Lessons learned, thoughts on Year 2 of Red | Page 2 | Syracusefan.com

Lessons learned, thoughts on Year 2 of Red

That’s fine if you believe that, but other teams do. The number one team in the nations tallest guy is 6’7”.

So we’re going to justify this glaringly obvious hole in our roster by comparing ourselves to Houston?

Im saying what I said based on just watching the team. The interior defense is horrid, the defensive rebounding is worse.
 
Interesting season: Wouldn't say we exactly turned anything around and there are certainly a few holes in the old resume, but at the same time we saw some encouraging things and if we're able to build on it, we could feel like we are rounding that corner next season. With that, some thoughts:

We're officially a man-2-man team
The defense had some atrocious moments but I have to give Red credit for ripping the band-aid off and moving to primarily M2M. Feel like this was always going to be a bit ugly, or at least uneven, whenever it happened and we witnessed that, particularly the last 8 games or so. But completely switching up your defensive philosophy, increasing the pace significantly and managing to keep your head above water with solid but unspectacular talent is a pretty solid debut for a first-year head coach. Credit to Red.

Some old basketball tropes proved true. Others proved less true.
Two of the big things repeated here and all over the college basketball world for the past few years were that it's hard to rebound out of the zone and you give up a lot of threes if you play a zone all game. The latter appears to be true, for the most part. We allowed 243 3-pointers made on 712 attempts this season vs. surrendering 329 and 958 last season and we did that while playing at a faster pace. The percentages were basically the same .341 vs. .343, but we seemed to do a better job limiting damage from three. Rebounding was a different story as we finished 294th in that category (and yes, perhaps personnel was a much bigger factor here than defensive system). But I think the bottom line here is whatever defense you play, you need to communicate and play it well or you can get torched. We've seen too much of that the past few years, so we need to improve on this end of the floor (more on that in a bit).

Red's offseason moves were mediocre at best. His in-season management was pretty solid.
JJ was a nice addition -- room to improve, but solid addition. Cuffe has some potential and had a few moments, but was a peripheral figure much of the year. McLeod was ... not great. Westry didn't play. Patterson didn't play. There's a bit of wait and see here in terms of JJ's potential, Cuffe's potential, the potential of a healthy Westry and whatever Patterson potentially becomes, but at least based on year one, it's a lot of meh. That said, thought we managed to get some nice moments out of Benny once he got on the court and Red made the tough, but correct decision to part ways when we did. He got good contributions from a bunch of players including Cope, Brown and JJ improving significantly over the course of the season, Cuffe contributing a bit and staying competitive despite a significant lack of size. If Red has a better off-season this year (which seems likely with Freeman as a good start), it could be a very interesting season with a little bit more of a foundation to build off.

We were brutal in transition defense ... even off makes on the offensive end
Not sure I've seen a Syracuse team this bad at getting back on defense. Judah was a big offender, Bell was a big one too. Even Brown sometimes found himself behind the play. Add that to fact that we didn't really dedicate much to offensive rebounding and it was a really bad mix.

We were brutal against good teams
The UNC win was great and it was really, really important for this group. Outside of that we had a bunch of nice wins -- Pitt, NC State, etc. But we really struggled against well-coached, talented teams. Like struggled to even be in the game. We don't need to win all those (thought that would be fine too), but we have to find a way to be in those games fairly consistently and to win our fair share. More talent and depth would help, but we also need to make it tougher from an approach standpoint against those teams. To that end ...

Some thoughts looking ahead to Year 2

We need more imagination on defense and offense

The thing that really jumped out to me, particularly early in the season was how stagnant our offense was (everyone blames judah, but we ran a ton of minutes with a lineup of three struggling offensive players in Taylor, McLeod and JJ and a stationary spot-up shooter in Bell. Tough mountain to climb.) and how rudimentary our defensive approach was. It was like five guys defending five guys vs. a team playing defense together. Thought the more we saw of Copeland and Bell, the more variety we saw in the offense and we actually were pretty impressive on that end in Februrary ... we even saw Bell moving some off the ball. The defense overall really struggled but we were better defending the high ball screen, which was killing me early in the season.

But more actions and secondary actions offensively will really help if Judah isn't around and defensively we need to have wrinkles that make teams work. The interesting thing against Clemson was that we gave up 90 without really getting killed in transition. They just consistently got whatever they wanted and on the few possessions they didn't, they found a matchup they liked (a big singled up against Brown deep in the post, anyone Bell was guarding) and attacked that way. It was a nearly effortless 90. Not great. We have to find a way to make teams like that more uncomfortable. Better help and communication would be a start. Can you get creative with doubles to jump teams or reduce the issues with bad matchups? Can we get better (and it was better later in the season) at not having a player out of the play defensively chasing from behind? Can we employ some sort of creative defense to take advantage of the rim protection of McLeod without exposing him as a defender on the perimeter? We need our approach to be more sophisticated on this end if we ever hope to be a top tier team in the regular season.

