Martelli shrugs off criticism

St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli expresses displeasure against Temple on Saturday. The Hawks' have lost eight straight.
St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli expresses displeasure against Temple on Saturday. The Hawks' have lost eight straight.
Posted: January 31, 2011

There's a lot of criticism pointed toward Hawk Hill.

Never mind that youthful St. Joseph's is rebuilding. Folks don't care that in a couple of seasons, the Hawks are expected to be a force in the Atlantic Ten.

That's why St. Joseph's, in the midst of its second consecutive losing campaign, is receiving plenty of anonymous criticism via the Internet. And Hawks coach Phil Martelli is taking notice.

"You are really brave," he said, "when you are anonymous."

The coach realizes the critiques will continue as long as St. Joseph's (5-16) keeps struggling. On Saturday, the Hawks lost their eighth consecutive game. They have also lost 14 of 16 games since starting 3-2.

"It's not from anywhere," Martelli said of the criticism. "You know what I mean? It's from the netherworld. It's not people who have been in the fray. And I understand that."

He also understands that St. Joseph's fans have come to expect successful campaigns from the Hawks. And Martelli, whose resumé includes a No. 1 NCAA tournament seed, has something to do with that. He has the most wins (146) of active coaches in the Atlantic Ten.

"Look, it's not me," Martelli said. "It started with [legendary St. Joseph's coach] Dr. Jack [Ramsay], and it has been built that there are certain expectations here. We are not falling short of the expectations of some made-up name on the Internet. We are falling short of my expectations. That's the disappointment, not the frustration."

The coach added that he is not surprised or hurt by the criticism.

"But I will tell you one thing: Vengeance will be sweet," he said. "And if my family gets hurt by it, then you are talking about a whole other ball game.

"The people that matter know - the people that get it. It's a process that we're in. I wish it wasn't so deep in a hole. But it's a process."

Emerging freshman. Reserve forward Ronald Roberts is starting to come into his own. The 6-foot-8 freshman produced his third consecutive double-figure scoring game Saturday. The Bayonne, N.J., native scored a career-high 17 points in the 72-54 setback to Temple at the Palestra. He had 14 and 12 points in the previous two games.

Roberts, who averages 6.1 points, has scored in double figures in six of the Hawks' 21 games.


Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or kpompey@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @pompeysgridlock.

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