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12/24/2021 11:31 am  #1

OOC in Review

With only West Chester University, a Division II program, coming up before the start of the A10 regular season, GW’s Division I OOC is complete and the record stands at 6-6. There were a few loses that could have been wins, but there were also several closely contested wins that could have gone either way. Although I’m disappointed the record isn’t a little better, .500 seems about right, and I realize my impatience is getting in the way of acknowledging what was a solid start for this team, especially with all the integration challenges, injuries, and Covid-related issues.

In general, the schedule was solid, with a few Power 5 teams sprinkled in with a set of evenly matched mid-major opponents. In the current WBB RPI, GW sits at 143. Of our 12 opponents, 4 are Top 100 teams, and the remaining 8 are within the next 32 (144-175). We were 1-3 against the Top 100, and 5-3 against the rest.

For the most part, GW has been strong defensively and has shown gradual levels of improvement offensively. In some games, extended periods (5+ minutes) of unproductive performance led to negative outcomes. That seems to be our Achilles Heel so far this season.

GW WWB was influenced by a number of events occurring starting at the end of last season, including the transfer of some key players from GW to other Division I programs, the hiring of a new Head Coach, and the recruitment of replacements for those players who had moved on. It’s hard to totally qualify or quantify the effects of these events, but the following information may provide some perspective for where we are now.

Just a quick look at the players that transferred out (Brigham, Luma, Perea, and Nikitinaite) and their composite production last year: 31 ppg, 17.3 rpg, and 4.8 apg. Additonally, Whitney graduated after averaging 8.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, and 4.6 apg.

That’s 39.6 ppg, 21.7 rpg, and 9.4 apg that our new HC had to recover. I was initially skeptical about the transfers, most coming from lower-level DI or JUCO programs. Now, I’m pleasantly surprised. What they all have is considerable game experience and desire to play in Coach McCombs’ defense-oriented system. Their combined performance to date is 36.8 ppg, 21 rpg, and 5.4 apg. Interestingly, all six of our transfers (Bell, Frames, Laureano, Lok, Moore, and Webster) have led or tied for game high scoring honors this year. The same can be said for three holdovers from last year (Blethen, Gingras, and Taiwo). That adds up to nine different scoring leaders in our first 12 games! Whether this is a “+” or “-” remains to be seen, but it definitely shows that the team has scoring potential. At this point, we’re not fully recovered from the loss of Brigham, as one of our main weaknesses continues to be low post offense and defense. We also have low assist totals, missing Whitney’s contributions from last year.

With the start of the A10 regular season coming up, I’d say the team has shown its potential, but there are questions still to be answered. Short glimpses of our freshmen (Ojo, Haydon, Engels) have been promising. I’m confident about the future (next year and beyond), realizing patience is a virtue. So, what do I wish for Christmas?

1. A completely healthy roster for 2022
2. Development of a consistent lead scorer(s) who can be relied upon to help eliminate long scoring droughts
3. A higher shooting percentage in the paint, especially on drives to the basket
4. A solid recruiting class for 2022-2023 (Already off to a great start)

Of course, I can’t say that I’ve been all that “nice” this year, but one can always hope. Merry Christmas to all.

Last edited by xAC (12/24/2021 2:14 pm)


12/24/2021 11:42 am  #2

Re: OOC in Review

Thank you for all your insights xAC.   Here's to a good - no great recruiting class and a happy new year to all.


12/24/2021 2:12 pm  #3

Re: OOC in Review

Nice summary xAC. In terms of departing player impact, Whitney was more than an “in addition” loss. She had an extra year of eligibility she would have utilized had Rizzotti still been coach so it’s really fair to add her stat totals to that of the other early departees. You wished for a healthy team going forward but failed to mention that this team has not played one game with all hands on deck. One of the reasons 9 different players have led the team in scoring is that they were in the lineup that day. They certainly have struggled against teams with inside height but that’s been exacerbated by their own lineup depletions in the frontcourt. Part of life but definitely worth noting in evaluating the team’s OOC performance. While I’ve been perplexed by some of Coach McCombs player usage (and nonusage), I do not question the team’s effort in every game they’ve played. May not have executed to the staff’s plans or expectations but it never was a result of player indifference or disinterest. Couldn’t be happier in contrast to the last several years, particularly with the resurrection of Faith Blethen. Frames and Moore will be tough replacements next year but the two signed recruits to date fill those spots. That dark tunnel the WBB program had been in appears to have a bright light and wide opening at its end. If only Covid would cooperate so we could see it in person.


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