Players making dramatic improvement . . . | Syracusefan.com

Players making dramatic improvement . . .

SoBristol

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I know it is only 4 warm-up games against bad competition. But something is going on here:

James -- much better in finding positions for his shots; more effort on defense; demon on the in-bound pass, top of the press. Step by step improvement in his handle. Trying to recall any player who was that weak a couple of year earlier, suddenly turning into a player. We have had players who showed up as juniors (Howard Triche is an example), but often those guys had no chance to get off the bench in the prior year, then blossomed when they had their first chances.

Dion -- had all the talent (except an outside shot), now seems to be focusing on team-play and defense. Difficult to recall any SU player who seemed to be a head case, but found the cure. We have had plenty of head cases . . . but now you have Dion saying all the right things, and also living the talk.

Baye -- finding some skills on offense; last year didn't show much. And, sure, he has a ways to go before he will score much against real competition, but his quick inside moves ought to translate. We do have examples of very raw, 6ft 10 in guys who found skills year to year. Baye isn't strong like Seikaly, but it is a similar case of a raw, athletic big, not having played a great deal of ball in his youth, finding some offense at SU.

Some of the other year over year improvements (CJ and Fab) are great, but seem more predictable. CJ had a range of skills, just needed to mature (still looks to be 17 years old) and add some range to his shot. Fab needed to get into condition, and then exploit his natural size advantages.

Don't like the Fine story; really like what some of our players are doing.
 

Noexcuse

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I know it is only 4 warm-up games against bad competition. But something is going on here:

James -- much better in finding positions for his shots; more effort on defense; demon on the in-bound pass, top of the press. Step by step improvement in his handle. Trying to recall any player who was that weak a couple of year earlier, suddenly turning into a player. We have had players who showed up as juniors (Howard Triche is an example), but often those guys had no chance to get off the bench in the prior year, then blossomed when they had their first chances.

Dion -- had all the talent (except an outside shot), now seems to be focusing on team-play and defense. Difficult to recall any SU player who seemed to be a head case, but found the cure. We have had plenty of head cases . . . but now you have Dion saying all the right things, and also living the talk.

Baye -- finding some skills on offense; last year didn't show much. And, sure, he has a ways to go before he will score much against real competition, but his quick inside moves ought to translate. We do have examples of very raw, 6ft 10 in guys who found skills year to year. Baye isn't strong like Seikaly, but it is a similar case of a raw, athletic big, not having played a great deal of ball in his youth, finding some offense at SU.

Some of the other year over year improvements (CJ and Fab) are great, but seem more predictable. CJ had a range of skills, just needed to mature (still looks to be 17 years old) and add some range to his shot. Fab needed to get into condition, and then exploit his natural size advantages.

Don't like the Fine story; really like what some of our players are doing.
Good analysis. I also think Christmas is playing within the system and is better on offense than I expected.
 

arbitragegls

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...nice topic!...agree with above...now we will get to see as games get tougher who we can count on for remainder of a expected terrific season...its the holidays and time for cheer and good outlook...in all things and Fine and else.
 

JOC44

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but now you have Dion saying all the right things, and also living the talk.

I look forward to the first time this season they show a close-up of Dion and my ten year-old daughter doens't turn to me and say "did he just say a swear word?"

Actually, I don't, but it is funny that Dion is dropping f-bombs practically every time they show him on TV.
 

SoBristol

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Agree on Christmas -- the potential is there to contribute at both endsof the court, and I hope he stays in the starting line-up. Could be a nice story over the course of the season. MCW -- same potential. I didn't include these guys in my post because they are top 30 recruits -- they should be contributing. I highlighted the 3 guys who seemed to be the most pleasant surprises.
Have always liked our guys (Rautins is an example) who became real good, when many thought it wasn't possible. Really hope James can continue to get his shot.
 

Knicks411

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I know it is only 4 warm-up games against bad competition. But something is going on here:

James -- much better in finding positions for his shots; more effort on defense; demon on the in-bound pass, top of the press. Step by step improvement in his handle. Trying to recall any player who was that weak a couple of year earlier, suddenly turning into a player. We have had players who showed up as juniors (Howard Triche is an example), but often those guys had no chance to get off the bench in the prior year, then blossomed when they had their first chances.

