View Full Version : The Key to Success: Balance

03-31-2007, 09:50 AM
In today's S-R it has rosters and stats for each team and, 1) it's amazing how young these teams are, seniors are a rarity, but 2) the balanced scoring (among other stats) really jumps out at you. To wit, Florida's starting 5--

Brewer - 6'9" - 13.1ppg
Horford - 6'10" - 13.2ppg - 9.2rpg
Noah - 6'11" - 12.2ppg - 8.5rpg
Green - 6'0" - 13.3ppg
Humphrey - 6'2" - 10.1ppg

That's about as good as it can get. Who do you focus on? Pick your poison.

It's similar to Florida with every team. Take a look--


a Moute - 6'8" - 8.3ppg - 7.5rpg
Mata - 6'9" - 6.7ppg - 5.5rpg
Afflalo - 6'5" - 16.9ppg
Collison - 6'1" - 12.8ppg
Shipp - 6'5" - 13.1ppg


Green - 6'9" - 14.4ppg - 6.2rpg
Summers - 6'8" - 9.3ppg
Hibbert - 7'2" - 12.7ppg - 6.9rpg
Sapp - 6'3" - 9.3ppg
Wallace - 6'1" - 11.2ppg


Harris - 6'7" - 7.6ppg
Oden - 7'0" - 15.4ppg - 9.5rpg
Butler - 6'2" - 8.6ppg
Conley - 6'1" - 11.0ppg
Lewis - 6'4" - 12.8ppg
Cook - 6'5" - 10.2ppg (first off the bench)

Obviously, the high caliber of talent is a key factor, but the balance on these teams is amazing. I'm hoping Gonzaga can reach this level of talent and balance some year soon. Here's my ideal numbers for next seaso for the Zags--

Pargo - 6'1" - 13ppg (improve 1 point)
Bouldin - 6'5" - 12ppg (improve 4 points)
Downs - 6'8" - 13ppg - 5rpg (improve 6 points)
Heytvelt - 6'11" - 16ppg - 7.8rpg (improve .5 point)
Fifth Player TBD - ?'?" - 7ppg would be great
Pendo - 6'6" - 8ppg (first off the bench)

Is this realistic?

Now, for better defense, for a tough mentality, for a killer instinct, for good chemistry, etc., and all the intangibles that separate EE / FF caliber teams from wannabes.

That "Fifth Player TBD" could be Ira, Pendo, Davis, Daye, Sacre... I'd like to see Pendo and Kuso come off the bench to provide energy, but if one of the two starts, I feel Pendo would be best. Ira, Davis and Daye, imo, have a good chance at that fifth spot. That'll be the fun part, watching guys battle for that final starting spot. That said, I like the bench depth.

Chime in. How can Gonzaga be as balanced at the above FF teams?

03-31-2007, 10:15 AM
Interesting analysis, Bob. There are a lot of players there that could get over 20 ppg if they were "featured" more.

One thing that has changed in GU's offensive attack over the years has been that there has been much more intent in getting the ball in certain guys' hands in a position to score, and play-calling has been focused on that. In the late nineties it seems like we tended to move the ball much more readily around the court. I don't have the stats to back this up off hand, but I'm pretty sure that we got more assists as a team in those days. If you looked in the box score you would always see one or two assists from a lot of guys. I think that was harder to guard because those guys just played so well together and there was no concerted effort for one or two guys to get certain kinds of shots. In the last ten or so games (post-Heytvelt) I thought we saw a return of this approach.

I think taking the "next step", though, begins on the defensive end. We can talk about how close we've come before to breaking through, but I can't recall any Final Four teams in the recent past that played worse defense than what GU has for the past ten years. That's not saying that we've always been horrible, but Final Four teams that I can recall have always been above average and can get big stops when they need them--particularly when the offense goes flat.

03-31-2007, 10:24 AM
Agree on all points, apple. It "appears" this team is quicker and more athletic, but defense is so hard to predict or quantify. Maybe, hopefully, RayG can instill more of a defensive attitude. We'll see.

I think I might've been too generous with our guards' points. 10, 12, 11 could be more realistic?

