PDA

View Full Version : Many Variables This Offseason



BobZag
04-24-2008, 10:31 AM
One thing is for sure: The Zags will be better in 08-09 than they have been the past two seasons. But just how much better depends...

Besides the obvious improvements in current players and the offseason work needed to elevate the level of play to a higher status, what happens with recruiting during these spring and summer months leading up to September 1st when school starts again will be of paramount importance.

Yes, the Zags will be very good with who they have now, without a single addition. But what a difference one or two additions could make for this next season, and especially the year after when the Zags will be without so many key players.

Let's say, for the sake of convenience, that Bol Kong is added to the roster, as many have hypothesized. This means if Downs is injured or suddenly has a confidence crisis, there is a natural-born scorer ready and able to step in. And from what I've read, he's an excellent defender as well. Either way, he's a guy who would push the wings and force others to step it up or step aside. All this said, he has a serious visa issue and it may be resolved this summer, but it may also be resolved by next summer, or two summers from now. Ever since 9/11, trying to obtain a visa into the U.S. from a terrorist-sponsering country is a huge mountain to climb, even if you haven't lived there since six years old and are the most innocent person. Mother Teresa would have a difficult time. So while Kong would be nice to have for three years, a staff -any staff - may never be able to get him into the country!

Which might mean a kid like Luka Basta would be the one. He is skinny and needs developing but all the ingredients are there. He can shoot, he's athletic, he can run the floor... His frame is strong and in time he'll be a big, tall 3-4. But as of right now he simply may be too much of a question mark. He would factor more into the 09-10 season (and beyond) more than this next season.

Which leaves the staff with yet another variable:

What if Gonzaga can get into the lead for a talented 2009 wing-forward or wing-guard? Let's say 6'6" Anthony Brown from SoCal, or another kid that has similar traits as Austin Daye, views GU as a place he can take his game to that next level.

Do you risk the sure thing in Basta for two "maybe" things in Kong or Brown? As we all saw, Jeff Taylor and Taylor King both went elsewhere when many figured GU would nab one of them, and various sources had the Zags leading in both instances. So we must assume Kong and Brown (or any high school recruit) are "maybes" after our experiences with Taylor and King. Learn from the past, as they say. But if you never gamble, if you always play it safe, is that always best in getting you where you want to go? And what if Basta ends up being the best of them all? "The Dark Side clouds everything."

I dunno.

Then there's the concern about a big, Batista-like center from Brazil. I think most folks believe a Big is Gonzaga's most needed player. The same thing applies here as above. What if a prospect from South America visits but is borderline? He might be as big and muscled as JP was, but with just enough skills to contribute but not enough to be a game-changer. (think Lorenzo Mata or James Keefe) Do you take him or hope like hell you can get a commitment from a 2009 Big like Chris Cunningham or Anthony Stover or find some other Big overseas or in a Juco? Now obviously, if the South American is as good as Batista, you take him, period; that's a no-brainer. But it just never is that easy or cut and dried. If it's not a talent question, it's an academics question (Theo), or...visa problems (Kong)...or amatuer status problems, ie, Mario Kasun.

And if you do get a Big for this coming season, how does that affect Gonzaga's ability to nab a 2009 Big that may seriously consider GU, especially if Osweiler chooses basketball? But what if Osweiler chooses football, and the team needs another Big, but the staff took that big Brazilian the year before.

And if Rob Sacre does develop into a beast, how does that affect things? I personally believe Sacre's light will go on and he will hit his stride his junior year but that's just my humble opinion, fwiw.

All the while the staff has to hope none of the above (the wings) messes up their plans to secure quality quards like Henderson or Reid or Marshall or some unknown super Aussie. It shouldn't, but some kids may view Kong or Basta or an Anthony Brown type as competition to them.

Also, one final item - even though there are many more scenarios - the Zags always must be on the lookout for a top-notch transfer. Most have been on the East Coast, like Vernon Macklin, but if a big-time transfer pops up, and he fits Gonzaga's needs, you better be ready. This has served GU well, from Jeff Brown to Dan Dickau to Erroll Knight to Richard Fox.

Thoughts?

Zerogame
04-24-2008, 10:45 AM
I took this from a post I made last night on another thread but it applies.


I listened to a story on Canadian radio this afternoon about Bol Kong. His coach has lots of international experience and claims Bol has unbelievable skills. He could average 30 pts. but he is a team player. He was raised in Canada since age 7. Sudan is considered a terrorist nation, thus no visa. Memphis among others is interested.
Where is a good lawyer when you need one? HINT:o

madness
04-24-2008, 11:36 AM
My dad is a GU grad and an Immigration lawyer...(and a season ticket holder)...if they need help, they have it.