JJ needs more Copeland swag in his game
Interesting year for JJ. Hard to pick on him too much because he was huge for us in the second half once he rediscovered his shot. But he's an odd player at the same time. He took a lot of criticism for his defense but I actually thought he played decent position defense, but he just never gambles. Never reaches in and picks anyone's pocket, never really shoots passing lanes, never drops his man and helps to mess up the opponent. He just sort of runs around with his guy. His 1.4 fouls a game means he's not in foul trouble, but it also often means you're not much of a factor either. Offensively is the same, the jumper came around and he is really tough in the mid-range, but he struggles to get to the rim and he never draws contact -- he shot 56 FTs on the season, less than half as many as Cope in nearly 400 more minutes as a primary ball-handler. Crazy.

Some interesting decisions lie ahead
Don't love speculating on the portal because it's such a crapshoot. But just thinking about how they value players and where they see them fitting is an interesting exercise. Bell is a really interesting one. The kid is a really talented scorer and an elite shooter. Obviously it's a lot of threes, but he's got a pump fake and pullup in his game, he hits contested shots, he can get to the rim a bit and finish on the break. If he can move better, he's tough to defend. Defensively, the chase-down block he's got ... the rest of it ... that's a work in progress. And the rebounding is a killer. A bit better late, but it's a struggle. Taylor is pretty much the opposite player -- lots of hustle and movement, works hard defensively and on the glass, but he just has such a tough time offensively I'm not sure. Does the staff think Carey can get healthy and be a factor with his athleticism? Seems hard to imagine, but maybe. Patterson is likely back after redshirting ... can he be a factor?

Lots of folks talking about a big, but I'd settle for a couple longish athletes
I wonder if there are many traditional bigs who will thrive in this system given the demands on the perimeter. But a couple 6'7"/6'8" dudes who play hard and have some athleticism could give you a frontcourt that can work on both ends and help give you a defensive identity. I think that could work.

I don't know -- there's a probably a lot more, but that's a start.
I agree with you the need for "6'7"/6'8" dudes". A legit three who can score, handle, defend and board at a good level on a consistent basis is a must. Doesn't have to be Melo but CJ ish would be awesome.
 
So we’re going to justify this glaringly obvious hole in our roster by comparing ourselves to Houston?

Im saying what I said based on just watching the team. The interior defense is horrid, the defensive rebounding is worse.
The numbers and my eyes say the perimeter defense is worse. The rebounding will get better with Freeman.

JJ, Bell and Judah are awful defenders.
 
We need a real center that is a rebounder who knows how to play basketball. McCleod is not the answer, he is tall but is not intuitive or quick. Cary is not the answer. Himma is not the answer. I assume that Patterson is not the answer because if he was, I don't know why the hell Red didn't play him. No reason to redshirt in this day and age.
 
The weird thing about this year is that for the first 2/3 of the season, I thought this team would have a defensive identity and would need to hang its hat on defense to win games. And then it kind of just flipped where the offense heated up but the defense became swiss cheese.
Not sure how you concluded this team was locking opponents down in the first 20 games.
 
Not sure how you concluded this team was locking opponents down in the first 20 games.
Where did I conclude they were locking down opponents? I said I thought they would need to rely on defense to win games.
 
Interesting season: Wouldn't say we exactly turned anything around and there are certainly a few holes in the old resume, but at the same time we saw some encouraging things and if we're able to build on it, we could feel like we are rounding that corner next season. With that, some thoughts:

We're officially a man-2-man team
The defense had some atrocious moments but I have to give Red credit for ripping the band-aid off and moving to primarily M2M. Feel like this was always going to be a bit ugly, or at least uneven, whenever it happened and we witnessed that, particularly the last 8 games or so. But completely switching up your defensive philosophy, increasing the pace significantly and managing to keep your head above water with solid but unspectacular talent is a pretty solid debut for a first-year head coach. Credit to Red.

Some old basketball tropes proved true. Others proved less true.
Two of the big things repeated here and all over the college basketball world for the past few years were that it's hard to rebound out of the zone and you give up a lot of threes if you play a zone all game. The latter appears to be true, for the most part. We allowed 243 3-pointers made on 712 attempts this season vs. surrendering 329 and 958 last season and we did that while playing at a faster pace. The percentages were basically the same .341 vs. .343, but we seemed to do a better job limiting damage from three. Rebounding was a different story as we finished 294th in that category (and yes, perhaps personnel was a much bigger factor here than defensive system). But I think the bottom line here is whatever defense you play, you need to communicate and play it well or you can get torched. We've seen too much of that the past few years, so we need to improve on this end of the floor (more on that in a bit).

