Thoughts as the dust (appears) settled ... for now | Page 2 | Syracusefan.com

Thoughts as the dust (appears) settled ... for now

I was waiting until we thought we had our roster finalized to post some general thoughts on the off-season/next season but, I suppose in this new day and age of college hoops, there is no such thing as a finalized roster. So I suppose this is as good a time as any.

I'm less concerned about positions and specific attributes and more concerned about our offensive and defensive system
This point is obviously ignoring the whole talent piece of the equation (which I'll get to later), but I've heard a ton of discussion on here about true PGs and true 5s and a whole lot of discussion about how we need shooting or ball-handling or rebounding or interior scoring or rim protection. I don't disagree with any of these as obviously a great pure point guard is awesome as is a really good two-way center, etc. But UConn didn't win back-to-back titles because they had the perfect player at each position. They had excellent talent and certainly plenty of all the attributes listed. But they have a really nice system offensively with constant ball and player movement and a really sound defensive system. They pulled away from Purdue with a really effective early help strategy to speed up Edey.

So, point isn't to undersell the value off all the discussion or a good point guard or whatever, it's just that we need to know what we want to be and bring talent in that fits that system. And to that end ...

It feels like we're going to see a very different offense and perhaps a different defensive system this season.
We started Red's first season with what appeared to be an offensive system built around drive-and-kick and tempo and a pressure man style of defense with limited help. The return of Judah and Copeland, the addition of Starling/Westry/Cuffe, parting ways with Joe, Jesse moving on. The moves all pointed in that direction (with the giant exception of the late McLeod addition). After 10 or 12 games (and with no Westry), it became obvious that we needed some adjustments as Judah was doing too much dribbling and McLeod was having major problems on the perimeter defensively. We eventually saw a bit more movement offensively, Brown and Q helped the flow and things looked much better from Feb. on. Defensively we made some adjustments but it was a struggle throughout, IMO.

So heading into next year, it feels like the roster movement and the arrival of Englestad/departure of GMac points in a very different direction. McLeod returns and we add Lampkin, Freeman and Davis -- which should make us tougher inside, but Brown was a really good defender on the perimeter. Will that group -- a true frosh, a guy made for bully ball inside, a 7'4" shot-blocker and whatever Davis ends up being -- be able to switch and hang with perimeter players? Will Bell be able to play average defense in a 30-ish mpg type role? Judah spent a frustrating amount of time being disinterested defensively, or gambling at least 60' away from the basket, but when he cared to, he was a really solid on-ball defender. Can Carlos at 160 lbs hold up there? Can Starling improve on a disappointing defensive performance?

I don't know any of those answers but that doesn't look like a roster of intense man defenders creating havoc and getting out in transition ... at least not to me. (note: I'm not advocating a return to the zone, just wondering if we can really get away with pressure man.)

Offensively, as much vitriol as Judah absorbed and whatever Q was getting up to off the court, those two created a lot of offense. Brown also emerged as a really nice facilitator on the short roll. They're all gone. So this feels much more like offense by committee with more of an inside-out feel (Lampkin and Freeman, maybe some high-low action with both). Have to feel like Bell's and Starling's looks from deep are going to have to come off ball movement and player movement versus Judah/Q creating or hitting Brown off the short roll and his finding shooters.

That's all well and good and could lead to a more pleasing product to watch ... but that depends on what our actual sets look like. We ran more sets and had more cutting/movement as the season went on (even Taylor found a bit of success operating on the baseline). But can Red and co. coach these guys up to such a degree that you lose your three best offensive players, are potentially a bit light on creators, yet you wind up with a more efficient offense? I'm a bit skeptical but it will be interesting to watch.

Can Bell and Starling develop into well-rounded basketball players?
There's always the chance that a healthy Westry comes in and blows us away with his athleticism and versatility -- I'm certainly hoping he does. But that's tough to bank on given his absence from the court for the past two years (more or less). Outside of that, to this point, Red appears to be doubling down on the Bell/Starling combo at the SF and SG spots, respectively.

