Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all 326 Division I teams. To order the complete 2006-07 edition of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).
(Information in this team report is as of October 1.)
COACH AND PROGRAM
Tom Parrotta doesn't hesitate when asked what his biggest challenge will be in his first season as coach at Canisius.
"Changing the attitude," said Parrotta, who was hired to replace Mike MacDonald in April. "That's probably No. 1 and 2, actually."
The task was made clear to Parrotta in one of his first team meetings last spring when he asked a question about a game last season. One player began to answer, thinking it was a game Canisius had lost, before a teammate corrected him and told him Parrotta was actually referring to a contest the Golden Griffins had won. Losing can become a mindset.
Parrotta, the top assistant on Tom Pecora's staff at Hofstra last season, takes over a program that has done much more losing than winning in recent years. The Golden Griffins posted a winning record in just two of MacDonald's nine seasons and have finished seventh or worse in the MAAC standings each of the last five seasons. Canisius was picked by many, including Blue Ribbon and the league coaches, to finish third last season but finished ninth, going 3-11 after a 3-1 start in the MAAC.
Parrotta, who played at Fordham when it was a member of the MAAC and served six seasons as an assistant under Jack Armstrong and Joe Mihalich at Niagara, knows what he's getting into.
"The transition was relatively easy for me as far as knowing the league, the coaches and the challenges," said Parrotta, who agreed to a four-year contract. "It's a good fit.
"It's a great league because it's so competitive," he added. "It's not like a lot of leagues where you are fighting for mediocrity, in this league you have a legitimate chance to compete for a championship and that's all you can ask for."
Parrotta said he plans to play more up-tempo and will use many things from Pecora's system at Hofstra, but his premise is more basic than that.
"If you have an advantage, I want you to take advantage of that advantage," he said.