PantherU

A Jerk’s Guide to the Detroit Titans

PantherU has decided to forego the usual ho-hum season previews of basketball teams in the Horizon League, instead…well…we’re just gonna trash your team in the style of Deadspin (yeah, we’re not even covering up that we’re ripping them off). For years, PantherU has been second only to the Horizon League office in pissing off Horizon League hoops fans, and it’s high time we embraced the villain. It’s all in good fun, so don’t take it seriously and be ready to enjoy the previews. If you are a fan of a Horizon League team and you want to be a part of trashing your own team, feel free to send all to jimmy@pantheru.com.

The team: Detroit Titans

2014 record: 13-19 (6-10 Horizon League)

The coach: Ray McCallum, settling in as the Horizon League’s best mid-carder. Yes, the Titans actually made the NCAA Tournament two years ago, thanks to the foresight of Ray McCallum Sr. to line up impregnating his wife exactly 18 years before he was in desperate need of a scoring point guard. That kind of planning is just outstanding, considering he wasn’t even a head coach at the time, let alone head coach of the Titans.

Ray Sr. benefited from the ability to recruit at the dinner table. Are we entirely positive that he wasn’t offering Junior a shorter list of chores in exchange for a commitment?

Anyways, without his son running the point, Ray Sr. has been stuck with other people’s kids. These days, it’s the manchild of Juwan Howard, aptly named Juwan Howard, Jr. With Junior (Ray) not on the roster, McCallum is a Youngstown-esque 40-56. With him, 59-43. It’s easy to get over being a jerk about the Titans when you remember the classy treatment they gave Valparaiso at the 2012 Horizon League Tournament.

The star: Juwan Howard Jr., or this generation’s poor man’s Quin Humphrey. Isn’t that the best comparison ever? Oh…you don’t get it? If you didn’t get that, you’re still not on our level. Ooooooookay. Quin Humphrey was the star forward for Youngstown State who led the Horizon League in scoring and rebounding in the 2005-06 season. Howard may not be quite that good, but the numbers are strikingly similar. Oh yeah, like the 05-06 Penguins, the Titans sucked something awful.

Of course, in the most Detroit thing ever, Howard transferred to the school from Western Michigan. Like LaMarcus Lowe and what I’m assuming are plenty of non-basketball players who thought they were happy to escape the crapfest that is Kalamazoo only to find themselves buying textbooks from behind bulletproof glass.

Could be worse: You could still have some scary citizens on the roster. Eli Holman may or may not have played his senior season with an ankle bracelet beeping. You have Juwan Howard Jr., who will score 20 points a game because holy shit someone has to.

This is the worst: Your fans sincerely believe that the Atlantic 10’s Bernadette McGlade has been sitting on hold for the last three years. The Atlantic 10 certainly has schools that are similar to UDM – Davidson, Duquesne, Fordham, La Salle, St. Bonaventure, and Saint Louis are all Catholic schools – but the A-10 is only in the business of getting teams they think can help their basketball profile. That means Davidson, VCU, George Mason etc. Does that mean that Detroit wouldn’t be a good fit? I think they’d be a pretty good fit. They’re close to Duquesne, Dayton, and St. Bonaventure. Their addition would certainly cut some costs for Saint Louis, a university the A-10 is desperately trying to hold onto as the Big East’s wagons circle for SLU and Dayton.

Detroit is even better at basketball than a good chunk of A-10 teams. Fordham, Duquesne, GWU, St. Bonnies…these are all schools that Detroit could sweep right now in conference, and the Titans could probably take games from URI and a couple others. But here’s the thing: the A-10 is at a crossroads. They had a recruiting coup in getting Butler and VCU only to see Butler get stolen right away by the Big East. That conference is likely to consider taking SLU and Dayton, two of the best A-10 schools. If they do that, the A-10 becomes a decidedly east coast conference, with Duquesne and SBU the only schools within traveling distance for the Titans. Higher costs are going to happen with joining the A-10, but there would be a bump in travel as well. Detroit could certainly pick up the slack, but the question is would they want to be in that conference?

Look forward to: Being a middling Horizon League team. The Titans won’t ever go full Youngstown and bottom out with 2-3 Horizon League victories. Year in and year out they have too much talent, top to bottom, to really suck. Think of some of these players: Holman, McCallum, LeMarcus Lowe, Nick Minnerath, Doug Anderson, Jason Calliste, Chase Simon, Brandon Cotton, Xavier Keeling…the Titans have always had players. But unless they’ve got the player that they wouldn’t have had if his dad were not the coach, they’re always falling short of expectations based on the talent they mass on campus.

That’s squarely a Ray Sr. problem. If the Titans are to reach 3rd place, it’s going to be on the backs of their players. They’ve got real talent – Juwan Howard Jr. is going to be a pro for a long time – and they’re going to have to overcome so-so game management from the coach.

Hey, how about that: New athletic director Robert Vowels said at Titans media day that Detroit will be airing games on WADL-TV, getting to potentially 7 million homes. That’s a huge deal for a program who has been trying to stay afloat in the saturated Michigan sports market.

That’s not all. Chris Jenkins, a Colorado transfer who is eligible in December, will be a freshman eligibility-wise and was a monster for Detroit’s University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, which is a huge pull for locals who will remember Jenkins as a senior scoring 20 points and nine rebounds per game. He could be just the piece that puts the Titans over the top.

What Detroit fans have to say:

Gary:

  • Such a bad location you’ve had the Jesuits looking for land in Clarkston, MI (close to Oakland-suburbs (Oakland County)) to relocate the school. Yet supporters act like they love their current location. After class does anyone want to go to where they shoot Hardcore Pawn on TruTV?
  • South of 8 Mile, nuff said.
  • U of D, UDM, University of Detroit-Mercy. What is it?
  • The Titans mascot looks like a bad cartoon Spartan on crack, appropriate for the location of the school.
  • This school is so fed up with the Horizon they think they should be in the A10 or Big East. Compare themselves to Dayton, Marquette and Xavier which we all know they are not. In reality they should be in the MEAC as they think Lacrosse is the next great sport.
  • Fan base is still stuck in the glory days 60’s and 70’s. Named the court Dick Vitale court in hopes of a big donation that never came.
  • UDM has burned most bridges with other basketball playing universities in the state of Michigan, except Central Michigan University (suck) because of its ties to Jay Smith.
  • Fan base/forum site is one of the most annoying and rude in the Horizon League. Over-inflated value of themselves. It’s watched Xavier, Dayton, Marquette, Loyola and Butler go to bigger and better lands as they wallow in the Horizon and continuously get passed by other conferences. These conferences don’t want UDM for a reason. Get over it! Go to the MEAC, make Lacrosse your major sport and let the Horizon League continue to grow and prosper.

Gerald:

 Maybe it’s just me, but every time the schedule is released, I keep praying for all day games. I don’t want to be on campus when it’s dark. I hold two degrees from the University of Detroit.

Glenn:

Our fans are fucking assholes. Case in point: 2013 Horizon League tourney. That is all.

Kent:

I choose to use my real name so nobody on our message board can ban me. I don’t know why but I do. Our board is embarrassing. You got all these Titans fans who sit around and jack it to the good old days of Dickie V. They honestly believe that Detroit is sought after by all these conferences and that the Atlantic 10 is just begging us to come join them. We have fans who I swear to god think we could get into the Big East tomorrow and hold our own. To sum it up, we are a bunch of fucking cretins.

Justin:

Your a dick, Lemke.

Hey thanks, Justin.

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