Not all reading is good for Hawks, says Martelli

St. Joe's head coach Phil Martelli yells instructions to his offense in the second half. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)

Here is some free advice to any St. Joseph’s basketball players – don’t read beyond this sentence.

At least that is what coach Phil Martelli would like to see and to be honest, he may have a good point.

Martelli was truly introspective following Saturday’s 71-59 win over George Washington at Hagan Arena that evened the Hawks Atlantic-10 record at 6-6.

Being .500 in the conference is a far cry from what was expected in the preseason when the Hawks were the favorite to win the conference title.

And that gets us to what Martelli said about the written word and the negative impact on his team.

“I have two guys in there who read every word written about them, about us, about me,” Martelli said. “And it wears on them.”

That’s a shame because nobody should attempt to validate their opinion of themselves by reading Twitter, for example.

Any reporter who has been around more than two weeks probably has unfavorable things written about them. In fact a favorite occupation of many in this computer age is blasting writers and the work they produce. (We know that is awfully hard to believe, but it happens).

Of course writers, just like anybody else are fair game, which is why this reporter does heed Martelli’s advice and doesn’t read message boards or anything else where somebody with a computer can spew out venom.

And while coaches have a lot of influence over players, Martelli isn’t about to tell them what they can read.

“I wish they would choose not to be involved, but they do it because they are kids,” he said.

Negative or even positive publicity from the outside doesn’t do the players any good. Nobody is able to evaluate them better than their coaches, the ones who see them every day in practice.

The Hawks beat George Washington after being off for a week, but Martelli says even when he gives the team off from practice, they are still not really away from the game. They make sure if it via their computers or I-Phones.

“I knew we had a week off but there is never a day off for these guys,” he said.

No there isn’t a day off mentally, especially if players are reading every critique.

And it could also be harmful to read every favorable story as well.

Much of our success as writers is judged by whether people read our work.

St. Joseph’s success may hinge on what the players don’t read.