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  • Some thoughts on where the team stands right now

    1. I think we all knew the main concern going into the season for Enfield would be whether he would find a way to manage our incredible depth. I think through the first five games we've seen that this is a difficult task that will take a while to figure out.

    2. This first issue has been helped along slightly by the slow development of the freshmen, who are playing much less than I figured they would be at this point, and Melton sitting out. As a result, our rotation is 8 instead of 9-11.

    3. There is an issue with the expectations game, I think. Many of these guys have spent the offseason being told how good they were (deservedly so in most cases), but they seem to be struggling with adjusting to their new role as one of the top dogs in the conference. They no longer have the advantage of sneaking up on people.

    4. That all said, I believe there will be an adjustment made. The A&M game is a bit of a wake up call that I think will force these guys to loosen up a bit. I think being 'tight' is the best explanation for why this generally very-good shooting roster is not shooting well right now. Also, I believe they did not fear A&M enough going in, given that they had beaten them last year at their home. The size of A&M was a bit of a shock and I think this induced panic in the shooting department.

    5. There also has to be a bit of change of the team's perspective. In the last couple seasons, they've played very loose, as if they did not care what the score was, and they seemed to be more focused when playing from behind. As if they needed the challenge. Once they figure out that they can no longer do this as much, it will pay dividends.

    6. Making sure that change of perspective happens will likely have to come from guys like JMAC and THORNTON, the field generals. Also, the return of MELTON will no doubt help because he has a very strong will to win and he leads by example.

    7. Speaking of Melton, I think we are seeing how integral he is to this team. His all-around effort has the effect of filling in those lapses in effort for the rest of the team. I think many of these guys (looking at ES and BB especially) got used to something like this happening: (a) Team comes out shooting poorly (b) Melton makes a play on defense and sparks transition game (c) Metu dunks (d) Opposing team gets discombobulated (e) the floodgates open as the shots start going in. Melton has been a catalyst for that and his return will help everyone's game.

    8. A lineup I'd like to see at some point on the court, just for defensive/effort purposes: Melton, Thornton, Matthews, Usher, Metu. This would be an excellent pressure group.

    9. A look at how each of the players are performing:

    Boatwright - in the best shape of his career and playing harder across the board, which is being manifested in much-improved rebounding numbers and better defense. But he's pressing way too hard on offense. I think he really is trying too hard to get to the NBA and trying too hard to be 'the man'. He just needs to not worry about that and get his confidence back.

    Metu - Looks as agile as ever and stronger but, like Boatwright, he is trying TOO hard right now. Needs to let the game come to him. Doesn't seem to have improved much as a defender and, the drop in his FT% is troubling. I have full confidence he'll get his mojo back and start hitting his shots but, again, it's all mental right now for him.

    McLaughlin - Best and most consistent player on the team. Has improved in almost all facets and has an amazingly low EIGHT TOs on the season. Team MVP by far right now.

    Matthews - The effort is there on both sides of the ball but the shots just aren't falling. I've every confidence he'll get it rolling.

    Stewart - The word had been that he had the best offseason of the bunch but I've yet to see any clear sign of improvement (save in the FT area). Again, from a shooting perspective, this looks like a confidence matter as well as the fact that he's not getting the touches he needs to get into a rhythm.As for the rest, it looks to me like he's playing harder than last year, but there are still troubling lapses of concentration. I don't think that will ever really go away.

    Thornton - I think he's getting ready to break out. He knows he's rusty offensively but he's making up for it by playing excellent defense. He is at the moment our best on-ball perimeter defender and when Melton comes back, those two are going to be hellish for opposing guards to deal with. Right now, he is the most effected by the still-developing rotation. As he improves, this team will get very good, but it will be a work in progress.

    Aaron - The clear winner of the Mr. Offseason award. Has come back with a new attitude. Stronger and quicker. More focused. Playing harder. Sharing the ball. Fewer turnovers. It hasn't shown up in his shooting, but I believe it will at some point.

    Rakocevic - He's basically the same crafty player he was last year, only now he is stronger and more confident. He always gives effort and I think he's well positioned to have a solid year.

    Usher - Perhaps we got a little too far ahead of ourselves based on reports of Usher in scrimmages. I think the skill set is there, as well as the effort, he just needs to establish the belief that he can play college basketball at this level. Once he does that, he should be fine. At some point in the next month (Santa Clara?_, he'll have a breakout game and that will break the seal on his play.

