GW Hoops

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

2/01/2024 11:47 am  #1

Just A Thought

Here's a thought that I know we will not see nor am I advocating that we necessarily should see.  It's not a recommendation (sit back down Rising), merely a conversation.

Despite what we've seen during this losing streak, I think it's fair to say that GW's offense, for the second straight season, is well ahead of its defense.  The offense is presently in a funk.  Some of the team's wins over these past two seasons have had the look of one team doing nothing more than to try to outrun and outscore their opponents.  So if the defense is as limited as it appears, why focus on it?  Why not just focus on scoring at least 85 per game or more as needed?  The Kimble-Gathers Loyola Marymount blueprint is a bit extreme, but something closer to this than what we've been doing.

So what does this look like?  The big casualty in this scenario would be Stretch.  His offensive skills amount to a few putbacks and some occasional pick setting but he lacks the ability to be a consistent double figure scorer, at least this year on this team.  His value is clearly on defense, but if the team is not going to worry a whole lot about defense anyway, then Stretch's minutes would come down considerably.  

Next, we have a supporting cast of Trey, Benny, Antoine, Zam, and maybe even Keegan on occasion.  Right now, Trey gives the team a bit more than the others but this could be a game to game proposition as to who has the hot hand or who can best exploit matchups.  We know that JB, Max, Jun, Garrett and Jacoi should be getting their minutes. 

Why even mention this?  Because the guys we need to play are guys who are just so much further ahead in their games on offense than defense.  JB.  Max.  Garrett.  Jun is a warrior but can't afford foul trouble (despite playing very well with 4 fouls for most of the second half on defense).  Jacoi will still hound some folks (I'm not saying not to play any defense) but by and large, this is a team that needs to be more concerned with playing fast and scoring a lot.  Unless you have the Top 10 talent where you can be among the best at both offense and defense, which GW will likely never have, teams need to follow an identity. 

Why beat ourselves up every time we go under a pick, foul a three point shooter, or arrive a step late on close-outs?  Let's just get the ball back and score.



2/01/2024 12:58 pm  #2

Re: Just A Thought

I mean no disrespect, but I'm not sure this is an identity that GW should want to adopt even if it plays to certain strengths (even as just a conversation). Trying to replicate Duggar Baucom's way of playing at The Citadel/VMI (maybe an extreme case) or maybe even what McCall did at UMass doesn't seem like a winning formula for success - at least if the goal is to be a top tier team in the league. There will always be games where the offense just isn't at the usual level (completely expected) meaning there's no Plan B. Even a decent defense provides a sizable floor for the team to work with each game.

As CC has said in the past, he doesn't want to build a "gimmicky" team - one that only plays on one side of the ball. I also think that sends a bad message to a young team. It's better to start instilling good habits now rather than later. It's clear that recent Miami teams have also lagged behind defensively, although part of that is due to Omier being a bit undersized for his position. Previous Hurricane squads also seemingly had the knack for turning teams over at key times, which GW has been unable to do since Hobbs. This team just needs to be solid defensively, not necessarily elite.

Deciding what to do with Stretch is always an interesting conversation. I mentioned during the La Salle game that I thought CC bringing him in when the Explorers went small made no sense (especially as he got switched onto Brickus or Brantley on a significant number of possessions), but he probably had to see minutes by default against Dayton as one of the tallest players on the team. No one can stop Holmes, but Akingbola did a decent job all things considered. Going small without him on offense is intriguing, but I don't think Jun is consistent enough from 3 for it to be as potent as we'd like it to be.

The team should change things up defensively. Maybe play things more straight up, maybe less switching and sending less doubles until the young guys are fully able to recover to the level they need to. Keep guys hanging around closer to the perimeter and not have everyone collapse in the paint so there aren't nearly as many clean looks from 3 when the ball is driven to the hoop and kicked out making closeouts better. Maybe it helps being a bit more aggressive along the perimeter. What good is not fouling if teams are scoring anyways? This team needs to find stops so it can get out in transition and score like you alluded to. I see Jacoi as a cornerstone piece there.

Last year, there was such little depth that I was completely fine with just not caring about defense at all in order to prevent the starters from getting into foul trouble and keeping them as fresh as possible playing basically 40 minutes every game. Now, there is a bit more depth (even if inexperienced) to take more chances and sub when guys need a breather after playing more frenetic defense. Now can the personnel do this effectively? Maybe not, but it's worth trying things out if the current way isn't effective enough. Defense is a lot about effort and attention to detail. The freshmen have done a decent job based on expectations, but JB/Max need to show a bit more leadership there. JB may be a bit more limited, but I personally think Max has another level in him. I do like that CC is willing to sub guys in and out during conference play.

I get that expecting GW to be at the top of the A10 is perhaps unrealistic, but in the past 10 years the top team was a top 3 team on defense in the conference. The only exception was the couple of Davidson teams that were basically top 10 in the nation on offense. As much as I like our offense (despite the recent struggles) I don't think we can hit that kind of efficiency in the near future. More ball movement would be needed (and fewer turnovers, although that has improved lately). Even if this year's team isn't contending for a top four spot or anything, it's best to start building towards that.


Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum