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View Full Version : Wow! SSF - Great Interview Canada Jr. Nat. Coach Greg Francis



ZagNative
08-31-2009, 08:51 PM
Really good stuff at Slipper Still Fits (http://www.slipperstillfits.com/2009/8/31/1009347/a-few-good-questions-with-canadian)!
The Slipper Still Fits: Through NEDA and the National team, you have been working with Manny for the past two years. Where have you seen the greatest growth in his game since you started working with him?

Greg Francis: Actually Manny went from not being heavily recruited since he's from Edmonton and there was not a lot of schools here looking at him. Like I said he went from no schools and really started working really hard two years ago at NEDA and wound up putting on 20 pounds of muscle, worked on his shot and decision making to the point where he was one of the leading scorers a year ago. In terms of the world stage, I would say that he is now a top 5 wing in the world and that is a big thing at the junior level and I know that he has big aspirations on the senior level at Gonzaga.
TSSF: When Manny committed to Gonzaga, he was not a name that was known very well in America. Were there other schools showing interest in Manny before his commitment, and what was it about Gonzaga that he fell in love with?

GF: For all of Canada but mainly the Western Canadian provinces, Gonzaga is seen as one of the best schools in the US, definitely in the West. Manny had a chance to try out for the junior team ahead of his class with Rob Sacre and when he signed on with Gonzaga, that was really big for kids and student-athletes around here. As soon as Gonzaga got involved with Manny it was basically done unless a school like Duke or Carolina were to come into play.Read the rest of the post here (http://www.slipperstillfits.com/2009/8/31/1009347/a-few-good-questions-with-canadian).

That's just one of the most "pithy" interviews I've seen in a long time, packed with great info. A lot of people here will be interested in this snippet:
TSSF: Lastly, are there any younger Canadians that you recommend Gonzaga fans keep their eyes on. We have heard names like Emerson Murry and Kevin Pangos. We've even heard people claim that Pangos is the next Steve Nash.

[GF]: Probably in terms of guards it is Kevin Pangos. He has a couple years in high school to figure out if Gonzaga would take him but he can create for others and is a true point guard and is perfect for the team game that is played at Gonzaga.

I hope Kevin gets the chance to play his own way and has a lot of potential but as a point guard I hate to compare a kid to someone like a Steve Nash because he needs to keep developing even though he is already pretty well developed for his age. But there is no doubt that he definitely has the passion and flare for the game.

MDABE80
08-31-2009, 08:54 PM
One of the top 5 wings in the world? What! Let's get this kid a uniform!!;) I like guys given to hyperbole. Francis sound likes somepone we should know.

ronh_pm
08-31-2009, 09:38 PM
Please pass on my congrats to BuffZag on the outstanding interview with Coach Francis.

His opinion of Manny reinforces what we have seen from him over the summer though I think the comparison with Bol may be a little unfair given that Bol hasn't actually played a whole lot of competitive ball lately.

Regarding Olynyk, I know you (TSSF) have him picked to Red-shirt but as I have maintained to a few here, I will be surprised and dissappointed if he does.

Though I do not know the numbers game and present personel as well as most here, I have seen plenty of Kelly and I think Francis sums it up nicely when he says, "he's different, and I've never seen many players like him"

I hope he gets a chance to get minutes because he can score in a structured offence, he can pass like no one I have seen outside of a guard position and at 6-11 is becoming a big man who will block shots and rebound.

Lastly, Mr. Francis may not have singled out Emerson when asked, but as a final cut for the U-19 team when he had just turned 17, M.O. will be well up on everyones charts by the end of this season. As they sum up in a SLAM magazine article, "Emerson Murray is arguably the top PG that the Class of 2010 has to offer from North of the border."

Thanks again for the read.

Ron

thespywhozaggedme
08-31-2009, 10:00 PM
[GF]: Probably in terms of guards it is Kevin Pangos. He has a couple years in high school to figure out if Gonzaga would take him but he can create for others and is a true point guard and is perfect for the team game that is played at Gonzaga.


Pretty soon, I'm gonna have to ask to be named an official scout. :)

CDC84
08-31-2009, 10:50 PM
The thing that Francis keeps coming back to again and again is Manny's effort on both ends of the floor. He's absolutely relentless. I am really looking forward to watching him play.

Baldwinzag
09-01-2009, 05:14 AM
Great interview by SSF. As always, thanks for the excellent reporting.