03-31-2007, 10:26 AM
Great observation and stats BZ...

Offensively I don't think any of those stats are unrealistic. The key will be that 5th man and the ability to play much better defense. I like Pendo's heart and offesive ability to fill the role of the 5th man, but his size creates match up problems defensively. I agree that it would be best if he could be utilized in the 6th man role. Kuso can contribute defensively, but has limitation on the offensive side of the ball. Theo Davis and Ira Brown seem to be possible options, but I don't know much about their games at this point. What about Larry G? I think the offensive side of his game could flourish with more playing time, and he certainly would give GU a boost on defense. I know their are health concerns surrounding Larry, but this possible lineup would fit the needs both offensively and defensively:

Larry G

1st options off bench: Pendo, Ira Brown

I like the possibility of Daye, but with the talent we will have next year I would be surprised if Few puts him into the 5th man role before mid-December.

03-31-2007, 10:40 AM
The only problem with your line-up ZA, is who plays the 4? No way it's Downs. We need a solid 4 and 5 out there. Heytvelt (hopefully as a 4?) and the 5 by comittee - Kuso, Davis, and Sacre?

I'd say:

Pargo 13 ppg (and hopefully makes a jump in assists, too)

Bouldin 10 ppg (I'd maybe like a little more if he's our starting SG, but this is reasonable)

Downs 14 ppg, 5 rpg (big jump, but I think he'll make it since he starts the season healthy)

Heytvelt 17 ppg 8 rpg (he's going to be on the war-path to prove himself)

Kuso 6 ppg 6 rpg (I also hope Sacre and Davis will have similar numbers, maybe one of them will get the start later in the year, since Kuso is such a great energy guy off the bench)

Pendo - 6th man - 9 ppg

That would mean the team would avg around 84 ppg, so that's hopefully reasonable.

03-31-2007, 10:53 AM
Nev, I think some of those ppg's will have to be pared down because Ira, Daye and Gray are bound to give the team some points, too, along with LG possibly, if healthy.

The main thing is balance. Balance Balance Balance.

Also, if any of you watch the FF games, notice how "built" the players are. Rarely will you see, for instance, a guard/wing as thin as Downs. I've seen Memphis, USC and other NCAA tourney teams in person, and their guys are sooooooooooo developed. Texas was the only team that looked average in this regard. And Notre Dame was quite unathletic.

Gonzaga needs to hit the weights and bulk up, imo.

03-31-2007, 11:03 AM
*Wink* :) :) :)

03-31-2007, 11:11 AM
and believe he will be the de facto leader and could even be the #2 scorer behind Heytveldt.

He, more than any returning player, kept his head when all about were losing theirs. He's a shooter who was a role player and rebounder and general maintenance man, but shouldn't have to worry about that as much in his final year.

The same way kuso should not have to worry about covering both sides of the basket under the net w/Downs etc., helping there, Pendo can actually return to the game which drew GU's attention to him as a recruit.

When the fit hits the shan, as it most certainly will, I believe all these great athletes will need and look to his leadership. and he will provide it.

03-31-2007, 12:12 PM
I wish I knew more about Theo's game but I like him for the fifth spot based on what little I know. He's big, he bangs, and he is athletic. Seems like we don't have a true five man ready to start (big and back to the basket) because it seems like Mr. Sacre will likely need some seasoning. So, it seems like Josh and whomever else it is play a hybrid 4/5 deal. With Josh returning, I think the first four are more likely than not (JH, Matt, Jeremy and Micah) and the fifth guy is (likely) the biggest open question. I love Pendo as much as anyone on this board but I don't think he is a natural four and I don't think Micah is either although both (obviously) can play there if need be.

03-31-2007, 12:53 PM
The thing that 3 of the 4 final 4 teams have in common is that they have a low post big man that sits their rear end in the low blocks and is always a threat to score in the halfcourt. Horford, Hibbert and Oden.

Gonzaga needs to have that player, and there is no one player on paper that you can say: "This is definitely going to be the guy." There are guys that could be that guy, but there aren't any guarantees.

