Fordham Plays Role of A-10 Pushover as They Fall To 2-20

Sam BlumCorrespondent IFebruary 10, 2010

NEW YORK - JANUARY 13:  Chris Gaston #33 of the Fordham Rams handles the ball against Josh Benson #44 of the Dayton Flyers at Madison Square Garden on January 13, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Things have changed since the 1970-1971 season when Digger Phelps coached Fordham to a 26-3 record, and things have changed for the worst. Tonight, as the Rams dropped their 15th straight of the season to a mediocre St. Bonaventure team on the road, their loss number hit the twenty mark. Ironically, the last time Fordham won on the road, more than a year ago on January 28, 2009, was at the same venue. 

Hopes weren't too high coming into this year after just a three win season the year before, but expectations were not this low. Sitting in last place of the A-10 standings at (2-20, 0-10 in A-10 play) they are really struggling.

Way back in early December head coach Dereck Whittenburg was fired and replaced by interm coach Jared Grasso after a blowout loss to Bronx rival Manhattan College. This move meant Fordham star and second year point guard Jio Fontian could transfer, after his request was denied following the 2008-2009 season. He did, to USC.   

Things then started to look up for the Rose Hill faithful, as Grasso brought them a solid win against American East powerhouse, Stony Brook, and followed those up with solid efforts against two Big East schools.  

However, as has been the problem for them all year, their second half woes got the best of them, and Fordham hasn't posted a win since the Stony Brook victory. 

In games against ranked teams such as Temple, Villanova, and high profile league foes including Rhode Island, Dayton, and Charlotte, the Fordham team has stayed right with their opponents until the final minutes, but cannot pull through. 

So what is wrong with Fordham? 

Fordham lacks the energy, hustle, experience, and coaching it needs to be able to play in a top conference like the A-10, which could get up to six bids this season.

The Rams main offense in clutch situations is to dump the ball off to freshman star Chris Gaston, and have him drive to the hoop. Most teams can quickly adjust to this one man show, and when they do, Fordham is forced to take contested perimeter shots that cause them to lose control of the game in the second half. 

Can Fordham salvage their season with their remaining schedule? Likely not. They just don't have the capability to hold leads when they get them, and stay close as the game gets deeper into the second half.

The only promising part of this program is the future, with 11 out of their 16 players are either freshman or sophomores.  

A better coach coming in the future also helps keep hope alive.  This program might be in the top of the A-10 in one or two years. Mike Rice of Northeast Conference leader Robert Morris is the likely candidate for the Fordham job if he would like to return to his Alma Mater.

Rams fans just need to wait out this nightmare season, and then will be free to dream of a better future.