Dear Coach Macon,
You’ve said you don’t read the papers, but maybe somebody will throw this your way.
After the America East Preseason Coaches Poll was revealed, I decided to write you a letter.
First off, let me open by offering a simple “good luck.”
In my three years as a student here (I’m a senior now), I’ve seen the ups and downs of the men’s basketball program.
I was around when D.J. Rivera and Tiki Mayben dominated the America East and led us to our first conference championship. I was also around when everyone on campus wished they still played.
Last year, you guided our team to an 8-23 record, including four America East wins. But we had Greer Wright, Mahamoud Jabbi and Moussa Camara, and they all graduated.
Since that run to the tournament, things have been pretty gloomy around here. Last season, when we knocked off UMBC in the AE tourney play-in game, the buzz came back, but only for a brief second. I miss it, and I’m not alone.
This year’s team is young, and I’m sure there’s raw talent. But as I mentioned earlier, good luck.
I (and many others, I’m sure) fell in love with Binghamton University’s basketball team when we made that trip to the NCAA tournament. The America East Championship win over UMBC was probably the best experience I’ve had here thus far.
Since the dismissal of all of our stars, that love has pretty much disappeared.
The community support here is great, and I applaud those who have supported the programs through thick and thin. But students are different.
Students who chose to attend Binghamton didn’t come here for the athletics. Sure, we’re Division I, but nobody’s decision was based on their fiery desire to be a Bearcat.
A majority of college basketball fans here at BU likely root for other schools. Don’t take offense to that, but Big East basketball has a swagger that the America East just doesn’t have.
Most students will only pay attention to Binghamton’s basketball team if we’re doing well. You have to win us over. The atmosphere and experience of attending a game can only go so far; the on-court product has to be worth watching.
I understand that what happened here two short years ago still has an effect on recruiting, but I still have a challenge for you:
Win back the student body.
During the 2008-09 season, students would come to games an hour early just to ensure they could get in. Now, if at all, they come an hour in to see if the Bearcats have a shot at scoring enough points to get them free Big Macs (that promotion better continue this year, by the way).
It won’t be easy. This conference has become much more competitive than people think. The quality of play has only gotten better, and as the AE continues to grow, Binghamton’s opponents will only get tougher.
The NBA is in shambles. College basketball will be king this year (it may already be, but at least this year we know for sure). For those of us who wanted to go to Indiana, Michigan State or Duke, bring us that experience. We only have four years here, and I had my shining moment. But for those who arrived after that magical run, the thought of an NCAA berth is oh-so-appealing.
The expectations couldn’t be lower. Nobody expected us to do anything last year, yet we still won eight games. This year, literally nobody (there’s a difference) expects us to do well. You have my support, and the students will come out if the team does well. But you’ve got to show us something first.
So, good luck, and prove all of the doubters wrong.