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ZagNative
10-18-2009, 05:34 PM
I was just watching KREM 2 news at 6:30 pm, and there was a bit of a rerun of what we already saw on the video from KREM 2 about the first practice. This time, Coach Few said once again that he's been trying to coax Steven Gray into more of a leadership role. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but Coach Few sounded almost frustrated about Steven's reluctance.

What's up with Steven? He's such a great player, but is he just constitutionally incapable of assuming a greater leadership role?

MickMick
10-18-2009, 05:56 PM
My guess:

With so many new players, coach needs all the help he can get. He is probably one frustrated dude right now. He needs every single player that is familiar with the system to help out on the simple stuff.

Where to lineup, when to move, when to stop.... The most basic stuff that he typically doesn't have to spend much time on.

He is probably just venting from the overall frustration. The drills probably look like they are all in slow motion right now.


Meanwhile, the Pilots are probably running crisp drills blindfolded.

We are doomed....

NotoriousZ
10-18-2009, 06:18 PM
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think it's in Gray's nature to be a leader. I'll bet that he's going to shoot the lights out this year, and you can throw in a game-winner or two. But it seems to me like he's a happy go lucky, go with the flow kind of guy, and that's o.k. by me--he's got to just keep shooting those daggers. He's not going to play the point (we've got two + Bouldin) so do we really need him to lead? And you know Sacre's going to throw his weight around big time also, so if you were a freshman and he told you to do something, what would you do?

Anyway, I'll go out of a limb and say that Steven leads the team in scoring and Matt, Meech, GJ, and Sacre will take on the other leadership roles.

OZZY
10-18-2009, 07:18 PM
I tend to agree, Matt will be the team leader with Meach and Big Rob as the deputies. perhaps the load needs to be taken off Stephen to allow him to focus on his game.....

CDC84
10-18-2009, 08:03 PM
I am sure Few realizes that Steven is never going to be a rah! rah! rah! type leader. That's not in his nature.

But Steven can lead by example.

I feel Few's frustration with Steven is clearly about his lack of consistent aggressiveness as a player. He is more talented than what we have seen so far. His lack of aggressiveness is holding him back from realizing his potential. It's also important that he show more aggressiveness to set a proper example for the underclassmen.

I think Steven has reached a crossroads. He is either going to turn it on this year or he is going to become another kid with a load of ability that never maturated. I hope it's the former.

ZagNative
10-18-2009, 08:35 PM
Of course, I'm not sure what Coach Few is looking for from Steven ... But I think of the exchange that was reported on after Matt went into Tennessee and played brilliantly, from a column by Seth Davis (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/seth_davis/01/08/gonzaga/index.html):
Nobody played better than Bouldin, who showed toughness and versatility in the win. When the Zags needed outside shooting, Bouldin drilled long jumpers and a pair of three-pointers. When they were in need of a post-up presence, he set up shop down low and spun his way to the basket. He ran the point, took every big shot and played all but three minutes. The result was a 26-point, five-assist, four-rebound effort that may have been his best performance in his three years at Gonzaga.

The groundwork for that effort was laid Wednesday afternoon in a banquet room on the first floor of the Knoxville Marriott. Few spent much of the day behind closed doors holding his standard, mid-season individual player meetings. Most of the meetings lasted around 10 minutes, but his tete-a-tete with Bouldin stretched to half an hour. "I told him, you've got to be the best, the savviest guard in the country," Few said. "You can break presses, you can score off the drive, you can hit threes, you can post up ... I think sometimes he just plays. I want him being more accountable for how a game ends up, not just be anonymous out there and in the flow."

Said Bouldin, "The meeting was really constructive. I learned a lot about how I needed to change my approach to the game. It was good to get things off my chest as well.I seem to remember he also had a lengthy meeting with Steven that day as well. what did Coach Few say to Steven? that he wanted him to be more accountable for how a game ends up?

Or is he now additionally looking to Steven for teaching the young guys the system and bringing them along? Is he looking to Steven to be more of a mentor to this flock of young chicks? Or both - being more accountable for the outcome of games himself, and also feeling somewhat accountable for the youngsters learning the system and the tricks of the trade, from a player's poing of view?

