SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Mon May 22, 2023 6:56 pm

Rob Benchley, Athletic Director

I’m pretty happy with how this year’s team did. I have to admit that there was a time during the season when I was pretty sure there was no way we’d get to the NCAA Tournament. So their doing that was exciting and fulfilling.

Coach Aura got entreaties from a number of very good programs to take on their head coaching jobs, but opted to stay here…for which I’m very pleased.

He made a couple changes with his assistants. While not firing 2nd Assistant Justin Traore, I think Fred sort of ushered him out of the door. He gave him a good recommendation, though. So Justin got picked up as the 1st Assistant at James Madison. So that was a good move for Justin. After that, Fred promoted Jody Hedde from 3rd Assistant to 2nd Assistant giving him a bit more of a salary increase than I liked. And after he and I discussed things, he hired his son Omari Aura as his 3rd Assistant in charge of Player Development and Practice. Omari was injured during this last season while he was playing for the Indiana Pacers and decided to call the pro game quits. He brings some good offensive and defensive skills to this job and should be good at developing our players.

Coach Aura made a convincing argument to the university’s board of directors for a budget increase based on the team’s success the past few years, increased salaries for assistant coaches, and the fact that 6 players will be graduating next year so we’ll need to do extensive recruiting this coming year. Somewhat to my surprise the usually stingy board actually approved a $7,650 increase!

WIth Coach Aura remaining here at Cal Poly, here’s Coach Frederick Aura’s Division 1 Coaching Summary:

2019-20: Towson, 18-15, .545, unranked, 6th (tie) in CAA, No post-season tourney
2020-21: Towson, 13-17, .433, unranked, 5th in CAA, No post-season tourney
2021-22: Towson, 24-9, .727, unranked, 2nd in CAA, NCAA (Round 1)
2022-23: Towson, 27-7, .794, ranked 24th, 1st in CAA, NCAA (Round 2)
2023-24: Towson, 30-4, .882, ranked 15th, 1st in CAA, NCAA (Sweet 16)
2024-25: Towson, 25-8, .758, unranked, 1st in CAA, NCAA (Round 1)
2025-26: Boston College, 21-17, .553, unranked, 10th in ACC, CIT (Finals)
2026-27: Boston College, 25-10, .714, ranked 25th, 3rd in ACC, NCAA (Sweet 16)
2027-28: Boston College, 34-5, .872, ranked 2nd, 1st in ACC, NCAA (Final 4)
2028-29: Boston College, 30-6, .833, ranked 2nd, 1st in ACC, NCAA (Round 2)
2029-30: Boston College, 26-9, .743, ranked 8th, 2nd in ACC, NCAA (Round 2)
2030-31: Boston College, 30-8, .789, ranked 8th, 1st in ACC, NCAA (Champions)
2031-32: Cal Poly, 15-15, .500, unranked, 2nd (tie) in Big West, No post-season tourney
2032-33: Cal Poly, 16-15, .516, unranked, 4th (tie) in Big West, No post-season tourney
2033-34: Cal Poly, 26-8, .765, unranked, 2nd in Big West, NCAA (Round 2)
2034-35: Cal Poly, 21-12, .636, unranked, 1st in Big West, NIT (Round 1)
2035-36: Cal Poly, 25-10, .714, unranked, 4th in Big West, NCAA (Round 1)

CAREER RECORD: 406-175, .699
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Tue May 23, 2023 11:05 pm

Coach Fred Aura

I’ve had quite a few assistant coaches during my 17 year career as a Division 1 head coach. Here’s what’s happened with each:

• 6 have retired from coaching (one of those, David Woodruff, just retired as head coach at George Mason).
• 2 are coaching outside of Division 1 (one as a Division 2 head coach and the other as a high school head coach).
• 2 are Division 1 head coaches: Kevin Abney at Boston University (19-15 this past season plus participating in the CIT Tournament in his 2nd season at BU) and Landon Friel at Florida International University (12-19 this past season in his 1st season at FIU).
• 5 are 1st assistant coaches in Division 1: Bryan King at Cal Poly presently, Chris Evans at Western Carolina (the Catamounts went 15-18 this past season), Darrell Montgomery at Virginia Tech (this past season he was head coach at Tulsa, but lost the job after going 8-23 this past season), Rashon Richardson at Columbia (the Lions went 16-13 this past season), C.J. Costa at Southern Illinois (the Salukis went 13-17 this past season), and Justin Traore at James Madison (he was with Cal Poly this past season).
• 2 are 2nd assistant coaches in Division 1: Jody Hedde at Cal Poly presently and Jeremy Anderson at Dayton (the Flyers went 16-16 this past season).
• 2 are 3rd assistant coaches in Division 1: Omari Aura at Cal Poly presently and Robert Wilson at Pittsburgh (he was 3rd assistant at Dayton this past season during which the Flyers went 16-17).
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Wed May 24, 2023 11:01 pm

