State of Carmody & The ‘Cats

OK. Let me put this out there right now. After this post, I’m transitioning in to football season. Candidly, I’m burned out of the basketball program talk. Plus, now that the decision has been made by Jim Phillips and Northwestern to continue with Coach Carmody, beating this horse any more is going to be counter-productive to the program. I firmly believe it is appropriate for fans, blogs and anyone that follows and loves NU Athletics to openly question things. I believe that’s exactly what Jim Phillips did when, as he stated, he administered a thorough, objective and comprehensive evaluation of Coach Carmody as he does for each of the 19 sports at NU.

Let’s break down some of the Q&A highlights that occurred on the call.

Things I Liked:

The line in the sand that Jim has drawn publicly about doing things the right way. Specifically he said “we want to win badly at Northwestern, but we’re not going to win at all costs.” Apparently that was in response to the age-old NU question, this time from David Haugh, about the challenges and sacrifices of competing at an elite level in the B1G.  My personal opinion is that I want to win, but do it the right way as well. A growing sentiment in recent weeks has addressed the academic restrictions and I’m for keeping them high. Welcome to the ultimate challenge of NU trying to play large on the athletic scene while not succumbing to the pressures of the cesspool factor of big time college sports. I believe they are not mutually exclusive.

We can argue until the cows come home about the big picture of the merits of change vs continuing with Bill Carmody. I suspect we will at a later date. However, the actual on-court coaching at the end of games was a sore spot with me regarding his performance. It had nothing to do with facilities, admissions etc…It was pure coaching. If you take the late game possessions under the microscope and look at the combination of plays designed (or not) (see: Purdue, Illinois, Michigan), strategies implemented (see Ohio State final :07) and lack of execution (see: B1G Tourney), there was simply poor coaching in key moments. This is specifically a performance-related issue. Dave Revsine reportedly asked about the late game coaching and I applaud Bill acknowledging what was referenced above. Carmody admitted he did a poor job in end of game situations this year.

I really liked the attitude of Carmody that “there are no barriers here”.  He addressed the facilities, admissions and history all at once saying that there are plenty of players out there at the top level that he believes we can get and that the goal is to compete for Big Ten titles. This is what you want to hear, but you more importantly want to see. He stated he expects to sign new recruits within a month as well. He also has high hopes for TCU big man transfer Nikola Cerina whom he says is the best athlete on the team. The focus on local players caught my eye as well as Carmody said:

“We’re going to sign some players over next month and I like the players we are coming back. We are recruiting a lot of local kids.”

 I also really liked the comment by Bill that things used to be measured against internal and now it’s external. Specifically, he said ” We’re no longer comparing ourselves to ourselves, which is what we’ve done in the past. We’ve reached a point where we’re not satisfied. We compare ourselves externally to competition in the rest of the Big Ten and the rest of the country.” Obviously, the flip side of that is that if that is indeed true than consistently finishing in the bottom half of the B1G, which we’ve done even in nearly every one of his 12 seasons, it doesn’t mean you lose your job if you don’t get to average in the conference.

Tavaras Staying. This is the #1 thing to me. Carmody stated that Tavaras will be back in Evanston next year. Phew.


Things That Frustrated Me:

The Contract Talk. Both Jim and Bill acknowledged the public sentiment and the fan discourse going on regarding his future was a primary reason for this teleconference and announcement. However, they both stated the “inaccuarcies” of the terms of his contract, which has been reported on by both Teddy Greenstein and LTP over the past two years as having been extended through 2012-2013 (at the start of last season).  Carmody admitted to having more than one season on his contract, but wouldn’t elaborate and instead told reporters that he will tell recruits and their parents and that he feels confident in telling him he plans to be here for a long time. OK, this doesn’t really say much. Also, I’d love to know specifically what the inaccuracy was regarding the contract and I’m going to reach out to Teddy to clarify. The vague terms of where the contract sits now, as we don’t know the terms, will only fuel speculation moving forward. Is there a “NCAA or bust” agreement in place? Simply put, I think if the team achieves NIT or below status next season, I think that fans will be repeating this same cycle all over again.

