Apr 8 / Rob

JMU Lacrosse Is Pretty Much Crushing Souls

Back before the season started, we were lucky enough to have JMU Lacrosse Head Coach Shelley Klaes-Blawcomb join us on an episode of the JMUSB Podcast. I asked her if the team entered the season with the goal of winning a national championship. The question came from my legitimate curiosity about how high level programs established goals. The intent was not to put Coach Shelley on the spot or raise expectations. Because I’m a hack though, that’s kind of how it came across. Well, I don’t feel as bad about it now, because this JMU team is ranked 4th in the nation absolutely a contender to win the whole damn thing.

The Dukes absolutely dominated Drexel by the score of 15-2 on Sunday afternoon. JMU carried a 10-0 lead into halftime and registered 12 goals before the Dragons found the back of the net a single time. In a word, JMU was dominant. Kristen Gaudian and Elana Romesberg both recorded hat tricks. Oddly enough, that’s a below average game for each of them. Gaudian and Romesberg are the top 2 scorers in the CAA this season, averaging 3.58 and 3.33 goals per game respectively.

The win moved JMU to 11-1 overall and a perfect 2-0 in CAA play. The CAA season opener was actually even more of a blowout than the win over Drexel. JMU got league play started off with a 19-5 win over Delaware. In that contest, Romesberg tallied 5 goals and Gaudian added 3 more. Much like they did against Drexel, the Dukes took control early and never looked back.

JMU is off to the program’s best start in its 50 year history. They’ve won 3 straight games by double digits and have a ridiculous 81 goal scoring differential. They’ve got the top 2 goal scores in the CAA and 4 overall in the top 10. As a team, the Dukes score a league leading 15.75 goals a game and giving up fewer than 9 per contest. The offensive generates a ton of shots and the players are converting at a very good 48.3%. And they’re also winning draw controls and scooping up ground balls, two things that are sure to make Coach Shelley proud. In short, this is a damn good JMU team. They’ve still got to run the rest of the CAA gauntlet and face an outstanding Towson team, but they’ve got what it takes to make a deep tourney run.

Apr 4 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Favorite JMU Athletes & a Trip to Harry Potter World

We’re back from vacation and back at it. In the this episode of the JMUSB Podcast we talk about our favorite JMU athletes of all time. We also put a wrap on March Madness, discuss Lefty finally making the Hall of Fame, and end the show chatting about some of nerdier interests, which of course devolves into a little rant about spending WAY too much money on wands at Harry Potter world in Universal Studios. The end result is that what we planned to be a quick 20-30 minute episode, somehow ends up much longer.

As always thanks to our friends at Pale Fire Brewing for sponsoring the podcast. Drop in for a beer next time you’re in the ‘burg.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via iTunes.

Mar 21 / Rob

And Now Some 26 Year Old Footage of Dave Matthews at PC Ballroom

This video is from way back in the day. It’s from so far back that it predates even my time at JMU (by mere months, but technically true). And boy does it send us back. First off, it’s actual footage of a Dave Matthews Band show live from the concert mecca known as the PC Ballroom. If you were at JMU in the 90s, you’ll probably find it rather familiar. The baggy clothes and the “dancing” are perfectly representative of what you’d see if you walked into any JMU party roughly between 1992 and 1996.

Everyone loves to mock the more outlandish styles of the 70s and 80s, but as you can tell from this video, 90s fashion was a special kind of awful. There was nothing too glaring or over the top about things, but more just a general lack of fit. People didn’t really wear clothes, as much as they hung them around in loose proximity to their bodies. And I bet if we were able to zoom in, we’d spot more than a few folks in heavy wool socks and Birkenstocks. Or a pair of just plain ugly, “party shoes,” which were basically the oldest, rattiest shoes folks had, worn specifically to splash in puddles of Beast Lite. Functional, yes. Stylish, no.

And those weird movements that folks in the crowd were making? Those weren’t involuntary spasms, they were carefully crafted dance moves. Seriously. We’d mock everyone in the crowd, save for the fact that there is very likely footage somewhere of us doing the exact same thing. Or worse, of us doing the “pretzel.”

Mar 21 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: Never Too Early for Football Talk


Bumpers shut down weeks ago, but somehow we’re still able to record on it. Maybe someone forgot to turn off the server. Or maybe we’re special. In any case, there’s a brand new episode of the JMUSB Podcast available for your listening pleasure. In this episode, we talk a little spring football. And damn did it feel good to talk football. We chat a bit about position battles and what to expect next season, Then we have a long and rambling discussion about weird grandparent stories, that we fully expect folks to disregard, but we enjoyed thoroughly.

Thanks again to our podcast sponsor Pale Fire Brewing. Drop in for a beer next time you’re in the ‘burg. Or grab one in DC now that you can find it in the Capital.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via iTunes.