Dion -- had all the talent (except an outside shot), now seems to be focusing on team-play and defense. Difficult to recall any SU player who seemed to be a head case, but found the cure. We have had plenty of head cases . . . but now you have Dion saying all the right things, and also living the talk.

Baye -- finding some skills on offense; last year didn't show much. And, sure, he has a ways to go before he will score much against real competition, but his quick inside moves ought to translate. We do have examples of very raw, 6ft 10 in guys who found skills year to year. Baye isn't strong like Seikaly, but it is a similar case of a raw, athletic big, not having played a great deal of ball in his youth, finding some offense at SU.

Some of the other year over year improvements (CJ and Fab) are great, but seem more predictable. CJ had a range of skills, just needed to mature (still looks to be 17 years old) and add some range to his shot. Fab needed to get into condition, and then exploit his natural size advantages.

Don't like the Fine story; really like what some of our players are doing.

It's funny; it's early and we can't make too many strong conclusions yet, but before the season my thought was basically along the lines of "I don't know which of our players will improve, but we have so many young and talented players, that the odds are at least one of them HAS to improve, just playing the odds".

But really, all of the 3 guys you mention look like completely different guys. Keita actually looks like he has a clue how to score, and Dion and James look great. I don't want to overreact, but damned if they don't all look like different guys, plus throw in CJ making some jumpers and Fab being a contributor.
 

CaptainSyracuse

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I know it is only 4 warm-up games against bad competition. But something is going on here:

James -- much better in finding positions for his shots; more effort on defense; demon on the in-bound pass, top of the press. Step by step improvement in his handle. Trying to recall any player who was that weak a couple of year earlier, suddenly turning into a player. We have had players who showed up as juniors (Howard Triche is an example), but often those guys had no chance to get off the bench in the prior year, then blossomed when they had their first chances.

Dion -- had all the talent (except an outside shot), now seems to be focusing on team-play and defense. Difficult to recall any SU player who seemed to be a head case, but found the cure. We have had plenty of head cases . . . but now you have Dion saying all the right things, and also living the talk.

Baye -- finding some skills on offense; last year didn't show much. And, sure, he has a ways to go before he will score much against real competition, but his quick inside moves ought to translate. We do have examples of very raw, 6ft 10 in guys who found skills year to year. Baye isn't strong like Seikaly, but it is a similar case of a raw, athletic big, not having played a great deal of ball in his youth, finding some offense at SU.

Some of the other year over year improvements (CJ and Fab) are great, but seem more predictable. CJ had a range of skills, just needed to mature (still looks to be 17 years old) and add some range to his shot. Fab needed to get into condition, and then exploit his natural size advantages.

Don't like the Fine story; really like what some of our players are doing.
Dave Johnson is about the best example I can think of a player having such a dramatic change from his sophomore to junior year.
 

AZOrange

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Good analysis. I also think Christmas is playing within the system and is better on offense than I expected.
Christmas just looks angry when he plays. I like guys that play like that.
 

senorpalmer

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A common theme among all these players is that they are in their second year of "playing". Fab, Dion, CJ and Baye all played as frosh, while Southerland is a junior but is only really in his second year of seeing legitimate playing time. I don't have evidence if this is a trend that you see throughout college hoops, but I feel like we see it a lot at SU. Scoop improved by leaps and bounds from what he was as a true frosh in 07-08 to being a RS soph super-sub in 09-10. Kris went from being a "half-man" in the 08-09 rotation to being the best 6th man in the country as a soph in 09-10. Rick Jackson got regular reserve minutes on the 07-8 team as a frosh, and then emerged as a real weapon as a soph and played his way into the starting lineup of a 3 seed in 09. This list can go on and on.

Hopefully we can see this trend continue with MCW and Rak next year; considering their apparent roles right now and the fact that they were McD AA's, we should almost expect that they explode as studs next season (if they don't do it as this season progresses).
 

Knicks411

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I feel like it's a common piece of conventional wisdom that players improve the most from Fresh to so, or from first to second seasons.
I don't know if there is any research behind it, but as you point out, it seems like it happens a lot at SU.

It's probably true for most guys, but I bet the upper upper echelon freshmen may not as improve as much (like, I don't think Melo would've been a lot better if he came back for another year, which reminds me, throw Hakim as another guy who made a leap in year 2) but since we usually don't recruit at that level, that's probably why you see it a lot for us.
 

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