My Take | Syracusefan.com

My Take

sutomcat

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Won't bother saying this one is going to be short, but I mean for it to be short. ;)

My wife and I were privileged to have court side seats last night (profound thanks cto). It was another terrific game at home and it was really nice to get a win in one of these close ones.

Here is one story and that some random comments...

I found myself liking Terquavion Smith of NC State a lot.

Early in the game, he was standing close to where my wife and I were sitting, just before a timeout was to be lifted.

I said to my wife, (I thought very quietly), "this guy is one of the best players in the league; he is among the top in scoring, steals and assists. Probably will play in the NBA."

No response from my wife (she is a casual basketball fan).

I told her "his name is Terquavion".

This raised her interest. "Terquavion? Wow. Really?"

I nodded my head yes, aware he was close by.

She then asked me "what is his last name?"

I whispered to her "Smith".

She broke out laughing and said "that is crazy". And I look up and Terquavion is looking at us and laughing too.

He spent a lot of timeouts looking around the dome and appeared to be trying to make eye contact with fans.

Late in the game, he had to force a shot from the baseline, a little behind the basket. It somehow bounced off the edge of the backboard and went it. I said "that was garbage" and a bunch of the people around me heard and started shouting at Terq "that was garbage!". He looked at us, shrugged his shoulders and laughed. Good dude.

Jesse had a terrific game defensively and rebounding but he missed an appalling number of easy shots near the basket. I think at this point, he has the equivalent of the yips that golfers get, except with short shots near the basket. If he was on, he could have scored 25 easily. Maybe 30.

Something was wrong with Judah's nose. He had something, maybe gauze, up one nostril during the pregame warmups and I was worried he was going to play with it. I think he took it out. Maybe he got a bloody nose in practice the day before and was trying to ensure it did not restart during the game?

I think the biggest problem Benny has in games is that he has virtually no attention span. At this point in the season, I think all the ACC schools know this and know they can sneak a player being him and he can flash to the basket and get a layup or a dunk unopposed because teams attack him like this all the time. And Benny continues to space out and let this happen over and over. He is a huge liability on defense and he can't be allowed to play meaningful minutes until he addresses this. It happened all the time last year and it keeps happening all the time this season. He must have some kind of attention disorder. Agree, he checked out and was not into the game at all once he was taken out. It is a shame because he could be a decent player if he cared enough to focus.

Maliq has a couple of blown bunnies each game too. I think he still gets surprised by the length and athletic abilities of players at this level. And maybe he is a little bit too much of a nice guy. I think he needs to get a little tougher and try and dunk it as hard as he can when he gets it down low. Had a rebound slip through his fingers too. He knows how to play the game so much better than the other forwards but he could and will be a lot better down the road.

I think Taylor and Bell are pretty similar players. Both are really good outside shooters who are not good rebounding. Justin seems more comfortable slashing to the hoop. Both can shoot off the dribble a bit already. I think Bell is a little better defensively; he is longer and maybe a bit quicker and is learning the rotations for the 2-3 better). But the fundamental difference between them is that Bell can get his jumper off a lot easier than Taylor can. Bell is so long and releases it so quickly he can get his shot off with someone in his face. Taylor, at this point anyway, rarely will shoot unless he is pretty much wide open. He has to find a way to contribute more offensively or his PT will be really limited down the stretch. Bell might be shooting too many contested shots at this point.

Great to see Judah growing into his needed role as a true PG for this team. Say what you want about him but he has always played really hard and has never been afraid to make a play. He wants to be The Man and by God, at this point, he is.

Keatts took Burns out when he got his fourth and I think he left him out until there were less than 3 minutes left in the game. He is so important to that team; he really is the centerpiece that makes their half court offense work. Thought it was awful coaching to leave him out so long. They really struggled to score when he was out and things opened up right away when he went back in. Until he fouled out. JB would never leave a key player out that long in a really close game. Maybe Keatts knew Burns could not be trusted...

My wife and I left our courtside seats at a TO with 24 seconds left to watch the rest of the game from the floor in front of the main entrance for the dome where vehicles can drive in. A cool security guard was nice enough to let us watch there. When NC State bricked their shot and the follow and the ball was knocked to the other side of the court, I grabbed my wife's hand and headed out. Just in time to make eye contact with Dino Babers. We both had looks of joy on our faces. He did not have a wife with a bad back and flew out in record time. But Dino is a hoops fan. No doubt about it.

The woman that did the NA was very good. She did it quickly, stayed with the traditional treatment and hit all the notes. Solid.

