Deja vu (the bad kind)
Another lopsided ACC loss that saw dumb basketball, sloppy play and little emotion. There are some major problems going on here because this team is not as bad as their record or effort. Forget the likes and dislikes. This game didn't have much to like or any real revelations. Big picture, here are the problems and my lame solutions.
11 very good players, no great players
This is one of Al's most talented squads. Even on his best teams there were one or two regulars who were not Big East or ACC level players. That is not the case this year. Every guy who is seeing the floor can play at this level. The problem is there is not one great player for everyone to feed off of. Or one great player who can stop a run or score when needed. I certainly underestimated the loss of Rice. I didn't think we would miss him so much, but we clearly need his scoring.
I hate throwing one kid under the bus, but this season started falling apart when he got injured and things have only gotten worse since he's returned. I don't know if he is trying to prove something. If he is frustrated. Or worse, is being told to carry the team! What ever he is doing though is wrong and he is playing some of the dumbest and most selfish basketball I've seen. I thought he would make a jump this year. Instead he's fallen off a cliff. He needs to get out of this funk quickly.
These guys are not good at the basics
The theme of the summer was that since so many guys returned and there were no new players joining the program, that they got to spend more time on concepts and game situations instead of just learning the offense. In hindsight, this was a big mistake. These guys could have benefited from intense drills on the flex and drill after drill on the basics. There is so much bad passing and bad dribbling that these games are not even fun to watch.
No new blood
Because so much talent returned and because they didn't love any particular recruits, Skinner did not bring in any new players this year. This is now proving to be another mistake. New blood always provides new energy and perspective. I also think the current players are tuning out the staff. A new player or two might have helped overall communication or approach from the staff.
I don't know what Skinner can do. The season may be lost. My hunches on how to fix things are not simple and will cause other problems but he's got to try something. I think they need to center everything around Jackson. Jackson has issues but is the only guy who can create his own shot on a consistent basis. He needs to be playing for 34 minutes a game. I also think Al needs a quick hook. The minute someone has a lazy pass or forces a shot or doesn't get back, he needs to pull the guy. Send a message.
I love Skinner. I think he's been a great coach and I think he will fix things. But this season is an embarrassment. He's had worse seasons at BC but never has one of his teams been so impatient or seemingly uninterested in getting better. They are not even fun to watch. I pray that it changes before the season is over.