2036-2037 SEASON

Rob Benchley, Athletic Director

We got a budget increase at the end of last season. Some of that increase will be allotted to the salary increase we’ve incurred this season for our assistant coaches and the rest will augment our recruiting budget. Therefore we will keep the training, amenities, and wellness components of our budget the same as it was last season. I’d like to be able to increase each of those categories, but with 6 scholarships to fill (and possibly having to expend money to attract transfer players), Coach Aura and I agreed that we needed to budget more for recruiting this season.

We had no scholarships to fill with recruits last year, but UC Davis had the 43rd best recruiting class, UC Santa Barbara the 82nd best, and UC San Diego the 100th best. So it will be interesting to see how the recruits for those 3 schools pan out.

We’re sitting on pins and needles with the transfer portal about to open. We’re pretty sure some of our players will transfer, but not sure how many and who.
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Fri May 26, 2023 1:59 am

Bryan King, 1st Assistant Coach (recruiting)

We got gutted by players transferring away from us this year. We thought maybe 2 or 3, but 5 guys decided to jump ship.

We pretty much assumed that PF Darcel Aygar and PG Tim Lepore would be leaving and they did. Both had personalities that were cancerous, so to my way of thinking…good riddance!

But 3 other guys are leaving also: PG Bryan Taylor, SF Benjamin Smith, and C Justin Clausen. Taylor will be a senior this year so it was surprising to see him go, but with Danny Preston and Nikolos ahead of him as starters for the 2 guard positions, he has decided he wants to go somewhere that he can start in his final collegiate season (So, OK, understandable and he’s always been a good contributor even when not starting for us.) Smith and Clausen would have been backups again at SF and C as sophomores this year, but both have considerable upside potential so I was looking forward to seeing how they would develop.

All 5 of our starters will be back and all 5 are strong players so we’re in good shape there. But losing 5 of our backups really weakens our depth…unless…we hit some GOLD when we go after replacements in the transfer portal. The pressure is on. We need to add some depth at all positions.
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Fri May 26, 2023 3:53 pm

Fred Aura

Pre transfer Portal thoughts: Like Bryan King said, the pressure is on us as we try to replace the 5 players who decided to transfer away from us. I’m hoping the transfer portal is deep with good players and we are successful at enticing the best ones possible to come play for Cal Poly. Reviewing our existing roster now, the biggest need is at guard. We need a couple good backups. Next is SF since both of our remaining SF’s are seniors this year, it would be great to get a solid player who can start the season after this one. The same goes for interior players. We have 3 good players on the roster, but 2 of those are seniors this year, so getting a couple transfer players who can compete to start the year after this one would be great. So we’ll be trying to land 5 guys who can provide depth this season and compete to be starters next season.

Here's how it went as we progressed through the Transfer Portal:

Initially we only had 5 transfer players showing ANY interest in coming here…and none of those 5 are very exciting.

We worked hard and ended up spending a lot more money than we hoped we’d have to, but after contacting and wooking a bunch of different players we landed 5 very strong transfer players:

PG Scotty Lee, a 6-2 soph from VA, who transferred from East Carolina where he was a starter averaging 11.9 ppg and 4.0 apg. Excellent outside shooter, solid passer and ball handler, good rebounder who is likely to battle Danny Preston to be the starting PG for us.

SG Damien Harris, a 6-1 soph from SC, who transferred from Coastal Carolina where he was a starter averaging 11.4 ppg and 5.1 apg. Very good shooter, rebounder and ball thief.

SF Eddie Erskin, a 6-8 soph from IL, who transferred from Northern Illinois where he started and averaged 8.8 ppg and 7.4 rpg. Excellent shooter and rebounder.

C Estell Luton, a 6-11 soph from IL, who transferred from Chicago State where he started and averaged 12.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg. Good inside scorer and excellent rebounder.

C Calvis Barnes, a 6-8 soph from MA, who transferred from Bryant where he started and averaged 13.6 ppg and 5.9 rpg and was the American East Conf. Freshman of the Yr and 1st Team All-Conf. Good scorer, rebounder and defender.

With the addition of these players we’re now VERY strong and deep at all 5 positions. I’m now exceptionally excited for fall practice to begin to see how our entire roster comes together.

