Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Point guard

If we are not in good shape at the point guard position this year, it will not be for lack of trying. Hats off  to the staff for their efforts at this critical position. Josh Hagins had a solid season last year, especially for a true freshman. He was 8th in the league in assists, and 6th in assist/turnover ratio. We can assume that he will get even better, and quickly.

DeVonte Smith's numbers in juco were dazzling. He looks to be the real deal, but how real we will see when he gets here. In any case, whether as backup or starter, he should be a big help. He is a true point guard, which Gillon was not.

J. T. Thomas and Kemy Osse provide depth, which is always a plus at point. Osse was respectable at times last year, although likely out of position.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The biggest jokes in college basketball coaching jobs

Penn State

Sure, they pay big money because they are big schools, but basketball is purely an asterisk at these schools.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dickie Nutt at SEMO

He has done a pretty good job so far. They were pretty bad when he took over the program, but he had them up to 17-16 this past season, and will have three starters returning for this season, including his top scorer. I am not a big fan of his, but give credit where it is due.

Friday, July 26, 2013


They are coming of a 19-win year, butthey lost their top three scorers. Should be an off season for them.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Looking at names for the PA

After three years of doing the PA announcing for a high school team, I cannot help thinking how I would call certain unusual names if they were on the team. (There are a few of them that would be tough to pronounce, let alone call out during a game.) For example, how would you call California player Bak Bak?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One thing I do NOT like about college basketball

ESPN's Jason King summed it up:

Painter said the popularity of the NCAA tournament has lured in scores of "casual" fans. Most don't follow college basketball closely until March and most don't have sports backgrounds. The tournament, Painter said, becomes a "social event," with everyone suddenly becoming an expert after filling out a bracket.

"It's great for the tournament," Painter said. "But from a fan's standpoint, there is a pool of people [who] don't understand the game. They don't understand all that goes into winning and losing and the things that can happen. They just react to how you finish and they judge you on that."

The bottom line is that the tournament is over-emphasized and the rest of the season basically means nothing. The NCAA needs to fix that.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Every shot counts

The guy who makes the last shot is always the hero. But that same guy might have MISSED the first shot of the game, and the first shot is as important in the final score as the last. And the same "gutsy" player who is the hero may have placed his team in that tight situation by being lackadaisical early in the game.

The first shot is as important as the last shot - but how do you teach that to the kids?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Bubu Palo

At Iowa State. Another one of those great names for the PA announcer.

How Wisconsin recruits

Robert Icart was the AAU coach of Wisconsin recruit Jordan Hill. He had this to say:

"The think I like about it was how they evaluated him. [Associate Head Coach Greg Gard] asked me a ton of questions about his character and personality. They went off that. They didn't ask who was recruiting him. They do their own assessment, their own evaluation. They don't care what the scouting services say."

Georgia State

Ga State would have been tough in our leage anyway, what with four starters and their top four scorers returning from a 15-win team.  But throw Ryan Harrow into the equation, and they have to be considered in the upper tier of Belt teams. Add to that the fact that they are not coming to us from a lower-ranked conference, but are actually moving down (in terms of basketball) from the Colonial.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I like this program

Oh, we haven't won as many games as we would like, but I have had a lot of fun being a fan, and that is my bottom line. After all, my choices might be Kentucky and Florida, or someone like that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Press more

One thing we do appear to have this year is depth. So we need to press more. Not the stupid press that hacks and slaps and gets teams in foul trouble, but a press that keeps the opponent under control and makes them use up shot clock time and looks for their mistakes for easy baskets.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stetson Billings

He took some bad press from the fans after his freshman season. But remember that if we had had a normal roster, with plenty of upperclassmen, he probably would not have been playing much, if any, as a true freshman. As it was, he got his spots, and gained valuable experience, but obviously was playing with some pretty strict instructions as to what he should attempt. Nothing wrong with that.

He seems to me to be a typical Shields small forward. He works hard and is willing to do the little things that make winning teams. Shields likes tough, defensive-minded 3's, and that looks like what Stetson is. He probably will not score in bunches, but by the time he is an upperclassman, he will have learned the defensive scheme well enough that he will be a lock-down defender, and to my way of thinking they are worth their weight in gold.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Why I like Pitt basketball

My kind of basketball: take care of the ball, brutal halfcourt defense, pound the boards.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Profound quote from Rivals' Eric Engevine

"The system is what makes Virginia a dangerous team against programs that can out-recruit them at every turn. Unless a truly elite player plans to come to Charlottesville, the system has to be paramount."

