CBH and his team continue to disappoint (updated with look back)

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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  • The starting backcourt should be ML and MR. Unlike JA, ML has the speed and defensive attitude to play point guard at UCLA. Once ML learns to slow down and take an extra half second before jacking up a shot, he will be solid. MR can do just as good of job guarding shooting guards as he is doing guarding small forwards. I felt bad for MR today as he was the only one playing like a Ben Ball Warrior, he is the last of a generation. Moving JA to the bench might take some of the pressure off of him plus it frees up more time for our bigs where we have more depth. Further, MM should be getting more minutes as he has proven that he can at least play defense. Moving ML to point would allow MM to backup MR at shooting guard with JA only playing when ML isn't on the court.
  • The starting frontcourt should be some combination of RN, BL, ND, and DG. Many people hate (yes hate) ND for one reason or another. I've said it before and I'll say it again, he is a shooter who is in a slump (just like JS two years ago). ND has done a much better job this season rebounding and playing defense (many of the scores his guy has given up have been from he helping out after JA gets burned and the weakside defensive rotation to back ND up being late). DG has had some good perfromances this year, but as mentioned above, I don't think he has necessarily earned his starting position over RN or BL. Any combo of these 4 with three starting and one as the sixth man would be a welcome change in my eyes.
  • There is no excuse for such poor free throw shooting. I am not so worried about what has been horrific 3 point shooting since many of those shots have been in the flow of the offense and just haven't gone down. Additionally, at least there is defense on 3s. I have no explanation for why this team, including MR, has been pathetic at shooting free throws. If they had shot better against Fullerton and Butler (and even against Long Beach), this season looks dramatically different. Free throw shooting shows how personally committed someone is to being good because it is the one thing that can be realistically practiced by oneself. DC had a competitive drive that was unmatched, its no surprise that he is an amazing free throw shooter. I cant say the same about this current group that CBH has assembled.
  • CBH's stubbornness is going to be his undoing. It is ok to be stubborn when things are going well or that you are still succeeding despite your unwillingness to make changes, but when things are obviously not working, please please please make some changes. Thankfully, CBH showed some willingess in this area playing RN and BL significant minutes in the second half, but if this program is ever going to develop he needs to be more flexible with things other than minutes. I'm talking about defensive schemes (if you don't have a point guard who can guard the ball and you have a roster full of bigs, common sense says to play zone) and offensive philosophy (catching the ball with an intention of scoring rather than passing). Coaches like Coach K at Duke, Roy Williams, Rick Barnes, Jim Boeheim, and Bill Self change their philosophy to fit the team they have. Of course those coaches all are good at making in-game adjustments, something the stubborn CBH has repeatedly proven he is not the best at (final 4s). It will be interesting to see which road CBH goes down: will he make some changes to his structure or will he continue to try and force a square peg into a round hole.
  • 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.

    Go Bruins!

    <em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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