In this first part of our media day coverage, Hawk Hill Hardwood will look at Martelli's comments on the Atlantic 10, social media, and the composition of this year's team. Tomorrow, we will examine his comments on the current roster, with player-specific comments on C.J. Aiken, Tay Jones, Chris Wilson, and Isaiah Miles.
Phil Martelli's Saint Joseph's Hawks were the preseason pick to win the Atlantic 10 at the conference's media day in Brooklyn last month. He expounded on their selection as the A10's top team. "They were going to pick somebody. But when you have six teams get first place votes, and I would argue that there are a couple more that didn't get first-place votes that clearly are in that mix, it's exciting to be a part of the Atlantic 10."
This offseason, the Atlantic 10 became one of the more buzzed-about conferences in college basketball, with the additions of Butler and VCU. VCU, from the Colonial Athletic Association, and Butler, from the Horizon League, boast impressive recent resumes.
"VCU and Butler did not join the Atlantic 10 to come in second in fan support. They don't want to come in third in how they schedule. Nothing that they're doing is geared to anything other than winning the league," Martelli explained. "Butler and VCU will make us, as a league, better, and I think that they know they'll be made better by having competed in this league."
Martelli was asked what the main difference between last year's team and this year's team was, aside from the fact that they're a year older. "Execution, execution, execution, then some more execution," he began. "I've beaten this number into the ground: In 11 of our 14 losses last year, we led in the second half, and it was a moment in time, it wasn't the last play of the game. It could be the last play of the game, but there was somewhere in the half where it got away from us, and to me it was plain and simple. It came down to execution of an offensive game plan and a defensive game plan."
The fact that the Hawks led in the second half of 11 of their 14 losses is of significance because the Hawks likely missed out on an NCAA Tournament bid by two wins or so.
In recent history, social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, have come under scrutiny by a number of college coaches. High school and college players have faced suspensions and lost scholarships because of what they've put up on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Martelli had insight into this world of social media.
"I am acutely aware of what they're writing and how they're reacting on social media," stated the head Hawk. "In this day and age, if you're not, then you're making some big mistakes."
"This isn't the job that I took 18 years ago, and it really is truly social media. It drives everything that they think," Martelli continued. "We've had two full sessions, educational sessions with our players, about not just dealing with the media, but dealing with social media and how to handle what they put out about themselves. And really what is said about them."
While some schools have placed outright bans on social media, Martelli said that he did not believe in that for his team. He explained that the players are "growing young men," and later added that he "doesn't take phones away from them on the road either."
This year's Hawk team returns every single player from last year's NIT squad. In addition to having a tremendous array of talent, Martelli explained that they also have a great sense of camaraderie. "This team is very focused on team," he began. "They want each other to achieve." He later added that "the focus here really is on team."
Tomorrow, Hawk Hill Hardwood will provide our second and final look at yesterday's St. Joe's media day. We will have more quotes from the head Hawk, Phil Martelli, on this year's team. The Hawks are a mere ten days away from their season opener on November 12th at home against Yale.
Media Day on Hawk Hill: Part A
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