It was interesting to hear Coach Francis state Bol's defense is his weakness and needs work at the next level. I posted a few wks ago the exact same concern re: Bol. I mentioned if I were a Bball Scout(which I'm certainly not), I'd be excited about both Manny and Bol, yet I would rank Manny the more polished prospect on both ends of the floor at this point. Most people disagreed. My point was that Bol appeared slightly "lazy" on the defense and never once fought through a defensive screen and had a consistent problem of staying in front of his man defensively.

Manny was quite the opposite and seemed to always come up with the deflection, steal, and effectively pressing his man at the point of attack. Manny just makes things happen; whether he's slashing to the hoop, pulling up to make a contested mid-range shot, snagging the offensive board, making a critical steal, passing to his teammates underneath, going up for the dunk, swishing a three, or blocking a shot, the kid is the complete package. He's like Larry Gurganious yet with a polished offensive game. Given his array of talents, I believe Manny has Superstar potential written all over him. Its not a surprise that Jerry Meyer selected Manny amongst numerous others as the "most underrated player and/or biggest impact player" of the '09 Class.


Posted on 8/12/09 re: Bol and Manny:

After viewing 2/3 of Bol's games, I must say he is as good as advertised in many areas of the game and flashes a ton of potential as a tremendous guard/forward. Bol actually exhibited much better fundamentals and perimeter shot than I expected from him. Kong definitely has the ability to be another 3pt threat on this team along with Gray, Bouldin, Gibbs, et al. I am impressed by his natural athleticism, shot, slashing ability, and length as a defender. I anticipate Bol developing into an outstanding SF while at GU.

BUT....

Bol doesn't look quite as polished as Manny Arop to me. I recall many saying on this board Bol was a taller and better version of Manny. From what I saw in the two games, he doesn't have nor display Manny's natural feel, court vision, man-to-man defense, or quickness. To be honest, if I were a bball scout, I'd be drooling over both of these players; however, I'd rate Manny a bit higher as a future prospect. Just my opinion.

Also, while Bol is an excellent player, he has a tendency to take plays off and rely too much on his natural ability. Bol doesn't seem to hustle much, but its not really his fault since it isn't required against the competition he's facing. He's far better than his opponents. I can't recall one screen Bol attempted to fight through on defense or for offensive boards. He displayed great instincts on the defensive side, but if any player(big or small) tried to screen Bol, he lost his defender almost everytime. Thankfully, these "areas of improvement" are all very coachable and I'm certain Coach Few will correct the slight laziness Bol plays with on defense and offense. If anyone else on his team took a shot, he just would stare at the basket and never went for the board.

This is all fixable and Bol will not see PT @ GU until he willingly goes for rebounds, fights through screens, and hustles down the court. Again, I loved what I saw from him, but he has a lot of work to do to be a major contributor by next season. I think he just need organized basketball and solid coaching. Considering the talent Bol has, I'm willing to lower expectations and be patient for his game to come together.

BroncoZAG615
09-01-2009, 07:33 AM
Thanks for the kind words. All the credit goes to theothegreat21. He did the legwork.

It was pretty amazing talking to Greg Francis because he is definitely one of the pillars of Canadian basketball. He played his college ball at Fairfield in the states and in 1997 they came damn close to becoming the first 16 to upset a 1 as they took Carolina down to the wire. Francis had 26 points in that game off EIGHT three-pointers. He also played in the 2000 Olympics in Sweden.

The guy knows his stuff and it doesn't sound like he is the type of guy to exaggerate or use hyperbole about the game of basketball. That being said, what he had to say about our new guys, especially Kelly, has gotten me very excited.

Reborn
09-01-2009, 07:50 AM
I like, and agree with everything he said about Olynyk. I think Kelly is going to be a great player at GU. I've seen his videos and really like what I saw. His ability to handle the ball AND pass is what I was impressed with. And I was so glad to see that he didn't think that Kelly was that much like Austin, other than his height. First, Kelly is MUCH heavier...and he handles the ball well, and passes. Austin was the worst passer on the team last year. I just do not remember Austin making that many passes, and I DO remember his turnovers. I know that fans like to see players score (I know I do), but in the tougher games, in which he didn't score as much, he always seemed to rebound pretty good. I think that is important. And I know Mark Few likes him a lot too, and said that he felt Kelly WOULD BE a contributer this year.

