark as well Thursday night, do not fret. What the Pilots give up in size down low they make up with their athleticism. With all due respect to the Tigers, they could not have shot any better from the outside. Prime example being Norman who connected on seven three’s in the contest after attempting only one from the outside in the team’s previous two contests.
There is no question the Pilots have to improve in order to complete their quest of collecting their fourth Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Championship in six years. I expect five time Louisiana State Coach of the Year Chad McDowell to make them do just that.
In the mean time, and in between time, that’s it for this week’s edition Pilots Propaganda.
Coach Al Cantwell
The views and material in this column reflect the attitude and opinions of Al Cantwell. The selection was written by Al Cantwell, an outside friend and fan of the LSUS Men’s Basketball Program and Athletics Department. Please direct any comments to Al Cantwell at the email address listed above.