YPSILANTI, Mich. —- The frustration is beginning to pile up inside the friendliest basketball arena in the league and the home of the Eastern Michigan Eagles, the Convocation Center,like a seven-car vehicle accident somewhere on Interstate 94 and for Eastern Michigan University basketball coach Charles Ramsey, he expected a better overall results than 4-13 and a 1-3 in the Mid-American Conference.
Frankly nieces and nephews, your old Uncle Mel expected a better showing and a better record too but when we all watch the Eagles struggle so hard, well it is like watching your favorite performer in a real bad production – it just too hard to witness.
If the Eagles were not blessed with the many talents of senior power Brandon Bowdry doing everything for the Eagles including driving the team bus and acting as the traveling secretary for Eastern Michigan University basketball team then this team would not have any victories at all this season.
Bowdry’s emotional time bomb exploded on January 11, 2011 at the end of the game with Northern Illinois University a 71-69 defeat and Bowdry got onto trouble because he became very animated and did not choose his words of frustration wisely, his act caused Ramsey to place his foot down with a thundering thud and discipline Bowdry, what Ramsey described his reason for the suspension simply because Bowdry’s actions were detrimental to the team.
Nobody can say that the Eagles do not play with a heart of warrior, with a physical grit or show any type of character but what fans do say is the Eagles look like they are afraid to play the game, they have poor shot selections, they have no on the floor leadership and they just do not function as a team – no chemistry.
It is evident nieces and nephews that in the Mid-American Conference or in any well develop college basketball program, it is imperative to have an excellent point-guard because the offense begins in the capable hands of your point guard but so does any kind of success when a team is playing defense.
For the Eagles the defense is the key for any kind of success on offense because it gives the Eagles a chance to get into the transition game for a quick basket which is good for the Eagles but most important it gives the Eagles a chance to get into the much more preferred option of a set half court plays.
Getting into the half court option gives a chance for any point-guard to get a look and recognize the defense before he can place the offense into motion.
Ramsey’s philosophy is if the Eagles have the basketball and work the perimeter looking for an open lane for the offense to be successful and limit the favorable chances for the opponent.
Ramsey is relying on 5-10 point guard Darrell Lampley to step up and take the reigns and except the challenging position.
Lampley transfer to Eastern Michigan from Lakeland Community College where he averaged 17 points per game and lead his team in assist with an average of 6.8 per game and while he went to school at Lakeland he maintained a 3.0 grade average, Ramsey is confident that Lampley is athletic enough to lead the Eagles on the court but Ramsey is also confident that Lampley is a smart basketball player on the court.
Lampley has made an appearance in every game for the Eagles and getting the call to start 13 times, Lampley answered the call by averaging 7.1 points per game and has 75 assist but he has made 34 turnovers but Ramsey has shown most of the time with Lampley some patience and giving Lampley a chance to get acclimated to the speed of the game.
A player that is disappointing the Eastern Michigan University fans and an act they do not like is the magic act of small forward from Fayetteville, North Carolina Jay Higgins.
Higgins offense and his game too many times disappears from the floor and like Ramsey the fans of Eastern Michigan University is waiting for Higgins to arrive and give some help to the rest of the offense.
Higgins is in his second season under Ramsey and he should have a good working understanding of the offense and understand that it is the defense that makes the offense work, he has made 28 turnovers and is only scoring four points a game and when he get a chance at the free throw line like his offense his ability to make points from the free throw line disappears.
Last season Higgins scored eight points per game and finished 12th in the conference in making three-point baskets hitting 58 baskets beyond the arc.
Higgins should be a better scorer and should have confidence in his ability but so many times he passes up an open look at the basket looking for another option and forcing the ball into an area that is well covered, the more mistakes he makes the confidence in his game suddenly sinks and then he disappears and that makes the Eagles offense into one dimension game.
Last season the Eagles were provided a strong low post presents by the play of Justin Dobbins and sitting on the bench and watching his performance is this year’s post player Jamell Harris.
Dobbins provide the Eagles with some character and a player that would come to the arena with some blue collar grit. He would be able to fire up his team mate with some strong moves inside and under the basket but this season the Eagles are still waiting to hear from the voice of Harris.
Harris is 6-8 and like the rest of the Eagles he understands the success of the defense makes the offense get up and perform, Harris has made 39 blocks but he is also guilty of 22 turnovers too many times passes into him from his team mates slip through his hands and bounce out side the court.
Harris needs to show his team mates what he learned from watching Dobbins and show some personality and give the Eagles a post player that is a threat and not a liability.
Ramsey said after his team was defeated by Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo that you are judged by the results and that the actions are forgotten.
Ramsey is a strong coach and his personality is on display every time his team takes the court because that his is reflection that the Eagle fans see on the floor.
Like Ramsey the Eagles work hard and they would like the results to reflect the effort.
Ramsey is looking for senior leadership to show the way for the rest of the season and for Bowdry, Higgins and senior forward Will Cooper who is an option for Ramsey from the bench, to be leaders and give to Ramsey and the Eastern Michigan University fans the desired results.
Sunday afternoon’s game against Central Michigan University at the Convocation Center is all ready a big game for the Eagles because it is a chance to get back into the win column and not lose sight of the team that is in first place of the West Division Ball State University.
If the Eagles lose then the frustration continues and the season begins to look hopeless.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.