Saturday, October 3, 2015

Keep an eye on Vandy

Watch out for Vanderbilt this season. I predict they are going to be one of the surprise teams in the SEC, as well as nationally. Things started coming together for them late last season, and look for it to carry over this year.

Looking forward to seeing Johnson

I really am anticipating getting to see the play of Marcus Johnson, Jr. at point guard. Little Rock has had a fine tradition of finding outstanding juco point guards who have been, really, the backbone of the program as much as any other factor. Hopefully Marcus will continue that trend.

Friday, October 2, 2015

5 spot

Daniel Green and Lis Soshi can both fill this spot. Both are tall enough. Mareik is tall enough, but is not that type player. Outside of those two, that is about it; but two who can legitimately play the 5 is more than you usually have in the Belt.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Power forward

That is largely a misnomer on this particular team, but we will use it for convenience. The only players we have who would be prototypical 4s are Daniel Green and Lis Soshi, and we might see them in games together if we need to go big, but I doubt it. Mareik Isom has the height, but if he played in that spot he would be more of a "stretch four" because of his shooting ability, and that is a nice option to have. I saw the term "power wing" in a magazine recently, and that somewhat describes Roger Woods and Maurius Hill, who are really too short to be 4s, but whose bulk and skills may suit that position somewhat more than the 3 spot. And then there is Jalen Jackson, who appears to be very versatile, and could spend a good bit of time in this slot. Suffice it to stay that there is a wide variety of skill packages at Coach Beard's disposal that he could throw into the fray from this position. The bottom line is that we have it well covered.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

If I were an inside player

If I were a post player, I would rebound as hard as I could. My observation is that the average perimeter player these days had much rather shoot a 3-pointer than make a good feed to the post; so the main way inside guys are going to get their hands on the ball is to catch it off the boards.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adults who act like children

We expect children to lose control of themselves, because they have not yet learned to keep their emotions in check. But when adults act like children, especially in a public arena, it is particularly disgusting, especially when they are being compensated monetarily on an obscene scale.

It is particularly frustrating to have to watch adults act like children when you are trying to teach children how to act like adults.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Football trivia fact you may not have known

While at Shreveport Woodlawn High school,  NFL great Terry Bradshaw set a national record for throwing the javelin 245 feet.

Small Forward

Again, this position probably will be largely interchangeable in Beard's system, but we will isolate it for the sake of discussion. This could be the deepest spot on the team. We have perhaps a half-dozen players who could hold forth here depending on the situation. The most likely candidates for minutes are Roger Woods, Jalen Jackson,, Maurius Hill and Mareik Isom. That is some pretty tough competition for minutes! and someone is going to get left out who is pretty good. However, all of them could just as easily slide over to the 4 spot, so they will be in the discussion there. The good news is that we are well covered in the mid-size positions. And then there is Stetson Billings, whose most natural position is the 3. Has he improved in his year off? Stay tuned. This ought to be interesting.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Eric Braeden - an athlete?

His face is a fixture to all soap opera fans of The Young and the Restless. What they might now know, though, is that he was a very good athlete in track and field and soccer. In fact, he attended the University of Montana on a track scholarship (discus, javelin, shot).


Friday, September 25, 2015

Bo proved it pays to take good shots

During his 15-year tenure at UW-Platteville, Bo Ryan's teams won four NCAA Div III national championships. In seven of those years, they shot more than 39% as a team from the 3-point line. You don't do that by jacking up bad shots.

Where Kemy Osse might help

Kemy's career in Little Rock has been undistinguished, and he may get buried in the wave of incoming talent. However, one thing he has done well is to rebound. He averaged 2.1 rebounds per game over his career, but that was in 13.6 minutes per game. If he had averaged 25 minutes a game, it would have translated into almost four boards a game, which is very good for a guard.

Shooting guard

Positions sometimes are interchangeable, so for the sake of discussion we will define Shooting Guard as "the perimeter player who handles the ball the most except for the point guard." Given the fact that Josh Hagins is here for his senior year, this position is automatically in very good hands. If he stays healthy, Josh will end his career at Little Rock as one of our all-time greats. Who will be his back-up is hard to say. Jermaine Ruttley comes in with gaudy statistics, which admittedly got inflated because of the level at which he was playing; but even so he appears to be a legit talent. However, he was not a good 3-point shooter. Likewise, Deondre Burns was a big scorer in high school, but it remains to be seen how he will do at the D-1 college level. Another option is Kemy Osse, who has the advantage of experience and maturity, but it has been a while since he has played in games. In all likelihood Josh is going to be playing a lot of minutes, and it will not be a problem to piece together the rest of the time at this spot. There are also several players whose more natural position would be at the SF spot who could slide over to the 2 if needed. Barring injuries, we appear to be in good shape here.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Three-quarter press