These guys have done some nice things here for sure -- Bell actually was our second leading scorer if you look at per/40 numbers (and exclude Nico Ruffin). In the per 40, Starling drops to fourth (behind Q and Bell along with Judah) but he was a still at a respectable 15.5 pp40. There were several games we won largely because of Bell -- Colgate, Louisville, at NC State, to name a few -- and Starling was excellent in the win over UNC and was a pretty consistent double-figures guy all year.

BUT both of these guys had holes. Bell's are easy to see -- struggled to rebound and with physicality in general; struggled on defense (when Clemson needed a look late in the shot clock they constantly sought out Bell to attack 1-on-1); and spent much of the year parked on the wing or occasionally floating to a corner. Starling shot terribly early, was great in the middle of the season and struggled at the end. People hated Judah's FT seeking, but Starling was the exact opposite -- never draws contact or gets to the line. Defensively I thought he actually played OK positionally but he just never makes a play on the ball or in the passing lanes. Starling's 1.2 steals/blocks per 40 was the worst number for anyone on the team that played real minutes -- the only other guys under 2.0 steals/blocks per 40 were Bell (1.8) and Taylor (1.6), and even those two were far more impactful. Starling also was limited as a creator -- got to his mid-range pretty well but only got to the rim occasionally on straight-line drives and averaged 1.9 assists (not great) and just 1.2 assists/game from the Georgetown game (mid-December) on.

We lost our three most well-rounded players -- these two need to show significant improvement in other areas of their game. Starling needs to be able to get to the rim and get to the line, he HAS to be more effective defensively, and he likely will need to handle the ball a bit as well. I wouldn't turn down a few more assists either (he actually averaged 3.6 assists/game in our first 9 games). Bell needs to be better moving without the ball, shooting off screens, continue to improve his mid-range and, to whatever extent he can, continue to improve defensively and on the glass. His whole thing, to me, is movement. If he's moving on both ends of the floor he's going to wind up with more rebounds, more loose balls, more blocks and more open shots. He's spent far too much time watching the game the first two years.

Moore and Cuffe will be interesting to watch
JJ and Carlos will get big minutes. Westry, if healthy, could be the third guard. But Red appears to want to play more guys than we have in the past and Cuffe and Moore (probably only one of the two consistently) will get their opportunities.

Cuffe simply getting back on the floor last year is great. Kid has had horrible injury luck. The thing I like best about him is that he very much believes he belongs. He's ready to shoot when he gets the ball, he can be tough defensively, he's pretty strong. Would love to see an improved handle and what he looks like after a healthy off-season.

Moore is someone who has people excited with his shooting/scoring and generally good athleticism (at least from what I can tell from clips I've watched). But shooting doesn't always translate to the college game, at least not immediately. It would be great if he made an impact, but I guess we'll see.

How to evaluate Red?
It's interesting how much the game has changed even in the last couple seasons. I find myself unsure of how to grade Red for a couple of reasons: 1) Where do we stand in terms of NIL? If we are thin there compared to a lot of these other programs, that is a tough spot. And 2) Does high school recruiting matter? It's exciting to hear the Kiyan Anthony developments and maybe a couple highly rated kids come with him ... but how do you fill out the rest of the roster in that scenario?

Everyone wants to get back to the good old days of making the tourney most years and having a shot to be playing on the second weekend ... but is the infrastructure there to support that kind of program? Not sure. Is Red partly responsible for helping cultivate NIL and fundraising? I would guess so, but, again, not really sure how that all works.

It seems fair to say that a rough year this year will certainly make Red's seat a bit warm, but in the new Wild West of college basketball, it may be tough to determine how much of that is Red's fault.

Anyway, I think that's it. If you actually made it this far, I'm impressed. You must have as little going on in your life as I do.

I enjoyed this post. Here is what I’ll say because I see next year as looking, at best, being a bubble team. And that’s if everything breaks our way.

My big issues are that 1) we have questions all over the place. Will JJ/Bell make a jump? Can Chance come back and be healthy? Is Carlos good enough to be the guy at lead guard? Etc and 2) People may disagree, but our talent level isn’t that good. It’s ok.