Simply put when Bill Carmody says there are things that are printed that are “all wrong” but he doesn’t want to refute them, I’d love to give him the forum to do just that. Perhaps a roundtable with Teddy to clear the air. I really want to know. This one quote in particular is the one that I’m talking about – “I didn’t have time to respond to a lot of these things and lot of inaccuracies in the paper. One person writes something and then gets repeated and repeated and repeated. It’s all wrong, but it’s tough to refute these things.”

Self-Indictment Of Depth – Carmody deflected any talk of the weight of history and also attributed late game close losses, in part, to lack of depth. I don’t think any of us will argue on this one, but aside from the obvious injuries to JerShon Cobb and Tre Demps, there are several other players in uniform that he elected not to use. Additionally, we had scholarship room to give and these all go back to recruiting and ultimately the coach is responsible for depth. It’s too easy to point to Demps and Cobb injuries as the reason.

Rebounding doesn’t equal size. Bill acknowledged that rebounding was a major issue this season, but, he suggested that the size we have next year with Olah, Cerina, and Turner will go a long way towards addressing that. I don’t buy it. Our problem with rebounding isn’t size, it is philosophy, lack of technique and discipline among all five guys on the court and a style of play. I can’t watch NU on defense without focusing on at least three guys on every shot turning and going to the basket instead of putting a body on their man.


You think I’m the boy who cried wolf on this, but Jim suggested he would be able to go public with plans this summer of fall.  The want for a timeline on knowing what the plan was has now been mentioned. Additionally, Jim stated to some degree the timing is out of his hands and in the hands of the NU Board of Trustees and president Schapiro as they are the ones that are running the much larger university-wide campaign that is coming down the pike.  Man, I cannot wait for this to finally be on the board. At that point, this blog will turn in to a YMCA-like fundraising thermometer stick as we’ll be obsessing over every new facility upgrade.

On a lighter note, I got a great laugh when Bill addressed the pounding sound in the background of the call (there was hammering going on) as his head pounding against the wall.

So, there you go.   I’m officially putting down my pen on this one and moving on to football. Feel free to continue to debate, but I highly recommend if you are either satisfied or disappointed to email Jim Phillips and share your support or concerns. Talking about it in the comments is likely not going to lead to anything at this point. I do think that you as members of the NU and specifically LTP community did have a voice and it was heard leading up to this decision. It is clear that Jim and Bill were aware of the discourse, obviously along with the coverage in the Trib, ESPN, Twitter, SippinOnPurple and other outlets. That’s a good thing. It shows that we as a fan base do care, are passionate and most importantly have expectations. As Carmody stated, the measuring stick is no longer against internal benchmarks, but external success metrics.

  • Bluestone Baller!

    Ok – let’s have that round table at Bluestone where u can’ you are more likely get a beer served before you see a Cat Rebound in a game!
    What is the length of contract – that simple! If you can tell a recruit or player or parent why not us? What does Bill want to refute? An intelligent person would sit down would a harmless bias Pro NU reporter as yourself or a soft pretzel like Teddy. Perhaps Rosenbloom should conduct the interview – as a Cat I may not agree with all he said but I did on the facilities part – with Rosenbloom we know some Sailor Jerry would get served and he would get to foundation of it all even if he stripped it down in reckless fashion. I note too , I will personally invite him to a prime Big Ten game this season so he can watch Da Real Kyle Pratt Put a hurt on the ball when he touches the rock!
    You and Teddy would settle the round table with Carmody over a few bottles of Pinot Gris and a hummus platter!
    Come on Carmody – your a Man – Air it out!
    Stand up for NU!
    I did when I was is Juarez for the Sun Bowl!
    When I was in Tampa at a Outback Steakhouse!
    When I was in booking my airfare for the Southwest Regional we should have been in!

    • chasmo

      Is it just me or did Carmody’s discussion about reports that his contract expires after the 2012-13 season seem like the classic “non-denial denial”?
      Carmody said what was printed about his contract wasn’t true and that he is comfortable telling recruits that he intends to be at NU a long time. Both of those statement could be true and his contract could still expire after next season. After all, he didn’t say when the contract does expire and Phillips said “it’s private.”
      I am not completely convinced that Carmody doesn’t have just one more year on his contract and that his non-denial denial isn’t just a way to reassure recruits he wants to sign in November that he will still be in Evanston when they arrive in the fall of 2013.
      But it could be just me who thinks that way.

  • WildcatInAZ

    This was not about Carmody or Phillips. Phillips did not make the decision. Phillips may have had some input, but he is just the spin doctor.
    Morty made the decision. Morty has no balls.

