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siliconzag
02-16-2009, 06:39 PM
I had a chance to see the Zags close up. Like everyone else who was there rooting for them, I left a bit underwhelmed at their performance. And then as some of you have pointed out, statistically speaking, they didn’t play at all badly. Still it was ragged, uninspired, unimaginative, and awkward against an opponent decimated by suspensions.

I took advantage of my proximity to the team to study their facial expressions. I even read their lips and watched how they talked to themselves and each other. Being a pediatrician, I have become a student of interpreting body language. My observations:

First, some of the guys appear to have genuine affection for each other. It is not as though bickering is rampant, as I have seen on some talented teams who are underperforming. Still it appeared to me that some of the Zags are still quite aloof, perhaps introverted or withdrawn (perhaps demoralized or anxious). And generalized camaraderie that I have seen on other teams still appears to be absent. I noticed that many of the guys were not paying close attention to the coach when he was doing his tactical planning during time outs. Somewhat disconcerting, I would say.

Second. Some of the Zags, in particular, Jeremy Pargo are engaging in what I would call negative talk. This is psycho babble for excessive self criticism. I believe JP is suffering from a significant crisis of confidence. I suspect it may have begun when he discovered that the NBA scouts pointed out the deficiencies in his game. Jeremy shows the classic signs of a defeated warrior, when he returns to the bench, especially after suboptimal plays or mistakes--shoulders slumped, head down. It looks like he grumbles at himself after turnovers. And I am not sure he even focuses on what coach says during time outs. He appears distracted or preoccupied with the previous play, and I wonder if he is really listening with the kind of focus and attention required of the man in charge on the floor.

Confidence is a quirky thing. Baseball players know about slumps better than anyone, and all athletes have them. In order to come out of them, they need to relax, they need to use guided imagery and believe in the inevitability of a resurgence of their effectiveness. I am not sure JP has a crisis of confidence or not, but I remain convinced he can get it back if I am right. But the first thing he must stop doing is hanging his head in shame. Mistakes happen. Slumps occur. He may not be an AJ Price or Sherron Collins or even a Patrick Mills. But that doesn’t mean he can’t help the Zags go deep in March. But one thing is for sure, he has to be kinder to himself. Some people say that the Zags aren’t trying hard enough. Jeremy might be trying too hard. Hopefully coach Few is a source of confidence for JP. The groans from the crowd, the collective expressions of disappointment need to end. He is harder on himself than all of us put together. And we have seen the flashes of brilliance in the past. He needs to get back to doing what he does best--improvising and striking fear into opponents hearts. I would argue that people should grumble at Jeremy less and cheer for him more. He needs love from the Zag fans. And forgiveness, so he can start to forgive himself, and get over this rut. Not only Jeremy but all the Zags need to stop replaying the last bad play in their mind, and start creating the next great play instead.

After the last couple of days, it is obvious that there are no sure bets in 2009. UNC almost lost to Miami, and Duke lost to BC. Meanwhile, even Marquette has slipped, and also Clemson, and tonight U Conn. 2009 is a year of great parity. Despite our lack luster play since December 20, we still have a shot. But not with a demoralized PG.

Anybody know any sports psychologists up there? If not, I encourage the KC to show Jeremy love, even excessive love, because he is basically a good kid who is overly hard on himself right now. I have maintained that his game has become too tense, trying to become something he isn’t. He needs to play with the right side of his brain.

I am reminded of Alberto Tomba, the great Italian slalom and giant slalom Olympic champion. He had a routine before every race. He believed that with all his abilities that he could only lose if he was tense. He had a pre race ritual which began with a jacuzzi about 90 minutes prior to race time, followed by a vigorous but relaxing massage. He believed it warmed his muscles up “muscoli caldi” and during the state of relaxation that ensued, he would visualize himself on the highest part of the winners podium being given the gold medal. Before the race he would throw down a shot of Lavazza to get himself focused. I think it is not a coincidence that he won so many gold medals.

We will not go very deep with a PG who is in a funk. Let’s all help JP get back his swagger. We need bold leadership and confidence going into March. If JP gets his groove back, the Zags will be more formidable than any of us have imagined to date. If not, same old same deja vu baloney.

Sili

gamagin
02-16-2009, 07:03 PM
I wrote this on another thread earlier, but since this is re JP, I'll repeat it. This layman's analysis, fwiw:

It seems to me JP has a problem with a little dence in his confi. He needs some GeRRRRR in his swag. And a dose of selection in his shot plus a whole lot of tration (like 40 minutes nonstop) in his Concen.