IMO, the way this team beats expectations is a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” + Chris Bell making a mini leap + guys staying healthy. I refuse to put too much weight on Donnie or expect JJ to all of a sudden become Dwyane Wade. At least with Bell, I know he can shoot.

Very worried about our reliance on Lampkin. We will be relying on a big that had a 16.4 PER last year. That’s like betting your retirement on the lottery.

Hoping for the best.
 
I enjoyed this post. Here is what I’ll say because I see next year as looking, at best, being a bubble team. And that’s if everything breaks our way.

My big issues are that 1) we have questions all over the place. Will JJ/Bell make a jump? Can Chance come back and be healthy? Is Carlos good enough to be the guy at lead guard? Etc and 2) People may disagree, but our talent level isn’t that good. It’s ok.

IMO, the way this team beats expectations is a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” + Chris Bell making a mini leap + guys staying healthy. I refuse to put too much weight on Donnie or expect JJ to all of a sudden become Dwyane Wade. At least with Bell, I know he can shoot.

Very worried about our reliance on Lampkin. We will be relying on a big that had a 16.4 PER last year. That’s like betting your retirement on the lottery.

Hoping for the best.
The 16.4 for Lampkin is not the negative you think it is. Nobody is saying he's Edey or Dickinson. It's who is actually playing next year, There are maybe a handful of experienced 5's left in college. All the top dawgs that stayed 4 or 5 years are gone. Clingan and Ballo managed to have a 19 PER with the level of talent on those teams.
 
I enjoyed this post. Here is what I’ll say because I see next year as looking, at best, being a bubble team. And that’s if everything breaks our way.

My big issues are that 1) we have questions all over the place. Will JJ/Bell make a jump? Can Chance come back and be healthy? Is Carlos good enough to be the guy at lead guard? Etc and 2) People may disagree, but our talent level isn’t that good. It’s ok.

IMO, the way this team beats expectations is a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” + Chris Bell making a mini leap + guys staying healthy. I refuse to put too much weight on Donnie or expect JJ to all of a sudden become Dwyane Wade. At least with Bell, I know he can shoot.

Very worried about our reliance on Lampkin. We will be relying on a big that had a 16.4 PER last year. That’s like betting your retirement on the lottery.

Hoping for the best.
What’s 16.4 PER? That doesn’t mean anything to many of us. I’ve always been skeptical of the Box plus/minus stat that so many people seem to obsess over. But if you’re an analytics nerd, Evan Miya (who the college experts all love) has Eddie ranked as the 9th best transfer portal center overall. That’s pretty damn good considering how many good centers were in the portal this spring.
 
Reading this thread, I'm struck by how little mention (enthusiasm? expectation?) there is about Freeman. First, he's the highest-rated player recruited by Cuse in a long while. Next, with his stock increasing dramatically toward the very end of his HS career, maybe his play increases on that same late trajectory, giving SU a truly extraordinary forward on the court. Lastly, the word is that he's full 6'9" maybe even taller. Just seems to me that his potential for being a "special" contributor is being overlooked a bit.
yeah agreed he was the one player that got the buzz from the mcd's camp...

never 100% sure about a freshman but there's a good chance he could be an actual star next year based off of that, imo...his floor is probably pretty high as well, imo

ovrall, ive seen psters talking about how the stars have to align for next year to be good...i disagree...only a fraction of the players brought in need to live up to their ceilings and the team will be good, imo
 
FREEMAN will start. is he #44 caliber on the front line ? derrick and Jdub were . give him the jersey and let's see.
 
I guess I'm more optimistic than most about Freeman's ceiling... I posted earlier that I think his likely projection is 15/6 with a block a steal and an assist.

I don't think that's his ceiling. I think he could become a 20/10 guy. He'll be too big for a lot of guys to defend in the post. If you put a bigger guy on him, he'll penetrate to the basket. If you switch, he'll shoot a true jumper over a guard from 3 point range. He's not a great rebounder, but he'll get some offensive boards for put backs... He'll finish in transition. If he puts it all together, he could be first team ACC. I think 15/6 is his likely end result, not his ceiling.

