Last year at this time, I was with my family in Charleston, a city that my family has often favored during the holidays, and preparing to write a post on the infamous “Triangle and Two” defense that Loyola Maryland devised to stop Stephen Curry. This year, with my parents having recently made a recession-influenced decision to move from Atlanta to Houston, our house in Charleston is perhaps the closest thing to home that I have. This week, however, we’ve descended on Houston, eager to see my parents try to assimilate themselves to the Texas state of mind, but nostalgic for the familiarity and historic comfort of the lowcountry.
I considered making the drive from Washington, DC to Charleston last weekend to see the team in action, cognizant of the fact that Davidson hadn’t lost in Charleston in more than five years. Indeed, the city had become a sort of idyllic destination for Davidson basketball teams over the past few years. Winning came easily, and the scenery was far more palatable than Socon trips to Boone or Greensboro.
But last weekend’s trio of losses down south, excepting the promising play of the freshmen, ushered in the stark reality that Davidson is in something of a “rebuilding” mode, having gone 0-4 for the first time in 10 years.
The term “rebuilding,” despite its ubiquity in the context of sports parlance, is not something we’re used to as Davidson fans. Davidson’s recruiting, while obviously less glamorous than bigger schools, has been remarkably consistent and stable over the last decade. When Seniors graduate, underclassmen, having undergone rigorous mentoring and practice, are usually able to step in rather seamlessly and assume their new role. This year, obviously, things are different.
When Stephen Curry left for the NBA, I didn’t think much about how his premature departure would upset the cyclic and fragile nature of Davidson’s recruiting schedule. In fact, Steph’s presence as a Senior had been counted on far before he became an NBA prospect. Sure, Kuhlman looks great, and Cohen is quickly becoming one of Davidson’s best scorers, but these guys weren’t supposed to have to assume so much of the offensive workload so early in their young college careers.
Going 0-4 hurts, but it’s hard to be too surprised. With great success comes new challenges…and in this case, Davidson is facing a rare gap in recruiting that should be fixed within a year or two (especially considering some of the excellent recruits headed to Davidson in the near future).
Next week, Davidson returns to Charleston for two tough conference games against the Citadel and C of C. I’d love to be there, but instead will be following remotely in any way that I can — like last night, when my family gathered in Texas to celebrate the holiday, imbibing various cocktails and munching hors d’oeuvres, all the while tolerating my insistence on maintaining the John Kilgo internet feed crackling in the background.
Happy Thanksgiving to my friend Base Rich, still enduring a year-long writer’s block, and to any other hapless fanatic who finds himself perusing this blog during the holiday.