Blue Devils Fall at Home, Reach 1,000th Win

A game that was expected to be a historic victory for the CCSU Men’s Basketball program turned into a sobering loss at the hands of Fairleigh Dickinson.

The Blue Devils did not have an answer for FDU center and Connecticut native John Galvin as Central fell 80-73 at Detrick Gymnasium on Thursday night.

Galvin, a native of Weston, Conn., went off for a career-high 22 points on 10 of 12 shooting. He also added 13 rebounds, eight of which came on the offensive glass.

Central Connecticut had just seven offensive rebounds as a team. Galvin was aided by the performances of teammates Sean Baptiste and Cameron Tyler.

Baptiste scored 17 points for the Knights and eclipsed 1,000 points for his career. Tyler nearly put up a triple double by posting 23 points to go with eight rebounds and eight assists.

“Discouraging, depressing, disappointing,” lamented head coach Howie Dickenman. “The effort was minimal at best.”

Dickenman quickly focused on missed opportunities in his postgame comments.

“We had a pretty high number of missed layups. Might have been seven makeable layups in just the first half.”

Those missed layups combined with FDU making the most of their opportunities up close was the difference in the ballgame.

Central trailed for the vast majority of the game, by as many as 10 points late in the first half.

The Blue Devils were able to fight back and take a one-point lead with 3:28 remaining in the game. The cushion was short-lived, as FDU’s triumvirate of Galvin, Tyler, and Baptiste all made baskets as part of an 8-0 run in the following 1:46.

The lone bright spots for CCSU included Robby Ptacek, who had the hot hand offensively all night. The freshman guard shot seven for nine from the field en route to a careerhigh 20 points.

Thompson also played well, scoring 11 points and dishing out nine assists. He played all 40 minutes for the Blue Devils.

“I thought Shemik did a solid job as far as distributing the basketball,” said Dickenman. “Robby Ptacek was solid on offense, but as far as everyone else is concerned, I don’t think we got much of an effort.”

FDU attempted to establish the inside game early, involving 6’8” Czech forward Kamil Svrdlik in the first couple offensive possessions. He scored eight points in just 15 minutes, but left the game with an apparent lower leg injury.

From that point on, it was John Galvin’s show. The Knights scored 46 points in the first half, with 34 of them coming from in the paint.

“It’s tough playing from behind,” said Thompson. “We shouldn’t have been down in the first place. We gave up way too many points. They did whatever they wanted to do on offense.”

The crowd of 1,786 on hand was looking for anything to cheer about, but had nothing to celebrate except fleeting one-point leads.

“We probably should give the fans their money back,” said Dickenman.

“This is the first time I can remember in Detrick Gym that I heard a lot of disgusted fans, some catcalls, some clapping that was sarcastic,” Dickenman said. “But you know what? We deserved it.”

Marcus Palmer and Aaron Hall each scored in double digits in the loss. Hall left the game with an injury in the second half, and did not return. He did not play on Saturday, either.

“It’s disappointing,” Thompson said. “It’s embarrassing. We should have beat them. This is a game that we needed.”

Coming off such a staggering loss, Central’s next challenge was the Division II Bryant Bulldogs, who are making the transition to Division I and will join the Northeast Conference in 2012.

“They have six wins against [Northeast] Conference opponents,” explained Dickenman. “Every game against a league opponent is their big game.”

Central’s head coach made it clear that he would rather be facing another NEC opponent instead of going out-of-conference after such a sub-standard effort.

The Blue Devils were able to bounce back on Saturday against their future conference rivals, beating Bryant 65-61 on the road in Smithfield, R.I.

Ken Horton made up for a lackluster performance on Thursday, scoring 23 points and grabbing eight rebounds as he led CCSU to victory, number 1,000 in the program’s history.

Central shot over 54 percent from the field in the game, as they were able to keep the strong outside shooting of Bryant at bay.

It was a close contest, as the game was tied eight different times and the lead changed four times.

With the game even at 33 entering the second half, Marcus Palmer immediately responded to whatever was said to him at halftime.

The senior forward alone outscored the Bulldogs 7-0 to start the second half, with all three baskets being assisted by Shemik Thompson.

The Blue Devils now find themselves 7-7 in the NEC, and 12- 13 overall.

They head back into conference action this Thursday as they host the Sacred Heart Pioneers, who defeated the visiting Blue Devils 77- 69 on January 31. Gametime is 7 p.m. as Central attempts to put themselves back in position to host a home game in the NEC tournament.

