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I was able to sit near the team today and while it was definitely a deflating (and somewhat emblematic or microcosmic) loss, I had a few thoughts after cooling down a bit.
1) The sheer size/mass difference between these two teams was shocking and downright embarassing. I don't know who directs our teams S&C program (I know we have a dedicated strength coach, I just can't recall who it is) but that individual needs to figure out what the hell he is doing this offseason. Looking at Florida's team in warmups and ours...it was just a night and day difference in personnel.
2) We have....gasp...actually become a good offensive team against man defense. Rele, RO, Levi and Coop have learned how to drive the basketball and finish. We have, for two weeks, been able to score consistently against man teams. BUT...the drawback is, as good as we are against man, we are equally embarassing against zone. I don't know how a group of college guards finishing their 2nd/3rd years together can literally go into a fetal position anytime a opponent plays zone defense. It's mind-boggling.
3) Nick Jacobs needs to either put on some weight or develop a jumpshot. He's the most passive post player I've ever seen in the SEC. He has had spurts these past two weeks where he's had his way with folks, but defensively and on the boards he got pushed around all day. He either needs to be able to pop out from 12-15 the way Green did, or he needs to bulk up. He and Moose CANNOT live 3 feet from the basket and continue to play the way they play.
4) Which brings me to Moose. He has become a serviceable defensive player. He really had Patric Young and Yugete pissed off today. I mean real pissed. It was hilarious. Young was mouthing off and throwing elbows/kicking in screens all day. He disrupted them defensively.
5) That said, Moose is the worst finisher around the basket for someone at 7 feet I've ever seen. It's inexplicably bad.
6) The best athlete on our team is Retin Obasohan. There were guys with the conference around me raving about him. RO has the most upside of any player on the court today (not talent - mind you - but unrealized potential.) He can be a star for us. Very explosive and lean for a little guy.
7) Trevor Lacey goes from AND1 highlight reel to junior high bullsh** and back faster than any player I've ever seen.
8) The officials were awful. I know it was complained about on here, but trust me - television didn't do it justice. The 15-0 UF went on was largely highway robbery. The game was capped off by Yugete tripping Levi, taking the ball, and dunking it. Ref standing right there watching. A great deal of that meltdown was caused by us, but the shoddy officiating started it. I've never seen a team being the bonus with 15 minutes left in a half. Ever.
9) We just don't have a guy who can sack up and put an end to runs. Florida's Boynton took over for them and became a man possessed. We don't have a player who is mentally tough enough to do that. We used to have guys like Mo, Shelton. Winston, etc. We don't have that one badazz who will say "not today" on this team. And that's why we lost about 6 games we had no business losing.
10) To highlight the toughness/size differential down low, I'd confidently say Erik Murphy from UF would be our most aggressive post player if he switched jerseys. And he's essentially a glorified shooting guard/wing. He's not even a slasher. He just posts up or pops out for 3s. And he would whip our best big 10 of 10 times. (That's not even including Yugete and Young, who are physical freaks.) It is unacceptable for our frontcourt to be in the situation it's in. Hope these new signees are good. We need them bad.
11) They need to get a cattle prod for Pollard or make him watch Chuck Norris movies before the game or something. I've never seen someone look that scared to death. He's gotten to be somewhat of a decent player, but he still looks like he's about to pee himself anytime the ball is passed to his side of the floor. It reminds me of that line from MoneyBall. "What's your biggest fear?" "The ball being hit in my general direction." If he could grow some hair on his chest he'd become a nice player. I hoped it would happen by now but maybe next year the light will come on. He's another who needs to live in a weight room this summer.
Anyways....rambling on a Saturday night. Take it for what it's worth. Probably not much.
Today was our season in a nutshell. Good enough to give us a chance to win but not physically or mentally tough enough to take it. We will be better next year and some guys need to take a long hard look in the mirror and decide how they are going to make the team better.
Yeah. They reel us in long enough to get us to believe, don't they? We really showed flashes of brilliance and Florida was extremely frustrated in the first half and first 4 minutes of the 2nd. Their players were really getting mouthy and you could tell we were affecting them.
Then the officials stepped in, we panicked, and it was all over. It was the game in Gainesville all over again.
I will say this - I watched Ole Miss/Vandy, too, and it was like watching two different sports. Our game was like a damn football scrimmage. I mean, I like it physical...not complaining. It was just night and day. You could almost hear the contact in our game and in VU/OM they were barely touching each other.
