By Kevin Cruz
The John Jay Bloodhounds Men and Women’s basketball teams are headed to the CUNYAC Championship tournament, despite both being under .500.
Even with the disappointing seasons, by their standards, both of the coaches think they can compete with any team.
The Bloodhounds are in seventh place out of nine teams in the conference with a record of 7-9 and overall record of 9-16.
In the preseason Men’s basketball Head Coach Otis Fenn told the John Jay Sentinel that he’d hope his team to improve on defense and that defense was the key to success, but hasn’t lived up to expectations. The Bloodhounds are fourth worst in the conference in points allowed.
The Bloodhounds have allowed 76 points per game to opponents this season compared to the 72.8 points per game, from a season ago.
The team has blown several second half leads, one of which came against Hunter College on January 29, which they squandered a lead in the final two minutes of the contest.
Coach Fenn thinks the team is better than what the record indicates. “I’m not pleased with our record. We are better then our record shows…we can’t finish games.” He added that opponents haven’t really beaten them this season, because the Bloodhounds have beaten themselves.
When asked why things haven’t gone the way they expected this season? Coach Fenn emphasized the missing of leadership.
“When you are missing two all stars [Isaiah Holman and Jamar Harry]…one who is an All-American [Harry],” said Fenn. “Those are two big missing pieces.”
The roster this season has been shuffled, as the Bloodhounds are not ending the season with the same team that they started with. Coach Fenn was really counting on having Jamar Harry for the latter part of the season, but Harry could not make his way back for personal reasons, forcing the Bloodhounds to continue to fight without him.
Coach Fenn also hoped that he would have guard Michael Howard this entire season, but, after two games, Howard was a no show for the remainder of the season. The Bloodhounds also lost Choban Cheema, Darell Robinson and Juniad Saeed this season. The Bloodhounds did add Calvin Ingram to fill in for the second half of the season.
The Bloodhounds’ co-captain Kendall Jordan thinks the team could have done better. “I’m very disappointed on how the season has turned out. We had higher expectations going into this season.” When asked what was different from last season to this season, Jordan blamed team chemistry as the key reason for some of the team’s failures. “The chemistry and communication has fell off and it has caused problems.”
Korede Griffith, the team’s second leading scorer, said the team has really been tested. He noted that the Bloodhounds had to fight through the season and have won some great games, but have lost some really ugly ones.
“This season has been a reality check and it has hit us every game,” said Griffith on why the team has not found the same success from last year. He had the same view as Kendall Jordan. “The chemistry was not there,” Griffith said. “We got the different pieces we need to win, but we just can’t put them together.”
The Lady Bloodhounds also have not met their own expectations this season, as they finished on to the sixth place in the CUNYAC conference. The Lady Bloodhounds hold a record of 6-10 in the CUNY conference and 9-16 overall.
Coach Ramirez, head coach of the team, is not content with just getting in the CUNY championship tournament. She believed her team could have done so much more this season. The amount of talent on this team is not reflective of the record the team has posted this season.
Coming into this season, Coach Ramirez believed her team would not finish lower then second in the conference. “I honestly believed at worst we would have the second seed. I expected big things this season especially from Jamecia Forsythe.”
Coach Ramirez, who is in her sixth season at the program, has posted her third best season since arriving at the program in 2008. Under her command, the Lady Bloodhounds have only posted two winning seasons in conference, but that does not stop Ramirez and her coaches from pushing for success.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing being in the sixth spot. We have been close to beating good teams, but it’s time to get it together.”
Like the Men’s team, the Lady Bloodhounds have gone through some roster changes through the season. Tamara Johnson, who is tied for the team’s third leading scorer, missed some games this season. The team has also lost Tiffany Rodriguez and Kaitin Fitzgerald for personal reasons.
The CUNYAC championship tournament gives the best eight teams from the conference the chance to be crowned conference champions. The John Jay Bloodhounds Men and Women’s teams go in ranked sixth heading into the conference tournament.
In the Men’s tournament, the rankings are:
1) College of Staten Island
2) York College
3) Baruch College
4) Brooklyn College
5) Lehman College
6) Hunter College
7) John Jay College
In the Woman’s tournament the rankings are:
1) College of Staten Island
2) Baruch College
3) Brooklyn College
4) Lehman College
5) Hunter College
6) John Jay College
8) York College.
College of Staten Island Men’s head Coach Tony Petosa, who is in his 23rd season at the college, has lead his teams to back-to-back championships in the CUNYAC. The CSI Dolphins are undefeated this season in conference play (16-0).
When asked about winning back-to-back championships Coach Petosa said he was “not impressed. The past means nothing it’s what we do in the present.” Coach Petosa said it wouldn’t be an easy road back to the championship, as there are some very good teams in the conference.
On the other hand, Coach Otis Fenn believes in his team’s ability to compete. “We will be in every game. There is not a team in CUNY we can’t beat.”
Coach Fenn would be really proud if his team could win a championship, especially this year. “It’s not so much for personal reason, but for the program itself. A championship would mean respect for the program and have people fear to play us.”
As for the women’s tournament, College Of Staten Island Woman’s Head Coach Tim Shanahan leads his Lady Dolphins into the CUNYAC tournament in the top spot.
In only his second season, Coach Shanahan has taken his team to the top of the rankings in the CUNYAC, improving the team’s record every year since he took over.
“It’s all about the girls…good to be the number one seed for the first time in seven years at the school. It’s a great thing, [but] the prize is winning the tournament,” said Coach Shanahan when talking about this season’s success. Coach Shanahan says it won’t be an easy road to the championship because the CUNYAC is so balanced that any given day any team can win.
Coach Ramirez has high expectation going into the CUNYAC tournament. “My expectations is to take the whole thing,” she said. Coach Ramirez said the team has come up short in many areas, but things came together as the season came to a close and other teams better look out for the Lady Bloodhounds.
CUNYAC Tournament takes place from Feb. 22-28. The Men’s Bloodhound head to Jamaica, Queens to faceoff against #2 York College on Feb. 22. The Lady Bloodhounds head to Brooklyn to face off #3 Brooklyn College on Feb. 23.