For me, Heytvelt isn't that guy - his needs to be hanging out on the perimeter a great deal of the time to maximize his offensive skills. And while Ira Brown will be able to give GU some scoring in the middle, he isn't going to be able to do that against every power forward that he faces. I don't think Pendo is tall enough to be a low post scoring threat, and while a guy like Daye has the height, he has nowhere near the muscle that's required to bang in the middle.

Gonzaga really needs Robert Sacre or Theo Davis to develop. My feeling is that Davis is further along with his offensive skills than Robert is most likely, but I really don't care which guy it is. I think with the NBA age limit in place, and w/ the great high school prep big men having to go to college, the importance of having a true 5 man with offensive skills is going to be more critical now.

These two guys are the biggest keys to Gonzaga's success the next 2 seasons. Well, the team needs to better its defense as well. But these 2 players will determine how far Gonzaga can go. If GU wants a crack at possibly winning a national title, one guy has got to step forward. It doesn't happen unless one steps up.

03-31-2007, 01:10 PM
CDC, I agree completely. We need Sacre or Theo (or find a JC player like Batista) to step up in the middle for us. All of these years GU has had a true low post scorer, but not enough athleticism. Now GU finally appears to be able to compete with the big boys athletic-wise, but we are lacking a reliable post scorer.

Heytvelt is an amazing wing player, he just is not a power forward. I think we need to have Heytvelt on the wing so that he can create problems defensively for the other team. When you put heytvelt inside, he becomes an average low post player that can be held in check. I would really love to see Heytvelt work on his ball handling ability and be given the freedom to create his own shot, ala ammo.

I would love to see a big lineup next year consisting of Bouldin, Micah, Heytvelt, Theo, Sacre. That lineup is nba sized.

03-31-2007, 02:19 PM
Let's be ultra conservative--

Pargo - 10ppg (-2 from last year)
Bouldin - 11ppg (+3 from frosh year)
Downs - 11ppg (+3 from first year)
Heytvelt - 13ppg (-2.5 from last year)
Fifth Man - 7ppg

Let's say Pendo averages 7ppg, Kuso 4ppg, Theo 4ppg, Ira 4ppg, Daye 4ppg, Gray 4ppg, Sacre 3ppg, LG 2ppg...

That's 52ppg from starters and probably 25ppg from bench for a total 77ppg.

This is as about as conservative (or bleak?) of an outlook I can put out there.

03-31-2007, 02:20 PM
Experience. There is nothing like experience, and it was probably our biggest handicap this year. Gonzaga returns 6 guys who started at one time or another this year. The adversity we dealt with this year will make us tougher next year. The humility of being the team with the most losses durning Mark Few's tenyor at GU will inspire the Zags to work harder then they've ever worked. These young men will be motivated in a way that other Zags have not been. They will have something to prove. This motivation will also be a huge key to success. I think the downfall of the 06-07 Zags was leadership, or lack of may be a better description. I think we will have excellent leadership this year: Pendo, Pargo and Brown. I think these guys will keep Josh and Theo on track. Talent is also very important, and we have plenty of that.

I think the biggest key to success next year will be our toughness. Bob alluded to it when he talked about athletic builds. We were NOT tough enough to beat Indiana in the tournament, and I sincerely doubt that we would have been tough enough to beat many of the teams in the tournament. I think Ira Brown will bring that kind of athletic toughness and I think Theo Davis will also. If LG plays he will certainly bring this quality to the team. I feel Sacre will also do that. I look forward to seeing a much tougher team in 07-08.

On offense we need some guys who can attack the basket, and draw the foul. I think that's a strength of Pargo, but we need a lot more of it at the wing. Too often, the Zags settled for jump shots. I believe that Ira Brown and Larry G are both athletic slashers who will attack the basket very well. Brown is like 235 and 6'4" tall and I imagine him to be very athletic. And we have good 3 pt shooters in Downs, Heytvelt, Pendo, Daye and Gray. Gray has also shown that he can attack the hoop. I think we have very good passers as well. Bouldin is probably as good a passer as anyone around. I am thinking he will run our offense next year. Pargo will play and attack from the top of the key as well because it is one of his strengths.

