Tuesday, August 14th, 2007 at 3:08 pm  |  42 responses

Adonal Foyle: MDE!

(In the Patriot League. Arguably.)

By Sam Rubenstein

The second-longest tenured player (other than Kobe! Iverson and KG are such sell-outs.) in the NBA with any one team has been bought out, the great Adonal Foyle. You may think I am being sarcastic when I write that, but here is something you may not know about me; I attended Lafayette College, a Patriot League school, for the last year of the reign of Adonal at Colgate.

The story of the Patriot League does not need to be told here, but I recommend the John Feinstein book The Last Amateurs. Super abbreviated cliff notes version: unlike every other ridiculously corrupt Division I conference in the NCAA, Patriot League student athletes had to “go to class.” This was in the mid-late 90′s, before there were some rule changes and now it’s the same as everywhere else. Think of it this way, the conference was kind of like if the Ivy League had slightly better athletes and worse students.

Imagine if one day you dropped a potential NBA lottery pick into that mix. Your first reactions would be 1) Why is he here? Shouldn’t he be in a power conference? and 2) Ouch, every other school is… in trouble.

Adonal Foyle was expected to be dominant from day one, and he did not disappoint. Imagine if Dikembe Mutombo played against nothing but jump shooting centers and scrappy little guards. Games were always competitive, defense was ferocious, but the dunking was not so much. I have witnessed so many shots blocked by Adonal in humiliating fashion. Pinned against the backboard. Ripped out of people’s hands outright. Swatted out of the gym. On offense, he was big and he dunked on everyone, and that was enough. I can give you some numbers, but basically a double-double was guaranteed and the shot-blocking numbers were exorbitant to say the least.

The Patriot League has a sacrificial lamb automatic bid, which means the winner of the year-end Patriot League tournament goes on to face the #1 or #2 seed in the big tourney, and nobody else has any shot of getting in. You may have caught glimpses of Adonal Foyle in the NCAA tourney on TV a decade ago, when they would hype him up and say okay here’s the great and mysterious Adonal Foyle, let’s see what he can do against UCONN or UNC or someone like that. And Colgate would get blown out before halftime and he would have to return to dominate his lowly league. Which he would. Oh, how he would.

They say the measure of a truly dominant athlete is that he forces other teams to change their philosophy to try and compete with him. That is what happened in the Patriot League. Adonal already had one player of the year award, so ADs were desperate to find big men to throw at him. Lafayette came up with one named Stephen Ciosci (very similar name to our recently married art director now that I read it.), who was a great athlete for his size and at that level of play, but really his greatest gifts were that he was seven feet tall, and was from the same village in Romania as Gheorge Muresan. He was a good player who went on to win Conference Player of the Year once Adonal had moved on to the NBA. And yet, in the year they faced each other, he was totally dominated by Foyle head to head. It was ugly. And that was probably Adonal’s closest competition.

Today you can make your jokes about how Adonal got over on the system (MULLIN!) and made tens of millions to not play much, and I suppose every NBA player was the most dominant around somewhere along the line, and people have these kinds of memories of him at some point in his past. But I find the Foyle situation unique because he was with the same team that drafted him for a solid decade. It is very unusual for today’s pro athlete to stick around with the team that drafted him for so long. As far as Patriot League players in the NBA go, the list is for the most part: Bob Cousy, David Robinson, Adonal. I will choose to drift into glory days memories of when Lafayette finally earned a national TV appearance on ESPN2 late at night on a Saturday, at Colgate, simply because of the presence of Adonal.

He was a nice guy too!

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  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com H to the izzo

    Most Defficient Ever

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com H to the izzo

    And also Sam,Laffayette sucked pretty bad last year.Its hard to root for them but I try

  • http://www.myspace.com/whyberickjames Jesus Shuttlesworth


  • DubsGonDoIt

    Great piece Sam, it’s hard to think of the Foyle I have known on the Dubs ever being a dominating presence out on the court.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    It always cracks me up when I realize that the worst scrubs in the NBA are most likely the best players in the history of their high school, city, county, league, and even college. Especially for guys that aren’t from the big cities and big programs.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    Sam, you’re in that book, are you not?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    Oh. Wait. No. “Harry Potter.” You’re in Harry Potter. Right. Sorry.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    And great post.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com H to the izzo

    This is the first college ball post on Slamonline in months no?Great post

  • Ron

    All hail the great A. Foyle. The best bum ever drafted into the NBA.

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    A very passing reference, not by name. I perhaps should have mentioned that I was a team manager. Feinstein does mention another Sam, who was the starting PG. He got arrested when we were in New Orleans for slapping a police horse. That was a long night.