Another thing to consider is the team around him. Several things need to come together, but Lampkin will take up space in the post, preventing double teams on Freeman... Lampkin also will force doubles against a lot of teams, which will mean Freeman can cut to the basket against smaller guys. Bell and Starling will force space in offensive sets, and Westry or Carlos will find Freeman shots he can make.

I guess the incurable optimist in me is back. I think our offense is going to be just fine next season. I worry, a lot, about our defense, but I think the teams ceiling is really high.
 
. Lampkin also will force doubles against a lot of teams,
don't see it. lampkin has averaged just 2 ft att's in 4 seasons. and has never taken a trey. no doubt he'll been camped out in the middle taking up space but nobody's gonna double him. shoots 58% inside.
 
I was waiting until we thought we had our roster finalized to post some general thoughts on the off-season/next season but, I suppose in this new day and age of college hoops, there is no such thing as a finalized roster. So I suppose this is as good a time as any.

I'm less concerned about positions and specific attributes and more concerned about our offensive and defensive system
This point is obviously ignoring the whole talent piece of the equation (which I'll get to later), but I've heard a ton of discussion on here about true PGs and true 5s and a whole lot of discussion about how we need shooting or ball-handling or rebounding or interior scoring or rim protection. I don't disagree with any of these as obviously a great pure point guard is awesome as is a really good two-way center, etc. But UConn didn't win back-to-back titles because they had the perfect player at each position. They had excellent talent and certainly plenty of all the attributes listed. But they have a really nice system offensively with constant ball and player movement and a really sound defensive system. They pulled away from Purdue with a really effective early help strategy to speed up Edey.

So, point isn't to undersell the value off all the discussion or a good point guard or whatever, it's just that we need to know what we want to be and bring talent in that fits that system. And to that end ...

It feels like we're going to see a very different offense and perhaps a different defensive system this season.
We started Red's first season with what appeared to be an offensive system built around drive-and-kick and tempo and a pressure man style of defense with limited help. The return of Judah and Copeland, the addition of Starling/Westry/Cuffe, parting ways with Joe, Jesse moving on. The moves all pointed in that direction (with the giant exception of the late McLeod addition). After 10 or 12 games (and with no Westry), it became obvious that we needed some adjustments as Judah was doing too much dribbling and McLeod was having major problems on the perimeter defensively. We eventually saw a bit more movement offensively, Brown and Q helped the flow and things looked much better from Feb. on. Defensively we made some adjustments but it was a struggle throughout, IMO.

So heading into next year, it feels like the roster movement and the arrival of Englestad/departure of GMac points in a very different direction. McLeod returns and we add Lampkin, Freeman and Davis -- which should make us tougher inside, but Brown was a really good defender on the perimeter. Will that group -- a true frosh, a guy made for bully ball inside, a 7'4" shot-blocker and whatever Davis ends up being -- be able to switch and hang with perimeter players? Will Bell be able to play average defense in a 30-ish mpg type role? Judah spent a frustrating amount of time being disinterested defensively, or gambling at least 60' away from the basket, but when he cared to, he was a really solid on-ball defender. Can Carlos at 160 lbs hold up there? Can Starling improve on a disappointing defensive performance?

I don't know any of those answers but that doesn't look like a roster of intense man defenders creating havoc and getting out in transition ... at least not to me. (note: I'm not advocating a return to the zone, just wondering if we can really get away with pressure man.)

Offensively, as much vitriol as Judah absorbed and whatever Q was getting up to off the court, those two created a lot of offense. Brown also emerged as a really nice facilitator on the short roll. They're all gone. So this feels much more like offense by committee with more of an inside-out feel (Lampkin and Freeman, maybe some high-low action with both). Have to feel like Bell's and Starling's looks from deep are going to have to come off ball movement and player movement versus Judah/Q creating or hitting Brown off the short roll and his finding shooters.

That's all well and good and could lead to a more pleasing product to watch ... but that depends on what our actual sets look like. We ran more sets and had more cutting/movement as the season went on (even Taylor found a bit of success operating on the baseline). But can Red and co. coach these guys up to such a degree that you lose your three best offensive players, are potentially a bit light on creators, yet you wind up with a more efficient offense? I'm a bit skeptical but it will be interesting to watch.

