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CDC84
12-06-2010, 11:11 AM
After having spoken to a couple of basketball people after the Illinois loss whose opinions I very much respect, not only for their objectivity, but also for their insight, I think many of us, myself included, are underestimating the impact of Elias Harris’ injury problems and its effect on the team.

Make no mistake about it – some of the errors this team is making, like the now infamous 3 pointer barrage on Saturday, are things that shouldn’t be happening to the degree that they are….even if Elias is hurting.

However, the feedback I have received is universal: there is simply no way any of us can adequately judge this team and its potential until Elias gets healthy enough to where he can practice with the team on a regular basis and play extended minutes in games without getting dog tired. He is just too limited right now and too valuable to the team.

If you take Kris Joseph from Syracuse, what happens to them? If you take Derrick Williams from Arizona, what happens to them? If you take Jim Fredette from BYU, what happens to them? If you take Kemba Walker away from UConn, what happens to them?

What you get is friggin’ chaos.

The only teams who are somewhat able to get away with this kind of thing are folks like Purdue, which has two other All American level players in JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore (both seniors, BTW) to help pick up some of Robbie Hummel’s points. And even their talents couldn’t prevent a recent loss to Richmond on a neutral court.

The bottom line is that almost every single preseason publication and pundit projected Elias Harris to be one of the 12 best players in the country. That’s other people – not Gonzaga fans.

As Coach Few has said in recent press conferences, Elias has only practiced about 7-10 times since mid-October. Basically, he’s only participated in about 10% of GU practices, and his practicing has been very sporadic.

That has had an enormous impact on the staff’s ability to organize practices. It screws with what they able to work on defensively and offensively, both when scouting for opponents or implementing changes to fix weaknesses.

There is also this cloud that has been hanging over team: will Elias play, or will he not play? If he plays, how effective will he be? If he isn’t effective, how do we adjust? How do we sub him in and out to keep his energy going throughout the game, but at the same time keep him on the court enough so that his absence doesn’t hurt Gonzaga.

All of this stuff has become a huge distraction. Gonzaga needs a clear mind and all its parts working like a machine in order to face the schedule that it’s facing. In some ways I wonder if the team would just be better off shutting Elias down for awhile so that the staff and players can approach practices and games with the assumption that he won’t be there. But they really can’t do this, because Elias isn’t so hurt that he can’t contribute anything to the party.

I am hoping that this Achilles issue with Elias starts getting better and better so that he begin regularly practicing with the team and see more and more consistent minutes in games. Until that starts happening, it’s really hard to judge the team.

gamagin
12-06-2010, 11:43 AM
star, possible/touted AA candidate injured, shoulder and achilles, team suffers. any stock tips to follow from these crack observers ?

CDC84
12-06-2010, 11:46 AM
http://www.spokesman.com/zags/stories/2010/dec/05/bad-memory/


“We had four guys on the same page and one not on the same page on a couple of those. Then they got on a roll and we again didn’t adjust,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We used timeouts and went zone and we had four on the same page and one not quite on the same page. That’s a sign of not having everybody to practice and having a really young team – the conviction to stick with the game plan.”

It's not just stuff like this, but the fact that he needs to be on the court for 34 minutes in order for Gonzaga to have a chance against someone like Illinois. He needs to play for longer stretches of time in order to make any kind of significant game impact against really good teams. He can't do that right now.

75Zag
12-06-2010, 11:54 AM
The bright spot of the BIS was seeing Elias exhibit brief flashes of his talent. I can see why the NBA wants him. Hopefully he will heal and we can enjoy the full measure of his talents.

Go Bulldogs!

jim77
12-06-2010, 12:11 PM
To make matters worse ther teams get to double SG because they don't have to worry about Elias. So what needs to happen??? The other guys gotta up their game....keeping their man in front of them on "d"...and running the routes on "O" like they mean it..which should Give Meech less chances to pick up his dribble. If this team is able to pickup their game without Elias playing fulltime, imagine what they can do when he's full strength. The rest of the team can play better.

I think we got a good chance of beating WSU and Notre Dame. GO ZAGS!

tobizag
12-06-2010, 12:53 PM
elias not being healthy has certainly had a significant impact on our performance thus far. make no mistake about it.

that being said, there were too many times at the BIS where i saw elias and/or rob begging for the ball in the post (often in prime position to score/posted against an undersized defender) and the ball was reversed because our guards cannot make/will not make effective entry passes.

whatever the problem is, if we are to limit the negative impact of having elias at less than 100%, he needs to be rewarded for his hard work at positioning and given the ball in a position to do some damage.

Reborn
12-06-2010, 01:25 PM
Great threat by CDC. I really don't need to add anything to his post, but just to second it his ideas.

Hoopaholic
12-06-2010, 01:28 PM
I have stated this from the get go and still stand by my position that the 3/4 position needs to be a healthy Harris for this team to be fully functional and working on all cylinders.

His rotation Saturday (and be honest in prior games) was evident due to out of shape...he had to cheat more to the help side because of being out of shape and this caused him to have to take extra steps to close out on the shooter when he recovers thus the open looks by his man (which I counted was 4 of the three point shots ....12 points).

