Are we really that young? A cathartic analysis


Since the beginning of this season, many here on BN have contended that this is a young, inexperienced team, with lots of freshman who are new to the system. This has been done in part, I believe, to temper expectations for this team.  While I applaud the rationale for trying to make such a claim, (keep expectations modest so as to not disappoint) I have secretly taken issue with the assessment believing in my gut that any team that starts three seniors all of which play considerable minutes, can not truly be considered “young”.  Then, consider that the three reserves used most this year are juniors, one of which (MR) is a redshirt Junior who has been in CBH’s system four years, it becomes nearly impossible to subscribe to the belief that this team will underachieve because of too many Freshman.

So in the spirit of BN, where numbers and analysis are what carry the day, I went back and looked at each of the teams from the 03’/04’ seasons through the present to see if I could come up with some evidence to support my theory that this team is as seasoned as some, if not most of CBH’s previous squads.

Disclaimer:  I’m a lawyer and while I fancy myself a decent “numbers guy” I’m no CPA or statistician.  I’m going to show you all my calculations and assumptions to make sure there is complete transparency related to my argument, as I know I’m taking a position contrary to the belief of many who post here.

For each year I looked at the players from the roster who played the majority of minutes in that year and what year they were in school.  Freshman got a 1; Sophomores a 2; Juniors a 3; Seniors a 4 and any player who redshirted while playing for CBH got another year added for the years they were actually in the system (for example, Josh Shipp got a 5 for this year because he redshirted while playing for CBH).  My analysis is admittedly somewhat flawed in that I did not have the actual minutes each player played, but having followed the Bruins pretty closely during these years, I have decent recall of which players played the most minutes in a given year.  If I made any glaring mistakes, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

So here goes:


Ariza -1

Bozeman – 3

TJ Cummings 4

Fey – 2

Hollins – 2

Josiah Johnson – 3

Dijon Thompson – 3

18/7 = 2.57



Brian Morrison  - 4

Farmar – 1

Afflalo – 1

Bozeman – 4

Shipp – 1

Fey – 3

Hollins – 3

Josiah Johnson 4

Dijon Thompson – 4


25/9 = 2.77



Farmar – 2

AA – 2

Bozeman – 4

Shipp – (RS DNP)

Fey – 4

Hollins – 4


Mata – 2

Collison – 1

AA2 – 1


21 / 9= 2.33



Westbrook – 1

AA – 3

Keefe – 1

Shipp – 3 (Includes RS)

Roll -2


Mata – 3

Collison -2

AA2 -2

19 / 9 = 2.11

07’-08 ‘

Westbrook – 2

Keefe -2

Shipp – 4

Roll – RS _DNP

Love – 1

Drago – 2 (I didn’t include him last year as he didn’t play much as a freshman)


Mata – 4

Collison – 3

AA2 – 3

 24 / 9 = 2.66



JK – 3

Shipp – 5 (Includes RS)

Roll – 4

Drago – 3

Collison – 4

AA2 – 4

JA – 1

DG – 1

JH – 1

ML – 1

 27 / 10 = 2.77

So here is what it looks like: 

03-04 – 2.57

04-05 – 2.77

05-06 – 2.33

06-07 – 2.11

07-08 – 2.66

08-09 – 2.77

While not a perfect analysis, I am fairly convinced that compared to the teams in the past, this is not a young, inexperience team.  Our final 4 team from 06’-07’ was clearly our youngest and this year’s is in fact one of the most mature. 

So, maybe going forward we can ease off the youth/lack of experience argument here to mitigate expectations or try and make people feel better after a difficult loss.  I don’t buy it anymore.  I really never did, and this analysis has helped confirm this belief.  

Others have trotted out more plausible rationales for these losses such as a lack of heart, or a lack of real commitment to defense or no true “go-to-guy” (which I also don’t subscribe to because I believe DC is that guy – at least as much as any of our previous leaders (Farmar, AA, Westbrook or Love)).  Some have chosen to hang it on the refs (not one I’m fond of either). However, I for one, refuse to buy into the assertion that youth and inexperience is an excuse for underperforming this year.  I just don’t see the numbers supporting such a contention.

This has been a tough week for the Bruin faithful.  I have been in a terrible funk since Thursday night.  Which is why I probably went though this exercise on a Valentines Saturday night (my 4 Valentines were asleep at the time).  Not sure I feel any better (or worse for that matter), now that I’m done, but what I do know is that I expect more from this team.   I expect it because we have one of the best coaches in the country and a team that is one of the most experienced CBH has had while at UCLA.   

Don’t misunderstand, please. I’m not one of those people who can only be satisfied hanging banners or winning championships.  I expected 4 or 5 losses this year.  I knew there would be ups and downs.  But I also expected to pull out games like the one this past Thursday.  And I expected to win at least half of the games we played against ranked opponents, which I don’t think is possible anymore. What I didn’t expect was the kind of effort I saw yesterday.   And I certainly don’t think our poor effort had anything to do with youth or inexperience.

This is a good team.  Not great yet but I hope we’ll get there.  I do think this team has as much potential to win the Pac-10 and get to another Final Four as any we have seen in recent years.  Whether they live up to that potential remains to be seen.  But youth and inexperience is not an excuse I’m willing to accept if we don’t.  I hope we do live up to my lofty expectations.  I know all our Ben Ball warriors want to win a National Championship as do most people here on BN.   And so do I.  But if we don’t, I for one will have enjoyed the ride. 

Let's try and continue to enjoy the ride.  It’s far from over.

No excuses.  High expectations.  No regrets.


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.

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