Meet future Mav Mitch Hahn

I have never met a guy name Mitch that I liked, nor have I ever met a guy named Mitch that I did not like.  I have never met anyone named Mitch.  The closest I have ever come to meeting a guy named Mitch is watching Billy Crystal’s character in City Slickers, and I guess the sequel.

Helllllllooooooo.  Here, click here.

Anyway, Mitch Hahn comes to the Mavericks from Fremont, Nebraska after sitting out a year after transferring from Holy Cross.  Hahn was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Nebraska as a senior in high school, averaging a double-double.  Out of high school he reportedly had scholarship offers from North Dakota and Central Arkansas, according to Verbalcommits.com.  I remember wondering if Omaha was ever going to offer him a scholarship, there appeared to be “interest” but never heard anything that he actually had a scholarship offer from the Mavericks out of high school.

In Hahn’s one season at Holy Cross, he played in 23 games and averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds.  In those 23 games, he did have 3 outings in which he got into double figures for scoring.  A 22 point game against Albany where he shot 8-of-9 from the floor on 6-of-6 from three.  Excuse me, baking powder?  6-of-6 threes?  Hahn also had 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 5 blocks in 26 minutes in an overtime loss to Army.

After a coaching change at Holy Cross, Hahn decided to transfer back home and was apparently recruited by Tyler Erwin to play for the Mavericks.  I feel like Erwin is responsible for recruiting all the shooters for the Mavericks.

At 6’8″ you may be thinking that Hahn is going to be a replacement for Jake White, but Hahn’s game is completely different from White.  White could go in and post up, and muscle his way to the foul line, hit the baseline jumper, rebound, and get called for a ton of bad referee calls.  Hahn, at 205lbs, is more like a small forward.  He has the ability to beat guys off the dribble and get to the basket, shoot the three, play on the wing, and find the open man.

Just get yourself excited at the prospect for every time Hahn hits a three you will get to scream HHHAAAHHHNNN!

One of the biggest keys to the Mavs’ roster in 2015-2016 was their versatility.  They could play bigger, play small, go fast, or go even faster.  With Hahn, the Mavericks still have that versatility.  The Mavericks will be able to go with a post of Daniel Meyer and Hahn, or Tre’Shawn Thurman and Hahn, or even a little Pirog and Hahn…or dare I say a front court of Meyer, Thurman, and Hahn?  That’s big.  The Mavericks did go with a big lineup like this when the team had a 6’8″ Koang Doluony for 7 games in 2012-2013, which I assume was before most people paid attention.

Hopefully the Mavericks could rebound with this type of lineup, in addition to being a better all around shooting team.  Hold on, I’m having a flashback to that Denver loss last season where the Pioneers got 4 offensive rebounds on one possession while Randy Reed sat on the bench with concussion like symptoms.  Okay something is wrong with my heart, I have to use an Automatic External Defibrillator on myself for a minute.  I attach one of the pieces to my temple, right?  It’s cool, I’m certified, well actually my certification is expired but it’s really not all that difficult to get re-certified.

The Mavericks were one of the worst three point shooting teams in the NCAA last season.  They got better as a team once Kyler Erickson and Tra-Deon Hollins got going in the second half the season, but the Mavericks game plan from game to game should change in 2016-2017 with Hahn and a crew of shooters on the team.

I think my favorite thing about Hahn is that he comes off as a no nonsense guy on the court.  He’s not barking at the crowd, or flexing his biceps after cool plays.  Just makes shots and gets back on defense.  I was at the Omaha Metro Summer League when his Nebraska High School Hoops team was going up against Creighton’s Toby Hegner’s team.  Hahn did not appear as if he was there to make friends, not start any trouble, but just play basketball and do what he could to help his team win.  He hit threes, had 20+ points, played good defense on Hegner, and while everyone was catching their breath at halftime, Hahn was shooting jump shots in the intermission.

He’s intense.  Not like the intensity of the guy that shows up to a co-rec noncompetitive softball team in baseball pants, batter’s gloves, eye make up, refuses to swing at any pitch unless it’s absolutely perfect, and yells at the umpire for making a correct call…but he seems like he could be intense.  Oh, did you know that there are Trump softballs?  I’m just going to let you roll with that one.

 

 

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Meet future Mav KJ Robinson

I’m not sure what you can take away from a highlight tape from one game, but look at that cross over-step back jumper move…  It is the same move that helped Devin Patterson score many points as a Omaha Maverick!

A while back the Mavericks’ coaching staff made it a point to recruit players from winning programs.  In Robinson’s junior year, his team at Blue Springs South won the state Missouri Boys Class A Championship and he was teammates with current Missouri Tiger Kevin Puryear.  Blue Springs South ended the season at 29-2.