-Kyle Dorau, Sports Editor:

The New Hope for Basketball at Central

Women’s basketball at CCSU hasn’t had many moments in the sun.

They have spent the majority of their Division I existence in the bowels of the Northeast Conference.

Much like the basketball program, head coach Beryl Piper finds herself sitting in the bowels of Kaiser Hall, out of sight and out of mind for much of the CCSU campus.

Until now.

In a remarkable turn of events the CCSU women’s basketball program has burst from the NEC basement to contention in just one season. The Blue Devils have already tallied 16 victories with four games remaining in the season and only one year after they managed just four wins.

With the team only losing one senior after the season and a strong group of underclassmen returning next year, women’s basketball at Central looks to be a strong contender for years to come.

The biggest reason for this sudden turn of events can be found just underneath Detrick Gymnasium in the form of the team’s second-year head coach.

Winning seems to follow Piper wherever she goes. During her senior year at Central, 1985-86, she led the Blue Devil basketball team to its best season ever. She won a national championship in Ireland and when she landed her first head coaching job at New Britain High School, she supervised the turnaround from an 0-20 team, to perennial contenders for the state championship.

She then proceeded to capture three during her final five seasons with the Hurricanes and became a CCSU Alumni Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee in 1999.

Then she got the call to return to her alma mater, Central Connecticut, and was charged with the task of rebuilding a program that hadn’t won more than 10 games in six seasons.

But the task of rebuilding is not something that she gravitates to.

“I don’t know why I do that,” said Piper. “I guess it’s about opportunity. At New Britain it was an opportunity to coach and I really wanted to coach and I think here, when I was approached about the job it was just an opportunity – something I wanted to do out of college.”

Her office is simple and unassuming; it doesn’t have to be anything luxurious, as Piper tends to spend most of her time on the court. Her new job no longer allows her the luxury of seeing friends and family on holidays or spending as much time as she’d like hiking with her two dogs Oliver and Reilly.

There are two basketballs that sit above her desk. Both are game balls commemorating her first collegiate victory and her first NEC victory.

Those victories were not easy to come by for Piper. She had to wait until game 10 on Dec. 12, 2006 for that first win and game 14 on Jan. 7, 2007 for that first conference win, a hard fought affair at Wagner College that the Blue Devils pulled out in overtime.

There were only two more victories for the Blue Devils that season and many wrote them off for the 2008-09 season.

The NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll had them finishing dead last in the conference.

“I was kind of happy that the conference picked us 11th,” said C.J. Jones the Athletic Director at CCSU and the man responsible for bringing Coach Piper into the fold at Central. “Because I would have bet the house, the ranch and everything else that we were not going to finish 11th in the conference.”

Jones has been a fan of Coach Piper for years all the way back to Piper’s days as a playerand Jones’ days as an assistant for the men’s basketball team.

He looked to bring her in on more than one occasion, but encountered resistance from some at CCSU who felt it would be a mistake to hire someone with no college experience.

“Probably about five or six years ago I had some interest in her coming in to coach Central,” said Jones. “There was some hesitation on the administration’s part that someone from high school would be successful on the college level. Obviously I didn’t have any doubts, but at that time it wasn’t the right time to fight city hall and bring Beryl in.”

Piper has always been a part of Connecticut and that is something Jones has always wanted in his coaches.

After playing three sports for Trumbull High School, Piper jumped at the chance to play basketball for the Blue Devils and CCSU Alumni Hall of Fame coach Dr. Brenda Reilly as a freshman in 1982.

It wasn’t long before Piper helped lead a turnaround in the Blue Devil program. Central went from 9-18 her sophomore year to 24-4 in her senior season. The season was the perfect stepping stone for the Blue Devils to make the jump from Division II to Division I women’s basketball.

“Knowing the success that she had at New Britain, it makes you want to be around people that are successful… The record speaks for itself,” said assistant coach Glenn Senecal. “I saw New Britain play and I knew the style that they play and the style she likes to play – and to me that’s a lot of fun.”

Senecal watched Piper as he was recruiting some of her players at New Britain High School. Like Piper, he feels at home at Central, which is a far closer commute than his last job at the University of Albany.

“She makes it fun to come to work,” said Senecal. “The success that we’ve had so far, it shows just what kind of style and what kind of coach she is.”

That aspect of fun in Piper’s game is what keeps her players going, too. Piper reaches her team through hands-on coaching, as is evidencedby her heavy involvement in practices and her desire to show players rather than just telling them about how they need to improve.

