Stream of consciousness thoughts on a season in jeopardy | Syracusefan.com

Stream of consciousness thoughts on a season in jeopardy

RF2044

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I'm one of the more optimistic posters [in general], and given our team's play the last month--culminating in a disappointing first game loss in our inaugural ACC tournament--I'm left feeling extremely discouraged. Talk about a season that's gone of the rails in many respects. And it is hard to evaluate things objectively when the team is mired in an extended slump, but I'm going to post some thoughts / observations I've had this past month while remaining as objective as possible.

When I watched the team practice in the preseason, I came away believing that we would only go as far as the four sophomores take us. CJ looked great, Ennis looked ready, so I expected them to play like difference makers, and for the most part they have [not that they're perfect, but both had all conference type of seasons]. So setting those two aside, to me the potential of the season really boiled down to the four sophomores.
  • Grant had played well in inconsistent minutes last year, but needed to be a difference maker, as he was in Canada.
  • Cooney didn't play well in inconsistent minutes last year. How would he do stepping into the starting lineup?
  • Coleman was a token starter and got injured. Would he make the sophomore leap?
  • Gbinije barely played at Duke. What would he bring to the table, and might he mount a challenge to Cooney?
Well, not that the season's over, but I am comfortable making this assessment. Grant is the only one of the four to make the proverbial sophomore jump. He played well and at times was dominant, but also a tad inconsistent. He's not strong enough, he needs to gain weight, and he can't play with his back to the basket. But he is a pretty good rebounder and had a solid year. I think it would be criminal if he gets advised to leave--kid really needs another year to refine his game--but he played to about 80% of my expectations, and was fairly solid overall.

Cooney does a lot of things that go unappreciated. But the shooting slump is absurd. I KNOW that the kid is a much better player than he's shown, but at some point the numbers have to speak for themselves. He's shot like crap for two years, despite having a reputation as a shooter. I actually believe that he's going to be a great upperclassman for us and will have a nice career here in Orange, but his play since the Duke game is frustrating as hell.

Coleman gets failing grades from me. I think the kid has a great attitude and obviously has a work ethic--look no further than how much weight he's dropped since high school, and how he's improved his body. He also runs hard all the time despite being a bigger guy, and is always cheering on the bench for his teammates. That said, What is up with his inside game? Teams like Pitt always have guys like him, who play below the rim but use their physique to devastating effect and to carve out space for rebounds. I've never seen a big guy get blocked more often than Coleman, or have shots deflected by the bottom of the rim. His defense is atrocious. We could really use him providing an inside presence--think of how it would change things to have someone we could throw the ball into for inside scoring. But I have no idea what we're going to get from him next year, let alone whether he can stay healthy.

Gbinije is a flat out disappointment, in my estimation. Based upon his high school ratings and some of the film I saw from HS, I expected him to be a 6-4 or so athletic shooter. In actuality, he's a 6-6 relatively slow, relatively unathletic wing. He was asked to play out of position this year, so not all of it is his fault, but his offensive game stinks. He's not the player I thought he was, that's for sure. I'm not surprised that Duke cut ties with him.

Obligatory qualifier: I know that most of the above sounds ish, and I honestly do not want to through our players under the bus.

But in summary, if you take for granted [as I did] that CJ and Ennis would be fairly solid known commodities, then it came down to the sophomores. And of the four, we had one rise to the occasion, one do some nice things but struggle badly shooting, and two that we essentially got nothing from.

And given the attrition losses we had last offseason, with big scorers like MCW / Triche / Southerland departing, it is pretty amazing that we had the year we had, frankly. I'm just frustrated as hell that we couldn't sustain our strong play. I didn't expect to go undefeated; and clearly we had some luck to get to 25-0. But even expecting some ups and downs / losses, our play down the stretch is about as worst case scenario as it could possibly have been. There were several other factors for this:

