Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Even at 1-23, you find a way to compete

Sixteen games in, Loyola Marymount picked up its first win of the season. Without a doubt, the 1-23 Lions have experienced one of the toughest seasons in many years in college hoops.

First-year head coach Bill Bayno, who was hired last April, took medical leave in November, and ultimately resigned last month.

Assistant Max Good, who'd gone 132-86 at D2 Bryant University in Rhode Island, took over the team, which "lost three starters and a 6-foot-9-inch reserve to season-ending injuries" and "suits up eight players, only five of whom are on scholarship, including two former walk-ons who were put on aid for their senior seasons. The Lions start three freshmen who average at least 30 minutes each."

As this columnist puts it, "This isn't a project. It's a nightmare."

"It's hellish in some respects and rewarding in others," Good said. "These kids come to practice every day like we're undefeated. Their attitude is so positive. I have to be a little more patient than usual. I can't be as demonstrative, but that doesn't mean we're not demanding. But you motivate kids the best way you know how. I don't mind other teams trying to kill us. It's what I would do. It's my job to prepare our team. Someone said it's David vs. Goliath. It feels more like King Kong against Fred. What do you do? You find a way to compete. You deal with it. That's life."