Monday, July 28, 2014

Point guard

This is perhaps our strongest position. We have the player (Thomas) who was the starter at the beginning of last year who presumably will be returning healthy. He was enough of a leader to be chosen one of the team captains before he had played a single season. We have the player (Smith) who replaced him and played superlatively well, comfortably leading the league in assist/turnover ratio. Then we have Hagins, who came in as a point guard and got moved to shooting guard when we got two other points, and did a great job. Although he may not be as pure a point as the other two, he certainly is capable and is perhaps more able to make things happen at crunch time because of his scoring capability. Then, for good measure, throw in Kemy Osse, who played some point before he got hurt. There might be better point guards somewhere in the conference (GSU comes to mind), but I doubt that any other team in the conference is as good as deep as we are - if everyone stays healthy.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Be tough!

Say it over and over again. Be tough! Say it on the court. Say it in your sleep. Say it until you are it. Trojan tough!

DSCN0503.JPG

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The right kind of "Go To" guy

A lot of people praise players who are not afraid to take clutch shots, late shots, shots when the game is on the line. I remain unimpressed. I don't care about players who are not afraid to take clutch shots. I want a couple of players who can MAKE clutch shots. A championship team has to have the right kind of Go To guys.

Don't squander the opportunity

It will not be many times in the history of a program that you have the combination of maturity and talent that we have this year. We may not have the high-D1 sort of talent like GSU has on rent, but better chops than we usually have. And we have seniors. And a whole stable of juniors. Now we just need to stay healthy. And stay focused. And give maximum effort.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Waiting for the next special player

Who will be that next "special" player - one who will be remembered by Trojan fans as an all-time great? One who can put the team on his shoulders? There are a couple of candidates on this squad. Both James White and Josh Hagins have the tools to do so if they can become more consistent. White has played in the shadow of Will Neighbour, but it is his time to step up. He has to be more assertive. Hagins is great in flashes, but is spectacularly inconsistent at times. But either of them could take that giant step forward to go from good to great.

What are our weaknesses?

The most obvious is depth with size at the post. We do have some options that give us flexibility, but not with much size.

We also are going to have to come up with some rebounding. We lost our leading rebounder in Will Neighbour, and although there is no reason James White cannot get his share, someone is going to have to step up as his helper on the boards.

Last year we were a poor 3-point shooting team. Perimeter players who were not hitting were taking too many shots, so this year they are either going to have to make them, or Shields is going to have to tell them not to shoot as much, because we cannot afford to shoot 32% from the arc.

Our perimeter defense is still weak. Opponents shot 34.5% against us, which, while not horrible, certainly leaves room for improvement. Also, our opponents had a positive assist/turnover ratio, which means that we are not disrupting the flow of offense much.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bill Russell's timing

Look on Youtube for some of the videos of Bill Russell playing defense. He was amazing. Obviously, he was a very agile big man, but he was not very tall for an NBA center. What he had, though, was an amazing sense of timing. A player would go in for a shot, and Russell would come soaring from out of nowhere to block it. Amazing.