  • Our offensive execution got exponentially worse as the season went on. Some of that is the team straying away from the concepts that underlie the plays, but a bigger part of that is the opposition figuring out the limitations of our players and taking gambles to exploit the vulnerabilities. Such as doubling Ennis when he comes off of high screens. That wasn't happening earlier in the year like it is every game now. Teams have figured that play out.
  • The collective lack of team shooting is abysmal. Cooney has really faded, and Ennis has been better than expected. But CJ's dropoff from trifecta has been an awful development. As I feared when I watched him in the aforementioned preseason practice, Gbinije lacks a quality shooting stroke. And we got virtually nothing from frosh Patterson / BJ. In retrospect, I'm actually surprised that Boeheim didn't find a way to integrate Patterson into the lineup this year, given that he is physically ready to contribute, lacks a conscience, and can shoot from three. And also would have provided some more quality depth that the team lacked.
  • As mentioned above, we lost a lot of key firepower from last year's team. Accounting for the pivots [Rak / Keita] not being big scorers, that meant essentially that we were forced to count on Grant / Cooney stepping up, and for Ennis to be solid. Behind them, there wasn't much. Gbinije was completely inexperienced, and the rest of the players were all incoming frosh. Generally, that's a bad formula for depth. And unfortunately, we got nothing from the frosh class. I think players like Patterson, BJ, and Roberson could be very good players down the road. But this year was a waste for the entire class.
  • After last year's post season, I expected Keita to take a step forward. I want to be clear: I understand his limitations, and I wasn't expecting him to morph into a big stat guy. But he was SO good last postseason, I expected him to carry it over. And relatively speaking, he had a subpar senior season.
  • Is there any doubt that we'll have some transfers this offseason? Orangeyes alluded last week to hearing rumors that Patterson is good as gone. Hope not, but we'll see. Roberson can't be too happy about his PT situation. Would he bail? I actually was very worried that BJ might split, as well, but seeing how enthusiastic his father is despite his son not playing, I don't think he'll leave. If all those players come back, then I actually think we could flash some surprisingly improved depth and outside scoring next season, if those players make the normal progressions you'd expect. But if they bail--and Roberson in particular--we're really going to be thin at forward, especially if Grant leaves. Ugh...
  • I love Ennis, and think he is worthy of the accolades. But he has limitations at this stage of his developmental curve. Many of which could get rectified by him returning and working hard this offseason. We need him to come back. I'm nervous about some of the projections that show him as a top ten pick, but I question the validity of those projections, especially given our play down the stretch.
That's about it. Our first foray into the ACC tournament was disappointing as hell. And given our swoon, I have no idea what to expect in the NCAA. I really hope we rise to the occasion, but wouldn't be surprised if we lost the first weekend. That would be awful, and leave an awful taste on what seemed like a dream season one short month ago. Here's hoping our kids show some pride and get back to the elite eight. From there, anything can happen.

Let's Go Orange!!!
 
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Really really well said RF. A perfect summary of the season, imo. You may or may not want to answer this but I'd like to know what your take is on the instruction behind the scenes coaching-wise. I realize you can't 'teach' this bunch to shoot better, really. But, with the lack of development in the bigs as you pointed out with Coleman; what is causing this? Coaching? No big man coach? Players lack of aptitude? What is it with Rak and these fouls now? What C on a MAJOR college team in their conference tourney is getting their 4th foul almost immediately in the 2H?! Look at Zanna how he improved. Jakiri on Miami does some good things. Just venting like everyone. Ohio State and North Carolina are BAD shooting teams but they were scoring points, improving, and mostly finding ways to win the last few weeks.
 
There is a more simple way to look at this: CJ, Ennis and Grant have good skills on offense. The others are pretty limited. Cooney is OK when he can spot up and get square -- which the defenders did not let him do a lot in ACC games. He can't put the ball on the floor; and rarely makes a creative move to set up others. Our centers don't have a lot of offensive moves either.
It is difficult to give Patterson minutes as a 4th guard, unless you want to sit Cooney -- and I expect that the coaches always felt Cooney would play his way back to how he started the season. Hindsight -- give Patterson a chance to bring a dimension (driving past a defender!) that Cooney can't bring. It is difficult to give Roberson minutes when CJ is the only one of the bunch who can get his own shot against most defenses, and Roberson wasn't ready this season to play inside.
Can talk about shooting if you want, but shooting wouldn't matter so much if we had better inside scoring and a 2G who could make plays off the dribble.
 