    • cece

      how do you know this?

      • WildcatInAZ

        I been an avid Cats fan for over 50 years. I have multiple degrees from NU. I was active in student activities that brought me in close contact with the Rebecca Crown administration. I have been active in alum activities.

        The NU AD may make the decision on setting up a game at Wrigley Field (although I’d bet he needed approval from above on that too) or on minor coaching jobs. But, NU, a private university being so dependent on donations from rich alums (who frequently care about its sports programs – particularly football and basketball), would not leave a decision on who to hire or fire as football or basketball coach to its AD.
        Just like Henry (likely with input from Pat Ryan and other trustees) made the decision to hire Bill, Morty (likely with input from Ryan and trustees) made the decision to retain Bill. Jim is just the front man on this call.

        • cece

          thanks for your speculation. I was looking for facts.

        • DT

          @AZ Wildcat-
          After 50 years of following and supporting Northwestern Athletics, to my way of thinking you have earned the right to say what you want, how you want in this fan forum as well as a tribute at half time of a football game… Further, what you have the candor to say makes sense to me… God love ya… You sir, have balls the size of church bells per that half of century of loyalty…

          Per your initial comment-Not sure if I can speak to “Morty’s” balls per se, but sure seems like “Henry” never left. Says something…

  • Drew

    The decision is disappointing mainly because we know what the ceiling is with Bill Carmody. I’d like to see what we can do with a fresh face and a new approach. 12 years is enough time. Heck, the last 4 years has been enough time. And really, the poor end of game coaching should have been the last straw.

    I’m not quitting on the program or giving up my tickets, but I’m beginning to wonder if the Athletics department is truly committing to winning Big Ten championships in football and basketball. I’m fine with doing things the right way, and I’m proud of the kids we recruit, but don’t try to sell me that you’re competing for championships as “Chicago’s Big Ten Team” if you’re unwilling to make changes to the coaching staffs.

    Speaking of that… let’s move onto football. How’s Jerry Brown and our secondary doing?

  • DarkSide

    I have been one of the many who asked for regime change. It did not happen. I will fully support the current regime. My criticism of BC is over. I hope that the University, Uncle Morty, J.Phillips and the Trustees give BC everything possible to compete and win. The Purple Army is not satiated with NIT nibbles. We want the NCAA tournament. We want to stick around to compete for a few rounds. We want to compete for a B1G title. Make it so!

  • NUmanager

    Did anyone ask Carmody about scheduling? The one positive take away from this year for everyone should be commit first and foremost to maintaining a strong RPI. The only reason we were even in the NCAA discussion with our mediocre record was because of a strong B1G and what we thought was a horrendous non-conf schedule turned out to be not so bad.

    Lay off the cupcakes at all costs from here on out.

    • Chadnudj

      Yes, someone did ask about scheduling…..Phillips said Committee members told him that we hit the nail on the head with our non-conference scheduling (our problem was not having enough wins, not that our schedule wasn’t tough enough, etc.)

      I’d expect that we’ll have very competitive non-con schedules from here on out, and almost surely will continue to play some neutral site tournaments with good opponents.

  • Bill

    In top organizations, once a decision is made, you support the decision even if it’s not the outcome you supported. Now that Coach Carmody is staying, I wish him nothing but the best in continuing to grow the program and to be the man who leads the ‘Cats to the NCAA bid we all want so badly. I hope that he recognizes the opportunity in front of him, and makes a concerted self-improvement effort by coaching up the defense and to becoming a better recruiter. Go get ’em, coach!

  • DT

    Well said, LTP… In that spirit you suggest, let’s give the Carmody stuff a rest for six months, take a deep breath and then with Spring Football upon us– focus on the further adventures of Coach Fitz, and his brain trust on “D” being Coach Hank and Coach Jerry… What the heck, throw McCall in the mix as well… His play calling by and large stinks in crunch time… What will he do going forward without Schmidt running up the middle with an O Line best versed in pass protection? Ah, the intrigue…

    Hope springs eternal, even where we do indeed, “Expect Victory and Accept Mediocrity”… The state of NU Sports under Phillips and Schapiro..

    • Polymersci

      Since I am not a big b-ball fan, I have been watching the Carmody chatter from a distance, but the decision to keep him rings just like the football situation after yet another consecutive bowl loss.

