Posts Tagged ‘Levi Levine’

The death of a dream and the birth of a calling

Monday, November 4th, 2013
A car accident ended former Albany Great Dane Lucious Jordan's career and nearly took his life, but it gave him  a passion for helping young players on and off the court.

A car accident ended former Albany Great Dane Lucious Jordan’s career and nearly took his life, but it gave him a passion for helping young players on and off the court.

God never closes a door without opening a window.

To most, it is a clichéd saying – little more than lip service paid after a stroke of bad luck or a terrible tragedy. To former Albany Great Danes’ guard and current Siena Saints’ first-year assistant coach Lucious Jordan, it’s the gospel truth.

At least once a day – during an early morning layover in a vacant airport terminal; on a lonely drive along a dusty back road on the recruiting trail; or in an empty arena an hour after the last echo of the final horn – Jordan’s thoughts drift back, seven years ago. Back to that ditch along that desolate highway, 40 feet from his car and 3,600 miles from home, where his body lay broken and his dreams were dashed into dust upon the ground.

“I think about that night every day. Everything happens for a reason – I truly, honestly believe that,” said Jordan in a calm voice that conveyed every ounce of stocky-strength carried in his 6’2” 220 pound frame.

Up until that fateful morning, Jordan’s path seemed clear: to keep lacing up his sneakers and following the game wherever the ball bounced. But his career on the court was forever derailed after that horrific car accident.

“My dreams at the time died that day, but it’s where I found my purpose: To help kids navigate through basketball and life. To make an impact and make a difference.”

Lucious Jordan slumped across the back seat of a cramped sedan on the outskirts of Emmen, Holland, in the predawn hours of Sunday, Oct. 16, 2006.

That March, he had helped lead his hometown University of Albany Great Danes to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, bringing his college journey – which began by leaving home for Loyola University in Maryland and ended with him playing the role of returning conqueror at Albany – full circle.

Now, he was trying to get comfortable in to the back of a small European car while simultaneously trying to adjust to a new country. Behind the wheel was the head coach of his new team, the Emmen Eagles, who was also doubling as Jordan’s agent.

The Eagles were a second-rate team in third-rate league, but that didn’t matter to Jordan. At every previous stop of his dirty-work career, the 6’2” man without a position had been told that he was too small, too slow and too un-athletic to compete. And every time the ball was rolled out he had flat out dominated.

As the car bombed down the darkened throughway, the rhythmic hum of rubber meeting to road reverberating through the rear bucket seat, Jordan’s thoughts floated back along the improbable, rocky-road he had already traveled: This – playing for peanuts on the far peripheries of professional ball – wasn’t his final destination; it was just another stop along the way to bigger things.

Jordan’s eyes closed and his thoughts had just drifted off into dreams when he felt the car begin to shake. (more…)

The Mouth of the America East continues to roar

Monday, September 2nd, 2013
Albany head coach Will Brown has led the Great Danes to three NCAA Tournaments, tying the league record for trips to the Big Dance. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Albany head coach Will Brown has led the Great Danes to three NCAA Tournaments, tying the league record for trips to the Big Dance. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Albany, NY – The mouth of the America East will continue to roar.

On Thursday afternoon it was announced that University of Albany head coach Will Brown had signed a contract extension to remain at the helm of the Great Danes through the 2017-2018 season.

“I appreciate the commitment the university has made to me and our program,” said Brown. “We are very excited about the future of Albany basketball!”

The longest tenured head coach, Brown tied the America East record for America East Tournament Championships with his third NCAA Tournament berth by leading the Great Danes to a 53-49 championship game upset over Vermont on the Catamounts home court, Patrick Gymnasium, last season.

The win capped a magical March for the Great Danes, who knocked off seemingly unstoppable top-seed Stony Brook in the tournament semifinals, before going on the road into an incredibly hostile environment to knock off second-seeded Vermont. In doing so, fourth-seeded Albany became the lowest seed to ever reach the NCAA’s from the America East.

Brown has been at the helm of the Great Danes since halfway through the 2001-2002 season. After beginning his first year in Albany – the Great Danes first in the America East Conference — as an assistant coach, Brown was promoted to interim head coach after then-head coach Scott Beeten, the rest of the staff, and several players walked out on the program over winter break. (more…)

Goodbye and Good Luck, Glowiak

Monday, August 12th, 2013

“I have to remind myself that some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up does rejoice. But still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they’re gone.

I guess I just miss my friend.” – ‘Red’ Redding, The Shawshank Redemption

Glowiak-Blue

After nearly a decade at Hartford, Brian Glowiak (left) is moving on. Photo by Sam Perkins

Some players leave a lasting impression on the America East – the rims remain swaying and floorboards quaking long after they have stepped off the hardwood, peeled off their jersey and hung up their sneakers for the last time.