Can Bell and Starling develop into well-rounded basketball players?
There's always the chance that a healthy Westry comes in and blows us away with his athleticism and versatility -- I'm certainly hoping he does. But that's tough to bank on given his absence from the court for the past two years (more or less). Outside of that, to this point, Red appears to be doubling down on the Bell/Starling combo at the SF and SG spots, respectively.

These guys have done some nice things here for sure -- Bell actually was our second leading scorer if you look at per/40 numbers (and exclude Nico Ruffin). In the per 40, Starling drops to fourth (behind Q and Bell along with Judah) but he was a still at a respectable 15.5 pp40. There were several games we won largely because of Bell -- Colgate, Louisville, at NC State, to name a few -- and Starling was excellent in the win over UNC and was a pretty consistent double-figures guy all year.

BUT both of these guys had holes. Bell's are easy to see -- struggled to rebound and with physicality in general; struggled on defense (when Clemson needed a look late in the shot clock they constantly sought out Bell to attack 1-on-1); and spent much of the year parked on the wing or occasionally floating to a corner. Starling shot terribly early, was great in the middle of the season and struggled at the end. People hated Judah's FT seeking, but Starling was the exact opposite -- never draws contact or gets to the line. Defensively I thought he actually played OK positionally but he just never makes a play on the ball or in the passing lanes. Starling's 1.2 steals/blocks per 40 was the worst number for anyone on the team that played real minutes -- the only other guys under 2.0 steals/blocks per 40 were Bell (1.8) and Taylor (1.6), and even those two were far more impactful. Starling also was limited as a creator -- got to his mid-range pretty well but only got to the rim occasionally on straight-line drives and averaged 1.9 assists (not great) and just 1.2 assists/game from the Georgetown game (mid-December) on.

We lost our three most well-rounded players -- these two need to show significant improvement in other areas of their game. Starling needs to be able to get to the rim and get to the line, he HAS to be more effective defensively, and he likely will need to handle the ball a bit as well. I wouldn't turn down a few more assists either (he actually averaged 3.6 assists/game in our first 9 games). Bell needs to be better moving without the ball, shooting off screens, continue to improve his mid-range and, to whatever extent he can, continue to improve defensively and on the glass. His whole thing, to me, is movement. If he's moving on both ends of the floor he's going to wind up with more rebounds, more loose balls, more blocks and more open shots. He's spent far too much time watching the game the first two years.

Moore and Cuffe will be interesting to watch
JJ and Carlos will get big minutes. Westry, if healthy, could be the third guard. But Red appears to want to play more guys than we have in the past and Cuffe and Moore (probably only one of the two consistently) will get their opportunities.

Cuffe simply getting back on the floor last year is great. Kid has had horrible injury luck. The thing I like best about him is that he very much believes he belongs. He's ready to shoot when he gets the ball, he can be tough defensively, he's pretty strong. Would love to see an improved handle and what he looks like after a healthy off-season.

Moore is someone who has people excited with his shooting/scoring and generally good athleticism (at least from what I can tell from clips I've watched). But shooting doesn't always translate to the college game, at least not immediately. It would be great if he made an impact, but I guess we'll see.

How to evaluate Red?
It's interesting how much the game has changed even in the last couple seasons. I find myself unsure of how to grade Red for a couple of reasons: 1) Where do we stand in terms of NIL? If we are thin there compared to a lot of these other programs, that is a tough spot. And 2) Does high school recruiting matter? It's exciting to hear the Kiyan Anthony developments and maybe a couple highly rated kids come with him ... but how do you fill out the rest of the roster in that scenario?

Everyone wants to get back to the good old days of making the tourney most years and having a shot to be playing on the second weekend ... but is the infrastructure there to support that kind of program? Not sure. Is Red partly responsible for helping cultivate NIL and fundraising? I would guess so, but, again, not really sure how that all works.

It seems fair to say that a rough year this year will certainly make Red's seat a bit warm, but in the new Wild West of college basketball, it may be tough to determine how much of that is Red's fault.

Anyway, I think that's it. If you actually made it this far, I'm impressed. You must have as little going on in your life as I do.