“She’s been there. She was a player when she played here in college, so she knows what it’s like. The monotony sometimes of a four- or five-month season – she knows how to break that up,” said junior P.J. Wade, who is one of three players left from the pre-Piper era. “We have extremely hard preseason workouts and a lot of times people used to give up in past seasons.”

Like Wade, most of the players on the team respect Piper’s former experience as a college player and for her time playing professionally in Ireland. Piper’s open-door policy and that of her coaches allows them to easily relate to players.

Even though Piper has been part of numerous turnarounds in her career, she isn’t necessarily looking for the tough assignments; they tend to find her. She was simply looking for the next opportunity and it just so happened that every time she had the challenge of rebuilding the team in front of her.

For now, the only things in front of her are the NEC playoffs and pushing her players to go farther than any other team before them in the tournament.

Wade says that the “never say die” attitude of this year’s team is something that has rubbed off from Coach Piper.

“This season people really wanted to get it done,” Wade said, “to be the best that we could be in the preseason.”

Losing has been a pattern for women’s basketball at CCSU, but it’s something that Piper and the team haven’t let it become acceptable.

“It hasn’t been because the kids haven’t allowed that to happen,” Piper said, “… they stepped up in a positive way.”

-Peter Collin, Managing Editor:

Sexting is Stupid, but Not Criminal

Six Massachusetts middle school students are facing possible child pornography charges after sending a nude photo of a female classmate on their cell phones. If convicted, they would be forced to register as sex offenders.

One of the boys, age 13, took a nude picture of his girlfriend and then proceeded to send it to his friends. When school officials became aware of what was going on, the boys were immediately reported to the principal, who then confiscated the cell phones and then reported the incident to the police.

The six boys will now be forced to attend a hearing to determine if they should be charged with possessing, distributing and exhibiting child pornography. These boys acted distastefully and immaturely, but should they be branded as sex offenders for the rest of their lives?

The intent of child pornography laws is to prevent perverted adults from exploiting children, and these boys were clearly not attempting to do this. As it is, the girlfriend allowed the boy to take a picture of her.

Occasionally the legal system loses sight of common sense. That explains why robbers are able to sue you if they get hurt when stealing something from inside of your home. Americans need to take a step back and use some common sense in this situation. These boys are not sex offenders or child pornographers but products of an overly sexual society, who simply decided to ogle over a classmate.

Unfortunately this phenomena known as “sexting” has become somewhat of an epidemic. According to a national survey conducted by the National Campaign to Support Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, about 20 percent of teens admitted to participating in “sexting”.

The survey also found that 22 percent of teen girls have taken part in “sexting”. As evidenced by this recent case, girls need to realize that “sexted” images often get distributed to a much wider audience than the intended viewers. This statistic is somewhat troubling as well as telling of the culture that we live in.

It is time to smarten up. An underdeveloped frontal lobe is not excuse to abandon all foresight. In the age of the Internet, these types of pictures will remain in circulation forever.

Unless you plan on becoming the next Paris Hilton, or feel that your future boss seeing you naked will help increase your chances of being hired, take the smart route and don’t give naked pictures of yourself to anyone. Boyfriends can become ex-boyfriends quickly, and many times break-ups can cause people to do nasty things like revealing personal pictures that were meant to be private.

As college students, we are the leaders of our generation. We cannot let promiscuity define us and we cannot allow explicitly sexual behavior to appear at such early ages. Legally, there should be no consequences for such actions, but we must reevaluate what defines appropriate behavior as our cultural standards of decency continue to decline.

-Shauna Simeone, Asst. Opinion Editor

New Britain Could Provide Perfect Space for Art

According to a front-page article in the New Britain Herald earlier this month, post-industrial New Britain has an art scene “surprisingly robust for a city of 70,000 people.” The mayor, a business owner and New Britain’s commissioner for the arts all agreed, and were quoted in the article throwing around words like “culture,” “imperative,” “opportunity” and “unique.”

Unfortunately, the article failed to quote any actual artists or CCSU art students. Had it, the piece would have probably have been littered with words and phrases like “cheap”, “better facilities” and “what art scene?”

The idea that the town, or state, has been at all hospitable toward local artists is ridiculous.

Last year, when Central art students began their “art needs space” campaign, in which about a dozen CCSU students fought for studio space for students to work, the school gave them two ill-equipped rooms on the third floor of the
ITBD building – an off-campus conference center for local businesses.

Before professors stopped bringing classes over to the space because of its inadequacies, whenever the petty professionals that work in the building walked by the “studios” – one of which had walls constructed out of glass – students
were given the impression they were sitting in a fish tank. In at least one instance, a man in a tie actually rapped his knuckles against the glass to get the students attention for some unknown purpose.