I'd love to hear that Steven is doing that.

JPtheBeasta
10-19-2009, 03:07 AM
I am sure Few realizes that Steven is never going to be a rah! rah! rah! type leader. That's not in his nature.

But Steven can lead by example.

I feel Few's frustration with Steven is clearly about his lack of consistent aggressiveness as a player. He is more talented than what we have seen so far. His lack of aggressiveness is holding him back from realizing his potential. It's also important that he show more aggressiveness to set a proper example for the underclassmen.

I think Steven has reached a crossroads. He is either going to turn it on this year or he is going to become another kid with a load of ability that never maturated. I hope it's the former.

I think that whole idea is at the heart of quotes from Few like the one ZagNative dug up:

"I think sometimes he just plays. I want him being more accountable for how a game ends up, not just be anonymous out there and in the flow."

If Mr. Gray looks to put his fingerprint on the game, every game, he will make us all happier fans. I love that he gets his shot out of the offense and doesn't force the issue; he does the proverbial "let the game come to you" thing very well. However, I think there are opportunities he missed in the past by being too passive. I believe it was the Sphinx, from Mystery Men (or maybe Mr. Brady from the Brady Bunch), who said that it is better to try and fail than fail to try.

Didn't Few recently say something to the effect of, "If I had a stroke as great as Steven's I would shoot every time I had the ball(?)" I've also heard coaches on multiple occasions encourage kids with the idea that when you are a great shooter, you let your team down more by passing up an open shot than by taking it and missing. I know there is a fine balance here, but I am of the opinion that Few wants Gray to lead by being more aggressive and scoring more points.

I admired Pargo for having that go-to-guy mentality- but he didn't quite have the tools to take him to that upper echelon (no hating on Pargo here). Few has said, more or less, that Gray could be an elite player if he can get his mind right and harness all of his natural talents. It is frustrating to see a player blessed with great physical gifts but not necessarily the mentality to make it all happen, and vice versa. I hope Steven finds it because, although I think he is already a special player, the sky is the limit for him.

MickMick
10-19-2009, 04:39 AM
Gray was competing with upperclassmen and Austin for being an impact player. I don't think his personality type would be that of a person to impose his will on those players.

He has got to be of the mindset "It is my turn now". I have no doubt that he will. I expect he will challenge Matt and a handfull of other WCC players like Lowhorn, Samhan, and Campbell for WCC player of the year. No one should be shocked if Steven is one of the league leaders in scoring this year. In fact, I expect it.

Reborn
10-19-2009, 05:31 AM
Personally, I don't see anything to worry about when it comes to Steven. I think he's a great player and will be much better this year than in any previous year. I think it's a maturing process, maturing as a basketball player. I would say that last year Steven was on equal par with Micah and that's pretty darn good for a Sophmore. It was Micah's last year to prove himself, and I'm glad he was able to. Glad for Micah.

Steven is not going to be the same player this year that he was last. It's not the same team. Last year he had a certain role and that role will change this year. The question being posed is, "can he step up, and take on a new role?" I don't understand all the doubt. Of course he can! It's the natural progression from Sophomore year to Junior year. I think it's the year you see the biggest leap. I am looking forward to seeing the new Steven Gray. Go Steven!!

cjm720
10-19-2009, 07:19 AM
We absolutely need Gray to step up his leadership. I do think CDC nailed it, and to add, he's one of three upperclassmen this year and will be the only senior on this team next year. Few needs his leadership and needs it soon...we have a ton of material, we just need some glue.

Go Zags!!!

gamagin
10-19-2009, 07:26 AM
a leader has to emerge. I don't know who will be the de facto leader of this team. It likely will fall to Matt and, if so, he's got to step up. Same with Steven.

It's no small matter because the team was or seemed rudderless too often, for too many critical minutes, last year, imo.

frankly, I'd rather see more confidence & maturity in our veterans than leadership, given a choice. For it is through confidence and maturity on the floor, during the game, that leadership emerges.

