Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
After the disappointing loss to Portland this week, I promised not to make any judgments about CBH's team until the end of the tournament. I had hoped that there would be encouraging developments in the next two games, unfortunately, it has just been more frustration (sandwiched between the gut punch that was the $C football game).
The biggest problem plaguing this team is JA. I know what apologists will say: he is only a sophomore, he has been injured, he didn't get to play much last year (which is untrue). The fact of the matter is he is absolutely destroying this program. On offense, he dribbles far too much, then will pick up his dribble in a position where he has no angle to shoot or pass. Making matters worse, he never looks to get the ball inside effectively taking whoever our post player is out of the game. However, his lack of offensive ability pales in comparison to his defensive shortcomings. He has terrible footspeed and has been burned all season so far by inferior players. Finally, I'll take heat for this, but JA has no heart and doesn't hold himself accountable. Anytime he gets burned or something goes bad, he looks at his teammates as if they did something wrong instead of getting mad with himself and doing a better job the next time. What JA should realize is that his teammates really should be looking at him every time their guy scores because they had to slide over to stop the penetration that JA allowed, leaving their guy open. The thing that scares me the most about JA is that we could be forced to watch his dissapointing play for the next three years.
JK is an 8th man at best. I have been a big supporter of JK because I know that he has talent because I have seen it. Sadly, whether its from early injuries or CBH getting in his head, he has not improved at all since he was a freshman. He plays way too passively and with him on the court with JA, its impossible for MR and ML to ever get easy shots since the opposing defenses are playing 5 on 3. JK would be fine for 10 minutes a game backing up DG, RN, BL, and ND, but he can not continue to be a starter if this team is going to be respectable.
RN and BL should be starters. As mentioned, JK is not a starter. I've also never been sold on DG who plays incredibly dumb on the court. DG commits way too many unnecessary fouls, gambles for steals and blocks instead of playing solid position defense, and has a highly inflated ego compared to what he actually has proven. Conversely, RN and BL have been solid contributors in the minutes they have been given. Sure they have made their fair share of mistakes, but RN has shown more heart than anyone on this team and BL is already the most skilled of the bigmen on this team.
Well Bruins, its been a rough weekend. We all knew that there would be ups and downs this year and I think its important that we approach things rationally rather than through emotional rants (hence why I never partake in the home of ignorant comments: game threads). However, I don't think even the most pessimistic of us thought we would be looking at a 2-4 team that seems to take 3 steps back for every step forward. The one encouraging thing about this weekend was the Bulter game which made me think that this could be a team that plays up to or down to its opponent. I guess we will find out about that against Kansas.
Update: After the Fullerton loss, I posted that everyone needed to calm down about being chicken littles. I thought it would be worthwhile to look at the points I outlined in that post and see how they stood five games later.
1. We played as bad as can be -- Hmmm, this is a tough one. I don't think we have played worse than we did in the Fullerton game, but they have tried very hard to do so. We've played against better competition and despite the many problems with this team, I think even the long beach state UCLA team is far better than the team that lost to Fullerton.
2. ND is in a slump -- Yup, still in a slump....
3. RN is fools gold -- My point with this comment was that RN was not the savior of the team that some knee jerk commentators were proclaiming him to be. However, he has far surpassed my expectations and is definitely deserving of more and more playing time. I am happy I was off on this one.
4. ML needs to be our point, not JA -- I will stand by this one all year.
5. I’m viewing this season like a locomotive, slow start but should get going pretty well -- I still have this same view and think that by the end of the season, this will be a solid basketball team. Unfortunately, we cant fastforward to that point and are going to have to experience all the painful steps getting there. You have to learn to walk before you can run, and you are going to fall down a lot getting there.
6. This was the first of approximately 35 games, its a looooooooong season -- So now we are 6 games into the season, about one sixth of the way through. Sure we would all like to be 6-0 right now, but we almost beat a top 10 team in Butler and Portland is no slouche. Losing to Fullerton and Long Beach is something that no Bruin team ever should do, but it happened. We can either dwell on the past or move forward.
All in all, I still think that CBH can get his team going and have a succesful season. Right now the main task is figuring out who can actually play and getting people comfortable with their roles and allocating playing time accordingly. Thankfully, each game it appears that the cream is rising to the crop (RN, BL) while those not stepping up are having their time reduced accordingly (JK). Sadly, the player having the most (negative) impact on the team, JA, continues to get and waste significant playing time. There really are three options: (1) JA dramatically improves and everyone is happy; (2) JA continues to struggle and the team follows suit; (3) CBH moves JA to the bench and puts ML at point and we see what happens. I think we all know what option I'm rooting for.