A guy made the shot from the bed on his first try. I think he was the first to hit the first shot all year. Well done. He was a little cocky celebrating afterwards but hey, this was his moment of glory, so good for him.

Gary Gait sat courtside in seat 1, the closest to midcourt. When he walked in front of us to his seat, I whispered to my wife, "there goes the greatest lacrosse player who ever lived". She was not impressed.

That is all I have. Really enjoy watching this team grow, watching the youngsters learn and improve (some of them) and seeing the team develop. I think we are capable of winning or losing every game left this year. It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.
 

CardiacCuse

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my respones:
- Maliq has gotten too comofortable as a support player...totally agree the team needs more aggression from him. The turnovers and passive play can be fixed. I think you're right he sometimes doesnt adapt to the longer defense he isnt used to (yet)
- Jesse needs to realize the situation...should've been more patient on his scoring moves...JB forcing the offense to run through him I think puts a lot of pressure on Jesse mentally...he took his time on one play late in the second half and made a nice and-1...but his shooting percentage on non-dunks is way too low overall. in the first half, he had zero made field golas despite getting his number called all half long...that's a problem.
- i would like to see taylor at the 2 as a sub once in a while...his lack of rebounding there wouldnt be an issue...but it is an issue as a forward, another player that is comfortable being too passive, imo
- Judah played great - definite MVP of the game, imo - his growth has been amazing.
- unfortunately I think benny has checked out a bit, understandably given the short leash and demotion, imo he needs a sports psychologist and probably a fresh start in a system that suits him better (but personally, I still want him to come back next season)
 
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cliftonparksufan

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Won't bother saying this one is going to be short, but I mean for it to be short. ;)

My wife and I were privileged to have court side seats last night (profound thanks cto). It was another terrific game at home and it was really nice to get a win in one of these close ones.

Here is one story and that some random comments...

I found myself liking Terquavion Smith of NC State a lot.

Early in the game, he was standing close to where my wife and I were sitting, just before a timeout was to be lifted.

I said to my wife, (I thought very quietly), "this guy is one of the best players in the league; he is among the top in scoring, steals and assists. Probably will play in the NBA."

No response from my wife (she is a casual basketball fan).

I told her "his name is Terquavion".

This raised her interest. "Terquavion? Wow. Really?"

I nodded my head yes, aware he was close by.

She then asked me "what is his last name?"

I whispered to her "Smith".

She broke out laughing and said "that is crazy". And I look up and Terquavion is looking at us and laughing too.

He spent a lot of timeouts looking around the dome and appeared to be trying to make eye contact with fans.

Late in the game, he had to force a shot from the baseline, a little behind the basket. It somehow bounced off the edge of the backboard and went it. I said "that was garbage" and a bunch of the people around me heard and started shouting at Terq "that was garbage!". He looked at us, shrugged his shoulders and laughed. Good dude.

Jesse had a terrific game defensively and rebounding but he missed an appalling number of easy shots near the basket. I think at this point, he has the equivalent of the yips that golfers get, except with short shots near the basket. If he was on, he could have scored 25 easily. Maybe 30.

Something was wrong with Judah's nose. He had something, maybe gauze, up one nostril during the pregame warmups and I was worried he was going to play with it. I think he took it out. Maybe he got a bloody nose in practice the day before and was trying to ensure it did not restart during the game?

I think the biggest problem Benny has in games is that he has virtually no attention span. At this point in the season, I think all the ACC schools know this and know they can sneak a player being him and he can flash to the basket and get a layup or a dunk unopposed because teams attack him like this all the time. And Benny continues to space out and let this happen over and over. He is a huge liability on defense and he can't be allowed to play meaningful minutes until he addresses this. It happened all the time last year and it keeps happening all the time this season. He must have some kind of attention disorder. Agree, he checked out and was not into the game at all once he was taken out. It is a shame because he could be a decent player if he cared enough to focus.

Maliq has a couple of blown bunnies each game too. I think he still gets surprised by the length and athletic abilities of players at this level. And maybe he is a little bit too much of a nice guy. I think he needs to get a little tougher and try and dunk it as hard as he can when he gets it down low. Had a rebound slip through his fingers too. He knows how to play the game so much better than the other forwards but he could and will be a lot better down the road.

I think Taylor and Bell are pretty similar players. Both are really good outside shooters who are not good rebounding. Justin seems more comfortable slashing to the hoop. Both can shoot off the dribble a bit already. I think Bell is a little better defensively; he is longer and maybe a bit quicker and is learning the rotations for the 2-3 better). But the fundamental difference between them is that Bell can get his jumper off a lot easier than Taylor can. Bell is so long and releases it so quickly he can get his shot off with someone in his face. Taylor, at this point anyway, rarely will shoot unless he is pretty much wide open. He has to find a way to contribute more offensively or his PT will be really limited down the stretch. Bell might be shooting too many contested shots at this point.

