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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

MCLA Men's Basketball Team Finds Competitive Edge

By Andrew Arvedon
12:00AM / Wednesday, December 27, 2006

MCLA basketball Coach Devin Gotham [photo courtesy of MCLA]
North Adams - Change is taking place around the MCLA campus. There is a positive buzz floating in the air over the current MCLA men’s basketball season, which is a far cry from what has been a usual gloom and doom season outlook.

Since taking over head basketball coaching duties starting in the 2003-2004 season, Coach Devin Gotham has instilled a positive attitude not only around campus, but around the program itself, and the response appears dramatic.

What used to be nearly empty bleachers during home games [an occasional old-timer sometimes stopped by to watch, or a group of MCLA students might arrive to cheer on a friend] now hosts many new faces.

"People Have Started To take Notice"

Gotham attributed the renewed interest to his team’s passion for the game.

“Attendance has been up because a winning product on the floor helps breed excitement,” Gotham said. “Our team plays unselfishly, is exciting to watch, and plays with such passion that people have started to take notice.”

As Gotham was growing up in South Colton,N.Y., his father instilled the love of basketball in him from an early age. All throughout middle school Gotham watched, from the sidelines, as his father coached high school games. Later, Gotham played for his father, and then played at Nazareth College, a division three basketball school in Rochester, New York.

After his collegiate basketball career ended, Gotham did not want the love for basketball to end as well, so while attending Alfred University, he also doubled as an assistant coach for the school's basketball team. Gotham was subsequently hired as a Williams College assistant coach. Gotham spent three years coaching at Williams before accepting a coaching post at MCLA.

When asked why he wanted to become a coach, Gotham cited his father and Williams College Coach Dave Paulsen, as well as a love of the game.

One of the concepts Gotham wanted to bring to MCLA was a “sense of a program," he said.

During the most recent two seasons before Gotham took over the helm, the men’s basketball team had a record of a combined 7-41, with a 4-22 conference record. Those two miserable seasons, combined with a new coach coming in, had fans feeling pessimistic. Some believed the program had been labeled as a laughingstock.

In his second season, Gotham’s Trailblazers’ posted the most wins in a single season since the 2000-2001 campaign. The records were better too. With the exception of Gotham's first season (1-24), the Trailblazers went 8-17 his second year, and 3-22 his third year.

Arvedon's Assessment

Now one might think well 3-22? How is that better or even good?

Sure the win-loss ratio his third year was poor, but the margin of victory for the other team had gone way down. What once used to be 30 and 40 point blowouts had averaged out to be a difference of 23 points in 2005-2006, and only 8 points this season.

Tie Records, Generate Excitement

The fact that this year the team has already matched last year’s win total, and set and tied national records in an unbelievable five overtime thriller, has brought a sense of an exciting basketball program to the campus.

During the five overtime game against SUNY Maritime in which the Trailblazers lost 126-124, they tied a division three national record for most points scored by two teams in the same game, tied a record of most points in overtime periods, and tied a record for having a game go five extra sessions.

Pushing Buttons

The hardest part of coaching for Gotham is to have the players understand the little things, and to play with the same intensity and passion all the time, he said.

On the topic of "problem players" Coach Gotham had some key advice.

“The best way to handle a situation like that is to take care of it early,” Gotham said. “Opening lines of communication and getting the guys on the same page, and to trust the staff, and their teammates early on usually eliminates such potential problems.”

Just as his players are learning every day from Gotham, Gotham is learning every day as well.

“If I can continue to work hard everyday, and figure out what buttons to push and when to push them, and I can get the most out of each and every player, the program will be successful for a long time.”
Your Comments
Post Comment
Hi Devin--It was great to read about your basketball team. Hope that you continue with your sucess. Happy New Year
from: Diane Prichardon: 01-09 00:00:00-2007


 
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