Red's offseason moves were mediocre at best. His in-season management was pretty solid.
JJ was a nice addition -- room to improve, but solid addition. Cuffe has some potential and had a few moments, but was a peripheral figure much of the year. McLeod was ... not great. Westry didn't play. Patterson didn't play. There's a bit of wait and see here in terms of JJ's potential, Cuffe's potential, the potential of a healthy Westry and whatever Patterson potentially becomes, but at least based on year one, it's a lot of meh. That said, thought we managed to get some nice moments out of Benny once he got on the court and Red made the tough, but correct decision to part ways when we did. He got good contributions from a bunch of players including Cope, Brown and JJ improving significantly over the course of the season, Cuffe contributing a bit and staying competitive despite a significant lack of size. If Red has a better off-season this year (which seems likely with Freeman as a good start), it could be a very interesting season with a little bit more of a foundation to build off.

We were brutal in transition defense ... even off makes on the offensive end
Not sure I've seen a Syracuse team this bad at getting back on defense. Judah was a big offender, Bell was a big one too. Even Brown sometimes found himself behind the play. Add that to fact that we didn't really dedicate much to offensive rebounding and it was a really bad mix.

We were brutal against good teams
The UNC win was great and it was really, really important for this group. Outside of that we had a bunch of nice wins -- Pitt, NC State, etc. But we really struggled against well-coached, talented teams. Like struggled to even be in the game. We don't need to win all those (thought that would be fine too), but we have to find a way to be in those games fairly consistently and to win our fair share. More talent and depth would help, but we also need to make it tougher from an approach standpoint against those teams. To that end ...

Some thoughts looking ahead to Year 2

We need more imagination on defense and offense

The thing that really jumped out to me, particularly early in the season was how stagnant our offense was (everyone blames judah, but we ran a ton of minutes with a lineup of three struggling offensive players in Taylor, McLeod and JJ and a stationary spot-up shooter in Bell. Tough mountain to climb.) and how rudimentary our defensive approach was. It was like five guys defending five guys vs. a team playing defense together. Thought the more we saw of Copeland and Bell, the more variety we saw in the offense and we actually were pretty impressive on that end in Februrary ... we even saw Bell moving some off the ball. The defense overall really struggled but we were better defending the high ball screen, which was killing me early in the season.

But more actions and secondary actions offensively will really help if Judah isn't around and defensively we need to have wrinkles that make teams work. The interesting thing against Clemson was that we gave up 90 without really getting killed in transition. They just consistently got whatever they wanted and on the few possessions they didn't, they found a matchup they liked (a big singled up against Brown deep in the post, anyone Bell was guarding) and attacked that way. It was a nearly effortless 90. Not great. We have to find a way to make teams like that more uncomfortable. Better help and communication would be a start. Can you get creative with doubles to jump teams or reduce the issues with bad matchups? Can we get better (and it was better later in the season) at not having a player out of the play defensively chasing from behind? Can we employ some sort of creative defense to take advantage of the rim protection of McLeod without exposing him as a defender on the perimeter? We need our approach to be more sophisticated on this end if we ever hope to be a top tier team in the regular season.

JJ needs more Copeland swag in his game
Interesting year for JJ. Hard to pick on him too much because he was huge for us in the second half once he rediscovered his shot. But he's an odd player at the same time. He took a lot of criticism for his defense but I actually thought he played decent position defense, but he just never gambles. Never reaches in and picks anyone's pocket, never really shoots passing lanes, never drops his man and helps to mess up the opponent. He just sort of runs around with his guy. His 1.4 fouls a game means he's not in foul trouble, but it also often means you're not much of a factor either. Offensively is the same, the jumper came around and he is really tough in the mid-range, but he struggles to get to the rim and he never draws contact -- he shot 56 FTs on the season, less than half as many as Cope in nearly 400 more minutes as a primary ball-handler. Crazy.

Some interesting decisions lie ahead
Don't love speculating on the portal because it's such a crapshoot. But just thinking about how they value players and where they see them fitting is an interesting exercise. Bell is a really interesting one. The kid is a really talented scorer and an elite shooter. Obviously it's a lot of threes, but he's got a pump fake and pullup in his game, he hits contested shots, he can get to the rim a bit and finish on the break. If he can move better, he's tough to defend. Defensively, the chase-down block he's got ... the rest of it ... that's a work in progress. And the rebounding is a killer. A bit better late, but it's a struggle. Taylor is pretty much the opposite player -- lots of hustle and movement, works hard defensively and on the glass, but he just has such a tough time offensively I'm not sure. Does the staff think Carey can get healthy and be a factor with his athleticism? Seems hard to imagine, but maybe. Patterson is likely back after redshirting ... can he be a factor?