Really really well said RF. A perfect summary of the season, imo. You may or may not want to answer this but I'd like to know what your take is on the instruction behind the scenes coaching-wise. I realize you can't 'teach' this bunch to shoot better, really. But, with the lack of development in the bigs as you pointed out with Coleman; what is causing this? Coaching? No big man coach? Players lack of aptitude? What is it with Rak and these fouls now? What C on a MAJOR college team in their conference tourney is getting their 4th foul almost immediately in the 2H?! Look at Zanna how he improved. Jakiri on Miami does some good things. Just venting like everyone. Ohio State and North Carolina are BAD shooting teams but they were scoring points, improving, and mostly finding ways to win the last few weeks.


I'm not saying that these are the right answers, but here is my opinion / read. I think the instruction thing is overstated as an easy focal point of blame, but that these criticisms are mostly off target. I don't worry about Hopkins not having been a big. Basketball fundamentals are basketball fundamentals--whether you played the position or not. There are a million effective coaches out there who never played, or only played in high school. Doesn't seem to hold them back from teaching the game to their players. And I want to go on record as stating that I've long believed that Bernie Fine was significantly overrated as a big man coach. That's all I want to say about that.

So, if it isn't the instruction, what is it? I think it boils down to three factors: the system, the players, and a little bit of poor luck. Let's break each of those down:

The system: this is stating the obvious, but we run a system that doesn't emphasize feeding the post. In our system, centers are asked to defend first, rebound second, and set screens. When they score [or are capable of scoring], its almost like a bonus. Now, we've had players over the years who had nice interior scoring skills. Arinze a few years ago, Rick to a lesser extent, Hill back in the day, Seikaly as an upperclassman. That's not very many over the years. And when we do have a guy like that, they'll incorporate that into the team offensive concept. But most years, we have guys playing the pivot who are more defensive oriented. Some years, we don't even have guys look to feed the post, as incredible as that might seem. So part one of the multi-faceted equation is our system, and what we ask our pivots to do.

The players: our full commitment to zone means that we are recruiting bigs who have mobility. And over the years, we've had several players who fit the description of athlete first, basketball player second. Darryl Watkins was in this mold. Ditto Rak. And both of these guys improved over the course of their careers, but not to the point where they are big scorers. Watkins in my opinion is pound for pound the best defensive center we've had in the program [no offense to Etan, but defense is much more than just blocking shots--something that Watkins was also way above average at], but despite having an NBA physique he was a finesse player on offense. He barely touched the rim when he dunked, and preferred shooting from 12 feet to posting up and using his size to devastating effect. Back to more recent times. In actuality, we've recruited pretty darn well. In three consecutive years, we landed back-to-back-to-back McDonald's All American centers in Fab, Rak, and Coleman. Let that sink in for a second. And here we are, complaining about the lack of production in the paint despite that. Here's the problem: Fab was raw as hell, Rak was raw as hell, and Coleman's game hasn't translated [in limited opportunity] yet. So despite the fact that we have recruited what on paper seemed like tremendous talent at center, for some reason it just hasn't translated into on-court productivity.

Bad Luck: this ties strongly to the previous bullet. I mean, seriously--what gives? Fab had a ton of talent / potential, but also had a 10-cent head. I'm not suggesting that the coaches should be absolved--they recruited the guy, after all--but I doubt they expected that he would actually be stupid enough to be declared ineligible before the season was even over. Do you have any idea how difficult that is to pull off? Just think what might have been if Fab had played in the 2012 NCAA tournament. Maybe we've got two banners instead of one. Or if Fab had returned for his junior year, how much BETTER our already suffocating defense might have been last year. The bad luck continued with Rak. He has all the tools, but is too laid back and doesn't have a good feel for the game. I actually think a lot of posters underestimate just how much he's improved from when he first got here. But therein lies the rub: he's improved quite a bit, but has only elevated his level of play to barely average, despite being an NBA caliber athlete. That's just not good enough. That brings us to Coleman, who should be the second coming of Dejuan Blair, but gets blocked by small players more than even Paul Harris. His story is still being written, but he's had injuries that have shut him down in both of his seasons. Instead of giving us the inside presence we so desperately need, he is parked on the bench. Some of the "luck" factor is based upon the profile / archetype of players we recruit, can't get around that, but there are bigger forces at work here, too. What are the odds that we basically strike out with three consecutive McD's all americans in a row?
 
