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I posted this in a thread that did not get much activity this morning. Since so many of you think Grant deserves to be fired, I would like to ask a question to all. What exactly, in your opinion, should CAG be doing in order to win games?
Bama basketball in a pickle
Having only 8 guys on scholarship, plus Dakota Slaughter who is limited in skills and athleticism, is a very, very difficult scenario to coach through. IF we play our/his style on D then we are going get into a bad foul situation because aggressive play on D naturally leads to fouls. That is scary with 8 real contributors. Plus, not having depth is going to lead to our best players getting really gassed. That is going to create tired legs that affect shooting. Gassed players will also give the other teams opportunities when they have the ball. Tired bodies, in any sport, lead to tired brains. So, play will get sloppy and things will get forced on offense and silly fouls will happen on D. And, we will see even worse foul trouble because the sloppy play created by the tired legs and brains will induce even more fouls.
Solution? I do not have a good one. Do you? I hope CAG is a lot more creative than I am.
Now, here's where it gets even more difficult. Our identity as a team is to play balls to the wall defensively, limit opportunities for the opponents' offenses, try to create some opps for our own offense in transition and work the ball around for a good, smart shot on defense. Ultimately, we want to limit the opponent to scoring in the 50's or low 60's. As I already mentioned playing that style of defense is exhausting and creates some problems. Even if depth was not as dire it we have all seen before that it can cause struggles and problems on any given night. That is by no means to say its a bad philosophy. Not at all. But, it has to be recognized and considered when analyzing outcomes.
So, lets just hypothetically say that the aggressive style of defense does not breakdown or become sloppy due to exhaustion. It is still going to lead to tired legs and numb arms on offense. When that happens you need a post presence so you can slow it down for your possession and either work it into the paint for a high percentage shot, or so you can play inside/out with cuts and slashes from the wing. This where losing Engstrom is big. Not huge, but big. He was not an offensive force but you could see the light coming on and he was easily the biggest pleasant surprise before he went down. Gueye is a liability, cannot catch, no post presence and usually looks either lost or like he is trying to do too much. Jacobs can, at times, be a real scoring option down low, but injuries, his body type and conditioning are going to make it difficult this year. When he's on he can bang, get position and be 50% from the block. But, he's the first guy that is going to get gassed and cannot play more than 20-25 minutes max. Plus, he and Gueye are both fouling machines. So, there goes any hope of post presence when he is not in. Pollard is the next best thing, but FAR from a post player. Not having Andrew Steele also hurts more than most realize here because, though he's not a down low guy, he is probably our best cut and slash guy along with Cooper. He is also fairly capable of handling the ball down low in the right kind of matchups.
Okay, so we cannot count on a post presence to slow down the tempo or get us buckets when we need them. Now what? IF we go "small" with Pollard as the big then we have a run and gun, up and down the court personnel group in. More tired legs, more numb arms and frustrated brains. This can only be utilized as a supplement to a regular set because we will get our scorers worn down. That is where you see ugly threes, low free throw %'s, sloppy offense with forced shot and even misses on layups. When we are playing at our best and scoring at our best we are driving into the lane and getting to the basket to a) finish b) draw a foul OR c) kick it out for an open look. Once again, if we are gassed finishing is going to be difficult...if we get to the line free throws will suffer significantly...and IF we do get an open look from the outside then we are going to see some ugly shots from guys that should normally be decent, at worst, shooters.
Now what? We cannot run it more than 50% max. Jacobs might be able to give you an inside game so that a half court set is possible 25% of the time max. That leaves 25% of the game, or more, that CAG is left to hope and pray for the best. Which is why you are going to see teams go on their runs. It is why you will see us lose leads or get into holes. And, that is assuming we execute at our best pretty much the entirety of the 75% of the game we are in an adequate set. But, if we cannot get 90% of our points, or more, from that 30 minutes, or less, then we are in trouble. And, any circumstance that decreases that 75% due to exhaustion, foul trouble or injury and we are REALLY in trouble.
Other options are possible, but not any more viable. We could try going Zone more on D especially if we are "small." That would mean being less aggressive and less pressing, so saving legs and possibly fouls. But, it would also make rebounding that much more of an issue. And, the boards are not always kind to us. Also, it would create opportunities for teams that can shoot from the outside and that have good zone sets. If that's the case, we could go to a 3-2 or 1-3-1 look. But, if they have any legit post options its going to give them some easy looks down low and make fouls a problem once more. One option, though, with going zone on D is getting Gueye and Jacobs both into the game at once. But, that is VERY limited in how long you can keep them both in due to the obvious and it would only really be to try to get Jacobs into a good matchup on the block on offense. You could possibly go to this for two minutes here and there. Just realize its going to mean you are increasing the amount of time that BOTH bigs will have to sit.