NOt being able to be fully effective also hinders our offense as well. He is a critical popout link on our offensive sets that if available opens up both our inside game (player cannot double down for risk of Harris taking him off the dribble on the pass back out to Harris or the ball rotation to Harris) as well as freeing up SG for open looks (Harris setting screens and YOU PICK...Jump the shooter or stay on the roll man).....
neither of these options are available with Arop (Although they WILL BE in the future as he develops comfort to take man off dribble) nor with KO.....

THirdly, out of shape or injured hurts dramatically in rebounding in particular in rotation....SG is currently having to stay deeper for rebounding efforts that normally he would not need to do.....this has a severe impact on our fastbreak efforts as SG is now 10-14 feet deeper near the paint on defense to help with rebounding and with Meech's speed is not able to get down to the WING spot for shots AHEAD of Meech, instead what you see is SG and others coming in behind Meech and the ball. This gets rectified with the healthy in shape Harris who will take up the weakside rebounding issues freeing SG to remain up near free throw line extended thus giving him that extra 10 feet to start his run down the court.

Those are some of the little things we miss, but play big time into the overall effectiveness on both side of the court


Not to mention remove one of the top 25 players from a team, you are going to have issues.


Now with that said, I see improvements coming each game as Harris was able to be providing more and more time on the court. One day AROP will take this slot up and provide bot the outside and off the dribble takes that are important to freeing up a shooter such as SG (future it will be MM)

BobZag
12-06-2010, 03:06 PM
This is all a part of the "you must have patience" because the team is slower to develop than in past years. With Elias injured he can't practice much, if at all. That means the team can't be cohesive enough to perform at a high enough level to beat the Illinoises of the world. Also, others are still getting lost and out of position on both ends, which makes the offense sputter and the defense give easy looks. Until everybody learns the system and knows exactly what to do and where to be at all times, and until Elias is fully healthy, the team will struggle against better competition. That's just the way it is this season.

pbriz
12-06-2010, 03:13 PM
This is all a part of the "you must have patience" because the team is slower to develop than in past years. With Elias injured he can't practice much, if at all. That means the team can't be cohesive enough to perform at a high enough level to beat the Illinoises of the world. Also, others are still getting lost and out of position on both ends, which makes the offense sputter and the defense give easy looks. Until everybody learns the system and knows exactly what to do and where to be at all times, and until Elias is fully healthy, the team will struggle against better competition. That's just the way it is this season.

I respect your opinion Bob, but in this case I have to disagree. I guess I'm just not fully buying the "learn the system" argument because the only new player getting significant minutes is Monninghof (who was the only player I saw get a hand in the face of a shooter).

I see it as effort and hustle. Fighting through screens, moving feet, sprinting up to shooters, and forcing turnovers.

Ezag
12-06-2010, 03:24 PM
I respect your opinion Bob, but in this case I have to disagree. I guess I'm just not fully buying the "learn the system" argument because the only new player getting significant minutes is Monninghof (who was the only player I saw get a hand in the face of a shooter).

I see it as effort and hustle. Fighting through screens, moving feet, sprinting up to shooters, and forcing turnovers.

I agree, "Learning the system" or "need time to gel" is overstated. Every starter this year played all of last season with Olynyk having good minutes and Arop getting his fair share. The only difference this year is that Bouldin's gone and we have basicially 3-4 newcomers with very limited minutes.

Of course, you throw in the mix -- an injured Harris and no more Bouldin and now this season you have to make up 30pts and 12rbs combined a game from those two and not enough players have been able to step up and fill that void when needed to.

CDC84
12-06-2010, 03:48 PM
Go back to Few's quote in this thread. Whether posters like it or not, his view is that this team is young and it's making young team mistakes. It's not just BZ who has this view. I suppose you could argue that Few is wrong, but he's been through enough of these seasons to know what's going on. Being a sophomore is still young (for most D-1 players) - especially when you haven't played a major role before and the pressure on you to perform against high level competition is even greater because you're All American teammate - the guy who so much of your success depends upon - has been absent in practice and is not near 100% in games. So much of what you've been instructed to do is based on that special player being there. It's a lot of ask of underclassmen to adjust on the fly to things like that. Everybody's roles have been changed. It's much easier to make adjustments when you have upperclassmen who have seen it all, or I suppose if you have transcendent basketball talents like Duke's Kyrie Irving.

You can't make a delicious dish if the key ingredient in your recipe is missing. The spices, herbs and supporting ingredients are at a loss as to what to do.

Baldwinzag
12-06-2010, 03:50 PM
that being said, there were too many times at the BIS where i saw elias and/or rob begging for the ball in the post (often in prime position to score/posted against an undersized defender) and the ball was reversed because our guards cannot make/will not make effective entry passes.

I noticed this on numerous occassions as well.

Our guards miss the easy entry opportunities & try for the more difficult ones.

There were several instances of Rob, Elias, and especially Sam in his limited minutes seal off their man for the inside bucket entry, yet we missed it everytime. We did a decent job of getting them the ball with their back to the basket, which is fine & obvious, but are guards are not opportunistic at all. They only pass the ball to the post in the confines of the offense.