In his senior season, Blue Springs South ended at 17-11 and lost in the 2nd round of the state tournament to eventual runner up Kickapoo.  Kickapoo had a player, Jared Ritter, that is committed to play basketball at Xavier.  Kickapoo lost to Chaminade in the state championship, who has the second rated player in nation who is committed to Duke, Jayson Tatum.  So high school basketball in Missouri sounds fun.

If you are curious, Remy Davenport of the Omaha women’s team also attended Blue Springs South.

Robinson was named to the Missouri Coaches All-State basketball team, with guys that are committed to Duke and Xavier.  This is a guy that many people from the Kansas City area, per a series of tweets, thought that Omaha made a big time steal by landing.

Robinson’s dad appears to like every tweet involving UNO basketball, so that’s kind of cool.

I’m not sure what you were hoping for in basketball recruiting when the Mavericks made the transition.  Junior college players; Big 10, Big 12, and Missouri Valley transfers; in-state Nebraska guys should hopefully have been obvious; Iowa guys; Kansas City area guys; Minnesota guys; and the occasional three star recruit maybe… Robinson is a Kansas City area guy, and the occasional 3 star recruit.  Rivals rated Robinson as a three star recruit.

The 3 stars do not always guarantee a guy can be a star at the mid-major level, but the potential certainly adds some excitement and hope in local fans.  Cannot forget the days of how bad Creighton fans were salivating over P’Allen Stinnett being rated as a 4 star recruit by some sites.  This may sound like I’m dogging on the Bluejays here, but I’m not.  After seeing Stinnett as a highly touted recruit and him dominating his first NCAA basketball game, the math made sense that he was going to be the guy taking Creighton to the next level…not some guy from Ames, Iowa years later.

It is hard to imagine how many minutes Robinson can pick up as a freshman with the guard-heavy back court of Tra-Deon Hollins, Marcus Tyus, Kyler Erickson, JT Gibson, and Daniel Norl.  Robinson has the potential to be the team’s second best pure point guard on the 2016-2017 roster, but it is difficult to put it together how many available minutes there could be for him.  Hold on, my brain is about to take a break to imagine a 2019-2020 back court of Gibson and Robinson.  Okay, and I’m about to slip in a happy coma.  See what I mean about hope in potential?


On an unrelated note…

I got to the Omaha Metro Summer League Thursday night and floated around between as many games as possible.  Marcus Tyus was playing on the UNO Alumni team, and he is looking solid.  There were some brief moments where it looked as if he was still trying to adjust to his knee, but he ran the floor extremely well, always knew where to get to for a rebound, and was shooting lights out.

 

 

I think I don’t know what to think about this baseball firing

It is only Tuesday and the Mavericks are having a pretty big news worthy week for mid-July.  Former track athlete Sami Spenner competed in the USA Track and Field Olympic Trials over the weekend, the men’s soccer season-ticket scarves are out, men’s basketball landed a local commit, oh, and the baseball coach was fired at what seemed to be random.

Weird is the only word that really came to mind when I heard about the Bob Herold firing.  After the first year of being post season eligible, the timing just seemed completely off for a coach who seemed to be completely thrilled with the challenges of becoming a growing project of a division one baseball program, even though Herold was in his 60s when the transition was announced.

One of the things of what seemed so off about the firing was that this did not appear to be anything in relation to Herold’s performance as a baseball coach.  Herold’s .464 winning percentage since transition was the second highest at UNO behind (now former) softball’s Jeanne Scarpello out of the Maverick coaches that lasted at least 4 seasons.  Herold also guided his program to two regular season championships in his first two seasons of officially being in the Summit League.

In no way do I think that women’s soccer coach Don Klosterman or volleyball coach Rose Shires should be let go, but neither have had the success that Bob Herold had at UNO since transition.  Granted, Herold had just a little more time to adjust to division one with his program being a spring sport.  Let me say it again, in no way do I think Klosterman or Shires should be let go.

I admit that when I heard of the firing my brain immediately went to the route of: they must have some new lofty goals with the spring sports.  This is what my Creighton basketball loving/Husker football loving/Husker basketball hating friends have conditioned me for.  I’m not saying they were right or wrong, but when Nebraska made the move to the Big 10 and Pinnacle Bank Arena, those friends presumed that Doc Sadler was going to get fired only because Nebraska “wanted to start fresh.”  He got fired, so maybe they were right.

With the only UNO coaches with wins over Creighton or Nebraska now out as head coaches, either by choice or not, I wondered if the pressures of division one became too much with administration expecting more out of each program wanting to build more revenues for a new baseball/softball complex in the works.  Or, if in Herold’s case, Trev Alberts saw Coastal Carolina of the Big South win the NCAA baseball championship among a field that was scripted to be nothing but ACC and SEC teams, and thought to himself that with a few tweeks, UNO baseball could be right there.  Actually UNO has been literally in that stadium where Coastal Carolina, but you get it.