Some people leave a lasting impact, imprinting themselves on your soul. When they move on to bigger and better things, they leave behind a void in your life, and the league, that can never fully be filled again; the dimly lit arenas are that much emptier, and the back roads that connect them that much more desolate, in their absence.

From purely a basketball standpoint, Brian Glowiak is one of the most forgettable players I have ever watched in the America East.

In his four-year career, which spanned from 2004 through 2008, Glowiak appeared in 118 games but started just 13. His career averages of 3.7 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.8 assists don’t even merit a footnote in the America East record books. He never cracked 20 points in a game, topping out at 15 a handful of times.

When ranking America East basketball players in terms of athleticism and physical skill, Brian Glowiak ranks somewhere near the bottom. At a listed 6’3”, Glowiak might not have been able to jump over a phone book or outrun a city bus driving in reverse. He was the stereotypical, forgettable, tough-as-nails, cerebral coach’s son and perennial gym rat that litter the ends of rotations in small conference hoops. But there have only been a handful of players to come through the America East who were as fierce a competitor, loved the game as much, or left as much of themselves on the court.

There have been fewer still who had his character off the court. (more…)

“Ball ’till I Fall,”

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
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Former Albany Great Dane Levi Levine (left) has followed basketball to the ends of the earth.

The legend goes that former University of Albany enforcer Levi Levine was once bitten by a Rattlesnake. After three days of intense and excruciating pain, the snake died.

It’s a story that has been told millions of times before when describing figures (both historic and fictional) whom have displayed seemingly superhuman toughness. Even when told about the immortal Chuck Norris, it’s a story that always told in tongue-and-cheek fashion.

Well, almost always.

When talking about Levine and superhuman feats of toughness and tenacity, the line between myth and man is blurred at best.

Levine’s 1,270 points, scored over a four-year career which spanned from 2002-2006, rank 4th in Albany’s Division I history and 16th all-time at the school. His 610 career rebounds rank first in among Division I Great Danes (8th in school history), while his 138 steals rank 3rd (two behind Jamar Wilson) and his 250 assists rank 5th in the school’s Division I history (8th and 19th among all divisions).

Impressive as they are, numbers don’t tell half of the story of Levine’s impact on his team and importance in Albany Basketball history and Great Danes’ lore. Listed at 6’6” but standing far closer to 6’3” and change, Levine roamed the deadwood floorboards of the America East as the ultimate teammate and the league’s ultimate warrior. (more…)

Tough Enough: Albany head coach Will Brown and the Great Danes are fighting until the end.

Friday, March 15th, 2013
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Albany head coach Will Brown and the Great Danes left it all on the court Sunday, and lived to fight (and coach) another day (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Albany, New York) – Three minutes into the first half of the second semifinal of the America East Tournament, Stony Brook enforcer Tommy Brenton – the America East Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and all-around baddest-mother-shut-your-mouth – lowered his shoulder into Albany forward Sam Rowley, sending the 6’6” 240 pound Australian sprawling to the hardwood.

“Sam! He’s not Tougher than you! There’s no way he’s tougher than you!” boomed Albany head coach Will Brown, his voice rising over the deafening din of the capacity crowd. “He is not out-toughing you! He is not tougher than you – not tonight!” Brown commanded, his voice raising another decibel level.

10 Months earlier, Brown was a lame duck coach playing out the string on the end of his career – in the eyes of most, at least – after his top two scorers, Gerardo Suero, a slashing wing and once in a decade athletic talent, and Logan Aronhalt, a big time shooter, unexpectedly abandoned the program (losing Aronhalt to Maryland and Suero on an ill-advised attempt to start a pro career). A month earlier, Brown was being torn to shreds, his accomplishments (among them the massive overhaul of the Great Danes during his tenure, capped by back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths) thrown on the scrapheap by the local media. And minutes earlier, before the opening tip, Albany was already all but declared the loser and Stony Brook anointed the league champion.

Two and a half hours later, Brown, the man with a quote – response, retort, witticism, joke, jibe, and hilarious comeback – for any and every scenario, was speechless, struggling to find the words after the Great Danes shocked the mighty Seawolves 61-59, to punch their ticket to the championship game.

The silence spoke volumes.

“That was a gutsy win; I have tough, tough kids,” said Brown, composing himself after coming to the brink of tears following the Great Danes win.

With 7.3 seconds remaining, and the score tied at 59, senior point guard Mike Black had stood at the top of the key, staring down highly-touted Seawolves freshman Carson Puriefoy. It seemed to be the tailor-made situation for a symbolic changing of the guard – from Black to Puriefoy as premier America East point guard and Albany to Stony Brook as the premier SUNY program.

Except it didn’t play out like that.