    O'Bannon - Much like Usher, he just needs that 'moment' where it dawns on him that he can play at this level. It will happen (target: Santa Clara)! And when it does, the team is going to be really really good.

    Victor U. - He runs like a deer. At that size, this is very encouraging. Would be nice to get him some minutes so he can get used to the speed of the game and the strength of the big guys down low.





  • #2
    Melton is a key part of the team. In mock drafts he was one of the highest selected.
    It would be nice this year to finish on top the PAC 12.
    How long has it been since that happened?

    Comment


    • #3
      Objectively, based on the season so far, we look like the best team in the conference.

      It's an open question whether Az State has passed up Arizona for 2nd. Personally, I don't think so.

      But that's just for now. These things are likely to change faster even than Chase's level of optimism.

      Comment


      • #4
        One of my biggest concerns about this team and Enfield in general is the fall off we seem to have each year. Last year we lost 5/8 heading into the tournament. The year before we lost 7/10 heading into the tournament.

        The good news for this year is we only play the Arizonas once and I'm not sure the conference is all that great. Colorado is 6-0 but have played all 6 at home against nobody. WSU and ASU look solid but it's early and I'm not the least bit sold on WSU yet. If we can go 5-1 for the rest of non-conference play and 14-4 in conference, we'll end the regular season at 23-6. Throw in a win or two in the conf tournament and we should get a 3 or 4 seed. The trick is conference play. We can't go 10-8 this year.

        Comment


        • #5
          "But that's just for now. These things are likely to change faster even than Chase's level of optimism."

          LOL

          Comment


          • #6
            Ball movement and defensive rebounding

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MeltonNotHelton View Post
              1. I think we all knew the main concern going into the season for Enfield would be whether he would find a way to manage our incredible depth. I think through the first five games we've seen that this is a difficult task that will take a while to figure out.

              2. This first issue has been helped along slightly by the slow development of the freshmen, who are playing much less than I figured they would be at this point, and Melton sitting out. As a result, our rotation is 8 instead of 9-11.

              3. There is an issue with the expectations game, I think. Many of these guys have spent the offseason being told how good they were (deservedly so in most cases), but they seem to be struggling with adjusting to their new role as one of the top dogs in the conference. They no longer have the advantage of sneaking up on people.

              4. That all said, I believe there will be an adjustment made. The A&M game is a bit of a wake up call that I think will force these guys to loosen up a bit. I think being 'tight' is the best explanation for why this generally very-good shooting roster is not shooting well right now. Also, I believe they did not fear A&M enough going in, given that they had beaten them last year at their home. The size of A&M was a bit of a shock and I think this induced panic in the shooting department.

              5. There also has to be a bit of change of the team's perspective. In the last couple seasons, they've played very loose, as if they did not care what the score was, and they seemed to be more focused when playing from behind. As if they needed the challenge. Once they figure out that they can no longer do this as much, it will pay dividends.

              6. Making sure that change of perspective happens will likely have to come from guys like JMAC and THORNTON, the field generals. Also, the return of MELTON will no doubt help because he has a very strong will to win and he leads by example.

              7. Speaking of Melton, I think we are seeing how integral he is to this team. His all-around effort has the effect of filling in those lapses in effort for the rest of the team. I think many of these guys (looking at ES and BB especially) got used to something like this happening: (a) Team comes out shooting poorly (b) Melton makes a play on defense and sparks transition game (c) Metu dunks (d) Opposing team gets discombobulated (e) the floodgates open as the shots start going in. Melton has been a catalyst for that and his return will help everyone's game.

              8. A lineup I'd like to see at some point on the court, just for defensive/effort purposes: Melton, Thornton, Matthews, Usher, Metu. This would be an excellent pressure group.

              9. A look at how each of the players are performing:

              Boatwright - in the best shape of his career and playing harder across the board, which is being manifested in much-improved rebounding numbers and better defense. But he's pressing way too hard on offense. I think he really is trying too hard to get to the NBA and trying too hard to be 'the man'. He just needs to not worry about that and get his confidence back.

              Metu - Looks as agile as ever and stronger but, like Boatwright, he is trying TOO hard right now. Needs to let the game come to him. Doesn't seem to have improved much as a defender and, the drop in his FT% is troubling. I have full confidence he'll get his mojo back and start hitting his shots but, again, it's all mental right now for him.

              McLaughlin - Best and most consistent player on the team. Has improved in almost all facets and has an amazingly low EIGHT TOs on the season. Team MVP by far right now.

              Matthews - The effort is there on both sides of the ball but the shots just aren't falling. I've every confidence he'll get it rolling.

