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BobZag
06-03-2007, 09:49 AM
Before I head out into 94 degree heat today--

As much as I disliked our travel schedule and how the team played at times, among other things, I've often wondered something else...

The scenario: Playing to near-perfection, up 28 on a good, talented Texas team with the POY on it, and the Zags in a rhythm for the ages... With a handful of minutes remaining, we flat-out stop playing. It's like we put it in neutral and coasted. Sure, the game was all but over.

Give up an 18-0 run to end the game? I don't believe any other team in the nation gave up 18-0 runs unless it was Prairie View vs Kansas or some such mismatch. We stopped playing D, we stopped playing O.

Okay, here's why I bring this up:

Our very next game we lead nearly all the way against WSU, then at about the exact same time we let up on Texas, we totally lose it against WSU.

Our guys clearly looked like they did not know how to finish a game. Stopped playing D, stopped playing O. But this time there was no 28 point cushion to save the day.

Fast forward to Nevada. Darn near the same thing.

Fast forward to Duke. Almost the same deal.

And it didn't get a whole lot better against WCC teams and Memphis, though I did like our effort vs Memphis as opposed to, say, WSU or Nevada. We did pull out W's at the ends of Stanford, UNC, etc., but for every gutsy Stanford finish there was an LMU finish.

Did the game-finishing failures mentioned above all stem from what the team did, or didn't, do against Texas? The casualness, if you will? I just feel the team tossed away a great opportunity to develop a real killer instinct in that Texas game, and instead never learned how to get up on an opponent, put their foot on the throat and finish teams off.

If I'm right, and feel free to chime in with your thoughts, my hope is that Few instills a wipe-out mentality and he doesn't "be nice" to his coaching friends and shift into neutral. I don't see Self, Calipari, Howland, Lute, Williams, Calhoun or any other top coach being Mr. Nice Guy when up by 28.

Nevtelen
06-03-2007, 10:07 AM
I think Texas was a symptom, not a cause. I just think the team didn't understand how to close out a half (1st or 2nd) for a long, long time last year. They never got great at it, but did get better. Why was it a problem in the first place? I don't know. My guess is that it had something to do with the offensive droughts we suffered last season. When they were in the pressure cooker, the team just couldn't put the ball in the hoop or get to the line. I think it was a similar situation in most of the game-ending situations - the team could feel the game slipping away and the pressure just kept them from doing what needed to be done. I think Stanford, among other games, went a long way towards fixing that issue, though I still wonder if it'll be a problem this year - hopefully not with so many offensive weapons.

Texas was a totally different issue, IMO. It probably didn't help matters, that's for sure, but we already had problems closing out UNC previously so I don't think that game caused anything.

MickMick
06-03-2007, 10:28 AM
The most painful meltdown was against UCLA the previous year.

LynetteG
06-03-2007, 10:34 AM
The most painful meltdown was against UCLA the previous year.

I agree. I don't think this happening can be isolated to just the 06-07 team. I am hopeful the assistant coach change can help with finishing the games. We have lost far more than we should have because of the 'stop playing' performance I've seen.

On a completely unrelated note, Jordan is kicking a$$ today in a tourney in Michigan. They just blew out their semi-final opponent and are in the finals playing the host team. Game starts now. (I have to sneak this kind of info into the forum now, LOL!).

RebornZag
06-03-2007, 10:35 AM
I think every team has a team identity that is created by their chemistry. The 06-07 Zags were THE worst Mark Few team, and as I look back at the season and consider all that has been written about them I'd have to say that the team chemistry was the worst as well. Personally, I felt the leadership on last years team was terrible, and I believe in my heart that things were not well in Zagdom last year.

Last year was a young team that existed in the shadow of Adam Morrison. He was such a powerful human being and awesome basketball player. WE began last year with our new leader publically putting down a real Zag folk hero and basically saying that he was glad Adam and JP were gone, and that now he'd be able to show the world how good he is. When I read that article and especially that quote, I just knew we were in for a bad year. It was, in my eyes, a bad omen. You just dont start out, when building a new team, by putting down one of the All-time greatest Zags.