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I'm one of the more optimistic posters [in general], and given our team's play the last month--culminating in a disappointing first game loss in our inaugural ACC tournament--I'm left feeling extremely discouraged. Talk about a season that's gone of the rails in many respects. And it is hard to evaluate things objectively when the team is mired in an extended slump, but I'm going to post some thoughts / observations I've had this past month while remaining as objective as possible.

When I watched the team practice in the preseason, I came away believing that we would only go as far as the four sophomores take us. CJ looked great, Ennis looked ready, so I expected them to play like difference makers, and for the most part they have [not that they're perfect, but both had all conference type of seasons]. So setting those two aside, to me the potential of the season really boiled down to the four sophomores.
  • Grant had played well in inconsistent minutes last year, but needed to be a difference maker, as he was in Canada.
  • Cooney didn't play well in inconsistent minutes last year. How would he do stepping into the starting lineup?
  • Coleman was a token starter and got injured. Would he make the sophomore leap?
  • Gbinije barely played at Duke. What would he bring to the table, and might he mount a challenge to Cooney?
Well, not that the season's over, but I am comfortable making this assessment. Grant is the only one of the four to make the proverbial sophomore jump. He played well and at times was dominant, but also a tad inconsistent. He's not strong enough, he needs to gain weight, and he can't play with his back to the basket. But he is a pretty good rebounder and had a solid year. I think it would be criminal if he gets advised to leave--kid really needs another year to refine his game--but he played to about 80% of my expectations, and was fairly solid overall.

Cooney does a lot of things that go unappreciated. But the shooting slump is absurd. I KNOW that the kid is a much better player than he's shown, but at some point the numbers have to speak for themselves. He's shot like crap for two years, despite having a reputation as a shooter. I actually believe that he's going to be a great upperclassman for us and will have a nice career here in Orange, but his play since the Duke game is frustrating as hell.

Coleman gets failing grades from me. I think the kid has a great attitude and obviously has a work ethic--look no further than how much weight he's dropped since high school, and how he's improved his body. He also runs hard all the time despite being a bigger guy, and is always cheering on the bench for his teammates. That said, What is up with his inside game? Teams like Pitt always have guys like him, who play below the rim but use their physique to devastating effect and to carve out space for rebounds. I've never seen a big guy get blocked more often than Coleman, or have shots deflected by the bottom of the rim. His defense is atrocious. We could really use him providing an inside presence--think of how it would change things to have someone we could throw the ball into for inside scoring. But I have no idea what we're going to get from him next year, let alone whether he can stay healthy.

Gbinije is a flat out disappointment, in my estimation. Based upon his high school ratings and some of the film I saw from HS, I expected him to be a 6-4 or so athletic shooter. In actuality, he's a 6-6 relatively slow, relatively unathletic wing. He was asked to play out of position this year, so not all of it is his fault, but his offensive game stinks. He's not the player I thought he was, that's for sure. I'm not surprised that Duke cut ties with him.

Obligatory qualifier: I know that most of the above sounds ish, and I honestly do not want to through our players under the bus.

But in summary, if you take for granted [as I did] that CJ and Ennis would be fairly solid known commodities, then it came down to the sophomores. And of the four, we had one rise to the occasion, one do some nice things but struggle badly shooting, and two that we essentially got nothing from.

And given the attrition losses we had last offseason, with big scorers like MCW / Triche / Southerland departing, it is pretty amazing that we had the year we had, frankly. I'm just frustrated as hell that we couldn't sustain our strong play. I didn't expect to go undefeated; and clearly we had some luck to get to 25-0. But even expecting some ups and downs / losses, our play down the stretch is about as worst case scenario as it could possibly have been. There were several other factors for this:

  • Our offensive execution got exponentially worse as the season went on. Some of that is the team straying away from the concepts that underlie the plays, but a bigger part of that is the opposition figuring out the limitations of our players and taking gambles to exploit the vulnerabilities. Such as doubling Ennis when he comes off of high screens. That wasn't happening earlier in the year like it is every game now. Teams have figured that play out.
  • The collective lack of team shooting is abysmal. Cooney has really faded, and Ennis has been better than expected. But CJ's dropoff from trifecta has been an awful development. As I feared when I watched him in the aforementioned preseason practice, Gbinije lacks a quality shooting stroke. And we got virtually nothing from frosh Patterson / BJ. In retrospect, I'm actually surprised that Boeheim didn't find a way to integrate Patterson into the lineup this year, given that he is physically ready to contribute, lacks a conscience, and can shoot from three. And also would have provided some more quality depth that the team lacked.
  • As mentioned above, we lost a lot of key firepower from last year's team. Accounting for the pivots [Rak / Keita] not being big scorers, that meant essentially that we were forced to count on Grant / Cooney stepping up, and for Ennis to be solid. Behind them, there wasn't much. Gbinije was completely inexperienced, and the rest of the players were all incoming frosh. Generally, that's a bad formula for depth. And unfortunately, we got nothing from the frosh class. I think players like Patterson, BJ, and Roberson could be very good players down the road. But this year was a waste for the entire class.
  • After last year's post season, I expected Keita to take a step forward. I want to be clear: I understand his limitations, and I wasn't expecting him to morph into a big stat guy. But he was SO good last postseason, I expected him to carry it over. And relatively speaking, he had a subpar senior season.
  • Is there any doubt that we'll have some transfers this offseason? Orangeyes alluded last week to hearing rumors that Patterson is good as gone. Hope not, but we'll see. Roberson can't be too happy about his PT situation. Would he bail? I actually was very worried that BJ might split, as well, but seeing how enthusiastic his father is despite his son not playing, I don't think he'll leave. If all those players come back, then I actually think we could flash some surprisingly improved depth and outside scoring next season, if those players make the normal progressions you'd expect. But if they bail--and Roberson in particular--we're really going to be thin at forward, especially if Grant leaves. Ugh...
  • I love Ennis, and think he is worthy of the accolades. But he has limitations at this stage of his developmental curve. Many of which could get rectified by him returning and working hard this offseason. We need him to come back. I'm nervous about some of the projections that show him as a top ten pick, but I question the validity of those projections, especially given our play down the stretch.
That's about it. Our first foray into the ACC tournament was disappointing as hell. And given our swoon, I have no idea what to expect in the NCAA. I really hope we rise to the occasion, but wouldn't be surprised if we lost the first weekend. That would be awful, and leave an awful taste on what seemed like a dream season one short month ago. Here's hoping our kids show some pride and get back to the elite eight. From there, anything can happen.

Let's Go Orange!!!

I see things with extreme generality.

1) This team is, at best, only 2/3 as good a defensive team as last years team.

2) Offensively, if CJ isn't playing like an all-American, they are in trouble.

3) At least 3 of CJ, Ennis, Grant and Cooney need to have good offensive games for SU to have a good shot at winning any given game and from point #2, CJ needs to be one of the 3 having a good game. It would be nice if all 4 of them had a good game together.

That's about it.
 
I can't remember a time when I have been more frustrated with a Syracuse team. Even last year we had offensive deficiencies, but they were understandable, plus our defense was elite so it could make up for it. I just feel this team is so much better then what they have shown the past month, especially on the offensive end. It really feels like our guys have hit a wall. It's not like we aren't getting shots, we just aren't making them anymore. Is it fatigue? Who knows for sure, but our seemingly annual late season slumps are look a lot more then just a coincidence. I really hope we can get it together over the next week. I really feel we have the ability to win it all if we can get it clicking again. Plus we could be looking at a bit of a rebuilding season next year so we have to make this one count.
 
a rather well thought out and weighty post. you might well have released it on pbs in installments much like downtown abbey for us to absorb it's full gravitas. i have no quibbles with much of what you scribbled. other than to state that i never really expected too much from either coleman or cooney this year. sorry to see coleman go down and trevor fizzle.
ennis was a most fortunate surprise but maybe a bit too good with the draft speculation.
looking ahead toward the tourney i see a syracuse team that's walking the razors edge. could be a first out or final four. but in order to win several pieces must lock in place for several games. therefore despite the lofty start it's very unlikely we get past the sweet 16. IMO.
 
