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Zerogame
02-12-2010, 07:36 PM
The last couple of years the call was for the Zags to get tougher. Their downfall was Zags perceived softness against OOC foes. Now they appear to be as gritty as teams of old. So my question is; what happened to bring that toughness back. Was it one guy, coaching, or a combination of both? Who gets credit for the transformation?

I loved those guys, but this group really plays and thinks as a team.

zaguarxj
02-12-2010, 07:44 PM
The players' parents.

SunDevilGolfZag
02-12-2010, 07:46 PM
To loosely quote one of our current star players, "The prima donnas are gone."

Zagatak
02-12-2010, 07:52 PM
They watched, "The Decade of Excellence."

mendiant
02-12-2010, 07:55 PM
To loosely quote one of our current star players, "The prima donnas are gone."

Some fans are saying that as well...

But really, we have never had a lot of pds.

Young team.

The seniors must mentor...

Not only are the "PDs" gone, there is no opportunity to be one.

This is Zag BB.

SunDevilGolfZag
02-12-2010, 07:56 PM
Mendiant, +1 on your comments

GoZags
02-12-2010, 08:21 PM
Having Ray here helps.

cscz28
02-12-2010, 09:33 PM
I honestly think it is all due to the players themselves as opposed to any systematic change in philosophy or whatever. Perhaps Few and co. made that a focal point during recruiting to get the type of player that is mentally and physically tougher than their peers.

billyberu
02-12-2010, 09:46 PM
Having Ray here helps.

No one can deny this. He has brought a new identity to the Zags. And I'm not one to believe this defensive mentality began just this year. It began when Ray was hired and is being refined and honed into one well-balanced philosophy.

mainer6
02-12-2010, 09:47 PM
Having Ray here helps.

EWU was tough when Ray G coached them (made the dance and nearly beat OkState). They used to end practices by lining up and taking charges from each player and cheering like mad for eachother. Since he left they have been soft and bad.
I bet Ray has been around long enough now to have buy in from all players--not just some, like last year.

Colbyspapa
02-12-2010, 09:47 PM
I think it is Harris coupled with so many new guys needing to prove themselves.

Elias came to GU and in his first scrimage started dunking on people. He beat people up with his physical play and the others followed suit. They are winners and no one wanted to back down. I would guess some games are a cake walk compared to practice.

All these young guys came in wanting to prove themselves. The upperclassmen didn't want to lose their PT so they stepped it up. I've always felt MB is a mentally strong person and player so he has thrived under the physical play.

Finally, Casey Calvary beat up Rob all summer. If anyone is going to make you tough, its Casey.

These are just my thoughts.

MDABE80
02-12-2010, 09:51 PM
A series of thigs have happened. Matt saw "soft" and didn't like it. He's the leader now and has installed "toughness" IMO. As the esteemed GZ points out, Ray's here and he's always a tough coach and likes the grittiness of things. A big thing is that Elias is here and he just "nails". Another factor is that the other players are here now. Meech has always been a scrapper. So Rob comes along and , being coached by Casey, he's taken on that mantle as well.

My sense of it is that multiple factors have intervened. It's just the kids we have and it looks like this "toughness" quality has been infectious. It works. Coaches love it. Even Will's changed! Ask Omar..lol.. When coaches reward it, it continues...

BCZag
02-12-2010, 09:54 PM
They got tougher when they brought in kids who grew up watching hockey...

Jedster
02-12-2010, 10:20 PM
There is so much talent 1-10 on the roster that the players know if they want to play they will have to play the way the coaches want to play. I don't remember a GU team as deep as this. There is someone constantly pushing you for your time, so you better bring your best every time. With Coach G instilling his tough brand of D, you better bring it.

TM27
02-12-2010, 11:26 PM
Matt saw "soft" and didn't like it. He's the leader now and has installed "toughness" IMO. As the esteemed GZ points out, Ray's here and he's always a tough coach and likes the grittiness of things.


There is so much talent 1-10 on the roster...

+1

1) Tone at the top...
1a) Competition breeds excellence...

MickMick
02-12-2010, 11:34 PM
We have guys playing under the rim consistently. The Zags are rebounding and getting second chance points. A missed shot is no longer akin to a turnover. The Zags have speed, size, depth, and hops. A great defensive combination when tenacity is invoked.