I think Bob is correct about the points. Because we have so many offensive weapons on our team next year the guys are going to have to share minutes. We will have a totally awesome bench: Pendo, Kuso, Daye, Brown, LG, Sacre and Gray. I believe Theo Davis will be the 5th starter we're talking about. If tired legs were a problem this year, it certainly won't be next year. :D These guys on the bench will be logging in some minutes: Pendo, Brown, Daye, Gray, Sacre, LG and Kuso. When I look at this bench it could be the second best team in the WCC.

We know there will be injuries. There always are. And having the guys that we have who are just waiting for a chance to play, will be the insurance we need.

Downs: 15 ppg
Heyvelt: 13 ppg 9 Boards
Pargo: 11 ppg 4 assists 4 boards
Bouldin: 11 ppg 7 assists
Davis: 07 ppg 5 Boards
Pendo: 09 ppg 5 Boards

03-31-2007, 02:28 PM
If we press and fall back to a zone I'd like to see:


Or if the other team runs man to man defense primarily, I'd like to see:

Sacre/Davis/(and possibly even Foster)

The first line up would be a little weak as far as strength goes, but they would be long and athletic and should be a nightmare if allowed to press. The second line up would present some major match up problems for most teams. With a line up at 6'5, 6'8, 6'10, 6'11, 7'0 that still has skilled guys like Bouldin/Micah/Daye/& even Heytvelt on the court other teams' smaller guards would have a difficult time matching up. I think both Bouldin and Micah have the defensive skill and quickness to guard smaller guards man to man, but it still might require a zone since I'm not sure Daye or Heytvelt can guard smaller/quicker forwards man to man.

Now my actual guess as to the starting line up is:


We'd be bringing a big guy (Kuso, Davis, Sacre, Foster) in as the 6th man.

03-31-2007, 03:05 PM
This is the 2nd time I've seen BZ list players for next year with the notable absence of PMac. Has it just been an oversight twice, or is there some information to be gleaned from these posts?

03-31-2007, 03:10 PM
G-Town's starting 5's weight--

188# (only 6'1" so still well-built)

That's a lot of beef, especially upfront. But it's not just beef, it's very, very talented guys. No slow oafs.

The good news: Zags will be roughly as big, particularly in backcourt, save for Downs who has not bulked up to over 200#. Downs will likely be the only starter under 200#.

With the added depth, pressing should become a common sight for fans.

03-31-2007, 04:21 PM
BZ - you're probably right about the guards scoring a little less. I still do think that Heytvelt's ppg will stay about the same or maybe go up a little because he'll be our only tested offensive threat down low to start off the season. As our other low-post players develop and get more game-time, it may go down over the season, but to start I think he'll be up. And I think we can hadd a few ppg onto that very conservative scoring estimate. I'm pretty sure we'll break 80 ppg average. IMO. Anyway...

Interesting point about the weights. It seemed to me that a lot of games were being allowed to be very physical this year, even more than usual (and even outside the Big East and Big 10) so that probably has something to do with it.

03-31-2007, 04:33 PM
Gonzaga University Florida Gators
Heytvelt 6'11" 240 Hortford 6'10" 245
Kuso 6'9" 230 Noah 6'11" 230
Davis 6'9" 200 Richards 6'9" 255
Ira Brown 6'4" 235 Brewer 6'9" 185
Sacre 7'0" 230 Green 6'0" 177
Pendo 6'5" 225 Humphrey 6'2" 192
Bouldin 6'5" 214 Hodge 6'0" 170
Larry G 6'5" 200
Pargo 6'2" 220 UCLA
Downs 6'8" 180 Mata 6'9" 240
Daye 6'10" 180 Mabh a Moute 6'8" 230
Gray 6'4" 190 Wright 6'8" 240
Oboya 6'8" 235
Shipp 6'5" 220
Afflalo 6'5" 215 ????
Westbrook 6'3" 187
Collison 6'1" 165

03-31-2007, 07:18 PM
Your'e point being....we win on the see-saw?