All in all, Grant has a ridiculous amount of adversity to coach his way through. No matter what move he does make it has to be followed by another to make up for it. And at some point, especially if the players do not execute 95% of the time in these unique sets, he is going to be out of options and just crossing his fingers that something that he throws against the wall is going to stick.
What really needs to happen is the players execute and stepup. Whoever the leaders of the team are, and I'm not talking about the ones in tailored suits, need to takeover and keep the team under control on both ends. Releford needs to be the floor general and play maker he has shown flashes of. Lacy needs to be confident and smart, pulling the trigger when he gets a good look and creating when it's time to create. Cooper needs to do what he does best, using his athleticism to get to the basket, draw falls or pull on an open look. Randolph and Pollard need to play smart and use their athletic ability to cut, slash and crash. Jacobs needs to be strong and smart on offense and limit his fouls on D. Moussa and Obasahan need to play their best every time they step on the court and not do anything that is outside of their skills set. If Slaughter or any other walkon plays, they just need to focus and do what they can to let the scholarship guys catch a blow.
And, Coach Grant...all he has to do is coach a perfect game pretty much all game, every game. Make the right substitutions at the right time. Get us in the right sets with the right personnel that gives us any advantage possible. Use timeouts wisely. Use the TV timeouts to his advantage. X & O out of his mind. And, keep the boys focused and playing disciplined when they are exhausted, gassed and frustrated.
No big deal. It's all pretty simple, right!
Good luck to Coach Grant, his staff and the players. It's going to be very tough. But, they are all capable.
This post was edited by beemac22 16 months ago
You got cliff notes?
Nope. That's the point. A lot of bitching, but most doesn't really that the problems are complex in nature, though simple to see. These rumdumbs see losing and think Fire the Coach. Yet, the do not realize why we are losing.
Sorry I don't feel like reading war and peace tonight. I will read a brief summary though. However, if anyone cares about our basketball program Grant has got to go.
If you care THAT much then it wouldn't kill you to read the short version of the problem. Yes, this is just the break out of what the problems are. This is not as simple as "Grant sucks."
Who is responsible for Alabama only having 8 contributors?
If you dreamed you were a sleep and you woke up, would you be awake?
The product grant is putting on the court sucks. Someone has to be held accountable for it. That is all. Good lord its Tulane and Mercer back to back at home. We took a gamble on a defensive Bball coach and it blew up. At this level you have to have more than def imo. Good players want to score but with our style who wants to play in it. It's understandable vcu needed this gameplan because its their best chance. Slow it down and minimize the opponents top. This style has set us back years. It will take a while to recruit enough players to compete. Change is needed.
This post was edited by jdogg85 16 months ago
Mac good assessment!
If you want to walk the heavenly streets of gold, you gotta know the password, "Roll, tide, roll!"
That is very good analysis by the OP. However, CAG has created this situation he is in by failing to recruit any low post scoring threats. In fact, we have only what I would cal "low post" players, two of whom are projects at best, and one of whom is 6'6" and very limited.
It's really pretty simple. He needs to recruit better or he will be gone fairly quickly. Not after this year, but shortly thereafter.
We are in Year 4 of his regime, yet struggle mightily to score more than 60 points a game against decent competition. I don't care how good your defense is, if you cannot break 60 it's hard to win most nights.
Just my thoughts. I like CAG and hope he succeeds. it does not look promising now.
There's a story about Coach Bryant saying something about not having the right Quarterback for his system and when asked who's responsibility it was to get the right Quarterback, he said it was his responsibility.
The last I checked Bama hasn't been under scholly reductions in Basketball. If Coach Grant only has 8 players on scholarship, that's on him...the buck stops at his office. No one would tolerate paying Coach Saban $5Million/year and him not recruit to fill holes. I know football and basketball aren't entirely alike, yet there are plenty of parallels. If the talent on hand (after 4 years I might add) doesn't fit your system, who's fault is that? Ever think of changing philosophies and schemes?
Coach Grant shouldn't get a pass after 4 years of mediocrity (at best) nor should any other coach of other sports at Bama who cannot instill character and a value for basic academics and produce a consistent winning program. And don't blame it on facilities either! I'd love to build every organization a new facility, but I'd wager my left nut that Coleman is better than the 99% of the Mid Majors that consistently beat this Bama team.
Not going to read your novel in the OP. The reason we are losing is because a coach who gets paid a ton of money has failed to properly manage his roster and failed to recruit a legitimate post player in 4 years. Who is to blame for only having 10 scholarship players, 3 post players with 2 of them being projects?