Lots of folks talking about a big, but I'd settle for a couple longish athletes
I wonder if there are many traditional bigs who will thrive in this system given the demands on the perimeter. But a couple 6'7"/6'8" dudes who play hard and have some athleticism could give you a frontcourt that can work on both ends and help give you a defensive identity. I think that could work.

I don't know -- there's a probably a lot more, but that's a start.


Really good post! I disagree with some of your observations, but most are spot on.

Regarding JJ being one of "3 struggling offensive players"- yes, he only scored in double digits in 3 of our first 10 games. But then he closed with 15 straight double digit scoring games. That's not struggling. He shot 38% from three over those last 15 games, even counting for him cooling off in the last few games.

I think the off ball movement improved in the last month of the season, but was mostly abysmal before that. Mostly it was 2 guards playing off Maliq at the top of the key to see who could drive. Stationary 3 point shooters in the corners to create more space for the drive. It was terrible for a long time.

Regarding what new kind of talent we need, I think it's beyond debate that we need somebody with enough bulk to defend the low post, if we aspire to beat any good teams. Because all good teams have at least 2 or 3 guys who are bigger than the biggest guys on our team (who are healthy).
 
Interesting season: Wouldn't say we exactly turned anything around and there are certainly a few holes in the old resume, but at the same time we saw some encouraging things and if we're able to build on it, we could feel like we are rounding that corner next season. With that, some thoughts:

We're officially a man-2-man team
The defense had some atrocious moments but I have to give Red credit for ripping the band-aid off and moving to primarily M2M. Feel like this was always going to be a bit ugly, or at least uneven, whenever it happened and we witnessed that, particularly the last 8 games or so. But completely switching up your defensive philosophy, increasing the pace significantly and managing to keep your head above water with solid but unspectacular talent is a pretty solid debut for a first-year head coach. Credit to Red.

Some old basketball tropes proved true. Others proved less true.
Two of the big things repeated here and all over the college basketball world for the past few years were that it's hard to rebound out of the zone and you give up a lot of threes if you play a zone all game. The latter appears to be true, for the most part. We allowed 243 3-pointers made on 712 attempts this season vs. surrendering 329 and 958 last season and we did that while playing at a faster pace. The percentages were basically the same .341 vs. .343, but we seemed to do a better job limiting damage from three. Rebounding was a different story as we finished 294th in that category (and yes, perhaps personnel was a much bigger factor here than defensive system). But I think the bottom line here is whatever defense you play, you need to communicate and play it well or you can get torched. We've seen too much of that the past few years, so we need to improve on this end of the floor (more on that in a bit).

Red's offseason moves were mediocre at best. His in-season management was pretty solid.
JJ was a nice addition -- room to improve, but solid addition. Cuffe has some potential and had a few moments, but was a peripheral figure much of the year. McLeod was ... not great. Westry didn't play. Patterson didn't play. There's a bit of wait and see here in terms of JJ's potential, Cuffe's potential, the potential of a healthy Westry and whatever Patterson potentially becomes, but at least based on year one, it's a lot of meh. That said, thought we managed to get some nice moments out of Benny once he got on the court and Red made the tough, but correct decision to part ways when we did. He got good contributions from a bunch of players including Cope, Brown and JJ improving significantly over the course of the season, Cuffe contributing a bit and staying competitive despite a significant lack of size. If Red has a better off-season this year (which seems likely with Freeman as a good start), it could be a very interesting season with a little bit more of a foundation to build off.

We were brutal in transition defense ... even off makes on the offensive end
Not sure I've seen a Syracuse team this bad at getting back on defense. Judah was a big offender, Bell was a big one too. Even Brown sometimes found himself behind the play. Add that to fact that we didn't really dedicate much to offensive rebounding and it was a really bad mix.

We were brutal against good teams
The UNC win was great and it was really, really important for this group. Outside of that we had a bunch of nice wins -- Pitt, NC State, etc. But we really struggled against well-coached, talented teams. Like struggled to even be in the game. We don't need to win all those (thought that would be fine too), but we have to find a way to be in those games fairly consistently and to win our fair share. More talent and depth would help, but we also need to make it tougher from an approach standpoint against those teams. To that end ...

Some thoughts looking ahead to Year 2

We need more imagination on defense and offense

The thing that really jumped out to me, particularly early in the season was how stagnant our offense was (everyone blames judah, but we ran a ton of minutes with a lineup of three struggling offensive players in Taylor, McLeod and JJ and a stationary spot-up shooter in Bell. Tough mountain to climb.) and how rudimentary our defensive approach was. It was like five guys defending five guys vs. a team playing defense together. Thought the more we saw of Copeland and Bell, the more variety we saw in the offense and we actually were pretty impressive on that end in Februrary ... we even saw Bell moving some off the ball. The defense overall really struggled but we were better defending the high ball screen, which was killing me early in the season.