      I love the “Expect Victory and Accept Mediocrity”

      The question is: If some of the faculty in Kellogg or McCormick or other famous departments had the similar type of perfomance (ie Fitz and Carmody), would they still be around? If the department chairs didn’t recruit the best scholars or scientists in their fields, what would happen?

      KAH is my hero. She consistently shows those boys in the big two revenue sports how its done “the right way!” I’m counting on SEVEN! Go Cats

  • kinsella316

    And you know Morty made the decision how?

  • 2Cents

    What a difference two decades makes. 20 years ago my biggest concerns were: a) if Bill Foster would have a nervous breakdown on the court, and b) getting blown out to the Marathon Oil traveling team.

    Twenty years ago all we wanted to do is not be embarrassed. We’ve come a long way, but have a ways to go.

    • DT

      Marathon Oil and Athletes In Action had some fine talent actually! I’m not sure this incarnation of an NU team would want to face them…. They’d crack a 1-3-1 pretty quick…

  • Bluestone Baller

    Bill must be a yes man with that post…come on Carmody should sit down Charlie Rose style at Bluestone and talk “ball” over a bottle of a crisp buttery Chardonnay and a bowl of mussels!
    Answer a few why ?’s & talk about the future of NU basketball and how we will counter or at least mitigate the last minutue failures of this seasons games….almost 7 I believe…the 2 minute choke has to stop!

    • DT

      Heaven help me, but I’m actually getting a huge laugh out of your shameless promotion of a pretty decent place to grab a bite to eat and check out a few MILF’s as well.. Don’t expect Carmody to stop by for that Charlie Rose session you suggest nonetheless be it with Greenstein or LTP.. The terms of his contract are confidential! I’m sure “Bill” as a company man is just fine with that… Who knows, maybe TMZ Sports will crack the case…

  • WillHe

    Smart decision by Phillips. I’m also happy that on net the Carmody critics are ready to move past the coaching issue and support the Cats.

  • cece

    before you skip to football LTP, there are spring sports.

    Lax has two games this weekend, softball starts next wednesday, and more. if about 7 men’s hoops players can come out and watch lacrosse about six hours after they end their season and fly back to Evanston, maybe you can pay attention to spring football as well as the spring sports in contention right now. the players deserve it.

    • Lake The Posts

      Perhaps you missed the softball post yesterday? I invite you to take the lead and write posts for us on spring sports…

      • cece

        thanks for the offer. unfortunately, cannot take the time from work to cover properly.

        and, yes, sorry, missed softball post, but had to put your head into more than football!

        • Lake The Posts

          same goes here. Reminder this is a side gig, a hobby. would love to do more, but won’t sacrifice quality for quantity.

  • purpleparticles

    Marco and Luka’s injuries certainly hurt the depth more than just Demps and Cobb. Luka might have sucked this year, but he has been reliable in the past

  • DarkSide

    Michigan loses 3 players today to transfer and maybe 1 to NBA
    Let’s get Smotrycz or let’s get…
    Alex Oriakhi, UConn transfer, 6’9″ with 3.6 GPA who likely does not have to sit his senior season.

    • Lake The Posts


    • chasmo

      Pardon my ignorance but I thought the Big Ten didn’t allow a player who transfer within the conference to accept an athletic scholarship at his or her new school. If that is still true, then Smotrycz probably is not someone the Cats could get. But perhaps it’s not true anymore.

  • Narcissus Smith

    Maybe I just care more about football, but to me retaining the football defensive staff is much more inexcusable than retaining Carmody. Carmody at least does a mediocre job with mediocre talent. Hankwitz and Brown do a terrible job with mediocre talent.

    A more interesting question to me is why the admissions office is so unforgiving when it comes to men’s basketball. We’re talking about 3 kids a year: not enough to have any effect on the “academic community” as a whole. Even Harvard realizes this now.

    • NU Nate

      +1, but I fear the days of following in the footsteps of Duke, Vandy, Stanford and now Harvard are still way down the road.

