Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The End

I've never really written the story of how or why this blog came to be started.

To be honest, it's not all that exciting. I have always loved to write, and I have always loved basketball. When I was in college, I had a blog covering all sports (back when there was a lot less of them), and it did pretty well. In time, life got busy, and I stopped writing there, but I still had the itch to write about sports. Eventually, I tried to write about college basketball as a whole, but I quickly found out that task was beyond me at that point in my life - I simply didn't have the time to devote to watching games and writing about them every night.

This was all around the time when I graduated college and was entering the "real world." In August of 2010, I moved from North Dakota out to sunny Colorado (following a girl, of course*). I still had the itch to write about basketball, but this time a better idea started to form in my mind. I decided that a better course of action would be to pick a specific conference to cover, and from there, the Big Sky was an easy choice for several reasons.

For one, living in Denver, I am only about an hour from Greeley, which would make it convenient to get to games (I have probably seen Northern Colorado 25 times in person over the last four years). Another good sign was the fact that my alma mater North Dakota would be entering the conference in the second year that I would be writing about the Big Sky. It seemed like a great way to follow my school and be very well-informed. Last, there really was nobody covering the Big Sky. Some teams have dedicated local beat writers, some kind of did, and a lot of the schools had active message boards, but there was no definitive source for Big Sky basketball information, opinions, and analysis. I hoped to become that source. So in July 2011, I kicked off the blog.

This will be my 1,348th post here, with over 500,000 pageviews (and I think at least a couple hundred aren't from me refreshing to make sure my info is correct!), and almost 1,700 comments.

I blogged about the Big Sky for four seasons, or the length of a college career, and so to me there is great symmetry ending the blog after that amount of time. I've given the blog all I could for four years, but it's time for me to move on! Over the past year, it's been tougher to juggle life, marriage, other hobbies, and the blog, and I can't really make this blog as good as I'd like it to be in the time I have to devote to it.

I've always had more ideas than time, so certainly there is room for someone else to do even a much better job covering the Big Sky, if they so choose.

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Of course, there are many thank yous to say, so feel free to skip this section if you'd like!

First, big thanks to the Big Sky conference, who was really supportive of me and the site from right when I first started things. In particular, Jon Kasper and Tanner Gooch have been nothing but great, always helping me when I needed help or had any questions. They are certainly top notch.

Next, I have to thank many coaches and players who happily interacted with me, answered my questions, and made themselves accessible. I won't name names, but you know who you are. Growing up in North Dakota, I always thought basketball players and coaches were the coolest guys in the world, but they seemed so far removed from me. So, it was a little bit surreal to meet some of them and realize that for the most part, they're as nice as you hoped they would be. I feel like I've had the chance to interact a lot with guys that will be successful at the highest levels of both college basketball and at the NBA, and I can't wait to continue to follow the careers of those associated with the Big Sky.

Among the media, guys like Gidal Kaiser, Bob Meseroll, and Roy Burton were some of the first to really reach out, answer my questions, and recognize that I was not simply a charlatan behind a computer screen (well, that part is debatable, I suppose). Among the "new media" types, I have interacted a bunch with guys like Brett Hein and Raphielle Johnson, who seem to be as nice of people as they are good writers. There are many, many others who I've had the pleasure of interacting with over the last few years, so just let me say a blanket thank you in the interest of not rambling on too much.

Last, of course, a thanks to all readers and those who have conversed with me on the blog, the Big Sky message boards, email, and twitter. It'd be pretty boring to write and have nobody to read it, so I am exceedingly grateful for everyone that took the time to visit the site and chime in. Special thanks to guys like MTJack and SDHornet, who have been with me for as long as I can remember on the blog. There is a nice little community here, and during the last stretch run, the commenting and discussion on this blog was as good as it's been in all my years here, Truly, thank you all.

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I have had some great experiences from this blog, from writing previews for ESPN, writing an article for the Ogden Standard-Examiner last year, and meeting a ton of great people. Rest assured, I already miss writing the blog, and I haven't even really stopped yet.

When next season comes around, I'll certainly get the itch to write again. I may write a post here and there, but most likely, this will be the last post on this site. Of course, I'll still follow the league, I'll try to visit the boards, I'll still be on twitter, and you can always email me (bigskybball AT gmail.com).

More than anything else, this blog and the whole community around the Big Sky has been great fun. Don't be strangers.