But you said it best. He really needs encouragement and even love and appreciation, too, if he is to finish strong, which he is fully capable of achieving.

Go Zags !

MedZag
02-16-2009, 07:23 PM
But one thing is for sure, he has to be kinder to himself. Some people say that the Zags aren’t trying hard enough. Jeremy might be trying too hard. Hopefully coach Few is a source of confidence for JP. The groans from the crowd, the collective expressions of disappointment need to end. He is harder on himself than all of us put together.

This is spot on.

Been one of my biggest qualms with those who have criticized P all this time. His heart has always been in the right place.

RenoZag
02-16-2009, 07:43 PM
Thanks for the first-person observations, Sili. . .

Zag79
02-16-2009, 07:48 PM
great post sili!


Originally Posted by siliconzag
But one thing is for sure, he has to be kinder to himself. Some people say that the Zags arenít trying hard enough. Jeremy might be trying too hard. Hopefully coach Few is a source of confidence for JP. The groans from the crowd, the collective expressions of disappointment need to end. He is harder on himself than all of us put together.

This is spot on.

i agree with this to a T. slow it down, stay confident, and the game will come back to you. i also think if he worries less about getting everyone involved and looks to score a tad more it would help dramatically. see the portland game.

former1dog
02-16-2009, 07:56 PM
Pargo should play likes hes got nothing to lose and nothing to prove. The reality is if he plays like that, he'll enjoy himself, relax and the results will be much more superior than they would have been with out him getting all worked up about it.

The fact is, this is true in any single sport or activity or even in professional life.

I heard a comment the other day about sales. The guys who need the money badly make poorer salespeople than the ones who don't and just want to help their clients. So true!

Relax, the results will come.

HOOTER
02-16-2009, 08:04 PM
Brilliant post. I would love to see JP and the Zags as a whole finish strong. It is clear that Pargo, among others, are lacking the confidence and swagger that existed early in the season. The game just doesn't seem fun anymore. It's a shame it's gotten to this point. However, it's certainly not too late to rectify the issue, and the fan's can do their part. There's a couple home games coming up. This is a good opportunity for the fans (all the fans, not just the kennel club) to get on their feet and show some love to Pargo and his teammates.

Zag79
02-16-2009, 08:07 PM
I heard a comment the other day about sales. The guys who need the money badly make poorer salespeople than the ones who don't and just want to help their clients. So true!

Relax, the results will come.

im in the mortgage loan business, sales overall for about 9 years total and i can tell you that is spot on. i am laid back, and my "could care less style" has put me at the top of my companies sales every year. the people who try too hard usually dont cut it. your analogy of pargo is great F1.

Nevtelen
02-16-2009, 08:08 PM
While I'm not even as qualified as Sili to be an observer the situation, not having seen Pargo in person lately, this feels spot on to me, too, based on Jeremy's play and his quotes. He needs to remember the beginning of the year and how amazing he was playing then. Pargo has improved his game as much or more than any player I remember at GU. I don't know if he'll return to form or not, but I have the confidence that he can. I really really hope he does.

If nothing else, hopefully senior night will be a big boost for Pargo. No matter any errors he has made this season in any single game, he has given the program amazing effort and dedication over the last 4 years and I hope K2 shows how much they appreciate him in spades.

Granda Zag
02-16-2009, 08:13 PM
This one of the best statements I have seen on this blog.

If someone here has the ability to see that folks involved with the team see this it just might help.

Go Zags!!!

GU69
02-16-2009, 08:50 PM
Thank you Sili.

After all the criticisms of some of these young men in other threads, it is wonderful to read some positive and loving comments.

It is just a game. For some of these players it may be their career for a while, but they need to enjoy it. If they are not having fun it isn't worth it -- not for them as players and not for me as a fan.

cjm720
02-17-2009, 07:56 AM
Great post and good observations.

You're the man Jeremy...go with the flow and play your game. Lead us in the tourney and the rest will take care of itself.

GO ZAGS!!!

siliconzag
02-17-2009, 08:13 AM
Here is a book that might help our Zags, in particular those most critical of themselves, who are stuck in negative imagery:

http://www.amazon.com/Lighten-Up-Survival-Skills-Pressure/dp/0201622394/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234890489&sr=1-4

I am wondering if we should start a thread entitled "Putting the fun back in the Kennel." Basketball is a sport. It is supposed to bring smiles, not grimaces. Too many players and fans are grimacing and grousing (including me). Let's get back to what started this whole roll. We were a bunch of smart alecs who took no hostages, left our hearts out on the floor, and did our best. And we were proud of our team for just making the tournament, and winning a few in those days.

