Things are bad on the basketball front. I remain one of the Skinner loyalists, but a large portion of the fanbase has checked out of this season. They join a smaller group of fans who have long been critical of Skinner's approach. Do these factors and the pathetic play threaten Skinner's job? Not really. Al is secure at BC for now and with his girls approaching college, I don't think Al wants to go anywhere. But Al doesn't have lifetime security. He will enter next season with pressure to improve. I don't know if he will make staff changes or encourage some veteran players to leave, but the current mix is not working. But what went wrong? All that is missing from last year's team is Tyrese Rice. Rice was a very good player, but his absence doesn't explain all the issues.
In my mind these are the problems. Unfortunately there are no quick fixes. (As always, leave your thoughts below.)
1. The current Juniors.
Ironically Skinner's most heralded recruiting class has been the biggest disappointment of his tenure at BC. As configured, the current Junior class is deep but severely flawed group and their personalities don't seem to mesh. The only guy who seems suited for the flex is Corey Raji, but nagging injuries and his teammates lack of passing has limited Corey's contributions. Trapani and Sanders could be very good players, but one has forced to much this year and the other has been terrible in his effort, passion and decision making.
2. No one great player.
Sometimes one great, or very good player can cover a lot of mistakes. This roster doesn't have one. The closest thing might be Jackson, but he is not at the Bell/Smith/Dudley level or even at the Rice level yet. He may be that piece next year, but I don't know if he can blossom into a Rice like player coming off the bench and playing with so many other guys who are selfish and impatient.
Al's defenses have always been bad. This year is not any worse but the offense isn't filling the gaps. If Al had a good defensive scheme to fall back on things might not be so bad.
4. Rotations. We are now going 10 deep. That doesn't seem to work for Al. All the problems, whether it been guys forcing things, guys checking out, guys blowing assignments, all come back to playing time. If you had 8 engaged guys, things might not be so bad.
5. No high basketball IQ guys. Do you get the sense that any of these guys live basketball? Or are basketball junkies? Jared Dudley didn't have the best physical gifts. Rice was too small. But both of those guys lived in the gym and had a great sense of the game. Skinner is not a rah rah guy. He needs to have driven players that will maximize the system's potential. If Rakim Sanders shot as many jumpers as Tyrese Rice and didn't shoot line drives, he'd be in the NBA now.
My biggest fear in all of this is that next year will be more of the same. Will any of these guys changed their attitude over the summer? Will any of them improve their games? I hope so, but I fear some will check out at the first sign of adversity. I've long said Al is a great coach. If he is then turning around this mess won't be a problem.
Labels: Al Skinner, Joe Trapani, Rakim Sanders, Reggie Jackson, Terrible seasons