It is difficult to give Patterson minutes as a 4th guard, unless you want to sit Cooney -- and I expect that the coaches always felt Cooney would play his way back to how he started the season. Hindsight -- give Patterson a chance to bring a dimension (driving past a defender!) that Cooney can't bring. It is difficult to give Roberson minutes when CJ is the only one of the bunch who can get his own shot against most defenses, and Roberson wasn't ready this season to play inside.

In watching Patterson he seemed a little erratic, but he also seemed to bring energy. The same with Roberson. I'm not sure those types of players wouldn't have helped this team out considerably.

It's not so much Patterson taking minutes from Cooney, as it would have been G. I'm not sure what G brought to the table tbh, and I never thought he looked head and shoulders above Patterson in the early season schedule. The argument for him getting big minutes seemed to be that he could play PG when Ennis sat (whereas Patterson couldn't), well that never really materialized either. And I'm not sure what anyone saw that made them think he could.

I don't know, hindsight is 20/20, but I always thought Roberson deserved more minutes, and I never thought G showed much of anything other than an ability to hit an occasional open three. How he got so many minutes at forward baffles me as well. He doesn't pass well, and his handle is weak. I don't know. We'll see what happens going forward, maybe Baye gets going, and G shows some consistency.
 
"actuality, we've recruited pretty darn well. In three consecutive years, we landed back-to-back-to-back McDonald's All American centers in Fab, Rak, and Coleman. Let that sink in for a second. And here we are, complaining about the lack of production in the paint despite that."


yes sad fact is we are already recruiting the best 5 spot talent. we just aren't developing it.
 
Cooney does a lot of things that go unappreciated. But the shooting slump is absurd. I KNOW that the kid is a much better player than he's shown, but at some point the numbers have to speak for themselves. He's shot like crap for two years, despite having a reputation as a shooter. I actually believe that he's going to be a great upperclassman for us and will have a nice career here in Orange, but his play since the Duke game is frustrating as hell.

Coleman gets failing grades from me. I think the kid has a great attitude and obviously has a work ethic--look no further than how much weight he's dropped since high school, and how he's improved his body. He also runs hard all the time despite being a bigger guy, and is always cheering on the bench for his teammates. That said, What is up with his inside game? Teams like Pitt always have guys like him, who play below the rim but use their physique to devastating effect and to carve out space for rebounds.
  • Our offensive execution got exponentially worse as the season went on. Some of that is the team straying away from the concepts that underlie the plays, but a bigger part of that is the opposition figuring out the limitations of our players and taking gambles to exploit the vulnerabilities. Such as doubling Ennis when he comes off of high screens. That wasn't happening earlier in the year like it is every game now. Teams have figured that play out.
  • As mentioned above, we lost a lot of key firepower from last year's team. Accounting for the pivots [Rak / Keita] not being big scorers, that meant essentially that we were forced to count on Grant / Cooney stepping up, and for Ennis to be solid. Behind them, there wasn't much. Gbinije was completely inexperienced, and the rest of the players were all incoming frosh. Generally, that's a bad formula for depth. And unfortunately, we got nothing from the frosh class. I think players like Patterson, BJ, and Roberson could be very good players down the road. But this year was a waste for the entire class.
  • Is there any doubt that we'll have some transfers this offseason? Orangeyes alluded last week to hearing rumors that Patterson is good as gone. Hope not, but we'll see. Roberson can't be too happy about his PT situation. Would he bail? I actually was very worried that BJ might split, as well, but seeing how enthusiastic his father is despite his son not playing, I don't think he'll leave. If all those players come back, then I actually think we could flash some surprisingly improved depth and outside scoring next season, if those players make the normal progressions you'd expect. But if they bail--and Roberson in particular--we're really going to be thin at forward, especially if Grant leaves. Ugh...
Fantastic post btw. Stream of consciousness doesn't typically come off so well thought out.