Didn't Grant create this mess? I read your post. A lot of excuses for decisions Grant made. No depth? One man recruiting class will do that to you. No inside presence? Engstrom, Gueye, and mis-evaluating Jason Carter will do that to you. You don't have the right personnel to play your style of basketball? This is his fourth year so he should know what kind of guys he needs to recruit to get them.
Most of the problems I see on the court are self inflicted. I like Coach Grant and want him to succeed. However, this program lacks direction. There is no buzz. The offense is horrible. The defense, while solid when necessary, can not make up for the fact that the team can't score enough points to win. This is his team. Every guy on the court, with the exception of Steele, is his guy. If you put this team together, then whose fault is it if they do not play well together or can't execute your game plan? Also, where is the player development? Randolph has gotten worse and Jacobs looks like the same player he did when he stepped on campus. Gueye looks horrible and Releford and Lacey are still frustratingly inconsistent.
So, I will ask you. Where is Grant's fault in all of this? Four losses to mid majors, two at home, all of which we lost a second half lead. The same problems have plagued this team for three years in a row now. So, when is it okay to look at the head coach?
You gave a dissertation, but aren't listening to yourself. EXAMPLE: You wrote "Having only 8 guys on scholarship, plus Dakota Slaughter who is limited in skills and athleticism, is a very, very difficult scenario to coach through. IF we play our/his style on D then we are going get into a bad foul situation because aggressive play on D naturally leads to fouls. That is scary with 8 real contributors. Plus, not having depth is going to lead to our best players getting really gassed."
Why after year 3 or 4 do we not have enough quality scholarship athletes to run Grant's style of play? Grant has severely mismanaged his roster.
Aggressive defense doesn't lead to more fouls. That point is wrong. We get in to fouls trouble because we are lazy on defense. Our guys swat at the ball instead of moving their feet.
We are paying the man to win. It has been 4 years and he really hasn't been doing much of what we are paying him to do. Excuses don't cut it after 4 years. It has been proven that you can win here. Is it easy? Probably not but it can be done and if he can't do it someone else can take a shot.
Basically the OP blames everyone except Grant. In his opinion Grant is like Coack K except that he isn't to blame for the losses. Also I know a lot of people hated Gottfried on here, but I will maintain that the reason he got fired was more because of roster and recruiting mismanagement at the end of his tenure.
Let me show you the solution for all of these problems that Grant has you pointed out OP. Last year myself and a few others were screaming over and over again in posts that if Grant did not get his lazy recruiting *ss in gear and recruit us a Juco big that could rebound and play D at minimum we would struggle to win this year. Grant didn't, I swear it didn't even look like he tried to recruit players for last season recruiting class, instead just tried to recruit players a few years down the road instead. So here we are and Grant has a team that doesn't have the right mixture of talent due to poor big man recruiting to play any type of offensive system.
This is Grant's own fault, he is the one that put himself and our program in this position where we were doomed for failure this season. All of the adveristy Grant is currently experiencing is due to his own crappy, lazy recruiting.
One of the Major reasons we lost to Tulane today is that they like most of the teams we have lost to recently have much better post play than us. Let me say this again, the Tulane coach has out recruited Grant when it comes to signing big men. Not Kentucky, not Duke, TULANE is out recruiting us for good big men currently.
This post was edited by robert1975 16 months ago
Grants roster he has recruited.
PG - releford, retin and Eblen. Basically two massive projects/busts and one good player.
SG- Lacey, Randolph, Durant, Hankerson. One good player, one ok player, one transfer/bust and one bust.
SF - copper and pollard. Pollard all world talent who looks lost under Grant. Copper average player who is developing.
PF - Jacobs and Carter. One massive bust and Jacobs who has regressed.
C - engstrom and Gueyye. Two massive projects who have been total busts.
I think the fault lies with Grant here. He put this roster together, and he chose to go in short handed to a season.
I read your post and find it a reasonably good analysis. Personally I wouldn't fire Grant but if we do I completely understand why. In basketball freshmen can win championships (see Kentucky). It only takes 1 or 2 studs a year to put a really good team on the floor. At this point Grant has had enough time to have the program trending favorably. He doesn't. Eight players - his fault. More importantly he's real close to the masses losing their belief in him. See Chizik, see Dooley. Both decent coaches their people bailed on. When that happens it is over.
We're close. Real close.
THIS^^^^ Grant has been around Engstom & Gueye for 2-3 years way more than the fans have. He should've known he needed a more basketball savvy Big man this year. No different than losing a starting right tackle in football due to graduation or early draft enrollee. If you don't see a replacement currently on your roster to replace them, you better go JUCO to get someone who has shown they can do it on a collegiate level.
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