But more actions and secondary actions offensively will really help if Judah isn't around and defensively we need to have wrinkles that make teams work. The interesting thing against Clemson was that we gave up 90 without really getting killed in transition. They just consistently got whatever they wanted and on the few possessions they didn't, they found a matchup they liked (a big singled up against Brown deep in the post, anyone Bell was guarding) and attacked that way. It was a nearly effortless 90. Not great. We have to find a way to make teams like that more uncomfortable. Better help and communication would be a start. Can you get creative with doubles to jump teams or reduce the issues with bad matchups? Can we get better (and it was better later in the season) at not having a player out of the play defensively chasing from behind? Can we employ some sort of creative defense to take advantage of the rim protection of McLeod without exposing him as a defender on the perimeter? We need our approach to be more sophisticated on this end if we ever hope to be a top tier team in the regular season.

JJ needs more Copeland swag in his game
Interesting year for JJ. Hard to pick on him too much because he was huge for us in the second half once he rediscovered his shot. But he's an odd player at the same time. He took a lot of criticism for his defense but I actually thought he played decent position defense, but he just never gambles. Never reaches in and picks anyone's pocket, never really shoots passing lanes, never drops his man and helps to mess up the opponent. He just sort of runs around with his guy. His 1.4 fouls a game means he's not in foul trouble, but it also often means you're not much of a factor either. Offensively is the same, the jumper came around and he is really tough in the mid-range, but he struggles to get to the rim and he never draws contact -- he shot 56 FTs on the season, less than half as many as Cope in nearly 400 more minutes as a primary ball-handler. Crazy.

Some interesting decisions lie ahead
Don't love speculating on the portal because it's such a crapshoot. But just thinking about how they value players and where they see them fitting is an interesting exercise. Bell is a really interesting one. The kid is a really talented scorer and an elite shooter. Obviously it's a lot of threes, but he's got a pump fake and pullup in his game, he hits contested shots, he can get to the rim a bit and finish on the break. If he can move better, he's tough to defend. Defensively, the chase-down block he's got ... the rest of it ... that's a work in progress. And the rebounding is a killer. A bit better late, but it's a struggle. Taylor is pretty much the opposite player -- lots of hustle and movement, works hard defensively and on the glass, but he just has such a tough time offensively I'm not sure. Does the staff think Carey can get healthy and be a factor with his athleticism? Seems hard to imagine, but maybe. Patterson is likely back after redshirting ... can he be a factor?

Lots of folks talking about a big, but I'd settle for a couple longish athletes
I wonder if there are many traditional bigs who will thrive in this system given the demands on the perimeter. But a couple 6'7"/6'8" dudes who play hard and have some athleticism could give you a frontcourt that can work on both ends and help give you a defensive identity. I think that could work.

I don't know -- there's a probably a lot more, but that's a start.
very measured write-up...nice summary

my biggest disagreement is that a big cannot thrive in the system or that it requires too much ability on the perimeter - that's just basketball now - filipowskis and halls etc can shoot

it could work just getting some shorter bigs and trying to patchwork it again - but unlikely.

this team would've (and next season would) benefit so much from a scorer in the post...and Center tht could shoot wouldve taken this team up a few notches in the rankings and Im sure theyd likely be in the tourney comfortably right now, actually.

yeah the portal is a crapshoot...and it may be difficult to find that right center...but it should be priority 1, imo...would love to see them maybe go back to europe, if they cant find that player stateside...a ton of euro bigs can shoot.

agree about jj...hes way too passive in general, imo...a ton of talent to tap with him.
 
Identity. For year 2, I’m looking for the team to develop some kind of identity. We’re not going to be what we want to be if we just play like everybody else and hope that some years we have more talent. We gotta do something that’s “us” and we gotta be great at that something.

My only other comment is about getting a big man. We cannot play 3 Forwards and 2 Guards or 3 Guards and 2 Forwards and expect to be successful. We need a big who can play basketball. He doesn’t need to be all-ACC, he doesn’t even need to average double digit points per game. But he’s gotta be big and he’s gotta be able to play basketball.

The only way we could get away with a small frontcourt of 6’7” and 6’8” guys is if we press a bunch and get a lot of depth.
disagree...i think JBs religious fervor about sticking to his "identity" and refusing to change was the reason he got pushed out.

i dont want the team to have an identity.

i want the team to be able to play in multiple different ways and stay unpredictable. be unscoutable. I think thats what red is going for but injuries and situations prevented that from happening.

if you look at what red did this year - its all about multiple different looks and keeping the opponent guessing - didnt always pull it off due to inherent limitations - but I like the idea and it would work very well with the right roster.

i loved reds pressers this year - they were on the money - and one of my fav quotes from him in feb was along the lines of talking about not wanting to run plays bc they are easy to guard -he wants players to play basketball and be unpredictable in the moment...and I like that idea a lot.

always hard to tell but I dont think this group is very coachable and took a verrry long time this year to truly buy-in...now that they have, the roster is very limited...so its hard

hopefully next year is when we see the true capability of the staff and team...after a successful portal season and roster reshaping.
 
