Commentary, Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

Same story, different day for the men’s basketball team

Change is a natural part of life — and while sometimes it can be difficult, most of the time it is necessary.

In Dan Monson’s 11-year tenure at Long Beach State, he has taken the men’s basketball team to only one NCAA tournament all the way back in 2012. This year, the 49ers were eliminated in the Big West Tournament quarterfinals by Cal State Fullerton, wrapping up the season with a record of 15-17. With the amount of talent on the team and a disappointing season, it finally looked like Monson would get kicked to the curb for a brand new coach.

With rumors spreading that changes wanted to be made for the team, it only seemed like he would be on his way out. With his contract expiring next season it was the perfect opportunity for Long Beach to get a fresh new face to lead the team.

Athletic director Andy Fee wanted change, but his idea of making a change to the men’s basketball program was to give head coach Monson a five-year contract extension. The announcement came Thursday with a brief statement from Fee and Monson, detailing the changes that were going to made to the program.

A positive change in Monson’s contract is the focus on winning through incentives that would increase his pay rather than a straight payday from the get go. It keeps the coaching staff a lot more honest moving forward which could be beneficial to the program. Monson’s extension will go into effect July 1 and will see his base pay dip from $358,640 to $283,560 a season. While it looks like the team is heading in the right direction, the real issue is Monson’s ability to take the team to the next level.

A big issue in all this is that not much is changing on the actual basketball side of things. While consistency can be beneficial for the program, there are few benefits in keeping a head coach who hasn’t been able to get over the hump in more than six years. Monson is the all-time winningest Long Beach State men’s basketball head coach, but with a record of (185-177) his accolades are a little overrated. Monson has the ability to coach, but what concerns me is Monson’s willingness to change his style of play.

Throughout the season Monson relied on his big men to be dominant presences in the paint, but a lack of three-point shooters created holes on the offensive end that paid negative dividends toward the end of the season. Defensively the team used a 1-3-1 zone that gave other teams open looks from three, and created mismatches that opponents took advantage of.

Monson is locked in for the next five years, and while this might not have been the greatest choice for the program to make, we’ll have to wait and see if he can turn the tide and bring the 49ers back to the NCAA tournament.

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