Great to see Judah growing into his needed role as a true PG for this team. Say what you want about him but he has always played really hard and has never been afraid to make a play. He wants to be The Man and by God, at this point, he is.

Keatts took Burns out when he got his fourth and I think he left him out until there were less than 3 minutes left in the game. He is so important to that team; he really is the centerpiece that makes their half court offense work. Thought it was awful coaching to leave him out so long. They really struggled to score when he was out and things opened up right away when he went back in. Until he fouled out. JB would never leave a key player out that long in a really close game. Maybe Keatts knew Burns could not be trusted...

My wife and I left our courtside seats at a TO with 24 seconds left to watch the rest of the game from the floor in front of the main entrance for the dome where vehicles can drive in. A cool security guard was nice enough to let us watch there. When NC State bricked their shot and the follow and the ball was knocked to the other side of the court, I grabbed my wife's hand and headed out. Just in time to make eye contact with Dino Babers. We both had looks of joy on our faces. He did not have a wife with a bad back and flew out in record time. But Dino is a hoops fan. No doubt about it.

The woman that did the NA was very good. She did it quickly, stayed with the traditional treatment and hit all the notes. Solid.

A guy made the shot from the bed on his first try. I think he was the first to hit the first shot all year. Well done. He was a little cocky celebrating afterwards but hey, this was his moment of glory, so good for him.

Gary Gait sat courtside in seat 1, the closest to midcourt. When he walked in front of us to his seat, I whispered to my wife, "there goes the greatest lacrosse player who ever lived". She was not impressed.

That is all I have. Really enjoy watching this team grow, watching the youngsters learn and improve (some of them) and seeing the team develop. I think we are capable of winning or losing every game left this year. It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Since you were up close, did you think at all that Chris Bell is looking real skinny. Like he has lost 10 pounds from the grind. It's seems he might have changed his hair style and color but he looks skinnier than he was. Not the first freshman to lose weight. But overall, I thought he played a very good game.
 

sutomcat

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Since you were up close, did you think at all that Chris Bell is looking real skinny. Like he has lost 10 pounds from the grind. It's seems he might have changed his hair style and color but he looks skinnier than he was. Not the first freshman to lose weight. But overall, I thought he played a very good game.
Yes, he looked skinny. He looked pretty skinny to me at the start of the season. Agree he looks even skinnier now.

It is a problem when a guy who is primarily a shooter is not shooting well but JB has to play someone at the other forward position, and Chris is our best option right now. He has work to do learning how to shoot off of screens, how to get open better, etc. He can already shoot off the dribble some but he can get better at this.

Hopefully this late season slump ends soon and he finishes strong. Liking his improvements on defense. Still not where he needs to be but he is getting there.
 

bballbeadle

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Tom, you are lucky that your wife accompanies you to the games when it seems this is not her favorite thing to do! My husband would never go but luckily, I have a daughter who does and it is great bonding for us.

I loved your anecdote about Terquavian. Good stuff!
 

newmexicuse

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Overall good post, but Brown made 5 of 6. Yes, his miss was a bunny, but still I will take 83%. I agree a couple of balls went thru his hands, but on the other hand (no pun intended), he knocked several balls out of the hands of opposing players so maybe that was a wash overall. I actually thought his worst play was when he has a great post up on a shorter player & just kicked it out instead of looking to make his own play. And lets not forget his huge end of game play where he punched the ball out past mid-court. That is awareness of the situation.

I dont agree that Jesse had yips, I think it just took him awhile to figure out how to deal with the large bowling ball that stood between him and the basket. He has a much better second half once that was done.

I like your Taylor/Bell analysis. I think Bell has pulled ahead of Justin overall, but IMHO it is still a who is hotter today situation.

Cant agree with your criticism of the NC State coach about putting Burns back in. After all he couldnt even play the 3 minutes before fouling out.
 

General20

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You are exactly right about Benny. I always say that when the zone is overloaded and the defender is aggressive about who to guard its hard for an observer who doesn't know the game plan to know if he made the right decisions or not. It just looks like he's playing good defense. But when the zone is overloaded and the defender overthinks where he is suppose to go and ends up in no-mans land guarding nobody its easy to spot. Benny has done this regularly his whole career, and if its easy for me to see, then its definitely easy for opposing teams to see. There is no doubt they are attacking it.