I love Cooney, and even last year I thought he needed more minutes. However, watching him this year I'm not sure what he does that goes unappreciated. His defense is so-so, he creates zero offense for others, I'm just not seeing it. I do think our offense does him ZERO favors though and I think we've made it easy for teams to shut him down. Our inability to work our big men into the offense hinders our offensive game all around - and we never get those kick-out threes that shooters love. Even last night, the one shot Cooney hit was when he got the ball kicked out from an Ennis drive (or rebound).

I never thought Rak/DC were going to be dominant post players this year, but just like last year I think Rak showed enough where you could work him in regularly. As soon as his offensive game seems to be maturing he misses a bunny against BC that could have sent us into OT, JB rips him, and now he's back to kind of sucking on offense. I don't know - I disagree with how we've used Rak for 99.3% of the minutes he's played here. I just don't know what we're doing on offense. Cooney runs around like a spaz, and we ISO for a player that doesn't excel in isolations. It's a tad mind boggling.

Agree 100% of Coleman, for people calling for a big man coach, I doubt we're doing anything wrong in that area. There is no way that we haven't been working with him endlessly for two years on playing strong around on the rim, but habits are hard to break. This is on him, he has to learn to use that frame and play big. I liken it to David Wright with that ridiculous double-clutch throw to first base, everyone tried to break him of the habit forever, but it never worked (or at least that I know of). Habits are habits...

I think doubling off the screen works so well because Ennis runs away from it as fast as he can. He has to be aggressive, draw the foul on the switch if he can...at least look to exploit it rather than retreating to half-court as quickly as your legs can take you.

I'm always shocked we don't have more transfers...maybe this is the year. :(

Again, great post RF.
 
In the logic of Master Beohiem , anything that we have done or not done has no bearing on what will happen going forward in the 68. ( Actually the field should be expanded to 72, which is the number of the names of G_D in the mystical tradition of Kabbalah.)
 
MG plays pretty good defense, he knows the rotations in the zone, and he doesn't make many turnovers. These are all things JB values that's why he plays. I agree he is very limited offensively. IMO a major issue with this team is that it has just worn down. This is the thinnest SU team I can remember in terms of depth...and I've been watching SU ball a long time. We've had 7 man rotations many times but the 2 reserves were good players who contributed scoring. The 2 reserves on this team are just place holders for a few minutes and you hope they don't hurt us too badly. CJ, Jerami, Ennis have all played just about 40 minutes every game for the entire ACC conference schedule. It's a long grind and I think they are worn down. Even Cooney most nights plays 34 minutes. For the first two thirds of the season the defense would clamp down and hold teams scoreless for 5-6 minute stretches regularly, especially late in games. That has not been happening any more and IMO it's because of cumulative fatigue. Remember how we could count on 12-0, 15-3 runs almost every game? Hasn't happened in weeks. Lastly, some thoughts on Cooney. We all knew coming into the season he was a huge question mark. He played so well in the pre-conference that most of us were surprised at how good he played and shot the ball. But when we started to play the better teams beginning with St. John's all of a sudden he had trouble getting open for shots and then missing the few he got as he rushed them and had athletic defenders seemingly in his shorts. That became a regular occurrence in ACC games. His 3 pt percentage in ACC games is about 1/2 of what it was in the pre-conference. IMO Cooney is just being athletically exposed rather than just in a slump that lasts for a week or two. He isn't going to all of sudden start shooting lights out again...until next year's pre-conference against lesser athletes. Maybe he improves some as an upper classman, probably he will. But IMO he will never be an elite level player. We really need a SG who can manufacture a shot off the bounce, drive it to the rim as well as catch-and-shoot. If you look back almost every SU SG is a catch-and-shoot guy. The lone exception in the last 15 years is Dion Waiters. (Triche could drive it but not shoot off the bounce.) Is this by design or just coincidence? Maybe Malachi Richardson will be that multi-dimensional guy.
 
The team has ended up about where I expected at the beginning of the of season - they just got there by a different road.
 