I remember when Few was asked what he thought about Raivio's statement about Adam. I remember Few laughing, and saying that he hoped Drav was right but that he would have to prove it (that he'd be a Superstar now that Adam was gone). Few ironically said something like he's going to have to learn how to get his shot off first....I remember laughing. If there was an identity in last years team I'd say it was self-centered. And it was also this same characteristic that led Josh to be suspended from the team, and create a very dark shadow that he will now have to overcome.

The good news is that we are coming into a new season with new leadership. I believe that that is a bright spot. David Pendergraft is going to be an awesome leader, and he is going to help create once again that old Zag image. In a sense I hope that the identity for 07-08 Zags is the reborn Zags. The team needs to return to who they once were. A TEAM. And I think Pendo exemplifies that concept. He's definately one huge reason that I am looking forward to next year...

The team will be older, and they will have something to prove. I am sure they want to rebuild their image. I think that we will have a great group of guys to do that with. The other leader will be Pargo, and I truly believe he too is the right guy for that role. I love his infectuous smile. I hope Few appoints them captains for next year.

We've been talking for a good couple months now about the new Zags coming in. I believe we have some real talent in this group. I think the question that BZ brings up is a very good one. How TOUGH will this group be?

Nevtelen
06-03-2007, 10:47 AM
How exactly did DRav saying he was going to step up kill our team chemistry?

In many ways, this was a very dissapointing season, but really it was because of the youth and inexperience on the team and also all the adversity they went though. I think this past year's team actually had better chemistry than the year before (just a guess). They certainly played more like a team - think of the Memphis game. Or Stanford. Or @USF. Everyone really came together and played as a unit pretty well.

I guess I have to sort of agree that the meltdown issue isn't new, but all teams go through similar problems sometimes. Everyone has meltdown games. Besides this past season, has the team had an inordinate amount of them? I'm not sure about that.

MickMick
06-03-2007, 11:04 AM
The Zags fought valiantly to come back 2-3 times against Memphis. Now the Memphis fans could call it a meltdown. You look at their boards and they believed it was one of their worst performances of the year. You can't tell Zag fans that. It was the heart and desire to make a game of it when the Bulldogs were down for the count.

It really is a matter of perspective. That 18-0 Texas run wasn't from a Gonzaga letdown, it was from the Longhorns "never give up" attitude.......through the eyes of a Texas fan.

Team sports are an "ebb and flow" of momentum. The game can end with one team having momentum which gives the perception of meltdown.

RebornZag
06-03-2007, 11:07 AM
I think that if Drav had simply said that he was going to step up this year, be the leader of the Zags and continue in the direction the team had been going toward for 8 years, that that would have been a very good statement. Sadly though, that is NOT what he said. Nor is it what I said he said. He said that he felt that because Adam and JP were a two man show that he did not have a chance to show his true skills. I just felt that his quote in that article was not only a put down on Adam, but on his coach Mark Few as well. In Drav's statement, if I remember correctly, he also said that the offense was built around Adam & JP. My interpretation of his statements was that he was just waiting to be the go to guy.

I supported Drav all year. I pulled for him all year. I tried my hardest to be supportive here on the board (actually the old board) of him. In a way, as I look back now, and in trying to respond to a tendency that BobZ identified, I think the team WAS waiting for Drav to be the Star, or the go-to-guy if you prefer. I think there was a part of Few was waiting for (and I believe hoping for) Drav to be that kind of a star that Adam was, or even as offensively gifted as JP. It just didn't happen. EVER!!!

How did this negatively affect the team's chemistry? A winning chemistry is built on unselfishness, not selfishness. I do not believe, and will never for even a moment, believe Adam Morrison was a selfish person just because he averaged 30 some points a game. He WAS THAT GOOD. I also believe that him yelling at Downs like that on national TV (I forget the game now) and telling him to either Pass the ball, or Pass the ball to me (because I believe that that's what he meant) was just another sign of his selfish centered attitude.