Biggest concern for me going forward is how Autry is going to handle the frontline. We didn't start our best frontline player until Mcleod got hurt. Then when Maliq was in he had no help on the boards. Even other teams that play small have multiple players that crash the boards.
if youre going with guards that cant shoot well and are penetrators...I think a big who can shoot, stretch the D and make opponents pick their poison is the ideal.

of course rebounding is very important...but it was almost like red told these guys to not even try for offensive rebounds...very rarely was more than 1 player even near the paint on most shots by SU.

meanwhile, Su lost a bunch of games bc oppnents murdred them on their offensive glass...
 
disagree...i think JBs religious fervor about sticking to his "identity" and refusing to change was the reason he got pushed out.

i dont want the team to have an identity.

i want the team to be able to play in multiple different ways and stay unpredictable. be unscoutable. I think thats what red is going for but injuries and situations prevented that from happening.

if you look at what red did this year - its all about multiple different looks and keeping the opponent guessing - didnt always pull it off due to inherent limitations - but I like the idea and it would work very well with the right roster.

i loved reds pressers this year - they were on the money - and one of my fav quotes from him in feb was along the lines of talking about not wanting to run plays bc they are easy to guard -he wants players to play basketball and be unpredictable in the moment...and I like that idea a lot.

always hard to tell but I dont think this group is very coachable and took a verrry long time this year to truly buy-in...now that they have, the roster is very limited...so its hard

hopefully next year is when we see the true capability of the staff and team...after a successful portal season and roster reshaping.

Recruiting is what cost JB his job.

Not running plays is a carryover that Red learned in his time here as a player and assistant. I like not running many plays, but that’s also not uncommon in modern basketball.

I don’t want us doing what everybody else is doing and relying on doing it better or with better players. That’s too volatile. Pick a thing, recruit to that thing, imo. Aside from switching between man and zone, which is how zone is traditionally used by other coaches, I’m not entirely convinced Red set a standard of having multiple different looks. He was more willing to experiment with different lineups/roles than JB was, which I like.
 
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Recruiting is what cost JB his job.

Not running plays is a carryover that Red learned in his time here as a player and assistant. I like not running many plays, but that’s also not uncommon in modern basketball.

I don’t want us doing what everybody else is doing and relying on doing it better or with better players. That’s too volatile. Pick a thing, recruit to that thing, imo. Aside from switching between man and zone, which is how zone is traditionally used by other coaches, I’m not entirely convinced Red set a standard of having multiple different looks. He was more willing to experiment with different lineups/roles than JB was, which I like.
being rigid with his "system" that no players wanted to play in - cost him in recruiting - so chicken egg, no?

I want the team to run plays - I dont think running plays means being predictable...players can make readds in sets that keeps "plays" unpredictable - thats what I want...red has tried that a bit...but not enough

way too much stagnant, playground iso...4 players on the perimeter standing still watching


need very high IQ bball players to just let them freestyle and stay efficient...I think have improved a lot and started to really score well and make reads etc in feb...

but in the clemson game,,,,when a team shuts that down somewhat...all they have left is iso...and its brutal.

if you have sherman douglas you can let the players just freestyle out there...and not run plays..

but these players needed more structure imo...and we saw once they really started to incorporate movement in the offense and passing,...they scored a lot in feb.


the problem with recruiting to a thing ...is that it paints your roster into a corner...i would rather have different options for playing style and attack teams accordingly...but if I had to pick a thing ...it is lockdown atheletes on defense - like houston...and players who can shoot, pass, dribble etc on offense...like villanova etc...one dimensional players have been killing this team the last decade, imo


need a minimum level of athleticism to compete in P5...but also need the necessary well rounded skllsets ...and its hard to find those players,,,,but they are out there...
 
very measured write-up...nice summary

my biggest disagreement is that a big cannot thrive in the system or that it requires too much ability on the perimeter - that's just basketball now - filipowskis and halls etc can shoot

it could work just getting some shorter bigs and trying to patchwork it again - but unlikely.

this team would've (and next season would) benefit so much from a scorer in the post...and Center tht could shoot wouldve taken this team up a few notches in the rankings and Im sure theyd likely be in the tourney comfortably right now, actually.

yeah the portal is a crapshoot...and it may be difficult to find that right center...but it should be priority 1, imo...would love to see them maybe go back to europe, if they cant find that player stateside...a ton of euro bigs can shoot.

agree about jj...hes way too passive in general, imo...a ton of talent to tap with him.
agreed -- a big that can bring some things on both ends of the floor is ideal. My point was more that there are a couple different avenues to take that could, conceivably, work.