VinnyZag
04-24-2008, 11:42 AM
The Zags have a chance to win big next year, I think. But they need to find another big who can contribute -- not dominate, just contribute. So, if a scholarship becomes available, I say get somebody who can help now and let the future sort itself out. As CDC has pointed out several times, nothing helps future recruiting like winning in March.

spudzag
04-24-2008, 12:19 PM
You always take the best player available for when they are needed.

08-09 season we have Josh, Rob, Ira and Foster at 4-5. Maybe there is a scenerio where with Austin but he's a 3. Ira is undersized with bounce, Rob is still developing and Foster is considered by some to be iffy. There is reason for concern on the front line. What if Josh is injured?

There is no question that the front line needs reinforcement. IMO that must be addressed to advance in March which is key to future recruiting, period. It needs to be a quality player who can contribute. We don't need someone who will ride the pine, we have that now. If you can't get that, than you can. I don't see any barrier to long term recruiting in the 3,4 or 5 spot. It's WIDE OPEN. Potentially the only carry over to 09-10 is Rob.

I think you shoot high but have a back up plan. (WSU is proof you can make it a ways into March with just average talent at 4 and 5.)

ZagNut08
04-24-2008, 12:42 PM
Agree, except the part about Keefe not being a game changer :)

LongIslandZagFan
04-24-2008, 12:51 PM
The final iteration of next years team will likely not take shape until late in the summer. Most of the cogs are in place, but the final pieces will take some time to get placed. JMMHO

omahazag
04-24-2008, 01:27 PM
Assuming we don't land a big guy for next season, I would rather we not sign a player and use the schollie for kids in the '09, '10 classes. I think we are set at each position next year (this assumes we JP and JH are coming back and we don't get a big guy). I'd rather see us running only 8 to 9 man rotation and don't think adding another guy into the mix would do us any good. I think Few, and the team for that matter, are much better when we have a set rotation w/ only 3 to 4 players coming of the bench.

75Zag
04-24-2008, 01:34 PM
This is probably a stupid question, but has JH "officially" told GU that he is coming back next year? I certainly hope that he does, but he looked to me like a very unhappy fellow for the last half of the basketball season, and it seemed to me that coach Few gave JH the cold shoulder on more than one occasion. Based solely on what I saw, l would not be even slightly surprised to have him leave to go play in Europe if the NBA is not interested this summer. Has he made any statements, either in the press or otherwise, as to his plans? Are there any rules or deadlines for players to join or leave a program?

I am not trying to start any rumors or disputes here. Asking an honest question.

BroncoZAG615
04-24-2008, 02:13 PM
Everywhere I look it says that he is still deciding. I would be beyond surprised if he went to the NBA or to Europe. Judging by the way he finished the year, Josh is primed for a big year next year. I really hope he doesn't make any ill-advised decisions. I'm confident in his return

ZagNut08
04-24-2008, 02:23 PM
Agree, except the part about Keefe not being a game changer :)

"so not a game changer" - thanks for that one, I'll pass the word onto him this summer

BobZag
04-24-2008, 02:34 PM
JH is returning. :)

The thing about Basta is, he has the "look" of a kid who could totally blow up through the roof. The thing about Kong is, he has blown up and is proven. Kong is about two years older than Basta, so it makes sense. Now, whether Basta will ever be able to hang 40+ on NCAA Tourney team Boise State is another story.

As for a Big, a good Big, just ask yourself, "Would Gonzaga be better with JP Batista on it?" Of course, yes, by a long way. But whether or not a Big that good will arrive for this next season is questionable, which could mean...

Rob Sacre's development could very well be equal to gaining a good Big. Rob's improvement just might be the single most important thing to happen during this offseason, and it might not even be close.

LIZF is correct: the best and most preferred scenario may take til late summer to materialize.

Patience will most assuredly be your friend this summer.

75Zag
04-24-2008, 02:47 PM
Great news that JH is returning. Good decision for him and his family and good for GU.

thespywhozaggedme
04-24-2008, 03:42 PM
You always take the best player available for when they are needed.

08-09 season we have Josh, Rob, Ira and Foster at 4-5. Maybe there is a scenerio where with Austin but he's a 3. Ira is undersized with bounce, Rob is still developing and Foster is considered by some to be iffy. There is reason for concern on the front line. What if Josh is injured?

There is no question that the front line needs reinforcement. IMO that must be addressed to advance in March which is key to future recruiting, period. It needs to be a quality player who can contribute. We don't need someone who will ride the pine, we have that now. If you can't get that, than you can. I don't see any barrier to long term recruiting in the 3,4 or 5 spot. It's WIDE OPEN. Potentially the only carry over to 09-10 is Rob.

I think you shoot high but have a back up plan. (WSU is proof you can make it a ways into March with just average talent at 4 and 5.)

Spud, Ira is 6'3, he is neither a 4 or a 5.

gu03alum
04-24-2008, 03:50 PM
Spud, Ira is 6'3, he is neither a 4 or a 5.