Here’s where the 5 players who transferred away from us ended up:

PG/SG Bryan Taylor: Canisius
PG Tim Lepore: Georgia State
SF Benjamin Smith: Illinois-Chicago
PF Darcel Aygar: Stanford
C Justin Clausen: Buffalo

I contacted and congratulated each of the five and wished them well in the remainder of their college careers. I’m really hoping Bryan Taylor can be a starter for Canisius because he put out for us for 3 seasons and deserves a successful senior season. Bryan also established and oversaw a successful fruit and vegetable collection system that delivered those goods to local food banks. Looking over Canisius’ roster, I think maybe he'll start for them. I expect that the other 4 will be subs this season, but time will tell. I wonder whether Darcel Aygar will again be an unhappy camper if he doesn’t get to play any more for Stanford this season than he did for us. But he’s a good student so maybe the academics and atmosphere at Stanford will improve his overall attitude.
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Sun May 28, 2023 10:00 pm

Bryan King, 1st Assistant Coach (recruiting)

Since one of our seniors transferred and was replaced by a sophomore transfer, we now have 5 rather than 6 scholarships for which to recruit. Coach Aura wants me to focus on signing a couple strong interior players and a SF. He said that if one or both of the remaining scholarships can be filled with very good players, that’s great. But he’s also open to not filling one or two scholarships and then going after sophomore transfer players next year to build what now is a vacant class on our roster.

So we’re beginning the recruiting grind that lasts all year, but is most intense throughout the summer and early fall. We’re going to focus on in-state and in-region recruits since our recruiting budget is limited. After the Darcel Aygar disaster, we’re going to stay clear of recruits with personality issues…and to a lesser degree to those who are too focused on starting and getting a lot of playing time. It’s better to get a slightly less talented recruit than one who will be unhappy the entire year and not get along with either the coaches or his teammates.
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Tue May 30, 2023 9:02 pm

Bryan King, 1st Assistant Coach (Recruiting)

Recruiting went pretty well this summer and fall. We got a lot of recruits interested in Cal Poly and by mid-October we’d received verbal acceptances for all of our 5 available scholarships. That’s fortunate because nearly all our recruiting funds have been expended. Here’s some information on the 5 who have accepted our offers:

SF Louis Taylor: He’s a 6-8 HS senior from Manteca, CA who as a junior averaged 13.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.7 apg, 2.6 spg, and 0.7 bpg. He’s the 102nd highest ranked recruit. He was in the Top 25 at the Las Vegas Revue this summer. He’s strong across the board skill-wise with no real weaknesses.

SG Ronnie Kirkland: He’s a 6-4 HS senior from San Jose, CA who in his junior season averaged 15.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.7 spg, 0.7 bpg. He’s the 473rd highest ranked recruit. His skills also are all pretty strong with the best probably being his outside shooting.

C Brandon Bailey: He’s a 6-8 HS senior from Orem, UT who averaged 17.5 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.3 spg, and 2.6 bpg as a junior last season. He’s the 640th highest ranked recruit. He’s an excellent shooter and scorer from inside, very strong defensively and a solid rebounder and shot blocker.

C Sam Ridnour: He’s a 6-10 HS senior from Bountiful, UT who last season as a junior averaged 11.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.3 spg, and 1.7 bpg. He’s the 675th highest ranked recruit. He’s an excellent shooter inside and a very strong rebounder. But he needs to work on his defense, his athleticism, and his ball-handling.

SF Kenyon Farrell: He’s a 6-8 HS senior from Riverside, CA who as a junior averaged 16.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.7 spg, and 0.8 bpg. He’s the 843rd highest ranked recruit but we feel his skills are well enough developed that he probably should have been ranked higher. He’s an excellent defender who shoots well from both inside and outside.

So instead of filling just part of the available scholarships as we’d planned, we picked up recruits for all of them since we liked the guys we were able to land.
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Wed May 31, 2023 10:18 pm

Omari Aura, 3rd Assistant Coach (player development and practices)

We’ve finally gotten to October and it’s time to begin my first fall practices as an assistant coach. I’m really excited and looking forward to working with our players. I’m impressed with the strength of this year’s Cal Poly squad. We’ve got a very tough pre-conference schedule this year because my father wanted the team to be highly challenged. There are absolutely no pushovers in the teams we play before the Big West conference games begin. And given that 5 of these games are road games for us against strong teams gives me pause. So we need to get the team playing well together this next 4 weeks of practice. We’re not planning to redshirt anyone this season, so all our players need to be able to be prepared to come in and produce in our games.

