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Vinny Chase and Charles Jenkins: So Much Alike, Yet No Longer In Our Lives

September 22, 2011

Who’s the “Vince,” who’s the “E,” and who’s in the “Entourage?” Courtside will be previewing the Colonial Athletic Association basketball season and asking these questions to determine what teams have the goods to cut nets this year.

What does it all mean?

After eight successful and amusing seasons (maybe a bit less amusing as time progressed), the HBO show Entourage faded to black on Sept. 11, leaving us in the valued 18-34 demographic without a fictional male relationship to live vicariously through.

But there’s no need to fret. Watching the dynamics of a real-life basketball team can be just as entertaining. And the college season – practice begins on Oct. 14 – is almost here.

Inherent roles – not just guards/forwards/center, but star/sidekick/supporting cast – are vital to any basketball team. And the players who can fill and embrace their roles best, usually come out winners.

Just like the main cast of Entourage, everyone on the basketball team needs a function (from superstar to bit piece) to make the overall machine run smoothly. And it better be clear to everyone who has what role.

Most good teams revolve around a “Vince,” the star who savors being the guy but acts not only on his own behalf, but for that of his team. Hofstra guard Charles Jenkins, the two-time CAA Player of the Year and now in the NBA if it ever plays games, was the ultimate Vince (they’re even both from NYC). Jenkins did everything, often carrying his team to victories.

As you know,  Jenkins’ Pride didn’t win the CAA or even make it past the first round of the CBI. There’s more to a good team than just a great Vince.

Good teams need an “E,” the trusty No. 2 who can make things happen when the star is hurt, in foul trouble, or just not having a good day. And then a good team requires  a capable “Entourage,” guys like  Turtle and Johnny Drama – constantly tying up the loose ends to make their star, and in turn their unit,triumphant.

(I guess in this analogy Ari would be the coach – one who tries to put his people in the best position to succeedwhile also finding a way to relate despite the obvious chasm between age and job roles).

Look at the roster makeup of the reigning champions of the NCAA (Connecticut Huskies) and NBA (Dallas Mavericks) to see the Entourage paradigm at its best. Or even look at the Eric Maynor-led VCU teams for some CAA perspective.

While the Colonial Athletic Association lacks the obvious star power of the NBA or the NCAA blue-bloods, the same general principles of basketball still apply.

When the score is tied in the final 20 seconds and your coach doesn’t have any timeouts remaining to paint a perfect play… Who’s going to set up the offense? Who’s going to get the ball and initiate the action with 5-7 seconds remaining? Who’s going to set that unnoticeable screen to free a teammate? Who’s going to have the presence of mind to crash the boards for a put-back, even if they’re seemingly uninvolved in the primary sequence? Before any of this happens, who’s the guy rallying his boys 20 minutes prior to tip-off? Who’s actually listening?

Which team has the most clearly-defined and harmonious Vince, E, and Entourage might just determine who’s a contender in the CAA this year.

Over the next couple weeks, I will preview each of the 12 CAA basketball teams, recapping 2010-11 and the offseason, providing pivotal stats, making predictions for the upcoming season, and identifying what players fit into certain roles.

We’ll start with James Madison seeing as this is a Harrisonburg-based blog, and then make our way from Delaware to William & Mary, in alphabetical order.

Tune in next week.

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