Saturday, January 16, 2010

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.

Rakim Sanders

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.


Ry said...

great post bill. I agree with everything you said. The lack of effort is the worst part. I could accept a team that lost big every game if i thought they were trying...this team doesn't.

The only guys out there who seemed to give a shit today were southern and elmore. In fact i'd be fine if rakim sat for a game and let elmore play through. We'd probably lose, but at least i wouldn't feel like a chump for paying for my tickets.

i'm starting to worry that the highlight of our acc season happened on december 6th.

matthew2 said...

I'd argue that Trapani plays hard and gives a shit as well.

Ry said...

trapani plays hard, but he chucks up too many shots too early in the possession, is slow, and is a turnover machine. On the defensive end, he is as guilty of the matador approach as anyone. I respect the effort, but i don't really see him contributing that much to this team.

Pearl Washington said...

These guys care they are just slow, very slow except for Jackson so it makes it look like they don't hustle or they don't defend.

It all starts with the point guard in college hoops and unfortunately Biko is not the guy. He cannot defend and most importantly he does not set guys up or make them better because he is slow and his handle is weak. People can complain about the flex all they want but if the point guard can't get you in the flex or for that matter get the ball up the court then the flex will not work. And he can't shoot which makes it even worse because the D just packs it in.

Trapani, Raji and Southern all need to be setup to score. Biko does not get them clean looks. Sanders is a disappointment because he does not use his tools right. Jackson as evidence by his Boston Herald comments doesn't get it.

I think it goes back to losing Coen and Cooley. None of these juniors have improved their game since the moment they stepped on campus. Same mistakes, same moves, same games.

Anonymous said...

very big disappointment from last year. the year had promise with the players claiming they would be a better sound team without rice yet its evident they cant do much without him. these kids are soft and dont have the drive to be a succesful team. they play slow and independent basketball. what happened to this program? bc basketball use to epitamize toughness. where are the guys like louis hinnant? agbai? sean marshall? those guys werent blessed with unbelievable talent but their toughness and will to win made them a fun team to watch and labeled bc basketball as a extremely solid team. i love al skinner and have confidence he will right this ship.

@timstwrt said...

I'm as disappointed as anyone, but I'm a little wary of turning this into a "the program is broken" sort of situation. This is one down year. A down year when our expectations were high, but one year nonetheless.

abbott said...

Of course I have to agree that this team has dramatically underperformed but I have to disagree with your contention that this team is "so talented" and a lot of "very good players". Sure Rakim, Reggie & Joe are talented & Raji can at least give you some presence on the offensive boards... But outside of that? I don't see much more than so role players, at best.

mmason said...

"...A terrible place to be." --Al Skinner.

On the sidelines, it's got to be terrible. On the floor, it's more like deplorable. Al's right, though: This team lacks energy and smarts. A few games back I asked the question: 'Does this team look smart to you?'(as in savvy and aware). Clearly, the talent question isn't the problem. It's HEART. And you don't need to watch "Hoosiers" to see that.

It's difficult, even unpleasant, to watch this year's BC Eagles play the game because they aren't IN THE GAME. For some reason they're occasionally dominant on the boards, but the rest of the fundamentals of team play escape our guys. They don't pay attention to each other on the floor and they don't learn very well. Zero chemistry. They're like a bad garage band of good musicians that only plays solo's out there. Do they listen to each other? Who's talking? Al doesn't coach that way. Do they know the tunes they need to play? No front man, so... Got Rhythm? Forget about it.

ATL,s right--the Eagles have zero leadership on the floor, playing like a ship without a rudder. The way they respond to a press is indicative of this. Want to shut BC down? Press and trap 'em. They've got no plan for that--and inbounding the ball under pressure comes next. That's brutal.

When Rice had the ball, he could see the floor and focus the team. He could run the flex like a friggen' Rolex, and score or dish at will. These kids have nobody who can carry them for a few possesions and put fear in the other team.

It's a mess. What can Al do? Biko's not up to it. Jackson was promising, but lacks the poise and the killer shot. Nobody makes very good floor decisions--and everybody in the league knows that you can make a run at this BC team when they're ahead because they let up. (See Miami game #1 and they were at their best in that one.)

It's a mess. Any ideas???