  • http://birdmonster.blogspot.com Tenorca

    Thanks Sam. We love/hate Adonal in the bay. He’s obviously a class act and a hard worker but, well, he’s just outclassed in the NBA. It isn’t his fault he got millions more than he deserved either and you all know you’d take it if someone as crazy as Mully came along and offered it. Hope he signs for cheap elsewhere and gets some minutes on a team that runs a little less. Adios, AF.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Vin Baker used to kill it in the America East Conference, when it was home to his Hartford and my beloved Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. (Then again, so did Eddie Benton and Spencer Dunkley and look where it got them. Um, assuming you can find them.)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Ben Collins

    Has there been an America East pro since, Russ? Taylor Coppenrath was ohsoclose.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com H to the izzo

    This is off topic but Baker Dunleavy who played a grand total of about two minutes for Nova is earning money playing ball-that is all

  • http://birdmonster.blogspot.com Tenorca

    Vin Baker used to kill it in the 30 drinks a night department as well.

  • Phil B

    It’s funny you mention Baker, cause Mike Jr. led my highschool to the state championship when we were both seniors and he just dominated (from what I remember… sometimes I wasn’t in the clearest frame of mind). And now… well he doesn’t dominate anymore.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Ben: Not sure. Delaware isn’t even in the America East anymore (and it wasn’t called the America East when Vin and I were in school). Delaware was in the same conference as Drexel for a while, I think, so does Malik Rose count?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Taylor coppenraath is one of the top 10 greatest names ever. Really. even better than mines. and thats saying something..

  • http://tasa201.wordpress.com/ Tariq

    Shuttlesworth has been snoring a lot on various posts today. Somebody get the man a table dance or some Sanka…something..

  • SMK

    Raja Bell went to Boston University in the America East. What do I win for this knowledge?

  • http://tasa201.wordpress.com/ Tariq

    A whole carton of nobody-cares juice.

  • http://myspace.com/bodiebarnett jbn74sb

    In the name department, Taylor Coppenrath can’t carry Kevin Pittsnogle’s jock.

  • Dennard

    I am trippin at Sam’s comment about how homeboy slapped a cop. Sam, did the cop retaliate?

  • http://myspace.com/jrcfl Justin

    Orlando is waiting for Mr. Foyle’s arrival.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Dennard: He probably whinnied and snorted a little bit.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    And Orlando? Beantown, baby.

  • http://another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    Nope, he’s gonna “play” in Orlando for the next 4 years, and get paid 20 million for it. Why? I don’t know, but it’s the truth, Ruth.

  • http://another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    But not really. I wonder if Mickey Mouse has any money in his pockets left?

  • Pablo

    I truly appreciate Sam that you mentioned my main man, The Admiral, right there as someone who´s spent his entire tenure with the same team, but… where in the hell is Tim Duncan in there?

  • Danny W UK

    Everybody in the NBA dominated someplace sometime, even non NBA local league ballers dominate from time to time.
    My dominant day was turning up at a game and only 2 other team members turned up. We also had a 12 yr old girl handing out the water. The 4 of us kitted up and played 4 on 5, making sure no one fouled out. Good game, we won, my stats were 132 points, and I believe about 40 rebounds. I’m thinkg the American leagues might be a stiffer challenge. And you know the best thing about it?

    Someone filmed the whole damn game.

    It was 10 years ago, but I reckon thats gotta be worth at least a 10 dayer with Mullin?

  • Will Lee

    Danny that sounds like an NBA Live game to us

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Izzo, thanks for noting the dearth of college posts on here. Ben Collins should be fixing that today…

  • whooo!

    that’s awesome to think bout foyle being dominant, but show some more love for your patriot league sam! the kids are still forced to go to class, and many are actually smart and do well in classes. i had a guy at mine who showed up for an 8am econ class after arriving back from syracuse at 2-3am. kansas and arkansas know whats up too.

  • whooo!

    that’s awesome to think bout foyle being dominant, but show some more love for your patriot league sam! the kids are still forced to go to class, and many are actually smart and do well in classes. the starting pg showed up for my 8am econ class everyday, including after arriving back from a syracuse game at 3am one time. kansas and arkansas know whats up too.

  • whooo!

    oops, didn’t mean to do that twice…

  • http://slamonline.com Sam Rubenstein

    Whooo, you may have read about how when he was younger, Greg Oden wanted to become a dentist, but he felt he couldn’t because he got too big. Well, that guy Stephen who Lafayette recruited to play center to counter Foyle, was on his way to becoming a dentist last I heard.
    And the PG slapped a horse with a cop on it, not the cop himself.

  • http://why-bother-reading.blogspot.com H to the izzo

    Slapping the horse instead of the cop makes him about 40% cooler in my book

  • Brian

    How can you leave Tom Heinson out of the greatest Pat League players ever discussion?

  • Dutch Rich

    Now giddy-up

  • douglas

    a worthy piece–most people are unaware of adonal doyle’s work off the court to engage young people in politics and social change. his life story pivots on his adoption by two colgate professors which triggered an amazing education and an ongoing commitment to better the world.

  • d-rock

    Foyle has a great personality. But picking him over Kobe probably was not the greatest pick for the Warriors. imho