Its a shame because I still think Benny would be better than Brown (and a pretty good overall player) if he didn't constantly give up easy baskets ... of course that's a really big if.
 

CardiacCuse

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Overall good post, but Brown made 5 of 6. Yes, his miss was a bunny, but still I will take 83%. I agree a couple of balls went thru his hands, but on the other hand (no pun intended), he knocked several balls out of the hands of opposing players so maybe that was a wash overall. I actually thought his worst play was when he has a great post up on a shorter player & just kicked it out instead of looking to make his own play. And lets not forget his huge end of game play where he punched the ball out past mid-court. That is awareness of the situation.

I dont agree that Jesse had yips, I think it just took him awhile to figure out how to deal with the large bowling ball that stood between him and the basket. He has a much better second half once that was done.

I like your Taylor/Bell analysis. I think Bell has pulled ahead of Justin overall, but IMHO it is still a who is hotter today situation.

Cant agree with your criticism of the NC State coach about putting Burns back in. After all he couldnt even play the 3 minutes before fouling out.
fair points - but maliq did have some rough edges to his performance. 3 turnovers is a lot for him. overall, a plus out there but some obvious areas that he could improve on with a little tweak here or there, is all. as particularly evidenced by having a 6 foot player on him 2 feet from the hoop but deciding to pass instead of easily score.

hard to know why jesse rushes his shots a lot lately...but the offense was run through him in the first half and he had zero field goals to show for it...if nc state could make a 3 that would have been the reason for the loss.
 

HOFCeluck

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Since you were up close, did you think at all that Chris Bell is looking real skinny. Like he has lost 10 pounds from the grind. It's seems he might have changed his hair style and color but he looks skinnier than he was. Not the first freshman to lose weight. But overall, I thought he played a very good game.

DJ Burns has gained ten pounds from the grind(ers)
 

upperdeck

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jessies problem is that he continues to shoot when isnt balanced and that leads to misses. he needs to accept that he wont be able to get to his spots and start the play over again.
 

Nicknack

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Jesse... what a game in that he was a difference maker but at the same time, missed so many he should have made. Great to have a player contribute like he did but know he still left a lot on the court.

Benny... disappointing to see where he is now, from a fan perspective. I'm actually more disappointed for him as he seems like a good kid from what I gather. That said, he definitely got his chances from Jim.

Maliq... love his game but wish he would look a little bit for his own offense. That said, he's probably doing exactly what Jim is asking, which is why he is now starting and getting the minutes. I bet we will see more offense from him next year - it's got to be there.
 

BBQuse

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Jesse... what a game in that he was a difference maker but at the same time, missed so many he should have made. Great to have a player contribute like he did but know he still left a lot on the court.

Jesse is an enigma lately. He makes a decision to make a move and then shoots it regardless of where he is (or where the basket is) leading to some wildly off or short shots. It's like he just isn't aware of exactly where he is. And most of the time, if he had just a little more patience before the release, he'd have a clean look (or get fouled). It's frustrating to watch, because he does everything but finish. This has been happening for a bunch of games in a row now. He'd be having an All-American type season if he could just convert at a decent clip on the close in shots.
 

Nicknack

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Jesse is an enigma lately. He makes a decision to make a move and then shoots it regardless of where he is (or where the basket is) leading to some wildly off or short shots. It's like he just isn't aware of exactly where he is. And most of the time, if he had just a little more patience before the release, he'd have a clean look (or get fouled). It's frustrating to watch, because he does everything but finish. This has been happening for a bunch of games in a row now. He'd be having an All-American type season if he could just convert at a decent clip on the close in shots.
I agree, but at least with all that, he got it going finally and was a big factor in the win.
 

Oakland

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jessies problem is that he continues to shoot when isnt balanced and that leads to misses. he needs to accept that he wont be able to get to his spots and start the play over again.
I have the putting yips, as in the anxiety disorder (not just a shaky day on the greens); Jessie doesn't look like he has the yips. I think that, on many of his misses, he throws the ball in the vicinty of the hoop before he is actually looking at it. He just doesn't have the coordination/foot work to always be in optimal position when he shoots.
 
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upperdeck

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Best thing he has done is use the backboard more from the side.. if he used it a bit more on the straighter shots he might find he can get those off easier as well.
 