I say, beach balls galore at the next game. Both sides of the Kennel. Let them fly, and laugh a little. We need to be goofy and outrageous. Hopefully it will remind our beloved team that they can relax. And this will allow them to play more spontaneously.

Other ideas for levity??????

Sili

kitzbuel
02-17-2009, 08:16 AM
Here is a book that might help our Zags, in particular those most critical of themselves, who are stuck in negative imagery:

http://www.amazon.com/Lighten-Up-Survival-Skills-Pressure/dp/0201622394/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234890489&sr=1-4

I am wondering if we should start a thread entitled "Putting the fun back in the Kennel." Basketball is a sport. It is supposed to bring smiles, not grimaces. Too many players and fans are grimacing and grousing (including me). Let's get back to what started this whole roll. We were a bunch of smart alecs who took no hostages, left our hearts out on the floor, and did our best. And we were proud of our team for just making the tournament, and winning a few in those days.

I say, beach balls galore at the next game. Both sides of the Kennel. Let them fly, and laugh a little. We need to be goofy and outrageous. Hopefully it will remind our beloved team that they can relax. And this will allow them to play more spontaneously.

Other ideas for levity??????

Sili

Toga.

siliconzag
02-17-2009, 08:38 AM
Excellent idea. A giant Toga Party. Can you imagine it???? That would be so cool. I think the Kennel needs to go zany. Get away from the nasty little barbs and just be ridiculous. I hate to say it, but they need to be like the Stanford band (did I really say that?!) Oh my God, I am losing it.

Sili

hockeyzag
02-17-2009, 08:54 AM
This is why I come to this message board. What a great post.

BobZag
02-17-2009, 09:54 AM
I look forward now to watching the bench closely Thursday. I'd ask one of the high rollers with Gold Section seats right behind the bench in K2, but alas, they are there to be seen and don't know diddly squat about basketball, or they'd miss it because they'd still be shmoozing in the Herak Room. lol.

HOOTER
02-17-2009, 10:04 AM
I'd ask one of the high rollers with Gold Section seats right behind the bench in K2, but alas, they are there to be seen and don't know diddly squat about basketball, or they'd miss it because they'd still be shmoozing in the Herak Room. lol.

:lmao: So true.

Reborn
02-17-2009, 10:05 AM
Silicon, you are reborn :D (meant as a pun). I'm glad to see you back in better form than ever. Great posts and it really is supposed to be about having fun. Your observations behind the bench do concern me, if they are accurate. The morale seems low and that is not good. And if Pargo is that beaten down, MMMM what can I say? It's just not a good sign. If your leader is beaten what chance is there? I hope that something will be said to him, or done for him, that will help restore his confidence. There are times, when we get really low, that we can't even help ourselves it seems. That's when we really do need others.

There isn't much time left in this season. It's certainly winding down. My goal is to enjoy it the best I can. These are the last times we will be seeing some of these guys in Zag uniforms, and I just want to enjoy it. Pargo and Josh have always been right up there at the very top of my favorite Zags. And I continue to believe in them. The best is yet to come!!!!

DADoZAG
02-17-2009, 11:34 AM
If beach balls and togas are the answer, then a Greek Beach Party is in order! A revitalized JP is everyone's dream.

However, am I the only one as deeply concerned with Silicon's first point as the second one?

Aloof? Introverted? Lack of camaraderie? That’s what is obvious when watching this team.

DADoZAG
02-17-2009, 11:56 AM
To finish my thought...

Please understand that I believe in our players, I believe in our Coach and his staff, I believe in this program.

I believe that if all of the above could come together as a team, the sky is the limit.

Oh, and I haven't had any koolaid lately, nor are my glasses some shade red (remember, there are only 7 colors).

DixieZag
02-17-2009, 12:00 PM
Perhaps we fans have as much to do with the teams seeming lack of confidence as anything, and if so, shouldn't we be able to coordinate with the AD and get some banners hung for the last conference home weekend (never too early to start), get some highlights together of the seniors (especially JP) going on the Jumbotron before the game, let the beach balls fly. I wish I could help, but I am stuck on the Gulf coast where it is spring football season, but I would encourage any of you in this endeavor, this is one of the best posts of the year.

BE PROUD, BE A ZAG

jim77
02-17-2009, 12:00 PM
Good post Sili.