I want SG & MB to want the ball at critical moments and I want them making the kinds of decisions that enhance our chances of winning a game, catching up or keeping everyone else focused and driving, knowing what to do and confident that if they are open, the ball will be in their hands.

And finally, knowing what to do and doing it. Which in their case would be taking their best shots. With confidence.

So the floor leader could easily be Meech. The de facto leader could be MB or even SG or Sacre or Elias.

I don't think it matters so much who I'd like to see or who it winds up being as everyone on the floor knows who that person is, what their role is and, thus, there is little, if any, confusion on the floor when the clock is running. It doesn't mean everything runs perfectly, it just means there are few deer in the headlights moments.

I think that mindset is what Few is saying about SG, what his challenge will be and how best he can contribute. He has the talent. He just needs to bring it and turn it loose when it counts most. And this is the season to do it.


Sic 'Em Zags !

Reborn
10-19-2009, 07:31 AM
I enjoyed your post, gamagin, with some good insights.

CDC84
10-19-2009, 07:51 AM
I think part of the problem with Gray is that there is too much talk about him being a "shooter." He's not just a shooter - he's a scorer. When he was in high school he played in the post and scored from everywhere.

You know, there were some very athletic players on last year's team. Pargo, Ira Brown, Downs, etc. But before last season, all of the players had their verticals measured, and Steven Gray had the highest vertical leap of them all. But I can only recall one instance in a game last year where I got to see how high he can get off the ground, and that was a play at Portland where he dunked with several defenders around him. I really didn't see anything else.

Coach O
10-19-2009, 01:34 PM
I think part of the problem with Gray is that there is too much talk about him being a "shooter." He's not just a shooter - he's a scorer. When he was in high school he played in the post and scored from everywhere.

You know, there were some very athletic players on last year's team. Pargo, Ira Brown, Downs, etc. But before last season, all of the players had their verticals measured, and Steven Gray had the highest vertical leap of them all. But I can only recall one instance in a game last year where I got to see how high he can get off the ground, and that was a play at Portland where he dunked with several defenders around him. I really didn't see anything else.

As Steven's high school coach, I agree with the above, although Steven didn't play the post for us. We ran a few plays to get him the ball in the paint, but that was about it. He played a similar role as he does for the Zags...off guard and open floor point (if the ball came to him). Steven can do a little bit of everything. He showed that vs UConn last year and how he attacked the basket.

Everyone has seen the glimpses of the type of great ball player Steven can be. He did play at a much more consistent level in high school. The difference is way too complicated and it is really up to Steven and where he is mentally. He is a bright kid and is definitely a natural and lead by example type person. I like how Few is challenging him and I believe with a challenge and the weight of responsibility, Steven will step up. Gonzaga needs positive leadership this year with the strong personalities of Pargo/Heytvelt gone. Matt and Steven will have to fill that void in their own way. IMHO you can't force leadership style. You have to help the player realize his leadership strengths and encourage him to bring it out for the betterment of the team. If Steven doesn't perform as an all-around player, it will hurt his team and there are guys like Kong that are ready to take his spot.

I really like the potential of the team this year. Gonzaga basketball is at it's best with a major presence in the middle and Sacre has a chance to do this to take the pressure off the guards. Their backcourt is special and the new players are flat out good. If everything clicks, I believe they have a chance to go deep into the tourney. But...it is just potential. The players, especially Matt and Steven, will have to decide what kind of season it is going to be.

Go Zags!

CDC84
10-19-2009, 01:55 PM
Thanks for the insight, as always, Coach Orness.

ZagNative
10-19-2009, 01:59 PM
Going through my photo album, there sure aren't many photos of Steven leaping, but this one going over Chris McKnight of Akron showed he can still do it:

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Zags/Steven%20Gray/2009-03-19StevenGrayAkron5.jpg

And this one, of him going up to shoot at the Old Spice Classic November 30, 2008, between Bobby Maze and Tyler Smith was nice, too:

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Zags/Steven%20Gray/2008-11-30StevenGrayTennesseeBudWit.jpg

Still, there aren't many like that in the album, and we know from high school, he's more than capable ...

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Zags/Steven%20Gray/StevenDunks.jpg

http://i237.photobucket.com/albums/ff232/ZagNative/Zags/Steven%20Gray/Stevenleaping.jpg

gamagin
10-19-2009, 02:01 PM
Do you think Steven has reached the level of maturity he will need to employ all those skills for this season ?

He's alsways shown flashes of brilliance, but I'm hoping he is ready for 40 minutes (or his share of those minutes) each game, for a whole season. What do you think ?

thanks,

Coach O
10-19-2009, 02:32 PM
Do you think Steven has reached the level of maturity he will need to employ all those skills for this season ?

He's alsways shown flashes of brilliance, but I'm hoping he is ready for 40 minutes (or his share of those minutes) each game, for a whole season. What do you think ?

thanks,

Most players decide what type of player they are going to be in the off-season. There is a mental shift that usually occurs and you begin to see it, as a coach, as soon as the new season begins. I was always amazed by the change in high school juniors to seniors. There was always a new mentality and confidence about this being their team now to lead. Although Steven is only a junior, I am hoping he comes with this mentality because it will bring out all his skills as a player and the Zags need him at his best this year. We will know soon enough if Steven has made that mental shift as an upperclassmen. The first game should show a lot.

I talked to Steven last night and he seemed excited about the season and the opportunities in front of him. During a late July camp he helped me with, he really seemed like he was in a good place. Just as all college kids do, he is finding out who he is as a person and who he wants to be. Truly a wonderful young man and I hope nothing but the best for him and GU this year.

BobZag
10-19-2009, 03:16 PM
Coach O is spot on.

DADoZAG
10-19-2009, 03:17 PM
Steven can do a little bit of everything. He showed that vs UConn last year and how he attacked the basket.

If Steven doesn't perform as an all-around player, it will hurt his team and there are guys like Kong that are ready to take his spot.


Most players decide what type of player they are going to be in the off-season.

You nailed it, Coach.

I'm excited by the radical change in hair style.

If you ever meet me, you'll see I'm biased, but I hope that Steven's new hair style stays and is his first salvo of released passion.

Go ZAGS!

WallaWallaZag
10-19-2009, 03:25 PM
i believe that the best form of leadership steven can take this year is to step up his game...i think it has been mostly established that he isn't the vocal take charge type of leader, but he can show better leadership by being more aggressive with his game and taking pressure off the newcomers and even matt. based on last year, i would think matt will average around 18 and steven around 15 this year, but we would definitely be better served if steven also averaged around 18. actually, i think we would be better off even if the numbers flipflopped and steven averaged 18 and matt 15.

i have to believe that steven has a higher ceiling than matt based purely on athletic ability, but matt is simply further along. if i had to put it into numbers, i would say that bouldin has played to his potential 85% while steven is maybe at 50%. i believe that the ability of steven to make a jump will determine what type of season we can have, moreso than the development of any of the freshman. we have enough newcomers that our odds are pretty good that one or two will step up and be solid if not more.

gamagin
10-19-2009, 05:09 PM
Most players decide what type of player they are going to be in the off-season. There is a mental shift that usually occurs and you begin to see it, as a coach, as soon as the new season begins. I was always amazed by the change in high school juniors to seniors. There was always a new mentality and confidence about this being their team now to lead. Although Steven is only a junior, I am hoping he comes with this mentality because it will bring out all his skills as a player and the Zags need him at his best this year. We will know soon enough if Steven has made that mental shift as an upperclassmen. The first game should show a lot.

I talked to Steven last night and he seemed excited about the season and the opportunities in front of him. During a late July camp he helped me with, he really seemed like he was in a good place. Just as all college kids do, he is finding out who he is as a person and who he wants to be. Truly a wonderful young man and I hope nothing but the best for him and GU this year.

we, too, hope for nothing but the best for Steven.

You are so right that these kids are growing and developing, too, as people as well as athletes, and some take longer than others.

As an observer, I just hope he can pull it all together for his sake and for the team as well. Because he really is the complete package.

Go Zags !