Let's say they struggle to find a big who fits the way they'd ideally like. A couple tough, two-way wings could mean a team where all five guys on the floor can score and defend and that lineup grouping would at least be better than what we saw this year defensively. Potentially by a wide margin.

A good, solid big like the kid from Pitt, Diaz Graham I think, would be great. No question there.
 
i admire your optimism about that center group - but dont see much there to be hopeful about...

why risk next season on a group that showed almost nothing this year?
The only way you roll with that group is if you have them play specific roles. Experiment with a little zone for a 5-6 minute stretch of each half with McLeod and then use Carey for 4-6 minutes a game and just live with a true big for 14-20ish minutes a game. I'm not sure that will work or be ideal ... or be something to count on either. But if the idea is to have a true big on the floor in a pressure m2m system for 25+ mpg, it seems very unlikely any of these three are the answer ... at least not next season.
 
Really good post! I disagree with some of your observations, but most are spot on.

Regarding JJ being one of "3 struggling offensive players"- yes, he only scored in double digits in 3 of our first 10 games. But then he closed with 15 straight double digit scoring games. That's not struggling. He shot 38% from three over those last 15 games, even counting for him cooling off in the last few games.

I think the off ball movement improved in the last month of the season, but was mostly abysmal before that. Mostly it was 2 guards playing off Maliq at the top of the key to see who could drive. Stationary 3 point shooters in the corners to create more space for the drive. It was terrible for a long time.

Regarding what new kind of talent we need, I think it's beyond debate that we need somebody with enough bulk to defend the low post, if we aspire to beat any good teams. Because all good teams have at least 2 or 3 guys who are bigger than the biggest guys on our team (who are healthy).
Probably didn't state it clearly. Just meant that for about half the season, Judah played a good chunk of minutes with Taylor (who struggled almost all year), McLeod, who wasn't an offensive threat at any point, and JJ who was struggling for roughly half the season (maybe more like 10 games, as you point out). Once JJ started knocking down some shots, I agree, he was a definite factor in our offensive improvement.

Agree we were too stagnant for long stretches but thought even a bit earlier than Feb, we saw better movement when Brown and Copeland got onto the floor (benny too, oddly).
 
if youre going with guards that cant shoot well and are penetrators...I think a big who can shoot, stretch the D and make opponents pick their poison is the ideal.

of course rebounding is very important...but it was almost like red told these guys to not even try for offensive rebounds...very rarely was more than 1 player even near the paint on most shots by SU.

meanwhile, Su lost a bunch of games bc oppnents murdred them on their offensive glass...
More movement helps with offensive rebounding too. Might not make us the best offensive rebounding team on the planet, but far tougher to box out a player who's moving than a player who's watching.

Generally speaking, we still need some adjustments to the roster. No question. But the approach on both ends of the floor has to be more defined. Defensively, in particular, you see very, very few teams play as straight up as we did. If you're a bit light down low, you rarely see teams watch a guy like Taylor play straight up while his man dribbles four or five times and backs him down. Same with Brown to be honest.

Same on the perimeter. Was watching Knicks/Sixers tonight and as good as the Knicks are defensively, it's not straight man. Any time a Sixers player was dribbling there was at least one Knicks defender shading his direction and, if they drove, there were several players swiping at the ball. There wasn't one possession in the half court that a Knicks guard was chasing a player behind a screen from behind.

It's delicate because you don't want to overcommit in terms of help, but even good defenders are going to get beat by talented offensive players. We are going to have a very difficult time playing strictly straight up with switches. Have to be more malleable and flexible on that end.
 
My biggest problem is if the defense getsback quicker,doesnt that mean we dont have anyone rebounding which we pretty much dont. I would rather attack rebounding and send guards back to defend or we get rebound and we good. I se e us shoot a 3 andmiss and 4 guys go back while Brown is bye himself.
 
being rigid with his "system" that no players wanted to play in - cost him in recruiting - so chicken egg, no?

I want the team to run plays - I dont think running plays means being predictable...players can make readds in sets that keeps "plays" unpredictable - thats what I want...red has tried that a bit...but not enough

way too much stagnant, playground iso...4 players on the perimeter standing still watching


need very high IQ bball players to just let them freestyle and stay efficient...I think have improved a lot and started to really score well and make reads etc in feb...

but in the clemson game,,,,when a team shuts that down somewhat...all they have left is iso...and its brutal.

if you have sherman douglas you can let the players just freestyle out there...and not run plays..

but these players needed more structure imo...and we saw once they really started to incorporate movement in the offense and passing,...they scored a lot in feb.


the problem with recruiting to a thing ...is that it paints your roster into a corner...i would rather have different options for playing style and attack teams accordingly...but if I had to pick a thing ...it is lockdown atheletes on defense - like houston...and players who can shoot, pass, dribble etc on offense...like villanova etc...one dimensional players have been killing this team the last decade, imo


need a minimum level of athleticism to compete in P5...but also need the necessary well rounded skllsets ...and its hard to find those players,,,,but they are out there...

