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UVM Basketball 2007-2008
Vermont Looking To Regain A-East Crown PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vermont Sports Network   
Thursday, 16 August 2007

Source: ESPN

Mike Lonergan was searching for something.

He didn't know what it was until he went to Kuwait.

Part of Operation Hardwood, the Vermont coach visited the troops whose number would next be called for Iraq. He met men and women he knew wouldn't return home. He spent time with Skip Prosser, whose regular Joe touch would once more bring home that thing Lonergan was searching for a few months later when Prosser died suddenly of a heart attack.

What Lonergan needed -- and found -- was perspective.

Still stinging from the double whammy of a disappointing loss to Albany in the America East Conference tournament championship and the surprise defection of super frosh Joe Trapani to Boston College, Lonergan was feeling a good case of the coaching blues.

"I was pretty down," Lonergan said. "I needed something like that, a little dose of reality. I'm so glad I did it. At the time it made me really appreciative, and then later to lose Skip. I didn't know him well before, but everything that people said about him, what a real, genuine guy he was, that's all true."

The trip lifted Lonergan out of his doldrums, but there's certainly still a scar left by Trapani. The 6-foot-7 forward had surprised more than a few when he chose to follow in the footsteps of his father, Charlie, a former UVM basketball player, even though the likes of West Virginia, Providence and Boston College were courting him. In his rookie season, Trapani, who can score from the perimeter as well as play underneath, averaged 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds.

Trapani surprised even more folks when he left Vermont.

His coach and teammates knew he wasn't necessarily in love with the campus life he had chosen but believed his feelings for the basketball program were strong enough to overcome the rest.

"I had heard some stuff, but nothing certain," said senior forward Colin McIntosh. "I had a sense he wasn't enjoying the school in general, but I thought he was pretty happy with the basketball program."

So when Trapani returned from a brief vacation home in April and announced he wanted out, players and coaches alike were stunned.

"Most shocking thing of my coaching career," said Lonergan, who admits Trapani's decision made him look differently at the decision made by Maurice Joseph, who announced he will transfer from Michigan State to Vermont. "I still don't really understand it, but that's life. You take the high road and move on."

Moving on in basketball terms becomes almost as tricky as moving on from the disappointment. Package Trapani's departure with the graduation of Chris Holm, the nation's No. 2 rebounder a year ago with 12.2 boards a game, and you've got a team with a lot of stats to account for.

"One of those coaching magazines wanted me to write an article about rebounding," Lonergan said. "I pride myself on field goal defense, but rebounding? I don't think I ever led a conference in rebounding. That's basically personality, you have it or you don't."

Now Lonergan has to hope that McIntosh, who averaged 7.9 points and 3.5 boards, and seldom-used senior Tim McCroryMike Trimboli can shoulder even more. can replace Holm, while team leading scorer

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 August 2007 )
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