 

Mar 16 / Rob

Happy Friggin Friday, Cardon Johnson is Coming Back

Cardon Johnson is coming back y’all. Yes, the extremely talented running back who has experienced some brutal luck with injuries, will be suiting up for the Dukes in the fall. The NCAA granted him a 6th year of eligibility due to a hardship waiver. There was no word on whether or not Andre Semenov advised Johnson and the Dukes during the waiver request process.

This absolute great news for Johnson, and for Dukes fans. Cardon went done with season ending injuries the past two seasons. It’s exciting that he’s going to get a chance to go out on his own terms. It also makes the Dukes offensive backfield quite dangerous. Johnson turned heads last year in the season opener against ECU. In that game he rushed for 265 yards and 2 scores. The performance had JMU fans drooling and eager to see what he could do as the featured back. But he suffered an achilles injury two games later, which knocked him out for the year.

In his JMU career, Johnson has rushed for over 2,088 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s an explosive back who also runs with plenty of power. He’ll join a backfield that already includes studs like Marcus Marshall, Trai Sharp, and Percy Agyei-Obese. Marshall and Sharp have both started games and Agyei-Obese gave fans a taste of his tremendous potential as a freshman last year when he averaged 5.7 yards per carry. The crew gives the Dukes plenty of depth at running back and will help make whoever earns the starting QB job breathe a little easier on Saturdays.

Mar 13 / Rob

Giving Day Is Here, So Make a Donation & You Could Be a Guest on the JMUSB Pod

JMU Giving Day sort of snuck up on us this year, so we’re a little behind the 8 ball in terms of getting a promotion together. But we hope you like the one we came up with at the last minute. It’s dead simple. Make a donation to the JMU Duke Club today (ideally above and beyond what you’re planning on giving) and you’ll be eligible to be a guest on a future episode of the JMUSB Podcast. Just make the donation and then leave a comment below, @ us on Twitter, or leave a comment or message on Facebook letting us know that you did. We’ll throw all the names in a hat and choose a lucky winner to be a guest on a future podcast. That’s all you need to do.* It’s really that simple. And don’t worry about logistics, we’ll record via a smartphone or browser, so you won’t need to come to us.

Giving Day is a big deal for JMU and a big deal for us personally. It’s an opportunity to build on JMU’s already tremendous school spirit and support the university that has given us so much. And the Duke Club is a particularly great way to support JMU for sports fans. All the money goes to support student athlete scholarships. So when you donate, you’re hoping to pay for all the athletes who give us so much joy, to get an education. It’s a win-win.

* It would also help if you’re not a complete bore and can deal with 2 incompetent podcast hosts. 

 

Mar 13 / Rob

The Latest Episode of the JMUSB Pod is The Last One on Bumpers


 

We’ve been using Bumpers to record and manage the JMUSB Podcast since it’s inception. Unfortunately, Bumpers is shutting down. Therefore, we’ll be moving the JMUSB Podcast to a new platform. We’re not sure where we’ll land, but all the episodes should continue to be available via iTunes, so it should be seamless for listeners. You just won’t be able to listen in the Bumpers app any longer.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s discuss the latest episode. In it we discuss JMU Giving Day, which is today. So break out your wallets and cut a check to good ol’ JMU everyone. Then we go around the horn with a grab bag of topics, including the state of men’s hoops, women’s NIT, lacrosse, and why it’s ridiculous for JMU to attempt to make basic human kindness a brand.

Thanks again to our podcast sponsor Pale Fire Brewing. Drop in for a beer next time you’re in the ‘burg.

Be sure to subscribe to the JMUSB Pod via iTunes.

Mar 7 / Rob

The 2013 JMU NCAA Tournament Team Really Stank Apparently

The 2013 JMU basketball team has a special place in most fans’ hearts. That year’s team won the CAA Tournament and punched its ticket to the big dance after a 19 year absence for JMU. It was a high water mark for a program that hasn’t sniffed the tourney since. Well, thanks to Mark Selig and the Washington Post, we now know that the team stank. Literally.

The former JMU basketball beat writer for the DNR, shared a great story from Joe Kuykendall in an article yesterday. Joe was one of the managers for the Dukes team that year. Among his many duties, he was responsible for washing and preparing all of the uniforms.

As you might recall, the Dukes opened the tournament with a victory over William & Mary. JMU wore its white jerseys that game, which were promptly gathered into a duffel bag, and then tossed onto the floor of Kukyendall’s hotel room a few blocks from the arena. The plan was for the team to wear purple its next game, which it did, and then the gold unis if necessary after that (ed. note: Three games in one tournament! Can you imagine?) Everything went according to plan until about 30 minutes before the tipoff of the championship game against Northeastern. Officials told JMU that its gold uniforms didn’t contrast with Northeastern’s, so they’d have to switch. That sent Joe and the other managers scrambling back to the hotel to get the duffel bag full of sweaty, stinky purple uniforms. They made it back to the arena with under 10 minutes to spare. The players suited up in the smelly jerseys and shorts, then went out and won the dang tourney.