Lack of effort, losing Hop, the reputational damage of the Fine fiasco, and being sanctioned a recruiter for multiple seasons is what hurt recruiting, imo. The system probably didn’t matter much. Playing zone never hurt any of our players in the draft and our offensive style allowed guys to flourish and get to the League who otherwise wouldn’t have. Our downward spiral oddly coincided with the NBA playing more zone defense. We were losing games because we didn’t have the guys, not because teams could shoot against the zone.

Anyway, I prefer to be the team that other teams have to adjust to, rather than being a team that relies on making adjustments. Flexibility isn’t bad but being good at a lot of things comes at the expense of being great at a couple things, in my experience. I think the teams that are great at a couple things, with a couple weaknesses tend to be champions more often than the good at everything teams.

We’re in agreement that we want athletes here. My preference is for a run and gun team that plays Pitino’s Louisville style defense that was incredibly frustrating to face. Pick up the ballhandler at halfcourt, sellout for steals and have the size/athleticism to erase mistakes with blocks at the rim.
 
Defensively, in particular, you see very, very few teams play as straight up as we did
I’m concerned the coaches lack the know-how to implement anything other than what we’re already seeing. Red needs to recruit at a very high level to mask these shortcomings or he won’t last.
 
That’s fine if you believe that, but other teams do. The number one team in the nations tallest guy is 6’7”.

This didn't age well. Nearly every team who made the Sweet 16 had a 3 man rotation of bigs to defend and play in the post. Pretty much all of them had 2 guys bigger than Maliq, and their smallest guy matched him, but could move outside to shoot.
 
The numbers and my eyes say the perimeter defense is worse. The rebounding will get better with Freeman.

JJ, Bell and Judah are awful defenders.

Bell is a great shooter, but otherwise, he's a cardboard cut-out figure on defense too much of the time. Those occasional late-season run-down blocks gave hope for the future, but he's got to bring a lot more effort next season.

He starts for me next year, but we have to have alternatives to him, so if he isn't hustling, you sit him down and can still remain competitive.
 
The weird thing about this year is that for the first 2/3 of the season, I thought this team would have a defensive identity and would need to hang its hat on defense to win games. And then it kind of just flipped where the offense heated up but the defense became swiss cheese.
i mean the roster was decimated - no centers no benny...no defense...its really not that hard to figure out.

they were holdng things together with scotch tape at the end


their only chance became scoring and they actually got really good at that in february


thing is the talent was good enough to win against lesser teams...barely. but against equals or better ,...they often got the doors blown off. it was a rough season.
We're officially a man-2-man team

the roster was decimated thats why the defense fell off...defense was decent early on despite the poor defending from some players

Some old basketball tropes proved true. Others proved less true.

again, it was more about literally having 4 centers who couldnt play and no PFs left on the roster than any tropes or generalizations. man is better for 3defense and rebounding. 100%

i think youre overlooking the roster dynamics and things that went on with that a lot in your analysis...red didnt go down with the ship...he kept it afloat...barely...
Red's offseason moves were mediocre at best. His in-season management was pretty solid.
eh ...he also made the decision to bring a bunch of poor performers back...taylor, benny, carey, hima, etc

its not just that his portalers mostly missed...its also that he decided to ride with bad holdovers.

given the situation, he did well, but lack of offense until february and poor defense down the stretch...and just overall impression that the team was not cohesive and couldnt run plays...not reflecting well on the staff
We were brutal in transition defense ... even off makes on the offensive end
didnt really notice this as much as others - but JB harped on it a lot...I think there was more giving up and lack of effort generally than we've seen...maybe generational...but other teams in the NCAA tourney didnt do that so idk
We were brutal against good teams
for me this shows that the talent was there but the cohesiveness and unity wasnt. they had the talent to overcome lack of scheme and system vs the alsorans...but not against the actual good teams with equal talent
also reflects badly on ingame coaching, imo

can red get a team to elevate and become better than their talent??idk but hope so.
Some thoughts looking ahead to Year 2

We need more imagination on defense and offense

lack of offense and plays was sooo bad. so bad. all the best teams run an offense...theydont play streetball ymca basketball. must get better and they did play well during parts of games in february...just need to stick with that

JJ needs more Copeland swag in his game
JJ was way too passive...needs to get mean. and takeover...he fadedhard at the end of the year ...really weird

never really saw the issue with his defense...so many other way worse offenders on the team
Some interesting decisions lie ahead
glad the roster is gone...red does deserve credit for the huge jumps q, brown and bell made last season though
Lots of folks talking about a big, but I'd settle for a couple longish athletes
so glad they actually got a center...hope he is good.
 

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