Column: The rebuilding rut

Column: The rebuilding rut

It’s possible – no, likely – that the Nov. 21 victory over Boston University will be the highlight of this 2006-07 men’s basketball season.

Earning that all-important first victory against crosstown rivals was clutch; if they lost the game, the Bill Coen coaching era would have started with a depressing five-game losing streak. Winning provides Coen with his first Husky win, and some sort of bragging rights against the Terriers (not to disappoint, but we won’t be able to brag about hockey anytime soon).

Senior guard Adrian Martinez came out of his shell, finally, on 6-of-9 shooting and 5-of-6 on foul shots, dropping 21 against the Terrier defense. Martinez’s 67 percent shooting is odd for the former understudy of Barea, whose aim was so poor on Huntington Avenue he should have solicited lessons from Dick Cheney.

So they won – yay.

Savor the taste while it lasts. This year is going to be abysmal.

And yes, I’m calling the season a wash-out before we play a single game against a Colonial Athletic Association opponent.

The 2006-07 edition of the Husky court crew appears to be a lost cause for myriad reasons – a depleted roster, a vacancy in the leadership department and a new coaching staff all contribute to what many refer to as a “rebuilding season.”

It’s unfortunate that, in the landscape of college athletics, oftentimes success and failure come in cycles. For Northeastern, our recent era of success was the four years a certain point guard called Huntington Avenue home. The past four seasons, “the Barea-era,” could be the lone era of success for quite a long while.

And it’s with disgust that I spout the negative. But what is there to be positive about?

Every nook and cranny of the program is in some phase of transition. Former coach Ron Everhart left and Coen came in to replace him on the bench. Martinez was told it was time to be a big boy and was put in the starting five and Huntington Avenue’s “next big star,” Shawn James couldn’t live without Everhart and left with the coach who recruited him.

Oh, but there are even more subtle transitions. There’s the atrocious see-saw act between Solomon Court and Matthews Arena the players are forced to participate in. It confuses Joe Student, too, who probably couldn’t locate Solomon Court if there were blinking neon signs.

Perhaps it’s a ruse the athletic department is playing. Come February, when the team has nestled into the CAA cellar, the department can think to itself that people want to come to the games, they just get lost on the way. And not on purpose, of course.

The truth of the current affairs really comes to light with Bobby Kelly, a senior shooting guard and captain of the squad. While I do not know Kelly personally, and assume he’s a real swell dude behind the scenes, the fact that the current captain has averaged a career 5.3 points per game is indicative of the team’s make-up – past role players thrust into the spotlight after an exodus of stars and leaders.

Five point three? A nickel’s worth of points per game is hardly a reason to be excited.

Barea was exciting, and he was an oasis of talent. There are few with the potential of Barea out there in recruiting land who are drawn to a school in a mid-major conference like Northeastern.

What the team is in need of, in desperate fashion, is an exciting player. A scorer of some kind – a big or small guy, as long as he puts points on the board.

As of now, the threat isn’t there unless Kelly improves his 5.3 average by, say, 20 points per game.

To the basketball team: give us a reason to be excited.

But are there any? Doubtful. For some teams the season is over before it ever began. For Northeastern, the 2006 season was over around March.

– Matt Foster can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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