With the institution of the 30-second clock this season, I wonder if more teams will go with a three-quarter-court press: not pressing for turnovers as much as to compress the time in the offensive end to the point that it becomes uncomfortable. More teams may look at the shortened clock as a real weapon that can be employed to hamper opponents out of their normal offense. After all, if you can hinder the other guys for five seconds longer than otherwise would have been the case and keep them from getting into their offense, then all of a second it is a 25-second shot clock – and that is short enough that it becomes a problem, because teams may not have enough time to reset their offenses if there is a momentary breakdown.

The underdog factor - what makes college basketball great

According to the Sagarin ratings, last year Yale was a better basketball team than either Auburn or Tennessee. So was Valparaiso. So was Buffalo. It happens every year. There will be a whole list of teams from no-name conferences that will be better than some teams from the big money conferences. It occasionally happens in football, but a lot less frequently. The nature of basketball, and the lower number of players involved, makes it much more upset-prone than football. And thus more fun, at least in that regard.

Leverage your fun: pick a team to follow

There doesn't have to be any logic to it. Pick it because it is close geographically, because you like the coach, or the style of play, or because they have an interesting name, or a lot of tradition, or no tradition. The reason is irrelevant. Just pick on, and then follow it closely. Just for fun.

Several years ago, when KMOX still carried Cardinals baseball, I would listen to Charlie Spoonhour, the SLU coach, who was a frequent guest on the talk shows because he was just an interesting talker. I liked to listen to him, and so I started sort of keeping up with Billiken basketball because of Charlie. And I have kept up with them ever since. Lots of fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Interesting comment on motion offense

Athlon quotes Kansas State coach  Bruce Weber as being concerned that the new 30-second clock will have a negative effect on his motion offense.

Kenny Saylors as a ref

It was a good many years ago. I think I was out of school at that time, but I do not remember distinctly. In any case, for some reason I was at a high school basketball game at Waldron. Between games or at half, the refs were out on the court just relaxing and goofing around, and one of them  started shooting the ball. He was fairly tall, and he was making most of his shots. In fact, his shooting was very impressive. It was obvious he had been on a court before. I asked someone, who he was, and I was told that he was Kenny Saylors.

Saylors was a two-time Little All-American for Arkansas Tech, playing from 1959-1963. He led the league in scoring. In fact, he hung 30 points on Little Rock University on one occasion. In a game against Arkansas College he scored 47 points and had 18 rebounds. He was All-Conference four times and was the all-time leading scorer in Tech history with 2470 points. One season he averaged 30.8 points per game.

I was also privileged to see Tech Hall of Famer E. C. O'Neal coach at Booneville and play in the annual faculty/student games. They were not much of a contest when he was there.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Remembering Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine graduated from high school in 1969, so he was the runner most high school middle-distance and distance runners wanted to be like during my career. He was a tough kid from a tough logging town with a swagger about him that caught the public eye.

In a very real sense, Prefontaine WAS American track during his college years. After setting the U. S. high school record in the two-mile, he won three NCAA cross-country championships and four straight 3-mile/5000 meters titles in track. In his four years at Oregon, he never lost an NCAA race at 3 miles/5000 meters or 6 miles/10,000 meters. From 1968 through 1975, he set 13 American records at distances from 2000 meters to 10,000 meters. He died in an auto accident at the age of 24.


Let's see more DePauls and Texas Techs

For a long time I have been a proponent of scheduling the bottom feeders in major conferences. That is exactly what we have done this year, and of course I applaud it strongly. DePaul is not from a "money" conference (they do not have football), but they are in the Big East which is one of the best basketball conferences in the country, including the money conferences. We need a couple of those every year. Get them to pay us to play there, in a situation where we might actually have an outside chance at pulling an upset.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Point guard

Point is the one position where you absolutely cannot afford to get caught short, and thankfully we are in very solid shape there. Marcus Johnson looks to be a pure point guard and a juco All-American. Josh Hagins plays a very solid point. Deondre Burns is a freshman, but comes in with some nice numbers. He is probably rusty, but Kemy Osse did fill in at point a little when he played. And, I figure that Jermaine Ruttley could play point if needed, even though he apparently is mainly a scorer. We have a lot more depth here than we have had some years.