  • Bluestone Baller

    I want it on the record.. this is not to be a propagation of Bluestone or in any fashion a slander…I will say this…on the last excursion there the service displayed more back door cuts away from the table then Bill could ask for – It took forever to get a beer…a Cat crowd and they are overwhelmed…much like Carmody the last 2 minutes of every key Game. Ironic that this is Bill’s favorite place….LTP needs to get exhume the hidden contract so we can undertsand the future of the program path and key elements such as T-Hardy…is Bill a band-aid for 3 years or so for T-Bone to take-over???By the way I agree with the Milf’s in the house…there are some characters in the house…one could pick up more than a marginal pizza @ the “Stone”!

    • DT

      ON the record!!!!

  • Bob

    I was thinking that the major fundraising campaign is at the forefront of this decision. With Bill C. we now can expect almost 20 wins and an NIT bid. If we fire him and the next guy throws the team into the tank, while they are trying to raise $250 million, there will be problems. If they fire BC and the next guy creates a scandal, there will be problems. So with the risks, Morty and Phillips realized we need stability in order to execute the fundraising campaign for the new athletics facilities. Both major coaches need to be in place for this. Now the fundraisers can sell NU sports to donors as a particular brand that is consistent with the university’s mission. They also need the faculty on board, and this will satisfy that. Once the money is raised and the buildings constructed, winning will become a higher priority. This is a price we fans will have to pay and I guess for new facilities, I am willing to take Bill C as basketball coach.

  • VaCat

    I’m out.
    Raise the money without me. I’m not contributing to facilities.
    The administration has spoken and given you the bar they’re holding on performance expectations.
    Expect excellence in academia, but mediocrity in revenue sports athletics.
    That’s their compass. They will never have an athletic department of the quality of a Stanford, which regularly wins the Director’s Cup.

    • Wildcat in Detroit

      +1. Even my son will tell Northwestern University callers soliciting for donations to the university that they can expect to see no money from our household until Carmody is gone. A small victory!

  • Chasmo

    We will know if Phillips’ decision to retain Carmody was the correct thing to do in November when we see what type of recruits Carmody signs.
    We know one forward from Indiana has committed for 2013-14 so that leaves two spots to fill. If Carmody brings in one or two top 150 recruits, then Phillips will have made the correct decision. If Carmody brings in more kids on par with Sobo and Turner, well, we’ll all be back here having the same discussion about Carmody’s future next year, too.
    Carmody’s team most likely will struggle just to make the NIT next season unless by some miracle its three big men all turn out to be much better than right now we have the right to think they will be. Olah, who is not a highly rated recruit, is unproven, Cerina wasn’t much of a player in the Mountain West Conference, and Turner wasn’t good enough to play this year when NU was desperate for big men.
    But perhaps a winning record combined with an outstanding recruiting class will keep NU fans from screaming for Carmody’s scalp next March and justify this decision to keep him.

  • bandcat

    Should be plenty of seats available at WR next season. In a Chicago reversal i think i will see how they play before i pay…Hope i honestly have to Eat Crow..Anybody know if it cookS well in a Crock Pot? Forward, forward to the Gridiron….

  • Wildcat Fan

    I wish Carmody had given 100% this year. With us so close, why is he saying he could have done more at the end of those close games? Why can’t he recruit a full roster of players so we can have fresher legs down the stretch? We would have been dancing if we had scored just 1 or 2 more points in even just one of those games. I was at NU from ’79 to ’83 when we set the football futility record. I was at the Nebraska football game last fall too so I have seen what desire can do.

    I still don’t understand why we can’t recruit players like Notre Dame, Stanford and Duke recruit. Stanford and Duke are ranked above us academically! We don’t announce SAT scores of students, so how would anyone know? As long as we are confident an athlete can graduate and that he has upstanding character, to me that’s what is important. Our applications had their single largest jump they had ever had after our trip to the Rose Bowl. So actually, having a good football and basketball team increases our overall school’s SAT averages! That’s a proven fact. We actively recruit minority students to NU (as every other university does) and we take into account their circumstances and we are admired for that effort. Why should lowering academic requirements for athletes be frowned upon as opposed to being regarded as giving these students the opportunity for a great education? The benefits of increased overall applications, more alumni donations to the university…….go on and on and no one even needs to know because of privacy rules that we did it.

  • Db

    My vote for change had less to do with not making the tournament than for a series of specific events that have driven me crazy including:
    – quitting on the team during the lean years
    – horrible end of game strategy not just this year but the last 2 years
    – coble
    – not filling scholarships when the biggest knock on your teams have been no depth

    The last for me is a fire able offense in and of itself

    It feels like there are 500 people in the world that truly care about NU hoops. You had a chance today to multiply that number exponentially. Instead, a decent percentage of those 500 people will root against the team next year to effect change.