I didn’t spend much time thinking if the pressures became too much for baseball and softball, both coaching staffs knew what they were getting into when transition happened, but both baseball and softball lost their first Summit League tournament games in dramatic fashion after having late leads.

This is what my brain had to paint a picture of since the few initial reports were basically just: Coach fired just because, interim guy could be fun…

The baseball/softball complex comes to mind because it is something that UNO threw into some future renderings of the university that still have not come about.  Also, when I was on Student Government and Trev was new to the job, he came and asked us why students weren’t going to sporting events and I had to tell him that I really liked UNO sports but I seriously had no idea where the baseball team played.  Like, I knew it was off campus and probably in Boys Town, but I had no idea how to get there.  Then everyone in Student Government awkwardly nodded their heads in agreement.   I think I actually went some time assuming UNO did not actually play some of their baseball games and that the UNO coaching staff just called another MIAA or NCC coaching staff and agreed on some stats over the phone and flipped a coin for wins.

Still, who wouldn’t want UNO to have a new baseball/softball complex?  I’d much rather go to a baseball game near the Aksarben area where UNO fans could potentially tailgait.  Or go to a softball game and not worry that I am going to get a flat tire or have a high chance of having my car’s windshield smashed in with little league softball and baseball games surrounding the entire parking lot.

The interim tag on Evan Porter added even more mysteriousness to the situation.  We’re only a few weeks separated from the 2016 season and the 2017 play does not start until late February; so why officially name an Interim Coach when interested candidates could be sending in their resumes to UNO in the following weeks?  Hell, I wondered if some big name available baseball coach called Trev Alberts and asked if he had any openings just to mess with Trev’s head.  It just seems odd with no interim tag being placed on any softball coach.  Sitting on this took away some of my initial thoughts that Alberts just had someone out there in mind that he wanted to throw a job offer to right away.

Then later in the day, there is some reporting mixed into this that Herold had an altercation with a player on the team bus after a loss to Nebraska.  Which seems like it is really nothing since the firing came exactly two months after the loss.  Athletic Administrations have to do actual investigations into these instances, which apparently take up a lot of time.  So maybe that did play a role in the firing, but Herold always came off as one of the nicest and well spoken coaches at UNO, so as a fan it is not something I can really put a lot of weight into until someone in athletics says that is exactly why the firing took place.

 

Meet future Mav Daniel Norl

That was not really the greatest quality of video that you could find on the internet, you may enjoy this one instead.

Daniel Norl is coming to Omaha from Mineral Area College, a junior college in Eastern Missouri, where Norl averaged 10.6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal, and shot 50% from the field, 40% on threes, and 75% from the foul line.  Norl’s 10.6 points per game was 3rd on the team behind two of his other back court teammates that will be playing basketball at Eastern Illinois and Nebraska-Kearney in 2016-2017.  Mineral Area College was ranked 18th nationally at the end of the season.

Before Mineral Area College, Norl played in 11 games as a freshman on an Eastern Kentucky team that made it to the 3rd round of the 2015 CIT.  Fun note, Eastern Kentucky’s Corey Walden led the NCAA in steals per game that season, so when Norl takes the court with the Mavericks in November, he will have played basketball with the last two Division 1 steals per game leaders.

Out of high school in Clarkville, Tennessee, Norl had scholarship offers to Tennessee Tech, Belmont, Middle Tennessee State, Murray State, and Austin Peay.  As a senior, Norl averaged 20 points per game and was 2nd Team All State for the state of Tennessee.

I’m not sure what you notice when you see these Daniel Norl videos.  I first took notice that he does not have blinding speed as a guard, but I wasn’t expecting much speed at 6’2″ and 210 pounds.  He appears to make up for his lack of speed with a high basketball IQ, great handling of the ball, and willingness to always make the extra pass.  Actually, that is almost the exact profile of a kid that Rick Byrd at Belmont likes to recruit.  It seems easy to picture Norl drawing in a help defender and kicking the ball to an open Mav.  A pick-and-roll game with Daniel Meyer seems like a great package of Daniels to have on the court for stretches of any game.

It may be difficult for Norl to see a huge amount of minutes for the Mavericks in his junior season with Tra-Deon Hollins, Kyler Erickson, and Marcus Tyus all returning to the lineup as seniors for the Mavericks in 2016-2017, but that does not mean that he cannot make an impact.  There were certainly some stretches in games last season where the Mavericks could have used a guy with his skills.  Norl also comes off as a strong defender that could really bother a number of Summit League guards.  40 minutes of having to play offense against Hollins, Erickson, and Norl could really create for a lot of off nights for Summit League guards.

Norl appears to be able to play either guard position, and the Mavericks like to play three guards at once, so there will be opportunities for him to make an impact for the Mavericks in his junior season.  Him and his skills will be incredibly useful against guard heavy teams like IUPUI, North Dakota State, and IPFW, who should be the top teams in the Summit League in 2016-2017.