Outstanding post! So many good thoughts!

I agree that improvements by Bell and Starling are really the key to the season.
 
I guess I'm more optimistic than most about Freeman's ceiling... I posted earlier that I think his likely projection is 15/6 with a block a steal and an assist.

I don't think that's his ceiling. I think he could become a 20/10 guy. He'll be too big for a lot of guys to defend in the post. If you put a bigger guy on him, he'll penetrate to the basket. If you switch, he'll shoot a true jumper over a guard from 3 point range. He's not a great rebounder, but he'll get some offensive boards for put backs... He'll finish in transition. If he puts it all together, he could be first team ACC. I think 15/6 is his likely end result, not his ceiling.

Another thing to consider is the team around him. Several things need to come together, but Lampkin will take up space in the post, preventing double teams on Freeman... Lampkin also will force doubles against a lot of teams, which will mean Freeman can cut to the basket against smaller guys. Bell and Starling will force space in offensive sets, and Westry or Carlos will find Freeman shots he can make.

I guess the incurable optimist in me is back. I think our offense is going to be just fine next season. I worry, a lot, about our defense, but I think the teams ceiling is really high.

The most important thing for Freeman is he's not our only big who can score inside.
Lampkin gives Freeman more room to operate, and will likely demand the opponent's most physical defender.
 
The most important thing for Freeman is he's not our only big who can score inside.
Lampkin gives Freeman more room to operate, and will likely demand the opponent's most physical defender.
Right! Freeman won't be Lydon or Dolezaj trying to compete with guys 50lbs heavier on a regular basis.

Lampkin and McLeod (hopefully! :rolleyes:) get every single minute at center this season.

This will be more like the 13-14 team with Fair, Christmas, Keita, Grant and Roberson. Huge size with depth.
 
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The most important thing for Freeman is he's not our only big who can score inside.
Lampkin gives Freeman more room to operate, and will likely demand the opponent's most physical defender.
This reminds me of when DC came in as a freshman. He didn’t have to come in and carry a mantle right away because he had a seasoned and much improved Rony Seikaly there to draw all of the attention. DC could focus on the things he did really well, like rebounding, blocking shots, and dunking the misses. I am not comparing DF to DC directly because they are different players, but the point is that Lampkin will open up space for Freeman to ease into his role and gain confidence without the pressure to be a go-to player out of the gate. By the end of that ‘86-‘87 season, DC and Seikaly were the ultimate compliments for one another.
 
don't see it. lampkin has averaged just 2 ft att's in 4 seasons. and has never taken a trey. no doubt he'll been camped out in the middle taking up space but nobody's gonna double him. shoots 58% inside.
I watched several of his highlight videos with him getting doubled, sure they're highlights of him scoring or passing out of the double to get another guy a look or him taking it to the hoop on his own. Guess that's not as good as taking 3's or free throws for you.

One team doubling him in particular was a crappy Cal team but whatever we're playing Cal out on the West coast this year.
 
I enjoyed this post. Here is what I’ll say because I see next year as looking, at best, being a bubble team. And that’s if everything breaks our way.

My big issues are that 1) we have questions all over the place. Will JJ/Bell make a jump? Can Chance come back and be healthy? Is Carlos good enough to be the guy at lead guard? Etc and 2) People may disagree, but our talent level isn’t that good. It’s ok.

IMO, the way this team beats expectations is a “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” + Chris Bell making a mini leap + guys staying healthy. I refuse to put too much weight on Donnie or expect JJ to all of a sudden become Dwyane Wade. At least with Bell, I know he can shoot.

Very worried about our reliance on Lampkin. We will be relying on a big that had a 16.4 PER last year. That’s like betting your retirement on the lottery.

Hoping for the best.
Yeah, I try not to be super negative going into an off-season because A) it's depressing and B) things can happen that we either aren't privy to because we don't have reliable sources around the team all the time (that's almost everyone here) or just aren't able to forecast because no one can see the future quite that well. It's easy to point to a guy like Fab Melo's transformation but most people will say, 'yeah, but, he was really talented.' Very true.