He is listed at 6'4" on Gozags.com and is also listed as a forward (pendo is listed as a guard). He's a small 4, but I think he can be effective there.

IRA's page on Gozags (http://gozags.cstv.com/sports/m-baskbl/mtt/brown_ira00.html)

GoZags
04-24-2008, 03:52 PM
Spud, Ira is 6'3, he is neither a 4 or a 5.

I will beg to differ with you. At 6' 4" -- 241 lbs Ira Brown is fully capable of contributing next season as a power forward. It is that you don't think he's strong enough? -- or perhaps you think he can't jump high enough? He'll get pushed around by bigger, stronger kids?

Regardless -- it is my belief he can excel at the 4.

It is also my belief (and the belief of others) that Ira has the chance to be a "poor" man's version of another 6' 4" power forward.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v9XE7BijJA

Again -- I'm in no way saying that Ira's skills come close to replicating those of an alltime 50 greatest player ever -- but there are things he CAN do that WILL help GU next season... will help GU in OOC, will help GU in WCC and hopefully will help GU in the post season.

75Zag
04-24-2008, 04:02 PM
Ira Brown may be the poor man's Karl Malone, but it would have to be a very, very, very, very, poor man. And even then, I would think that the poor man got screwed.

No knock on Ira, but he is not a power forward.

BobZag
04-24-2008, 04:07 PM
Ira Brown may be the poor man's Karl Malone, but it would have to be a very, very, very, very, poor man. And even then, I would think that the poor man got screwed.

No knock on Ira, but he is not a power forward.

Witty, but you've got the wrong player.

gu03alum
04-24-2008, 04:10 PM
Barkley was the first player that came to mind for me when I saw Ira play too. I'm not sure where you got the mailman from.

VinnyZag
04-24-2008, 04:12 PM
As for a Big, a good Big, just ask yourself, "Would Gonzaga be better with JP Batista on it?" Of course, yes, by a long way. But whether or not a Big that good will arrive for this next season is questionable, which could mean...

Rob Sacre's development could very well be equal to gaining a good Big. Rob's improvement just might be the single most important thing to happen during this offseason, and it might not even be close.


The thing is, I don't think they need another Batista. They need someone who falls between senior year Kuso and sophomore or junior year Violette. A rotation player to rebound, play defense, take up space -- preferrably somebody built like Violette or Calvary. 20-25 minutes of solid, grind-it-out dirty work would do just fine.

I agree about Sacre, though.

BobZag
04-24-2008, 04:19 PM
The thing is, I don't think they need another Batista. They need someone who falls between senior year Kuso and sophomore or junior year Violette. A rotation player to rebound, play defense, take up space -- preferrably somebody built like Violette or Calvary. 20-25 minutes of solid, grind-it-out dirty work would do just fine.

I agree about Sacre, though.

Agreed. Good point.

MickMick
04-24-2008, 05:12 PM
Zags need handles and scoring...in that order.

If I were an opposing coach, my first objective would be to test the Zags ability to move the ball the length of the court. The team (as is) appears unable to cope with pressure. Turnovers, carrys, travels, charges, and fits of fumble fingers.

So I disagree.......everything is not in place. There is a heck of a lot more riding on Meech than people seem to consider.


With respect to scoring...I don't care how we get it. It doesn't have to come from a big. It doesn't all have to come from Daye. It just has to come in any way, shape, or form they can get it. For those that think scoring will not be a problem, watch a replay of the game against WSU. If the Zags could only score 6 more points........cripes they coudn't buy a bucket in that game. It was representative of many Zag games (but not to that degree).

roxdoc
04-24-2008, 07:15 PM
One of the reasons we were not getting those 6 or so extra points from the wings/guards is that we had no scoring threat down low to keep people honest. It was 4 against 5 too often. As BobZ says the improvement of Rob will be the most important thing that can happen for GU next year. I totally agree with VinnyZ that it does not have to be a super star at the 5, but a good journeyman performer that can score if you don't guard him.

MickMick
04-24-2008, 07:26 PM
One of the reasons we were not getting those 6 or so extra points from the wings/guards is that we had no scoring threat down low to keep people honest. It was 4 against 5 too often. As BobZ says the improvement of Rob will be the most important thing that can happen for GU next year. I totally agree with VinnyZ that it does not have to be a super star at the 5, but a good journeyman performer that can score if you don't guard him.

You may be right, but a scoring five may be the toughest recruit to find out there. It will take 2-3 years of grooming to get Sacre there. The young fives that can score from the "get go" (ie. Love) end up at places like UCLA.

So to be realistic, and especially in one year's time (of a window that will include Josh and Jeremy), the best the Zags can hope for (from the five position) is a defensive shot blocker/ rebounding presence. A much more attainable goal for Rob then for him to become "Batista like" within one season.