It works yet sad to see our post players work their butt off to receive the easy pass, lob, or dunk to have to reset themselves after they get in perfect position.

We just have to settle for our guards bounce passing to the bigs when the offense says so. It'll work half the time b/c our bigs are talented enough to make it happen, but it'd be nice to catch the defense off balance every so often and reward our guys for getting superior position and score the sure-fire bucket.

Next game, watch how good of position Sam Dower gets in the post, waving his arm, and our guards simply pass the ball along the perimeter looking for the next "option" in the offense. They are systematic, hesitant, and keeping one eye on the Coaches and the other eye on not making a mistake. Our guys, especially the perimeter players don't just play or make plays. Our offense is painfully predictable this season because of the way we're running in. Of course it'll improve when Elias is healthy, b/c quite frankly, he's one of the few opportunistic players we seem to missing this season.

Matt Bouldin, Jeremy Pargo, et al took what the defense gives them, reacted, and capitalized on what was working, not just make try not to make a mistake while running the offense.

Someone mentioned we play not to lose, instead of trying to win. I'd agree with this assessment, b/c we do a great job of going against the grain and playing into the hands of the defense. We need to improve our awareness and taking risks, especially when our post players have excellent position and we wait b/c they are sometimes the 2nd, 3rd, 5th option. We make sure Steven Gray touches it, THEN we can pass into the post. Don't want to go out of order or Coach will bench us. We wait for defenses to adjust and Rob, Sam, Elias, and Kelly are forced to put their back to the basket and receive the ball in a classic post stance. It'd be nice to watch them work and get an entry pass when they have even better position.

I don't necessarily see this improving dramatically until we get guards who see the floor better.

Having said all that, there is no doubting the baby steps this team is taking, such as Meech with better ball control, Rob better rebounding, Elias feeling better & more active, Manny gaining confidence, the list goes on.

BobZag
12-06-2010, 06:37 PM
I respect your opinion Bob, but in this case I have to disagree. I guess I'm just not fully buying the "learn the system" argument because the only new player getting significant minutes is Monninghof (who was the only player I saw get a hand in the face of a shooter).

I see it as effort and hustle. Fighting through screens, moving feet, sprinting up to shooters, and forcing turnovers.

No prob, pbriz. Your last paragraph is totaly true. I agree. I see very little fire thus far. I guess what I was trying to avoid saying is the hoops IQ of a few players is lacking and it's taking longer to develop than usual. Monninghoff is not one of the them. Quite the opposite, actually. That's why he's playing so much.

MBZags
12-06-2010, 08:20 PM
So what exactly is the timetable for a full Elias recovery?

Also, does the fact that he's still playing in games set back the timetable for his full recovery?

MDABE80
12-06-2010, 08:54 PM
MBZags and others...Elias' problem with his tendon is unpredictable. The one thing that improves these strains is rest. He needs rest....prolonged rest. Maybe a medical reshirt type rest. He's not seriously contributing anyway...

He overdoes it and there has to be a setback. It's the biology of the situation. Given that, there are a few choices. 1. rest him. 2. play him and hope for the best knowing there will be reinjuring periodically.


My point is that this team can win and should win without Elias. I'm not ready to throw in the towel without him. If he leaves after a crappy year, he leaves BUT he should leave healthy.

We cannot win these games unless this staff is committed to defense. We don't rebound well, we don't defend 3's at all...not to mention twos. Turnovers speak for themselves.

Staff needs to sit those kids who don't commit to defense. Manny's brain has been half in the games this year. He's our best defender when he wants. Steven was an MIA on defense for Illinois. Rob worked his rear off as did Meech.

The rest did a very nice job of "watching". This cannot go on. WSU will win by 20 if we keep watching....so will ND. I cannot figure out why the fundamentals are being ignored. Rant done...for now.

Acupuncture is helping it seems. Doesn't change anything. Let's hope Elias gets back to his old form. Helps on offense but the problem is the other side of the ball. Let's hope we cause harm on the D. It's the only way this teams get better.

kitzbuel
12-07-2010, 03:33 AM
You can't make a delicious dish if the key ingredient in your recipe is missing. The spices, herbs and supporting ingredients are at a loss as to what to do.

Hey! No fair, that's my metaphor!
:)

BobZag
12-07-2010, 10:02 AM
I was never a believer in acupuncture, but hey, if it's helping Elias' heel to feel better, go for it. I'd resort to Gypsy potions and Jamaican voodoo if I thought they would help.

Maybe hypnosis would work--

"Your achilles feels good, you have never felt better..."

All he needs is a Jedi Master.

CaliforniaZaggin'
12-07-2010, 11:52 AM
I was never a believer in acupuncture, but hey, if it's helping Elias' heel to feel better, go for it. I'd resort to Gypsy potions and Jamaican voodoo if I thought they would help.

Maybe hypnosis would work--

"Your achilles feels good, you have never felt better..."

All he needs is a Jedi Master.

Close out on three-point shooters, you must. Bad defensive habits, you need to unlearn.