    And honestly, read the transcript again…if they print the same season for the next 2 years there is no change. My first read was they made carmody say a bunch of crap to tee him up to get fired next year, but when your read phillips’ quotes, unless they collapse this year he isn’t going anywhere. They are happy with where they are at and headed. The heaping optimism is now on the shoulders of a scrub transfer and a freshman that wasn’t exactly lew Alcindor. Looking forward to November.

    Per whose decision this is, I do think it would have been next to impossible to get the NU bot to make a move here. They are all mired in our losing past and think the last 4 years is a renaissance. Phillips would have to step in front of a train to make a move, and that isn’t real smart politically during a funding drive.

    By the way, firing carmody for nit trips doesn’t really set a great precedent for fitz and 6/7 win bowl trips. Who knows if that was considered.

    Go get oriakhi.

    • Long-term view

      +1 taking my ball and going home. Terrible outcome.

  • skepticat

    “But, NU, a private university being so dependent on donations from rich alums (who frequently care about its sports programs – particularly football and basketball), would not leave a decision on who to hire or fire as football or basketball coach to its AD.”

    The implication here then being that the rich alumna, upon which our university is so dependent, and who care so much about football and basketball, and in direct contrast to the majority sentiment expressed on this blog, are satisfied with the jobs BC and Fitz are doing? Either that, or something in this thought experiment doesn’t quite mesh….

    • WildcatInAZ

      There is no such implication. Some alumni may have said, “I think you should make a change, but it is your (Morty’s) decision.” Other alumni may have said, “I don’t think you should make a change, but it is your decision.” The point is Morty made the decision, not Phillips.

      The most cogent argument why Morty kept BC is set forth by Bob above. It had to do with the fundraising. I disagree with the tact. I would make a new hire: NU coach, NU facilities, NU direction!

      Had Morty been NU president in 1991, Francis Peay would still be coaching.

      Again, Morty has no balls.

  • bandcat

    Just got off the phone with Kap a few minutes ago. Set the ball up on the tee and he hit it right down the middle…Did not mean to offend Andrea or whats his face…..

  • tump26

    Great summary and I agree on all your points. I do think it comes down to recruiting and coaching. I’d take Carmody’s deficiencies even further than just end of the game mishaps. There’s nothing I can’t stand more than a coach that continues to do the same things when they don’t work. The 1-3-1 zone isn’t the only zone defense to play. 2-3, even a matchup zone. I realize that we may not be quick enough to play man-to-man, but it all comes back to coaching how to play team defense. Too many teams shot open 3’s after open 3’s with Carmody only shaking his head. On offense, I have the same comments. We only run 2 basic sets from where I sit. We have very little back door plays with success because teams know how to defend us. So, time to draw up something differently. The fact that our center position role doesn’t even include facing the basket is a joke. On just one play, I’d like to see the center fake a pass and roll right to the basket. Otherwise, he’s only a liability. Lastly, I measure coaching ability in how a player develops from when they arrive in Evanston until they leave. Mircovic, Curletti, Fruedt didn’t get any better. I’m not sure Carmody can take credit for Shurna coming out of know where after his freshman year, nor in regard to Crawford’s athletic ability. The fact that mentally Crawford seemed to be ‘out there’ on many games is again part of coaching. Building confidence, chemistry, and a winning attitude. He should go talk to Fitz.

  • Lu-O-Meter

    Okay, so Carmody is coming back. That wouldn’t have been my call, but it’s not a ridiculous decision. At least it underscores that our athletic department is not schizo. We don’t hire and fire coaches willy-nilly.

    Next year’s team has a chance to be good. I was not a believer in Cobb until the BIG tourney game against Goldy Gopher. Now I am. Crawford runs hot and cold – but I think overall he could be better as a senior than Shurna (Shurna’s weakness being he wasn’t a reliable scorer at crunch time). Sobo is solid at the point. Hearn is an underrated mini-Crawford. Mirko is a great three point specialist. True, we’re weak under the basket, but you’ve got to assume we’re going to get something out of Demps, Cerina, and the freshman class. If a few things go our way, next year could be the year, people!