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6/27/2023 5:02 pm  #21

Re: New official web site/roster.

Free Quebec wrote:

dmvpiranha wrote:

Free Quebec wrote:

Curious why you don’t think Weluche-Ume can hold down the fort for part of the game. I realize you never know about a freshman until the season starts, but I’m excited about his potential to play the 4 and 5.

I'd be surprised if Weluche-Ume is an instant impact guy. If he can stick around for a couple seasons I like his long-term potential. He will need to add some strength to play the 5. There's no shortage of guys between 6'7" - 6'8" that could potentially play small-ball 5 (Buchanan has a lot of potential too) but it would be nice to have a backup to Akingbola, who may find himself in foul trouble playing major minutes. Keegan will be key, but was hoping he was somewhat of a deeper/situational option than outright backup. The Hunter/Noel rotation was fine enough last year, but don't know what the solution is this year. At the A10 level it feels necessary to have two capable players at the 5 even if they aren't both needed from game-to-game.

I’m not sure the Hunter/Noel rotation was really all that fine. Total lack of rim protection and poor defensive rebounding are a huge part of why our defense was sub-300 in efficiency. Noel was an especially poor defensive rebounder (barely 10% in conference play, which is worse than Qwanzi and very poor for an A10 center).

CC and the guards made do with what we had, and we had a decent A10 season in a down year, but our defensive efficiency was really substandard - and we especially fell off a cliff with foul trouble to dean or Ricky.

I may be overly optimistic on our newest British recruit, but the fact that he’s been practicing against grown men (including guys who were college stars) and the fact that he played well when he actually did get in games gives me hope that he’s at least ready to be a defensive upgrade in the frontcourt right away. Guess we’ll see.

Maybe fine wasn't the right word - it wasn't meant to be overly positive. It's probably more appropriate to call them adequate "minute-eaters" at the 5 position. Akingbola may be better defensively than either but there are sizable question marks on offense compared to Hunter which may cancel things out (hopefully we get to see a post-up this season!).

Noel had his shortcomings (rebounding like you said and catching passes) but he had height and the ability to somewhat bang down low against bigger competition. I honestly thought he was better going straight up on D than he was given credit for. Both him and Hunter did a fairly good job just mixing things up down low under CC even though neither was a true rim protector (that's hard to find these days). Ricky/Max helped a lot but honestly the defensive rebounding wasn't that bad last year. I would take Noel over Keegan as a backup 5 but hopefully Keegan can take some steps forward next year. His ability to stretch the floor carries intrigue.

The bigger factor in the team's poor defensive ranking last year was that there was no depth. We couldn't afford any injuries/foul trouble so the solution was to somewhat stop guarding. Having more depth/guys who can guard 1-4 will allow for more switchability. Hopefully the guards/wings can actually stay in front of their man instead of putting pressure on the bigs to always get a stop. We weren't running teams off the three point line like we were under JC to point fingers mostly at the bigs. JB gets a pass for scoring but he just simply isn't a good defender. The word "versatility" gets used too loosely nowadays, but last year's team had to have been one of the least versatile that I've ever seen. The roster was very unbalanced. The backcourt wasn't able to generate pressure along the perimeter and the guards were consistently beat by their man (partly due to the major minutes they were playing, which is understandable). Our bench also had to be one of the worst in the country.

Weluche-Ume will be undersized playing the 5 at 6'8", but specifically his ability to bang down low is a question mark right away. He did see some action at the 5 at Barking Abbey before he signed with the Lions but it's a different level of competition. I like his upside long-term and he has tools already defensively (offensively his shooting efficiency stats at Barking Abbey + with the London Lions aren't very good. I'm not just talking about his stats with the pro team last year). Maybe shot selection/better looks will help but he feels like more of a project than an instant impact guy.

It would still be nice to have one more body at the 5 on the roster but CC deserves the benefit of the doubt.


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