When you cannot recruit one-and-doners, you recruit players that fit your system. Simple.

Developers of big men

One of the real problems at our level is getting big men who actually can play. Since the higher-level schools get the ones who are really good, usually that leaves us with either playing smaller players out of position, or recruiting "projects," who may or may not develop into worthwhile post players in time. This is one reason that a coach who has the knack for developing big men over time is worth his weight in gold.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Here is what has to happen

Is this a Once in a Decade team? It can be, IF

1. Will Neighbour gets back his 3-point shot.
2. One of the point guards is the real deal.
3. One of the big men asserts himself underneath.

If these three things happen, no one can really predict who will win the SBC tournament, but this will be a GOOD basketball team. Mark it down.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Marshall Henderson

Good riddance!

The Pitt Way?

It looks like that at Pitt, if you play at all, you play a lot. Ten players played last year. All ten of them played in at least 30 games and logged at least 350 minutes. No one else had any minutes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Buy your tickets now

This is the year for the Trojans.

The face of UALR

More than any other photo, to me this is it.

The swagger

This year this team needs a little swagger. "No one else thinks we are that good, but we do, and we are going to show you." Sign up Isler as the Swagger Coach.

"Lunch pail and hard hat"

That is the way the Pitt official website describes one of their recruits for this season. I like it!

Chi Chi and the sand traps

Back in the 1960's and '70's, Chi Chi Rodriguez was an active professional golfer. He was a very colorful individual. I remember once watching a tournament on TV and hearing the commentator say that Chi Chi was one of the better players out of a sand trap. As the match continued, I could see why he was good at it. He seemed to spend a lot of time in the sand.

I enjoyed watching Chi Chi play.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Two of the biggest question marks going into this season regarding known players are Will Neighbour and Gus Leeper. Neighbour will be solid, but we need his 3-point shot to come back.

Leeper does not have to be spectacular for us, but it will be hard for us to get where we need to be without his  being solid underneath. We need some muscle. This has become more of a finesse team, compared with some of Shields' former groups, and we need someone to be an enforcer. Leeper is the most likely candidate. He certainly has the  bulk for it. Does he have the meanness? We shall see.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Moving on from realignment

I did not like the recent outbreak of conferences. It was motivated purely by greed, and not what was good for the sport. However, it is what it is, and that is the landscape on which we must operate. What we need now is several years of stability so we can settle into our conferences and get some new rivalries started.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Dr. Strangeglove

Remember him? Dick (Richie) Allen. Mighty at the bat, but when a ball was approaching him in the field, anything could (and usually did) happen.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Breakout year

The odds are that at least one of our players is going to have a break-out year. Dillard? White? Hagins? Who knows? We need a couple of guys to do it.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Dog Days

These are the days when there is not much going on in college basketball except players transferring and coaches trying to get more money. There is good information out there, but you have to dig.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Two months to go!

Two months until the pre-season magazines come out!

The new Big East will reap benefits

from being non-football. With the Kentucky-type exceptions, schools that have football always empasize football because there is so much money involved. But at the schools that do not have it, their focus will be on basketball, which means their fan base will be focused on basketball, which means their fan base will be rabid about baskeball, which means the atmostphere at those games will be tremendous. Having a top conference that is non-football will be a huge plus for college basketball.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some sacrifice!

Doug McDermott renounces his scholarship to make room on the roster for teammate Grant Gibbs, who was granted a sixth year. His dad (the coach) makes loads of money, and he soon will, also, in the NBA. I am sure he is really worried about that scholarship! "I have the flexibility to do that," the elder McDermott said. Yes, one could expect that he does.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When you build a track program

you start with distance runners, and the reason is simple: they compete in all three sports - cross country, indoor and outdoor. You get the most bang for your buck with them.

Why not a 4-point shot?

The main argument I have heard for the 3-point shot is that it opens up the game, gives little guys more of a chance, and lets people catch up quicker. Well, if that is the case, why not have a 4-point shot? Anything behind half-court is four points. Three are guys who would take it, and who could make a fair enough percentage of them to be worth the risk.

I am being sarcastic, in case anyone cannot guess. We have catered to the fans and injured the game, so why not go all the way and turn it completely into a circus? That ought to really bring out the fans.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Wright State - keep an eye on them next year

They return all five starters, have adequate height, shoot the ball well, and play good defense. They might be a dark horse by Dance time.