Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N
1. I’ve not taken the time to see how many of the remaining tournament teams start players who started last year. I have a hunch (meaning not supported by fact) that tournament time is the time that experience counts — that "sleeper teams" are often starting players that have played together, lots of minutes, in previous years. We’ve always said that we started three players two of whom had little starting or playing experience and one who had none and that that was part of the reason we were the team that we were — a highly successful team but one that was vulnerable at spots.
2. No matter what men want to believe, size does matter. And, we were not "big" where it mattered. JH, as good as he was, will be better after a year in the weight room — whether he plays for us or in the NBA. And, more importantly, the remaining members of the young guns — if they hit the weights hard — will have Westbrook like transformations. As we know, RW exploded not just because he had a year of experience but also because he hit the weights hard in the summer between his freshman and sophomore years.
3. In a like manner, in Ben Ball, toughness matters. I think the players we have coming back have a nucleus of people who can play tough — and by tough I mean in the LMR/PAA mold — if they want to. JK is one of them. Although he did not have his break out year — and I thought he would, he is big and strong. ND played a lot tougher this year, in spurts, than in years before. I think toughness is both a matter of strength AND attitude. ND has started to develop that attitude. At the beginning of this season he was still playing a bit weaker on D and letting the ball go by rather than getting on the floor for it. Then, he bought in and, with the exception of some lapses, really got tough. He played hard on the boards and — to the best of his ability — some good D stretches. I really expect him to be totally tough next year. Kids like DG and ML were tough this year — but somewhat smaller than need be to carry it out throughout the entire game (seem my comments about size matters — these are the guys, who if they spend their time in the weight room, will be dominant players).
4. Bobo: IIRC, as a child, Bobo had some serious problems with his legs. And, from what I recall, with grit and desire, he’s become a great player and overcome most of the vestiges of the problem. If that’s true, we have to be careful how we talk about and judge him. If he is running as fast as he can run and playing as hard as he can play, that’s all we can ask. If he’s not as fast on a hedge or quick coming down court AND that is a reflection of his body not his effort — so be it; and if he brings other things we need, I trust CBH to adjust the D game to account for Bobo's strengths and perceived weaknesses.I know he had other skills to learn, needs to learn the D — as do all new BenBall players — , and it is said that he needs to lose weight — but it is not fair to him to have expected more from him than one should expect from any freshman. It sounds like he will work very hard this summer. I look forward to seeing him next fall.
Bobo has become one of my favorite "I really don’t know much about him" kids. Much has been made about his comment about coming here "selfish". I love the fact that he is both sufficiently perceptive and honest to make that statement. He’s still just a kid. Do you think he’s the only hot shit high school player who has come here "selfish" and with an expanded sense of self importance? How humbling it must be for these High School all stars to find out that they are surrounded by bigger and better players who know the system and game. Many of us here were probably high school valedictorians who coasted through high school only to get their first "C" or worse at UCLA in their freshman year. I think the criticism of Bobo is misplaced. He’s just a kid in his first year of college ball. To predict that he will never amount to anything is simply wrong. I love his attitude, his sense of team, and his laugh (just as I always loved JS's smile) -- it shows depth and perspective. He will make a major contribution to Ben Ball lore before he leaves.
5. I stayed out of the post game analysis that followed the end of our season. You all were doing so well. And, honestly, although I was not disappointed in our team, I really hated to see the season end. So, I just want to take a moment to thank the entire team and coaching staff for giving us such a great year — and congratulate JS, DC and PAA for being all that I would want a Bruin to be.