This more than compensates for inconsistent scoring from the 1 position and poor free throw shooting.

Bocco
02-13-2010, 12:44 AM
We have guys playing under the rim consistently. The Zags are rebounding and getting second chance points. A missed shot is no longer akin to a turnover. The Zags have speed, size, depth, and hops. A great defensive combination when tenacity is invoked.

This more than compensates for inconsistent scoring from the 1 position and poor free throw shooting.

From watching this team this year, it is my feeling that our 1 (Meech) is not playing nor do the coaches expect him to play a traditional 1. He is not expect to get assists, he is expected to get the ball up court asap and then give the ball to Bouldin to run the offense. He is also expected to play defense, not turn the ball over, and to look for opportunities to score, but not force them...he does need to improve on his ft's - perhaps Will can give him some pointers.;)

In reference to "what happened" more than anything (imho) this is Matt's team and it reflects his passion and determination. From the beginning of this season compared to the past few years, the biggest difference I have seen is the defensive intensity. Until the last three games it has been there for most of the game, but there have been stretches where it disappeared, and for some games was almost never there. In the last three it has been there the entire game. He does need to improve on his ft's (perhaps Will can give him some pointers

The entire year has been a building process, and hopefully this team has not peaked and will continue to improve.

Zag79
02-13-2010, 02:05 AM
From watching this team this year, it is my feeling that our 1 (Meech) is not playing nor do the coaches expect him to play a traditional 1. He is not expect to get assists, he is expected to get the ball up court asap and then give the ball to Bouldin to run the offense. He is also expected to play defense, not turn the ball over, and to look for opportunities to score, but not force them...

bingo. just like pargos job was to distribute more than score last year. sometimes a player is doing what the coach wants, not what a fan hopes he will.

alaskazagnut
02-13-2010, 03:03 AM
1. They coulda beat Michigan State if they rebounded better.
2. They woulda beat Wake Forest if Harris didn't get ejected.
3. They shoulda beat San Francisco. Period.

Those three loses lit a fire under their arses!! They are responding both as a team with good chemistry and as individuals as to what their roles are.

It all comes down to: them understanding each other in Mark Fews system, the PT it needed to get there, and leave individual stats at the door and run and gun as a team. Then apply pressure defense the entire game and we can beat anyone PERIOD!!!

They know this now. IMO. IMHO.

1973Zag
02-13-2010, 06:20 AM
Think Bob got it---Those who could be PD's(Matt,EH), aren't---Everyone else must fight for playing time. Matt has set the tone

applezag
02-13-2010, 07:47 AM
It's simple. Look at the personnel and look at what has changed:

1. Pargo/Meech
2. Bouldin/Bouldin
3. Downs/Gray
4. Daye/Harris
5. Heytvelt/Sacre

Coaches do make a difference, but it's usually pretty early in a player's career and it is very hard to change the general approach a kid has to the game (Izzo is the best at this). If you add a bench with Arop and Olynik to this, it's a pretty tough group that enjoys mixing it up physically. You just couldn't say that about the last several Zag teams. They'd do it every now and then, but it wasn't the norm.

thespywhozaggedme
02-13-2010, 11:04 AM
Addition by subtraction.

ID ZAGFAN
02-13-2010, 11:17 AM
Grit happened! :D

ID ZAGFAN

americasteam
02-13-2010, 11:37 AM
What happened? All the things above in all the posts! We've always been known for finesse, offense, etc, but now we've got some D! Our physicality is getting us rebounds, we're tougher. That will help us in the NCAA tourney; can't just rely on offense to get us through!

Every position on the team is better at defense than in the past - Meech, Gray, Bouldin are all better. Harris and Sacre are all about the pounding, and throw in Arop and Olynck who go after rebounds....Awesome results!

bartruff1
02-13-2010, 06:25 PM
Well...I am no Inspector Clouseau but if I was investigating Mini Mart holdups and I saw the same person at 280 of them over a ten year period...that is what they call a clue... like in " get a clue"....:)

mendiant
02-13-2010, 10:03 PM
Ray has made a huge difference in the defensive toughness of the team...

Few and Ray really complement eachother.