Thursday, June 27, 2013

We are going to do it.

If you do not determine to do it, you likely will not do it. And it starts here, with Mr. Fan. This is the year! Everything comes together. No locker room problems. Good attitudes. No excuses.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I wonder if the NCAA has ever considered

It just might be the three-point shot that is causing the offensive production to go down. Offenses focus so much on shooting threes that they to a large extent neglect the other facets of the game (except the fast break). It sounds ironic, but maybe going to the old rules would open up the game for more creativity. Just a thought.

What about the defense, guys?

The NCAA almost every year tweaks rules to help the offensive players, yet they hardly ever do the opposite. What is it, folks? Do you just hate defense?

"No nonsense" players

You want players to have fun, but this year we need a few of the no-nonsense type to help set the tone that "we are going to get it done this season." I do not know who that would be, but we need some - badly.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

One bad apple

A good locker room and practice atmosphere is so important to a team. One bad apple - one complainer or "me" player or loafer in practice - and a season can be ruined just like that. Coaches can do what they can do, but sometimes the damage is done. Here's hoping we have none of those.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Why I like blue collar basketball

I like the plodders, the not-so-talented guys who make good by hard work and perseverence. I do not care much for the high flyers. I don't like fancy and flashy because I am not fancy and flashy. Blue collar teams may have talent, but they make it on just on talent, but on defense and teamwork. They defend hard, rebound hard, and depend on one another.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Trojan tough

There will be other teams in the Belt that will have better talent than we do; there always are. But we just have to be tougher. Tougher. Tougher. Write it down. Memorize it.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Why teams go south for no reason

It happens sometimes. There is always a reason, though. Sometimes it is because the "pecking order" is disturbed, and it takes time to establish the team leaders.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

You have to put windage on prognostications

Flashy teams tend to get overrated. Defensive-oriented teams tend to get underrated. Just the way it is. So, you have to put windage on predictions.

Devonte Smith - I love the numbers

I have never seen him play, but these numbers are impressive.

In his last four years (2 juco, 2 HS), his teams were a combined 115-11. That is a .913 winning percentage!! That included a national championship and two state championships. And since he averaged over 31 minutes his two years at South Plains, you have to figure he was a  big part of the reason for the wins.

Another stat: At South Plains he had a combined 2.93 A/TO ratio. Believe me! that is really impressive, especially for a juco point guard.

Sure he has not scored much. But your point guard does not have to score much if his play is making everyone else score a lot more.

Look for Ben Dillard to have a breakout year playing with Smith.

Here is the fact that keeps staring me in the face

Occasionally players will regress for whatever reason, but that is not the usual trend. Usually they get better, even if only marginally. And, they tend to be considerably better in their second year at the D1 level. Billings, Hagins, Isler, Osse and White will all be in their second year of playing D1 next year. Throw in the fact that Evans, Isom and Poulter have all had a year to absorb as much as they can of D1, even though they could not play. We lost three key players, but we have a lot of key players  back, and some players who OUGHT to be considerably better next year. Throw in the fact that we will have a couple of scholarship seniors this year, which we did not have last year.

Sure, Shields' coaching needs to improve, and I am hopeful that it will. But regardless, he should have more of a talent/experience/maturity combination to work with, and better talent helps make better coaches.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Greatest college player ever?

No competition here. It is Lew Alcindor. Those of you who are younger cannot imagine how good he was. He literally changed the course of the college game.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Isler is the key

This team will achieve or fail based upon its toughness, and Leroy Isler is the man who will set the tone for that quality. Brooklyn tough. Trojan tough.

Frank Kaminsky

Kaminsky was the back-up center for Wisconsin this past season. He logged 329 minutes of play time. He had 26 assists against only 7 turnovers - really a remarkable stat for a big man, or for anyone, for that matter.

Frank Kaminsky

Just how much worse will the Belt be?

We lost two teams (MT and NT) who had more success lately than they had been accustomed to having. On paper, it looks like we will be down, but time will tell. Some of the incoming programs have potential. Georgia State actually is coming from a basketball conference that is better than the Belt historically.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A loser?

A few IDIOTS are calling Phil Mickelson a "loser" because he has finished second so many times at the US Open. Good grief! He beats all but one golfer in the entire world, and he is a loser?!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Say it over and over again.

Will will get his 3-point shot back. Will will get his 3-point shot back.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

As always the summer is a big key

How hard will the players be working over the summer - to get healthy if they have that problem, and to get in shape regardless. And to get their shots back, if they are Will Neighbour.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Interesting stat from

Northern Iowa was #335 in the nation in offensive rebounds, and #24 in defensive rebounds.


It is true every year, but especially this year, when we appear to have a strong and deep roster, and are finally getting a little maturity on the squad, we need to keep everyone healthy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I always hope the Steve Shields summer camp does well

Just more potential Trojan fans.

How would I measure success?