ZagNative
09-01-2009, 08:29 AM
I was so glad to see that he didn't think that Kelly was that much like Austin, other than his height. First, Kelly is MUCH heavier..Yeah, that Kelly's a chunk. For goodness sake, somebody get that kid to push away from the dinner table once in a while! ;)

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Zags/Recruits/2009%20Recruits/Kelly%20Ollynyk/2009-03-12KellyOlynykprovincialcham.jpg

BroncoZAG615
09-01-2009, 09:29 AM
I like, and agree with everything he said about Olynyk. I think Kelly is going to be a great player at GU. I've seen his videos and really like what I saw. His ability to handle the ball AND pass is what I was impressed with. And I was so glad to see that he didn't think that Kelly was that much like Austin, other than his height. First, Kelly is MUCH heavier...and he handles the ball well, and passes. Austin was the worst passer on the team last year. I just do not remember Austin making that many passes, and I DO remember his turnovers. I know that fans like to see players score (I know I do), but in the tougher games, in which he didn't score as much, he always seemed to rebound pretty good. I think that is important. And I know Mark Few likes him a lot too, and said that he felt Kelly WOULD BE a contributer this year.

I would be off the walls ecstatic if Kelly played like Austin Daye. Austin and Kelly's journey to Gonzaga is remarkably similar. Both started out in high school around 6'3'' and shot up like a weed during high school up to their current stature. Both began as guards and had to grow into a larger role. It's pretty amazing that Austin was able to figure everything out in time and get into the NBA with such a new body type. Kelly will have to do the same thing. I thought Austin was a very good passer with good vision but he did struggle holding onto the ball in traffic.

Kelly did struggle with turnovers at the FIBA tourney and will struggle initially here. He's still learning how to best use his body to rebound as well. Like Coach Francis said, the good rebounding by Kelly is a pretty new feature in his game.

BobZag
09-01-2009, 09:34 AM
I've said it before but Arop's body has gone from skinny to manly in a short time. I can't even imagine what he'll look like next year or in two or three years. Perhaps similar to Erroll Knight but he has much more natural offense in his game. Very exciting stuff.

As for Kelly... He may have played his way out of any redshirt talk with his summer play. If that carries over into practices and scrimmages here at GU, I don't know Few redshirts him.

MickMick
09-01-2009, 05:25 PM
There is no way that Kelly redshirts if Bol doesn't arrive. Few needs all the players over 6'5" he can get.

BobZag
09-01-2009, 05:52 PM
I know Kelly had too many turnovers in Fiba competition, but I remember following Austin's games and he'd pile up a ton of turnovers in his high school games. I think tall kids who just had a quick growth spurt have this problem.

OZZY
09-01-2009, 07:32 PM
Great to see theothegreat21 taking up my (OZZag) suggestion to interview Greg. The demise of NEDA was a real loss to Canadian basketball, and frustrating for the many avid followers of the Canadian game. I agree BZ, if Bol does not make it over Kelly will most likely need to play (especially from what has been said about Harris being more of a 3 than a 4). Kelly may end up getting minutes at the 3 and the 4 during the year if he plays. The other thing that was noted is that Kelly is still growing.....

I have no doubt that before their careers are over this group of Zag Canadians (including Big Rob) will have earned their places in Zag history.

I think that this year the WCC will have some very special Freshman enter the fray.


This summer has been way too long! :(

OZZY
09-01-2009, 09:56 PM
So why was NEDA cut from Canada Basketball's so called "long term development model"? If everyone here beleives NEDA is the answer to boosting the grassroots model of basketball in Canada, shouldnt the government be made aware of how important NEDA is to the success of Basketball in Canada? Why arent people lobbying to keep NEDA active, seems to me that NEDA has the potential to consistently produce high level canadian basketball players all while succeeding academically and playing with teammates who they will be familiar with representing canada on the big stage. I have always wondered why given the success of Grassroots Canada and RO RUSSELL with the grassroots program, why hasnt Canada Basketball offered MR. RUSSELL a coaching position with the junior men or senior men? Seems to me he is qualified and has the track record of producing very good players like Denham Brown, Jonny Flynn, Junior Cadougan, Tristan Thmpson, Myck Kabongo and more. Seems odd to me that the grassroots site is not even acknowledged on Canada Basketball's Official Site.....????

Link to Grassroots Canada Site
http://grassrootscanadabasketball.com/index.html

BRAY this is a Zags site, please leave your rants re Canadian Basketball to other more suitable forums.