There have been a lot of great experiences from the past four years, from watching the greatness of Damian Lillard, to Dylan Garrity's 75 foot game winner (the most visited blog post in the history of the blog), to Eastern Washington's furious rally to win the Big Sky this year, to Montana's almost unbelievable two year stretch in my first two years of this blog, to many others that are too numerous to name.

Safe to say I have no shortage of great memories that stem from this website.


*Who is now my wife

Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball

20 comments:

  1. Jon, I for one will sincerely miss this blog...every morning I check this blog for anything new about BB in the Big Sky...while I don't always agree, I always appreciate what you think about the subject...I will miss your opinion as that is all any of us have until the facts get in the way (lol)....Good Luck to you and yours in the future....

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    1. Thank you! I will be the first one to admit I have been wrong many times over, so I appreciate you sticking with me :)

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  2. Jon, thank you for all the time and energy spent doing this blog. You have always been fair and have provided excellent information. I would be the first to try to talk you out of stopping and continuing with this blog, but as has been read on Weber's forum, my comments aren't necessarily the best or most persuasive. Heaven's, you'd probably destroy your computer if I were to try. Maybe, I'll get SD Hornet to try to talk you out of stopping ;). Anyway, thank you for everything. Stop by the forum whenever.

    Tal

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    1. Thank you Tal! I've greatly appreciated your insight since the beginning! Especially on incoming prospects, I have always really valued your opinion!

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  3. Thanks for the past 4 seasons.

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    1. Thanks Scout... I've appreciated you as a reader, and with all of your commenting. You help make blogging fun!

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  4. Well Jon it was a damn good run. This was without a doubt the best spot for all BSC hoops news and your “one stop shop” blog was the go to resource; you will be sorely missed. (Enter shameless pleading to stop you from putting down the keyboard here!!!) You’re always welcome to stop in at SacBuzz and chime in from time to time.

    Best of luck in your current and future endeavors. If you take the same thorough approach in other aspects of your life as you did here then you will be a very successful person. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks SD, appreciate everything the last few years! I'll definitely be around, and I'll stop in at the boards every now and again for sure. I've already been talking to someone about contributing now and again elsewhere around the blogosphere, so I definitely won't be disappearing!

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  5. Jon, thanks so much for providing us with the best Big Sky basketball site. It truly became a necessary visit to get the latest news, opinion and rumors from each and ever Big Sky team. I knew you were a UND alum, but a random visitor to this site wouldn't know that, because you have always been so objective. So very credible.

    Thanks again!

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    1. Thank you PCH, I appreciate the kind words!

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  6. I'm sad to hear this but I appreciate the dedication, insight and passion you put into bigskybball over the past few years. On a good note....conversations regarding college (Big Sky Conf.) hoops has picked up some @ championshipsubdivisions.com. Interest on UM and Weber State sites is consistent and Sac State and EWU's fan bases are showing more interest in hoops. This turned out to be a better year for the conference as a whole and provides some hope for some long suffering fan bases in conference.

    If I make it up to Colorado this summer I'll contact you....maybe grab a brew at one of Colorado's many fine breweries and talk North Dakota.

    Best of luck,
    MTJack

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    1. Yes MTJack, please do let me know if you make it to this neck of the woods!!

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  7. Jon, I am from Australia and read your blog religiously to get an update on my beloved Montana Grizzlies (I was an exchange student there 2010-2011). As a fellow journalist and sports writer, I can say your research and analysis was top notch. Your absence is going to leave a gaping hole in Big Sky Hoops and I can only hope someone comes on board to take the reigns. Regardless, all the best for your future endeavors, just know that your volunteer work was much appreciated around the world and you will be sorely missed.

    All the best,
    Michael.

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    1. Michael, thank you for the kind words!

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  8. Awesome work, I enjoyed it. Thanks much!

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  9. Best of luck to you, Jon. I'll miss the blog.

    -- Roy

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    1. Thanks Roy! I appreciate all of our interactions over the years.

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  10. I continue to instinctively type the URL of your blog into the address bar, only to be reminded of the reality that the posts have come to an end... When UND entered the Big Sky Conference, your blog welcomed me to the great Big Sky community and got me hooked. Your commentary and insight will be greatly missed.

    Best of luck in all your future endeavors!

    Remington

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    1. Thanks Rem, I greatly appreciate the kind words! I miss writing the blog already but know it's for the best. Thanks for reading, I more thankful than I can express!

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  11. Jon:

    Any chance you could do a preseason right up and I still think you should contact SiouxSports to add your work to that site. Anyway GO SIOUX!! Thanks for all your work..

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