It is from that perspective that I say the most realisitc chance of Zag improvement (short term) is by reducing the number of turnovers and increasing the team shooting percentage. Just a little improvement in those areas would get the Zags past the likes of Davidson, WSU, and Oklahoma.

I understand that field goal percentage increases with Batista like players, but I don't see any that will be ready in time to significantly contribute (offensively) next season.

Note: JP Batista had very soft hands. Kuso had stone hands at times. If Rob can be like Batista with respect to receiving passes with big soft hands, he could achieve that journey level status inside much sooner. At least the turnovers would be reduced.

Further, I don't mean to pick on Kuso but Rob must learn by example. The bunny layups don't work inside. He must get in the habit of dunking whenever possible. I expect this will not be as much of a problem with Rob as it was with Kuso.

Scotto
04-24-2008, 07:51 PM
Free Bol Kong!

spudzag
04-24-2008, 08:01 PM
... a scoring five may be the toughest recruit to find out there. It will take 2-3 years of grooming to get Sacre there.


Right on! Genetics just don't produce many guys that size with stength an any coordination. Maybe a dozen really good 5s a year?

Sure hope your project on Sacre 's development is year ahead of your projection. We need him to be solid in the up coming season.

Nevtelen
04-24-2008, 08:35 PM
You may be right, but a scoring five may be the toughest recruit to find out there. It will take 2-3 years of grooming to get Sacre there. The young fives that can score from the "get go" (ie. Love) end up at places like UCLA.

So to be realistic, and especially in one year's time (of a window that will include Josh and Jeremy), the best the Zags can hope for (from the five position) is a defensive shot blocker/ rebounding presence. A much more attainable goal for Rob then for him to become "Batista like" within one season.

It is from that perspective that I say the most realisitc chance of Zag improvement (short term) is by reducing the number of turnovers and increasing the team shooting percentage. Just a little improvement in those areas would get the Zags past the likes of Davidson, WSU, and Oklahoma.

I understand that field goal percentage increases with Batista like players, but I don't see any that will be ready in time to significantly contribute (offensively) next season.

Note: JP Batista had very soft hands. Kuso had stone hands at times. If Rob can be like Batista with respect to receiving passes with big soft hands, he could achieve that journey level status inside much sooner. At least the turnovers would be reduced.

Further, I don't mean to pick on Kuso but Rob must learn by example. The bunny layups don't work inside. He must get in the habit of dunking whenever possible. I expect this will not be as much of a problem with Rob as it was with Kuso.

While he was occasionally shaky at catching passes inside, Rob was really good at going up hard and dunking if memory serves. There were a few games where he only dunked, no other shots. I really think those instincts will serve him well (along with a slightly improved jumnp hook and more consistently solid free-throws). I obvoiously don't know as much as some here, but I'm confident Rob can get to that journeyman level this season with how hard he reportedly worked during the season. I'm really optimistic about that. I'm a lot less sure he'll be a significant scorer.

Also, I hate to put him on the spot, but this will be the season we really need Will to put up or shut up. He doesn't need to be a superstar, just a solid defender and rebounder. He's been on the roster for 2 years now. As long as he's not an offensive liability and can give, say 5-10 mins/game that'd be great.

BTW - since I think the team will be okay this season no matter if they land another recruit or not, I think it's alright for Few and Co to swing for the fences in terms of recruits. If the worst case happens and none of them work out, then there's still time to get some solid 09 guys (which, hopefully, they'll be looking at all along). In terms of a big and wing, I think the staff really needs a quality recruit and can afford to wait a bit and has some cushion if things fall through. JMO.

JAGzag
04-25-2008, 03:20 AM
With all the talent we have coming back, does anyone have concerns about the "carry over" from last year? IMO the team never really hit their stride and in my 10% basketball IQ, it seemed like there was no "player order." How do they fix that?

Also, I'm really excited about Rob's development! Does anyone know what he'll be doing, where he's going, who's helping him, etc ...?

Reborn
04-25-2008, 09:15 AM
I think we're fine at the 5 spot. Rob Sacre will be a very good back up next year, and I'd bet better then most guys we could get this late in the season. I, for one, do like Rob Sacre and I think at times some people are too hard on him. It's been correctly noted that it takes time to develop a 5 in the GU system. Look at Josh. Look at JP Bautista. He came to GU as a Junior, and he played the 4 that year because we had Roney Turiof at the 5. And, even Roney had some difficulties his Freshman year as well.

I think Rob will be very good as a back up, and hopefully Will will be ready to contribute next year. I think he could be. He certainly knows the GU system, as does Rob. As I've said many times now. We DO need a backup at the 4 spot next year. Ira Brown is not a 4. But, who knows. Maybe he's the backup at that spot next year. He can jump and rebound.