Ours had the physicality of an NBA type game (not saying it was that level of play - I'm just saying the hand checking, contact on the boards, etc.) It was tough. I guarantee you Florida respects our kids.
I knew when we went up 10 and then they cut it to 6 with 4 free throws it was over. Today was almost a carbon copy of the first meeting save Boyton going off.
It was when we were down 4 and Levi missed the front end of the one and one that I knew it was over. That was our season, opportunities blown.
Good post. I appreciate your insight.
Yep that was the back breaker. Cause they went down got a bucket and the next time down is when Young raped Levi and got the steal and dunk. And Levi had become one of our best FT guys. Tough day.
"You don't always get what you want, but you always get what you deserve"
Thanks for the input.
I am in the group that knows Grant will be back and understands why he will. Kind of hard to pull that trigger. But next year I think the AD knows will be key for this program and will expect results. I would just like for Grant to bring in an offensive assistant and let that guy be the OC for this team. Maybe that guy can get it into the players that the extra pass isn't always a good thing and it is ok to take an open shot. I know Grant has yelled at guys about that and don't know why they won't listen (cough...Levi (except for yesterday)...cough). And as you point out, maybe go against a zone defense.
And you are dead on about Moose. I heard from someone that one of the big losses this year was the Sweed. And we saw him last year and this year some. But the person said the Sweed wouldn't kill you on the offensive end. He might not score a ton, but he wouldn't do what Moose does with TOs and horrible put backs and the missed FTs.
We need this team to make a big step next year like Releford did this year (look at the stats). Other guys improved but you didn't really see it with other guys in the big games.Releford really improved and that was going from So to Jr. We need that next year.
I think this is the biggest issue we have. We need Kennedy Winston. Those teams had a couple of bigs that were pretty decent, but Winston was instant offense.
We have to find someone that can stop the bleeding.
Totally agree. No drive or desire to finish the job.
Agree with everything you posted.
On Engstrom - even though he's not an offensive threat, he always "knew" what to do with the ball and where to look. His problem (at least last year) was that it is all learned and not quite natural. This year, against garbage teams, he looked much more comfortable and natural in doing so - and like you said he wouldn't kill us with TOs and could probably average 5-6 points a game on just put-backs.
I think the team has a good chance next year to compete for a top 25 spot and a 6-7 seed in the tournament. If not it's all on CAG - if we aren't comfortably in the tournament it's time for a change.
"Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places you have to look at it right."
Expectations wise, Alabama should be comfortably in the tournament, in the top four of the SEC, and among the top 25-30 teams in the country. I don't think that is too much to ask in his fifth year.
I believe that you guys will be pleasantly surprised by Shannon Hale. He is a big guy with ability to face up and hit a jumper.
In all seriousness, we may have one of the biggest teams height wise in the country. Two 7 footers, Taylor at 6'10, Jacobs, Pollard and Hale at the 6'7-6'8 range, two wings in Cooper at 6'5 and Randolph at 6'4.
1960 Les Paul
Nice post. My struggle is why should next year be much different. Who is going to be that guy that can create his own points and end scoring droughts. This team needs a true scorer in the worst of ways and I don't think we signed one in this class.
This post was edited by bamaloon 13 months ago
Terrific post, NashTide.
The foul called on Lacey for running into the moving pick was complete bullschitt.
Jacobs and Moose need to man-up and box out and get some offensive rebounds. When our outside shooters brick a shot, we've got nobody in the paint to get a put back or feed it back to the guards. It's pretty frustrating to watch. Otherwise, I'm very impressed with CAG and our team, overall.
Good stuff and spot on. Are we short some scholarship spots? I see 15 players on the roster, but I'm sure they're not all scholly. For some reason I had it in my brain that Coach Grant has not recruited his full complement or available scholarship players.
I've seen them in person twice this year and everything you said is right. How many times yesterday did we have shot clock violations or have a rushed shot because no one wanted to take the shot? And it's almost impossible for me to tell who's playing point and who's the two? Lacy winds up bringing the ball up the court, but he's an awful ball handler and indecisive passer. Releford is the natural point, but it seems like he sits back and doesn't take charge, so I'm confused.
I know that we all want them to reach the tournament, but no way they can hang with some of the top seeds out there. We won't be blown out because of our defense, but we also can't keep up with the better offense teams.
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