So maybe that’s what we’ve been missing. Funky and rank uniforms. We’d try anything at this point.

Mar 5 / Rob

JMU Closes the Season With a Loss to Drexel

That’s all she wrote folks. JMU fell to Drexel in the Dean Keener round of the CAA Tournament, ending the 2017-2018 season. The Dukes played well in the opening half of the 70-62 loss, but the wheels came off down the stretch. After a season of exciting offensive play throughout the entire conference, this one was a throwback to the CAA rock fights of yesteryear. The referees called 51 fouls, which really hampered the flow of the game. Unfortunately, JMU only managed to convert fouls into 14 points thanks to shooting a pedestrian 64% from the stripe. Drexel on the other hand knocked down 85% and scored 28 points off free throws. As for the shooting from the field, the less we say about it, the better. Both teams were frankly, awful. They combined to hit only 39 of 121 attempts. Do the math. That’s truly terrible. Matt Lewis lead the Dukes in scoring with 15 on a tough shooting performance. Mosley and Banks had 13 and 10 respectively. Here are 3 key numbers after the game.

17

That is the number of field goal attempts JMU missed in a row in the second half. Yes, the Dukes missed 17 straight shots. It was awful. Missed jumpers. Missed layups. Missed put-backs. Picture a shot a team could miss and JMU probably did just that. I’ve been a JMU fan for a long, long time (which is kind of a way of saying I’ve watch a LOT of bad basketball), but I don’t recall seeing a team go that cold with the game on the line. It was uncanny. This year’s team didn’t shoot particularly well, but we never saw 17 straight misses coming. It was brutal. And it cost them a game that they could have won.

7

That’s the number of blocks Drexel’s Austin Williams had for the game. To say he did an excellent job protecting the rim in the second half wouldn’t do it justice. He did a pretty damn good Dikembe Mutombo impersonation. If he wasn’t blocking shots, he was getting Dukes to pass them up. JMU shot like crap all game. You can chalk some of that up to it just being a particularly bad night. But you also need to give Williams some credit. Basketball teams go cold all the time. Typically, you see guys try to get to the hole when the jumpers aren’t falling. JMU didn’t seem to want to get anywhere near the rim when Williams was set up down low though. His defense absolutely changed the game.

45

That’s the number of losses JMU has under Coach Lou Rowe. In 2 years. And those losses are balanced by only 20 wins. We’re stating this not say the sky is falling. We’re simply acknowledging that the record is not great under Rowe. It’s not even respectable. We get that.

However, JMU landed two players, Matt Lewis and Darius Banks on the All CAA Rookie team this year. One of Rowe’s other recruits, Stuckey Mosley, earned All CAA third team honors. JMU’s freshmen scored over 1,000 points this season. The class was responsible for 43% of JMU’s scoring. All five guys averaged at least 10 minutes of playing time.

JMU loses Ramone Snowden and Joey McLean next year. They’re both nice pieces, but as seniors they essentially became role players after they were eclipsed by their younger teammates. And that’s not a knock on them, it’s a compliment. They both showed a lot of maturity and adjusted their roles to suit the team. They played well, but the guys taking their minutes for the next few years have much higher ceilings. Banks and Lewis have All CAA potential. Mosley already made All CAA and should be even better next year.

We’re not blind to reality and we understand nobody is confusing Coach Rowe with John Wooden just yet. He’s done a really nice job putting his stamp on this team defensively. And he’s assembled a talented roster to work with. Now it’s time for him to show everyone what he’s got with the offense. We wish there were more wins too. Trust us. But we can either wallow in our misery, or we can recognize that there is real potential with the program. We choose to be positive. It’s way more fun.

Go Dukes.

Feb 27 / Rob

JMUSB Pod: CAA Hoops Preview With Brian Mull

When we came up with the idea for the JMUSB Podcast, Todd and I had a list of guests we’d like to have on, should we actually get thing off the ground. You heard many of the guys on the list during football season. Without a doubt though, our top target for hoops was Brian Mull. Thankfully, things worked out and we were lucky enough to have Brian on the latest episode to preview the CAA Basketball Tournament.

We first became fans of Brian’s work when he was the UNCW beat writer for the Wilmington Star News. He did an outstanding job covering the league at large. He no longer covers hoops for the newspaper, but is a contributor for other outlets including The Fieldhouse, the college basketball vertical at The Athletic.

On this episode, we discuss the CAA basketball regular season, including some of the teams that surprised us (in both good ways and bad ways), reminisce about the CAA Hoops of old, and take a look at this weekend’s tourney down in Charleston. It was an absolute blast to record and we think you’ll enjoy it if you’re a long time CAAhoops-head, or a relatively newbie who’s looking to get smart on the league before this weekend.

As always, thanks to Pale Fire Brewing in Harrisonburg for sponsoring the JMUSB Podcast.