We have no offensive scoring depth. We have two game ready guards. Gbinije is not a guard, he's a glue guy. We don't have a guy like Dion who can come off the bench and provide offense when the starter has a bad game. Right now we have to live with bad games from Fair and Cooney because there is no one else. Frankly, I give the team credit for winning 27 games.
 
a lotta good posts in this thread. (mine excluded). depth is indeed a major issue. i've always felt for starters about 36 minutes should be the max . and maybe 32 optimum for your best players. for whatever reasons we never even bothered to attempt to develop a bench this year. we had several big leads early where we played our starters right up til the end. not surprised. that's jb's thing. he always puts the guaranteed W before any future development. i again still think we could have gotten more minutes from our bench during the season. i say the same thing every year but as a scrub i learned that even if you know you're playing only 4 minutes tops next game it still turns practice into prep. instead we ran our starters harder than any other squad in the ACC and ultimately faded down the stretch. unhappy bench.tired starters.
perhaps not THE reason but certainly A reason for the late season flame out.
 
a lotta good posts in this thread. (mine excluded). depth is indeed a major issue. i've always felt for starters about 36 minutes should be the max . and maybe 32 optimum for your best players. for whatever reasons we never even bothered to attempt to develop a bench this year. we had several big leads early where we played our starters right up til the end. not surprised. that's jb's thing. he always puts the guaranteed W before any future development. i again still think we could have gotten more minutes from our bench during the season. i say the same thing every year but as a scrub i learned that even if you know you're playing only 4 minutes tops next game it still turns practice into prep. instead we ran our starters harder than any other squad in the ACC and ultimately faded down the stretch. unhappy bench.tired starters.
perhaps not THE reason but certainly A reason for the late season flame out.

Depth is desirable. And JB has opened up the rotation a bit more in recent years. Also in recent years, we've enjoyed the luxury of being able to bring double digit caliber scorers off of the bench. When Grant shifted into the starting lineup this year, we had zero bench scoring pop. Zero. And that really hurts in games where a starter or two isn't having a good game [in the past four years, we could pull guys and replace them with bench guys who could fill it up and played starter minutes anyway--again, it was a tremendous luxury].

Ultimately, I just think that the confluence of circumstance wasn't conducive to depth this season. Too many true frosh. Like I said above, I think Patterson was the most ready of the bunch. Would have loved to see him get more of a shot--we needed outside shooting. Would have also liked to see Roberson developed more, but developing youngsters for the future's sake is not how JB coaches in-game. Never has--it's all about winning the game that day--right, wrong or indifferent, doesn't even make sense to bitch about it, because we all know how he coaches.

But I'll also concede that we don't see what happens in practice. I'm scratching my head a bit about Roberson, but who knows what he did every day? Maybe he just never overcame getting such a late start. I'll give the coaching staff the [probably unpopular] benefit of the doubt on how the rotation has shaped up. It would be great to have bench scoring, depth, etc. but you can't take players who aren't ready to contribute and wish that magically perform [I used to have a coach who would colorfully invite that we fill one hand with wishes and the other with @#$, and guess which one fills up first]. Not how it works.
 
No, the best 5* talent (Davis, Noel, Vonleh, etc) goes elsewhere.

"actuality, we've recruited pretty darn well. In three consecutive years, we landed back-to-back-to-back McDonald's All American centers in Fab, Rak, and Coleman. Let that sink in for a second. And here we are, complaining about the lack of production in the paint despite that."

yes sad fact is we are already recruiting the best 5 spot talent. we just aren't developing it.
 
ok . but surely in a 15 team league having 4 syracuse players in the top 13 minutes per game average (3 in the top 5 at one point) is certainly a red flag. we needed to see more rotation.
and if not for just this season well then certainly for the next.
 
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O'Eyes posted a link to a Fingerlakes1 (?) video about 5 days ago. One of the talking heads raised the interesting question of why BC and GTech have more players in their rotation than Syracuse which recruits so much better than the other two. And this is in wins over SU! Good food for thought.

ok . but surely in a 15 team league having 4 syracuse players in the top 13 minutes per game average (3 in the top 5 at one point) is certainly a red flag. we needed more rotation.
 
good point. if i ask you to run 1 lap (.25mile) you will most certainly turn in a faster lap time than if i ask you to run 4 laps (1mile). that's called pacing oneself. saving one's energy.
it's something that bench players don't do. they play full speed. cuz it's always only 1 lap!
 
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"the confluence of circumstance" wasn't conducive...

i shall file that gem away.
 

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