Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Five-Year Plan Realized After All

What became a record-breaking season started over five months ago at Rose Hill Gym. (Photo courtesy of Jaden Daly)

April 17th always provides an opportunity for me to break the fourth wall, so to speak, because on this date in 2009, the Plan B I formulated in the event that my career as a play-by-play announcer ran out of gas faster than Robby Gordon in the 1999 Indianapolis 500 (GOOGLE IT) was born into existence.



Nonetheless, while my broadcasting career has taken full flight and remained substantial, A Daly Dose Of Hoops has blossomed into its own enterprise, and continues to expand its horizons with each passing day since April 17, 2009, when it opened as a part-time blog with no particular theme or direction (its initial posts were reactions to the death of Phillies play-by-announcer Harry Kalas and the retirement of John Madden) long before any concept of turning into a full-time website devoted to local college basketball coverage was even in the cards. So, yes, we (and I say "we" and not "I" because you, the readers and fans, have helped me increase this site's reach even more than you may realize) have already achieved so much, and we are still goal-oriented and still focused. Although I did not think so initially, we had a five-year plan. (and no, it wasn't "don't die!")



In that aforementioned five-year plan, it was the fifth year that was the most lucrative. One year ago today, the site's total traffic stood at 94,237 views. This morning, that number has almost quadrupled, as the counter stands at a staggering 370,698, while the Daly Dose Of Hoops Twitter; established a full 19 months after the site was created, has taken on a life of its own as well, with over 1,700 strong in a following that includes such luminaries as Joe Lunardi, Stephen Bardo, Golf Channel personality Ryan Burr, and the one and only Vin Parise, who has been an ardent supporter since the day he and I met in 2010. As I always say every year in this annual acknowledgement, without you, there is no me. No truer words can be spoken, believe me when I tell you.

Aside from the statistical growth, the brand growth of "The Dose" was just as tangible in a season that saw the site cover 126 games in either an on or off-air capacity, six better than our 2012-13 mark of 120. Among those 126 contests were seven postseason tournaments spread across five conferences, as well as the National Invitation Tournament and by far the biggest highlight and milestone of this site's brief history, the East Regional semifinals and final of the NCAA Tournament at Madison Square Garden, featuring eventual national champion UConn. It was a grueling schedule and a five-month stretch in which sleep was hard to come by, but most of all, it was emotionally rewarding and fulfilling. If you can look yourself in the mirror and recognize that your efforts paid off, that vindicates everything. Reflecting now on how things could have been, it was worth it in the end.


The world-famous NCAA cup mandate was on full display during East Regional semifinals and final. (Photo courtesy of Ray Floriani)

Of every game and team this site covered this past season, with all due respect to every program we were able to get closer looks at, none were more enjoyable to watch than the Manhattan Jaspers, with whom we spent 22 nights as Steve Masiello took a team that went 14-18 in 2012-13 to its first MAAC championship in ten years before Manhattan nearly upset Louisville in the NCAA Tournament. Having never got to spend as much time alongside a championship team before, the experience with Manhattan will always hold a place in my heart, and special thanks goes out to Masiello, associate head coach Matt Grady, assistant coaches Rasheen Davis and Mathiew Wilson and director of basketball operations Mike Bramucci for allowing me to spend so much time observing what they built into a winner. While I'm at it, sports information director Pete McHugh also deserves his share of thanks for allowing me to call the Jaspers' season opener, a double-overtime victory at La Salle, in relief of my good friend Christian Heimall, whose unforgettable final call of the MAAC championship game can be found alongside our Manhattan photo gallery:

Rhamel Brown poses with MAAC championship trophy at the Sheraton in Springfield, Manhattan's team hotel during conference tournament. (Photo courtesy of Jaden Daly)

In addition to Manhattan, special thanks goes out to every sports information director, coach (and in the case of Michele Patsos, coach's wife) and program who have continued to leave their doors open to A Daly Dose Of Hoops over the years, as well as all of our colleagues who were kind enough to share press row with us and the people we met along the way this season, particularly Ray Curren of The Mid-Majority (rest in peace) and Ryan Restivo of Big Apple Buckets, who has become a friendly rival over the past two years and is once again churning out MAAC and Stony Brook-related content at a pace I cannot keep up with. If you're willing to have me and my staff back next season, I would consider it an honor.

I couldn't do it alone, however, which is why I appreciate the tireless contributions of Jason Schott and Ray Floriani all the more. Not only was Jason the go-to guy for St. John's University coverage, he also stepped up to cover the NCAA Tournament and NIT among his many other efforts, while Ray's photo essays captured the season in a unique way that has yet to be duplicated, not to mention the "Renaissance Man" introducing tempo-free statistical analysis to the site and converting a long-standing traditionalist in yours truly into a new way of sizing up the teams we saw in front of us. 

In November, Patrick McCormack became a member of the family, making his debut in the championship game of the preseason NIT between Arizona and Duke, providing A Daly Dose Of Hoops with a four-man staff that I would like to add to next season. Reach out at dalydoseofhoops@gmail.com if you are interested in coming on board, and we can go from there.

Finally, I cannot end without thanking everyone who takes the time to read the content on this site. You all are the people who matter most, and each of you is; and will always be, a much bigger part of my life than you will ever know. We do it for the love, we do it for the fans, we do it for all of you.

Five years are in the books, and I think I speak for everyone in revealing the enthusiasm we all share in regard to our sixth year together. The road to be traveled is still a blank canvas, with mounds of surprises to be revealed along the way, and if all goes well, it will be an experience that should be, in the very least, just as memorable as the one that concluded earlier this month.

I've said pretty much everything that needs to be said, and for those of you who know me well, you know of my great pride in being a throwback as a play-by-play announcer, one who tells a story without an excessive amount of words while letting the game speak for itself. I close by once again expressing my thanks for everything over the past five years, and I would love to be able to bring the game of college basketball to you again in 2014-15.

Your support of what has come to be the closest thing I have to a child (in the foreseeable future, at least) means far more than any amount of words in which anyone attempts to describe it ever can. One more time, thank you, my friends. Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

Jaden Daly
Founder and Managing Editor
A Daly Dose Of Hoops




  

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