But take a guy like Griff -- struggled to finish a bit but a pretty decent young player on the 98-99 team. Came back in 99-00 and was basically unplayable and his minutes were cut drastically. But he came back as a senior in 00-01 and had a really, really nice senior season. The shooting percentages were still meh, but he got to the line a bit, put up an 10.8 ppg and 6.5 apg line and averaged 2 steals per game.

Long way of saying it's tough to know. But I'm with you -- this is a sum of its parts team if we're going to be any good and it is nearly impossible to know how these parts fit together until we see them in action.

Edit: Sorry, meant to add that sum of its parts teams by nature need a lot more things to go right. Teams that have a ton of talent need things not to go wrong (injuries, egos, etc.). We need a lot to break in our favor and that is always a bit dicey. Hard to feel overly confident at the moment.
 
Reading this thread, I'm struck by how little mention (enthusiasm? expectation?) there is about Freeman. First, he's the highest-rated player recruited by Cuse in a long while. Next, with his stock increasing dramatically toward the very end of his HS career, maybe his play increases on that same late trajectory, giving SU a truly extraordinary forward on the court. Lastly, the word is that he's full 6'9" maybe even taller. Just seems to me that his potential for being a "special" contributor is being overlooked a bit.

yeah agreed he was the one player that got the buzz from the mcd's camp...

never 100% sure about a freshman but there's a good chance he could be an actual star next year based off of that, imo...his floor is probably pretty high as well, imo

ovrall, ive seen psters talking about how the stars have to align for next year to be good...i disagree...only a fraction of the players brought in need to live up to their ceilings and the team will be good, imo
Fair point and I don't mean to diminish the potential of a kid who appears to have a ton of talent. I am just gun shy in terms of expecting him to be the lead dog or one of the two key guys we lean on. That said, I know a coach who worked with him extensively at his previous high school. He expressed a concern about how he might hang defensively in an aggressive man-to-man scenario but was otherwise glowing. Said he came to that program as a kid with some intriguing attributes but has just improved constantly (and apparently continued to improve drastically this past year).

So, yes, Freeman could be huge for us. I think my pessimism is a little bit more global in terms of how we fit together on both sides of the ball and how we approach the game with this particular personnel group. But your critique(s) are fair. He very well may be the difference-maker we're looking for (and Westry, to be fair, could fit into the same category ... just think it's hard to bank on.)
 
I would be shocked if he averaged anywhere near 15 a game. More like 10 or 11. And that would be fine.
Not sure i'd be shocked, per se, just based on being the 6th best prospect (or whatever, top 10 to 15) coming out of high school. Not saying that is an ideal measuring stick as much as saying he's clearly got some ability and attributes that should translate.

But I'm with you in that I'm not sure we can really bank on it.
 
Great post

Looking big picture, there are 3 big “bets” the staff is taking with the roster

1 - Freeman having a huge freshman year. Meaning being above average ACC or better

2 - Westry being healthy and a material contributor

3 - Carlos being underrated and being a solid starting PG

If all three pan out, I see us dancing without any bubble stress. However that’s a big “if,” and if all three fail we could be looking a losing record

I think Red did the best anyone could last year. However this year he’s had much more time to construct a roster and this year will be interesting. I see reasons to be positive but can also see the wheels come off too
One thing I'd add is an improved version of Bell. No idea how realistic it is, but if he is improved defensively (no idea how to quantify that and I'm not holding my breath on him becoming a 'good' defender) and is moving more and showing more activity offensively, I actually think he can be a guy who can be an efficient scorer and not *just* a shooter. But even if the point production is fairly similar, if he's moving and more active on both ends of the floor, that would be a very good thing.
 
One thing I'd add is an improved version of Bell. No idea how realistic it is, but if he is improved defensively (no idea how to quantify that and I'm not holding my breath on him becoming a 'good' defender) and is moving more and showing more activity offensively, I actually think he can be a guy who can be an efficient scorer and not *just* a shooter. But even if the point production is fairly similar, if he's moving and more active on both ends of the floor, that would be a very good thing.
If he just concentrates on rebounding the ball, and gets 5 or 6 a game that's good.
 

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