Just as he had almost exactly four months earlier in the Great Danes upset over Washington – the programs first ever win over a true-BCS school and arguably the biggest regular season win in program history – Black blew by his man off a crossover dribble, drove right through the lane, and finished in traffic at the rim, kissing the final of his 16 points off the glass for the win. (more…)

The Will Brown experience: Albany head coach’s press conferences are worth the price of admission.

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

I’ll admit it: I’m a Will Brown guy.

I respect the hell out of what he’s accomplished on the court in his ten years at Albany; turning around the worst program in the country and taking the Danes to back to back NCAA’s. But it’s more than that: The guy is the best quote in the league.

Albany’s head coach since taking over on an interim basis during the 2001-2002 season, Brown currently stands as the longest tenured head coach in the America East, but still hardly looks – or sounds – the part of “elder statesmen.”

The road that took him the youngest head coaches in all of Division I basketball, to present has been a long and winding one to say the least.

Ten years ago, Brown was charged with simply bailing water to try and keep arguably the worst program in all of Division I afloat. During his first few seasons, the Great Danes were handicapped by the 5-and-8 rule (which limited schools to only bringing in 5 scholarship players in one recruiting class and a maximum of 8 over a 2 year span). (more…)

Morris for 3

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Of all the former America East players suiting up amongst the ranks of professional ball, Tyler Morris (Boston University ‘10) certainly didn’t play at the highest level this past season, nor did he put up the biggest numbers. But few players have fought as hard, or as through as much on-the-court adversity as Morris to simply set foot on the court. And on Tuesday, Morris hit what was arguably the biggest shot by any former AE-er in 2011, banking in a three-quarter court shot at the buzzer of game six of the Romanian A Division Championship, breaking what was a 61-61 and giving his club, U Mobitelco Cluj Napoca, a 64-61 win and the league title.

“That shot was crazy dawg,” says former Albany Great Dane Levi Levine, who spent the past season competing in the same league as Morris and who was watching the championship game on TV in Romania. “I’m out here so I saw it when it happened on TV and I was about to run around the house!”

That Morris even had the ball in his hands with a championship game on the line was an improbable story in itself. A few short months ago, simply playing professional basketball seemed like a pipe dream to Morris.

To say it has been a roller-coaster career may be an understatement. (more…)

The Past is Present: Which alum could help your team?

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

How many times have fans sat back and thought, “Man, if only we had player X from a previous season on our current squad…”? While sitting taking in the recent Binghamton/Boston University tilt with former Binghamton star center Nick Billings, we couldn’t go more than a minute without a Bearcat fan approaching the 7-footer and remarking, “We could really use you out there.”

That got me thinking – with so many America East teams possessing glaring weaknesses on their current rosters, which player from each team’s past could best solve their problems? I’m adding my own twist to this one: Only players from the past nine seasons who were never selected as First or Second-Team All-Conference are eligible. Selecting stars like Taylor Coppenrath, T.J. Sorrentine, Jamar Wilson, Darryl Proctor, Rashad Bell or Billings (to name a few) would be too easy – the point of this article is to try to come up with the perfect role player for each squad. (more…)

AE Alumni Around the World

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Earlier this season we checked in on former America East players Rashad Bell and Muhammad El-Amin, who are both competing in the top league in Hungary. At the time, Bell was making a run at another league MVP, while El-Amin was trying to find his footing. Fast forward to today and Bell continues to look like an MVP, while El-Amin played the game of his life a week ago. Here’s a run-down of how both Bell and El-Amin have been doing on the pro-circuit, as well as some updates on several other former America East players competing in the pro-ranks.

Rashad Bell, BU ‘05:

"King Bell" continues to dominate Hungary

Bell continues to excel in the Hungarian A division. Bell has carried Kormend, which sits in fourth place at 12-3, all season long, and currently ranks second in the league in scoring at 21.2 points per game, seventh in rebounds at 9.4, tenth in blocks, while shooting 60 percent from the floor as well as averaging 2 steals per contest. He has been, quite simply, the best player in the top league in Hungary despite facing double and triple-teams every night. When you consider the combination of salary, performance on the court, strength of league and carrying a team to the top of the standings, Bell is having the best year of any AE Alumn playing pro ball not named “Barea.” Bell continues to write the book on climbing the international ladder, and should have some very high level offers on the table next season. (more…)

The All-”Almost-Decade” Teams: Albany

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Over the past nine (going on ten) seasons, OBW writer Sam Perkins has seen an awful lot of America East hoops (by his estimate he’s closing in on 600 games during that span). Since the summer, he has been putting together his “All-Decade” (or more accurately All [Almost] Decade) Team. Leading up to the unveiling, Sam will be posting his “Fab Five” – the top five players from the 2001-2002 season to present – for each America East squad, along with his overview of what each program has accomplished during that time period.

My first year following the America East (the 2001-2002 season) was also Will Brown’s first year at the helm of the Great Danes. (more…)