We’re going to continue to use the Shuffle Offense as our main set, but are lessening our usage of the 5-out Offense and increasing our usage of the Motion Offense as our backups. Defensively we’ll still mainly go with M-2-M but also employ a 2-3 Zone quite a bit. Our full-court pressure will remain primarily M-2-M but we’re trying to get our guys more adept at also deploying a 1-2-1-1 press.
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Fri Jun 02, 2023 12:26 am

Omari Aura, 3rd Assistant Coach (player development and practices)

I’m back. Our autumn practice has concluded and our season is about to start. Practice sessions went well with just a few minor issues arising…nothing that demanded any corrective action.

We’ve got one helluva team in my opinion. It’s not often that you have a starting 5 who all started last season. So they not only have the talent, but the experience and cohesiveness that makes them just a tremendously solid bunch. And any of the other 8 scholarship players can come in and play well. Obviously the newer guys are still learning our sets and getting accustomed to our style of play, but they’re progressing well. I’ve been impressed by all of them, but Estell Luton has been extremely strong inside, Eddie Erskin looks like a top-notch player at SF, and guard Scotty Lee likes to put the ball up from outside and he’s been hitting a good percentage of the shots he takes.

So here’s how our team will begin the season:

At PG, Danny Preston (11.0 ppg and 4.2 apg last season) will start. Backing him up again this season will be Edouard La Touche (3.6 ppg and 2.1 apg) with Scotty Lee coming in off the bench at both PG and SG (11.9 ppg and 4.0 apg at East Carolina in his freshman year last season).

Our starting SG will again be Nikolos Ivelitsch (12.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 2.4 apg last year). Damien Harris (11.4 ppg, 5.1 apg, and 2.4 apg) and Scotty Lee will be subbing at both SG and PG for us. We also have two walk-on SG’s (Jason Brewer and Matt Williams) although it’s unlikely either of them will see much, if any, action during games.

At SF is Trey Small (10.9 ppg and 4.9 rpg as our staring SF last season). We have two backups at SF: Ed Tenys (2.0 ppg and 1.5 rpg) and Eddie Erskin (8.8 ppg and 7.4 rpg at Northern Illinois last year).

Starting at PF will be Victor Collier (he averaged 6.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg last season) and he will also put in some time at C like he did last year. Rodney Boykin (3.3 ppg and 1.8 rpg) will again sub at PF.

Our starting C will be Dekker Chambers (8.7 ppg and 6.7 rpg as a starter last year). Estell Luton (12.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg at Chicago State last year) and Calvis Barnes (13.6 ppg and 5.9 rpg for Bryant last season) will both get plenty of playing time at both C and PF.

Dad and our other coaches are almost as excited as me to see how this team does this year. My dad says that while he wants to win every game, he’s most interested that (with our pre-conference games) we get the guys ready to compete well against the strongest competition. Here’s our pre-conference schedule:

Northern Iowa
@ Houston
Marshall
@ Indiana
Saint Louis
@ Utah
@ #25 Texas A&M
@ #19 VA Commonwealth
JAG Holiday Invitational--#13 Creighton is our opening opponent
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Re: SAME FEDORA-NEW CROWN?

Postby PointGuard » Fri Jun 02, 2023 7:55 pm

Janeka Aura (nurse, oncology)

Fred’s been really happy with how Omari has done with the Mustangs as Fred’s new 3rd assistant coach. Omari has fit in well and did a good job during the past month’s pre-season practice sessions. Omari is excited with what he’s doing. I don’t think he’s missed being on an NBA team. And I’m pleased to have him here with us.

Meanwhile, Malik is playing for the Denver Nuggets like he did last year. He’s still not a starter at SG, but is getting more playing time. In the team’s first 13 games this season, Malik has averaged 8.9 ppg and also pulled down 3.9 rpg. In his best game thus far this season he scored 23 points and had 6 rebounds and 4 assists. He has a good veteran player ahead of him on the depth chart, but as he continues to gain experience, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a trade of either him or the present starting SG so the Nuggets can pick up a solid player at another position and a draft choice.

Devany is a sophomore in high school. She’s doing well academically and her high school basketball team, on which she was a starter as a freshman, is about to start their season. The women’s coaches at both Cal Poly and UC Santa Barbara have come to watch her play and have mentioned to Fred that they hope she’ll consider coming to their schools when she graduates from high school. On the other hand Devany has expressed interest in Boston College, since she became a big fan of the Eagles while Fred was coaching there.

I’m continuing my work with cancer patients and finding it very fulfilling. My father, Al Miller, is still living with us. That’s working out well for both him and us. Right now, though, he gone on a Caribbean cruise with some old friends from where he and Mom used to live in Massachusetts. It’s good that Dad’s gotten this chance to reconnect with them.
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