The best part of this story is probably the fact that the Herald’s article featured a map of downtown, including the ITBD building, but never labeled the studio space that the school toted as progress for the arts. It did point out, however, sites like Central Park – a glorified road median, where “Musicians play during summer lunchtimes.” The entire piece ignored the actual events taking place in the area, like last week’s AVIARY opening, in favor of mentioning some vague “art programs” at Central, or stating that City Hall counts as an art gallery.

The reader is given the impression that the two contributing writers had a theory, in which New Britain was an “arts mecca” instead of a collection of abandoned buildings, and
sought out to prove it at all costs. Now, that isn’t to say that this postage stamp of a city doesn’t have potential.

The fact that most of New Britain seems to be made up of abandoned buildings might actually make it the ideal candidate for an arts rebirth – and the creeping economic depression might finally force politicians to begin funding the arts

Industrialization isn’t coming back to Connecticut. This, it seems, we may have already accepted. But why not try something new? Hartford has insurance and New Haven has the ports—so when will Connecticut get an arts city? If the town were to purchase a cluster of buildings relatively near each other (buildings that can be purchased, between the location and the bust real estate market, for nearly nothing) and give them as nearly rent-free space to artists, with yearly solo exhibitions as part of the lease contract?

What about other abandoned spaces around town? CCSU is the only school in the country with a mural painting program; New Britain High School has an art teacher who has painted murals not only all over the state, but internationally. Why not actually give the schools the resources – and the space – to make art a community experience? There are guaranteed more than enough talented street artists and storeowners that would be willing to work together in order to make something that would benefit both themselves and the entire town.

Following the 1929 economic collapse our country saw the state hire muralists to both create jobs and use public art to propagate ideas of the wealth that was promised to come. Why not hire any of the number of qualified sculptures,
painters or designers graduating from Central every semester to both ensure jobs and foster a creative culture?

Arts means culture and, more importantly to tax payers, it means commerce. It means restaurants, the buying and selling of paintings, jazz cafes, bars and an actual reason to read the Herald. It would mean a new reason for students to attend Central, and offer them something that no other state school can—a real art program with a high success rate for graduating art students.

New Britain has a long way to come in not only art, but in every way. What city officials, as well as CCSU administrators need to think about is how, in a failing business climate, to invest money in new and more creative ways.

-Marissa Blaszko, Opinion Editor:

EDITORIAL: Taking Advantage of the Opportunity to Change Minds

Riflery and Marksmanship Club Could Promote Rosier Outlook On Guns

Although gun control has been a highly disputed topic, it certainly isn’t as hot button as it was just a few years ago, when the second George Bush ran for re-election. Still, with this year’s founding of the Riflery and Marksmanship club on campus around the two-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting and the first of the Northern Illinois University shooting, the topic may once again resurface on the Central campus.

One of the challenges facing the students in Riflery and Marksmanship will be shaking the image that guns, on or off campus, seem to have. In the news, weapons only seem to surface as an issue when a standoffish student brings one onto campus; in movies, guns are used for only serious violence or slapstick humor, which usually involves some violence. Gun owners are portrayed as aggressors – never as hobbyists or citizens concerned with protecting themselves.

Gun ownership, as most citizens know, is a basic right; whether it’s to protect ourselves from a burglar or an unruly government, guns have been an important staple in both present and historical America. It wasn’t until fairly recently – the last 50 years or so – that they became debated. The question at CCSU is no longer whether or not we should have a gun club on campus, but how the new club will affect students’ thoughts about firearms. It will take more than responsibility
and good aim to win some converts within the student body.

Besides working on their own improvement, Riflery and Marksmanship should work on reaching out to new, undecided students through events and education, just like any other club. The importance of finding not only new members, but new supporters should be self-evident. With the Democrats, who for good or bad now control Washington, pledging for harsher gun control laws; the existence of not only the club but the rights of gun owners hangs in the balance of forces
between two opposing sides. It will be the majority of people that feel indifference on the issue that will need to be won over to one side or the other in order to bring some level of closure to the debate.

Whether gun enthusiasts at Central know it or not, they play a part in the future of gun control. The problem will, of course, be the same one that any other alternative viewpoint club has; there will be students who are not only opposed to your club’s existence on campus, but will probably try to take a stand against it.

But starting a rifle club on campus was a chance in itself; now, Riflery and Marksmanship needs to take a leadership role at CCSU in order to defend not only its rights, but the rights of all citizens to protect themselves.

-Editorial Board, The Recorder