The #1 job of the point guard is to put his team into a position to win. It doesn't matter how much or how little....just win. So how many have we won? A BUNCH. If everybody was honest I think they would say the team needs to get by the first weekend of the Dance for it to be a GREAT season. (We're spoiled) Not that a conference championship and NCAA bid are the makings of a bad season. My point: Nobody on the team has done anything yet to keep us from going far into the tourney.

Pargo has made some mistakes but the boat is still steaming in the right direction. As far as the NBA scouts go...they wanted to see him lead the team and get others involved. How many guys are averaging in double figures??? I'd say he's doing well in that area. In fact he did it at the expense of his own numbers. A few times this year he made passes that probably should not have made....in the past he would have lowered his head and headed to the hoop. But, this year he was gonna get ALL the fellas involved regardless of his "stats". If he's guilty of anything its being to charitable with the ball....the other guys need to do a better job of getting open at times. The scouts know he can get to the hoop..he's done it against some pretty good teams. In fact he's sliced up some National champions and runners up too. So if the scouts wanted to see unselfish play from Jeremy....I think they have seen a guy who is willing to sacrifice his game for the team...literally. Which is what a TEAM player is all about.

Conclusion: If the Zags go deep, all this weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth will be forgotten. The fellas have no reason to hang their heads...NONE of them. Its been a pretty good year and it ain't over yet! GO ZAGS!

SDUQ
02-17-2009, 12:01 PM
However, am I the only one as deeply concerned with Silicon's first point as the second one?

Aloof? Introverted? Lack of camaraderie? Thatís what is obvious when watching this team.

Remember not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve. Some people are naturally stoic. Teammates will know this and not be "brought down" simply because someone isn't smiling all the time.

DADoZAG
02-17-2009, 12:06 PM
Agreed, and teammates feed off the passion of others even if it isn't shown.

Stoic is one thing, aloof is another.

I'm looking for the whole to be at least equal to the sum of it's parts.

GO ZAGS!!!

SDUQ
02-17-2009, 12:13 PM
How can you differentiate between someone being stoic vs. someone being aloof without personal knowledge?

I say give the kids the benefit of the doubt, quit overanalyzing every eyebrow twitch and GO ZAGS!

siliconzag
02-17-2009, 12:31 PM
How can you differentiate between someone being stoic vs. someone being aloof without personal knowledge?

I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you. ;)

Sili

DADoZAG
02-17-2009, 12:32 PM
You're right, SDUQ, differentiating between stoic and aloof is not possible as I was not there, but simply went off another's observation.

And again, please don't misunderstand, I do support this team.

As a coach (of a different sport), I've seen this before, and my concern is for these young men whose lives are so dependent on these next few years.

Our passion for this group of young men is fleeting, we will cheer just as heartily for next years group, and the next years group, and so on. But there are five people who will never taste this again, will never have this opportunity.

They deserve our support and have it.

doug2
02-17-2009, 12:46 PM
Good Thread. I wonder how much all the talk about this being a Final 4 team has hurt. Maybe the team is down on itself because they've had it proven to them they aren't one of the very best.

If the expectations had been more reasonable - for example, Sweet 16, then the players could say, Yeah, we've had some rough spells, but Sweet 16, we can do that with a little luck. The way the expectations have been raised, though, they'll probably feel like losers if all they do is get to the Sweet 16.

To me, a program that has a decent chance of getting to the Sweet 16 year in and year out is a great program. Some years the team might fall a little short and in others, when the stars align just right, the team might go farther. My advice is to enjoy those times, but don't expect them.

I think the media and fans with their Final 4 or Bust mentality have just about ruined the season for these players. I can't imagine the experience for them has been much fun.

siliconzag
02-17-2009, 01:19 PM
Is something you can generally see. This is when guys are loose, they bump each and nudge each other. Their eyes sparkle, and they look full of mischief. They exude confidence, and there is genuine enjoyment in each other's comapny, in everyones company. Teams with it are full of energy. It is generally visible in my opinion.

If you will reread the original post, I did not presume to diagnose them as aloof, it says they appeared aloof or introverted. Stoic is yet another possibility. Whether they were stoic, aloof or introverted is tangential. The point is that from my observation the kind of cohesiveness we all saw in 1999 is absent. That was a special year, and perhaps it is not fair to expect that of this team. Sometimes this kind of cohesiveness is the end result of a charismatic individual. I think the teams with Turiaf had it too. Sometimes it is an inspirational guy that is the glue.

I am stickin by my view some of the guys are verklempt with which you are more than free to disagree. Overanalysis? Perhaps...

Sili