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  • The team is starting to find its mojo

    I think it's encouraging that the team is finally starting to shoot well. From 45% against OU to 49% against SC to 56% against UCSB (with 37%, 38% and 50% from 3).

    I think there's a good chance we'll look back at the A&M and SMU games as anomalies in this season, at least from a shooting perspective.

    I think last night showed the challenges this team faces in being so deep. Some of these guys like Stewart, Matthews and Rakocevic (and to some extent Metu) are rep guys who have a hard time producing with limited opportunities. And with Boatwright out, it freed up more shots and enabled them to get into a rhythm. Further, without Melton (and to some extent Thornton), a lot of the easier buckets produced from the steals and loose balls they might've gotten are no longer there.

    As for the defense, well, look. This team is what it is. It will never be a suffocating defensive team and will always rely on its shooting to spark it, but once (or if) we get our two best defensive players back (Melton and Thornton), then we will see some improvement in that area.

    In the meantime, it's nice to see Usher start to develop. He really does share the ball well and I think he's starting to get more and more comfortable on the offensive end. Next up is getting Mr. O'Bannon up to speed and he may get a chance soon. He could really be a key to the season, but he needs to step up soon. His body language right now does not betray much confidence in himself.

  • #2
    Melton and Thornton will certain help defensively. And Melton really helps on the glass.

    Look - maybe this changes, but I think we're simply a better team with Nick (spelled by Usher) getting the lion's share of the minutes at the "big" spot next to Metu over Boatwright. Even with Bennie not being a complete black hole on offense (his shooting will improve, it has to), he's still beyond terrible defensively and on the glass. Just fundamentally Nick boxes out on every rebound opportunity, is much more solid defensively, and is WAY more skilled than I think any of us give him credit for. I also love the energy Usher brings when he's on the floor, and to your point is someone who's going to get a lot better the more he plays.
    Last edited by wstrojan; 12-18-2017, 11:40 AM.


    • MeltonNotHelton
      MeltonNotHelton commented
      Editing a comment
      Boatwright is markedly better this year as a rebounder (8.3 rpg, up from around 4.2 rpg in his career) and has been putting forth much better effort on defense than in past seasons (averaging 1.6 blocks/steals vs. .8 blocks/steals last year). I think this might actually explain why he's struggling so much shooting -- he's simply not used to expending his energy on anything other than offense!

      It's probably unrealistic to expect Boatwright not to start unless he keeps struggling from the floor the way he has been. But if he can get up to speed shooting and maintain his current rebounding and defensive effort, then we'll be a LOT better.

  • #3
    It really helps when you don't have one player hoisting up 37 brick after brick


    • #4
      One thing to like about last game is the amount of ball movement. The players were looking for the open man.
      And with players willing to share the ball, a lot of the shots were wide open shots. And wide open shots mean
      a better percentage.
      If the players are willing to share the ball and pass the ball to the open man the season can turn around.


      • #5
        True Bennie has been better on defense this year, but he is still a liability. It's such a shame too, kids would die to have his measurables. And he may be a great student, but his basketball IQ is like a 50. It seems like at least half of his shots come at a time when you should do the exact opposite. Based on the depth of this team, I may still start him, but if I think he is cold shooting the ball, I find a nice warm seat on the bench for him for most of the game.


        • #6
          Even with the improvements on offense, the defense was pretty scary bad in that 2nd half.

          Through about 28 minutes and change, we had played really, really strong basketball -- leading by 25 points.

          Then, over the next 5 minutes, we were outscored by 15 points.

          That's this team in a nutshell.


          • #7
            I agree the defense could have been better. But if we don't give up the final nine points--with the pace of play, it would have been acceptable. I thought it was really encouraging to see Elijah Stewart attacking the basket more. He also has a 62.1 true shooting percentage which is quite frankly fantastic. The more touches we get him, the better. Also, it was fantastic to see Jonah really shooting the ball well. He can be a very good offensive player if he can knock down threes.


            • #8
              When that 5'8 heidegger was throwing up step back 3s we can not blame everything on the defense. They played a good game, if UCSB shoots like that all season they will win a bunch of games


              • #9
                UCSB shot about 50% from the field for the game. IMO,that is really unacceptable against an inferior opponent. We get beat too easily off the dribble, we give up the baseline(never should happen)and we lack discipline in our zones. We need to step up our focus and intensity on the defensive end.