FireballPhil

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Jesse is an enigma lately. He makes a decision to make a move and then shoots it regardless of where he is (or where the basket is) leading to some wildly off or short shots. It's like he just isn't aware of exactly where he is. And most of the time, if he had just a little more patience before the release, he'd have a clean look (or get fouled). It's frustrating to watch, because he does everything but finish. This has been happening for a bunch of games in a row now. He'd be having an All-American type season if he could just convert at a decent clip on the close in shots.
I would disagree with this on a general basis. Since I work 2nd shift I have the game on but can't focus on it as much as I would like. But what I have noticed is often they get Jesse the entry pass and he looks to see if there is a move he can make. Often times it seems he knows he isn't but the rest of the guys quit moving and no one comes to help him out. As a result he tries to get himself into the best position he can and takes a shot. A shot taken out of necessity rather than desire.
 

Oakland

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I think Burns made 100% of his left handed hooks/tear drops, but that seemed to be all he had. He never shot from his right side. There were several times that Burns turned to right and Jessie went that way only for Burns to turn back to his left for his lefty hook. I'm surprised that Jessie wasn't overplaying his left side.
 

SU94

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Keatts took Burns out when he got his fourth and I think he left him out until there were less than 3 minutes left in the game. He is so important to that team; he really is the centerpiece that makes their half court offense work. Thought it was awful coaching to leave him out so long. They really struggled to score when he was out and things opened up right away when he went back in. Until he fouled out. JB would never leave a key player out that long in a really close game. Maybe Keatts knew Burns could not be trusted...
I put this in another thread, but NCSU scored on 6 straight possessions (including two 3s) from about 6:30 until 3:10 was left in the game. Fourteen points in 3+ minutes. We went from up 5 to down 3 in that span. They finally had an empty trip and then Keatts then brought Burns in. I don't think too much of Keatts as a bench coach (average on a good day), but I have a hard time faulting him for his substitution pattern there.
 

Oakland

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For all the games I complain about the refs, this isn't one. The refs made a number of questionable/bad calls but certainly not in favor of NCSt. The 4th on Burns was a classic non-foul that Jessie gets called for each game (and Jessie did get his towards the end of the game).

The disparity in FTs was because we drove to the basketball a lot and they didn't.

I was surprised that we didn't get called for multiple moving screens as Judah would consistently dribble behind Jessie while Jessie was moving - maybe I don't understand the rule enough.
 

AlaskaSU

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Yes, he looked skinny. He looked pretty skinny to me at the start of the season. Agree he looks even skinnier now.

It is a problem when a guy who is primarily a shooter is not shooting well but JB has to play someone at the other forward position, and Chris is our best option right now. He has work to do learning how to shoot off of screens, how to get open better, etc. He can already shoot off the dribble some but he can get better at this.

Hopefully this late season slump ends soon and he finishes strong. Liking his improvements on defense. Still not where he needs to be but he is getting there.
Chris is the second coming of BJ Johnson. Physically he is a late bloomer but all the tools are there.
 

longtimefan

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Jesse is an enigma lately. He makes a decision to make a move and then shoots it regardless of where he is (or where the basket is) leading to some wildly off or short shots. It's like he just isn't aware of exactly where he is. And most of the time, if he had just a little more patience before the release, he'd have a clean look (or get fouled). It's frustrating to watch, because he does everything but finish. This has been happening for a bunch of games in a row now. He'd be having an All-American type season if he could just convert at a decent clip on the close in shots.
Only the last 2 games in a row. He finished nicely vs. BC.
 

sutomcat

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One thing I meant to comment on but forgot.

Casey Morsell has been the best volume 3 point shooter for NC State. He was shooting 45% from the 3 point circle coming into the game. But during the warmups, I noticed he had a device on his right hand. It was black and had a number of straps and looked like it was designed to protect a broken or seriously strained hand.

Even during warmups, he often would hold that right hand (primary hand used for shooting for a right hander) with his left, give it a gentle squeeze and grimace.

Didn't look like his shooting was going well either. I made a mental note to watch how he shot from the outside.

I think SU must have caught on because he was left relatively unguarded a lot more than I would think a top shooting threat would normally be guarded and he passed up a number of open looks. At some point, as the NC State offense broke down and struggled, he started to take more shots but he did not have a good day. Ended up 1-9, which played a big role in the Syracuse win.

I think we caught a huge break here. About time.
 

BBQuse

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Only the last 2 games in a row. He finished nicely vs. BC.
Nah, BC was an aberration. It has been going on for most of the season. Not something I remember being a particular issue last year though, but that's probably because we are making a more concerted effort to get him the ball. He definitely has the ability to finish and he has done so in many games, but the recent trend has been to rush and shoot fairly wild shots a good number of times per game. They are from spots where he really should be able to make the shot if he just was a little more patient and spotted the hoop better before releasing.
 

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