If you asked me for one simple, overriding standard for the program, I would say winning 20 games more years than not. Regardless of the schedule. If you can do that, then you are consistent, and consistently good. The rest will take care of itself.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Southeast Missouri

After some lean years, Dickie Nutt is finally getting things moving at SEMO. They won 17 games last year and should return four starters, including his top two rebounders and two of the top three scorers. Plus, his son Lucas is a very nice point guard. Look for good things here.

And you think we have attendance problems

Robert Morris (the team that won 24 games and beat Kentucky in the NIT) had back-to-back games this past season in which they drew 478 and 577 fans - announced. If that was what was announced, you have to wonder if anyone was actually there.

The slot where they don't defend

Only a fool would take a shot from right inside the 3-point line, right? Of course. That is what everyone thinks. So guess what - no one defends (relatively speaking) that area where only a fool would shoot. Defenses are not crafted and constructed to defend that area where no one shoots. Get any ideas?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Keep an eye on Richmond next year

They should return four starters, including three who averaged double figures, and they can really shoot the rock.

Ben Dillard: a "quiet" player

Not only in his demeanor on the court, but also in his benefit to the team, Ben is a quiet player. He sneaks up on you. He just does things that help you win. Very quietly, he is on his way to becoming one of the best shooters in Little Rock history. He is not showy or flashy. He just gets the job done. I expect that as an upper-classman this year, he will be called upon to shoot more, especially with the loss of Gillon. And he needs to shoot more.

He reminds me a lot of Courtney Jackson. He just goes about his business, doing his business very well.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Critical players

Who are the players who have to have a good year for us to be successful? Gillon was not one of them. Oddly enough, he would have been gravy, although awfully good gravy. Will has to have a good year, especially from the 3-point line. If he does not, we will have a tough year. If he does, we should have a good year.

The next most critical is Smith/Hagins. One of them has to be really good. With our offensive limitations, we have to have someone who is an excellent distributors.

The third most critical is Gus Leeper. He has to be a rugged man in the block. He does not have to be a prolific scorer at all, but he has to establish his presence.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


If you can luck into a tournament championship, you can just as easily luck out of it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

What is a fan?

I consider myself a fan of UALR. But why do I follow the Trojans? For me, it is recreation, pure and simple. I do it for fun and relaxation. I do not do it to stuff my ego that I am a "winner," and therefore it is not necessary to me that the Trojans win in order for me to be a fan. It gives me something to take my mind off the depressing and stressful factors of life. It is a trivial thing, not an important thing. I understand that it has a different role in the lives of others, and so their demands as a fan are different - and that is OK. That is their business. I demand little from the team other than a pleasant diversion. I want them to win, and I root hard for them to win; but when I go to a game with friends and family, if I had a good time, then I am a winner, whether or not the team won.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Goal for the Belt?

Presumably the Sun Belt Conference will be down somewhat next year. We just need to beat our average, which over the last 13 years has been 18th. This past year we were 21st, so that is a pretty tough goal.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

How much further can Shields take us?

Recruiting has improved; I really believe that. We have an outstanding staff of assistants. All the pieces are in place to move forward. But is Shields up to it?

I think a lot of the criticism of Shields' supposed lack of success is rooted in the fact that some fans don't like his style of play. Be that as it may, he has shown some significant deficiencies in his coaching. Everyone has turnover these days, but we have too much. Shields' teams are too one-dimensional. He over-coaches from the sideline.

All this being said, he can improve as a coach. He did within the year we went to the NCAA, even though that year was not a good one as a whole. He did the year we won 23 games. Other years he has not done a good job, and his teams have been tenative and sitting ducks for teams with confident, aggressive players. That has to change, and it has to change this year, because he may never get a better set of talent than he has this year.

We have a lot of talent this year

Will we have a lot of toughness? If the team takes the lead of Leroy Isler, we will.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Upper-level juco talent is pretty good

The better juco teams have a lot of talent. Coach Horton at UAFS indicated to my son that the year they won the national juco title, he  thought the talent on their team was comparable to the top level D1 teams in the country. And I have observed the same to be true on the men's side.


Shields' teams have to have a defensive stopper to be effective, and Isler definitely is that - in the best Shields tradition. I love to watch him play defense. He reminds me so much of John Fowler, and I could not pay a higher compliment. He has some offensive skills, and I expect he will get better this year as he is more relaxed with the system.

Monday, June 3, 2013

How much did we lose?

Javes, Gillon, Lockhart. All gone.  How much difference will it make?

With Javes we were betting on the future, and that future had not yet arrived, so all we really lost was potential. If the other big guys step up, we will be all right. And there was not enough PT to go around, anyway.

Losing Gillon hurts, because he was so versatile, but in terms of talent, we may have more than replaced him with the new point guard. And we have lots of options at the 2.

Losing Lockhart really hurt, in my opinion. That was a blow. He was one of those type players who are an integral part of Shields' system, and coaches' systems work best when they have their type players.

Net loss? It remains to be seen, but I don't think we took a step backwards. And we still have one roster slot to fill.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

And we STILL do not know what the roster is.

Some things never change at Little Rock. The standard time to have the roster set is about two days before the next season. (I am being sarcastic, of course, but it surely does seem like it.)