              Stewart - The word had been that he had the best offseason of the bunch but I've yet to see any clear sign of improvement (save in the FT area). Again, from a shooting perspective, this looks like a confidence matter as well as the fact that he's not getting the touches he needs to get into a rhythm.As for the rest, it looks to me like he's playing harder than last year, but there are still troubling lapses of concentration. I don't think that will ever really go away.

              Thornton - I think he's getting ready to break out. He knows he's rusty offensively but he's making up for it by playing excellent defense. He is at the moment our best on-ball perimeter defender and when Melton comes back, those two are going to be hellish for opposing guards to deal with. Right now, he is the most effected by the still-developing rotation. As he improves, this team will get very good, but it will be a work in progress.

              Aaron - The clear winner of the Mr. Offseason award. Has come back with a new attitude. Stronger and quicker. More focused. Playing harder. Sharing the ball. Fewer turnovers. It hasn't shown up in his shooting, but I believe it will at some point.

              Rakocevic - He's basically the same crafty player he was last year, only now he is stronger and more confident. He always gives effort and I think he's well positioned to have a solid year.

              Usher - Perhaps we got a little too far ahead of ourselves based on reports of Usher in scrimmages. I think the skill set is there, as well as the effort, he just needs to establish the belief that he can play college basketball at this level. Once he does that, he should be fine. At some point in the next month (Santa Clara?_, he'll have a breakout game and that will break the seal on his play.

              O'Bannon - Much like Usher, he just needs that 'moment' where it dawns on him that he can play at this level. It will happen (target: Santa Clara)! And when it does, the team is going to be really really good.

              Victor U. - He runs like a deer. At that size, this is very encouraging. Would be nice to get him some minutes so he can get used to the speed of the game and the strength of the big guys down low.



              excellent post. some things to add, corresponding to your points:

              1. i've been pleasantly surprised by enfield's ability to handle the depth. it's clear that guys like shaq and rak are playing more, especially during the 2nd half (well, questionable rak removal last game) because they are earning minutes on the defensive end. that's the way it should be. and i think this has a direct correlation, especially with shaqquan, on your second point.

              3. no doubt about this. headlines have been read all off-season and clearly digested. hopefully, this is where your fourth point comes into play (the lesson learned from being smacked in the face).

              6 -7: versatility, versatility, versatility. i LOVE derryck. i thought he has gotten a raw deal on many of his dribble-drive penetrations, especially last game. he impressed me with tenacity, poise and effort on both ends of the floor. he's that wide-shouldered pg that can use his frame to get inside and shield-off defenders naturally. and, oh yeah, that first step is lethal. but with he, jmac, jonah and hopefully melton someday....we can really wreak havoc especially in pressure situations.



              as for the players....the common theme seems to be not allowing the game flow to come to them as opposed to forcing the action. i think this is related to the expectations and publicity. we had plenty of good looks against A&M that just didnt fall. but we also had way too many shots on way too few passes and no one underneath to even attempt to get a board. without rak, we get really hammered in that game. but good teams do not have that many one and dones, let alone with 20 seconds remaining on the shot clock.


              as mentioned before, everything is very fixable. fortunately, most teams in the country do not look or play like Texas A&M. but, if we are fortunate enough to face them again, hopefully we'll have our swiss-army guy and hit a few more shots.

              aside from that, just play hard on defense, move the ball and hit a few more buckets. we have the guys to do this and do this well.

              fo!

              Comment


              • #8
                Share the ball to play for a good shot,not just any shot, focus on defense and rebounding. Also, I can't believe it's been almost five years under Enfield and we still have serious problems inbounding the ball and defending the inbound pass. Even on the division 3 level, where I coached, we had at least three good inbound plays and rarely had any problems getting the ball in from under the basket. This needs to be cleaned up.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Marty46r View Post
                  Share the ball to play for a good shot,not just any shot, focus on defense and rebounding. Also, I can't believe it's been almost five years under Enfield and we still have serious problems inbounding the ball and defending the inbound pass. Even on the division 3 level, where I coached, we had at least three good inbound plays and rarely had any problems getting the ball in from under the basket. This needs to be cleaned up.
                  What sets Dana Altman apart is defensive coaching. We have the athletes to be a much better defensive and rebounding team than we are. If it wasn't for Rak's defense and rebounding, we would have been blown out by half time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Great synopsis .....as for the A&M game if we shoot just 39-42% we could very well have won that game. I doubt we will shoot like that again this season but s**t happens.

                    Comment

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