I certainly could be wrong, and there's a part of me that wishes that I am, but I am just trying to be honest. I am truly hoping that we DO NOT have that kind of spirit or chemistry next year. It will be a great challenge for Mark Few and his assistants because there is going to be a lot of talent on this team.

sittingon50
06-03-2007, 11:35 AM
Yeah, all DRav did was win POY honors & light up UNC, Texas, WSU, ewe dub, UVA & then score a career high in the WCC Champ. in Portland where he rarely played well in front of family & friends. Conversely, Ammo got 6 & 9 vs the best defender in the WCC during the regular season. Guess he didn't step up. Whatever.

Bob, without having seen him play, I'm going to guess Ira Brown will be a huge factor. Just the fact that he is more mature & has had to learn to prepare for the long grind of a season (as a professional athlete) will be invaluable to the younger (but talented) guys.
Also, I'm guessin' Pendo & Pargo will be this years Captains, quite a change (from a vocal perspective) from DRav & Sean. This team will have fire.

Zagdawg
06-03-2007, 11:47 AM
I believe the incident that led to a large piece of the disruption of the team chemistry last year and lack of spirit that some folks are implying will not occur this coming year.

I saw the Memphis game as one of the best showings of our guys all year-- and they did show their mettle and spirit when their backs were up against the wall during that game despite what many people thought they would do and could have done-- where Derek was the leading scorer of the game --dropping 21 pts on Memphis---darn underachiever-- not

Over last years numbers--Drav increased his scoring average from 11 pts per game to 18 pts per game-- ft % went from 91 to 96 to lead the nation, 3 pt % went from .354 to .41 --rebounds went from 2.2 to 3.1 FG % went from .385 to .453 --- In my eyes he stepped up with what he had to work with--

The leadership this year will be a bit more vocal and as 50 mention -- will have some fire.

I look forward to what our newest additons will bring to the table-- the melding has already begun--

Go Zags--

roxdoc
06-03-2007, 11:56 AM
Good point BZ about the melt downs over the last couple of years. True, every team has tem from time to time, but it sure seems like we had more than our share. This may indeed have been a function of leadership. Our last two years leadership has had a "different" look than in the past. I would like to agree with Sittingon50 that next year's leadership will be more in the mold of "yesteryear" - strongly verbal, selfless, etc.

MickMick
06-03-2007, 01:26 PM
The team could hang their hat on Ravio. He was not a liability.

The team had no inside presence. No offensive rebounds. No second chance shots. Ravio was the least of the Gonzaga problems.

roxdoc
06-03-2007, 04:05 PM
There is a lot more to leadership than being the go-to scorer. I am confident that it will be proven this year.

Zag79
06-04-2007, 02:25 AM
sorry reborn, but mo's team was the worst team ever at GU under few. when you have 12 guys standing around and never getting a pass when they are opne, or being forced to pass to a guy and never getting credit for anything your chemistry is gone. thats why we lost to ucla. in the long run it was all about adam. last years team had great chemistry and great heart. they were hurt by the suspensions first and foremost. it left GU with no big man that could take over the game ala JH. how much would he have helped against indiana? and the schedule killed the overall record and seeding, no fault of the team.

I also believe that him yelling at Downs like that on national TV (I forget the game now) and telling him to either Pass the ball, or Pass the ball to me (because I believe that that's what he meant) was just another sign of his selfish centered attitude.

leaders yell at their mates, it happens. and few benched downs and talked to him harshly after that play as well if you take another look. as far as mo, i can remember quite a few times he yelled at guys for his own reason of not getting the ball. raivio did what most didnt expect he could before the season started.


all DRav did was win POY honors & light up UNC, Texas, WSU, ewe dub, UVA & then score a career high in the WCC Champ. in Portland where he rarely played well in front of family & friends. Conversely, Ammo got 6 & 9 vs the best defender in the WCC during the regular season. Guess he didn't step up. Whatever.
exactly.

JAGzag
06-04-2007, 04:48 AM
[QUOTE=Zag79;28284]sorry reborn, but mo's team was the worst team ever at GU under few. when you have 12 guys standing around and never getting a pass when they are opne, or being forced to pass to a guy and never getting credit for anything your chemistry is gone. thats why we lost to ucla. in the long run it was all about adam. last years team had great chemistry and great heart. they were hurt by the suspensions first and foremost. it left GU with no big man that could take over the game ala JH. how much would he have helped against indiana? and the schedule killed the overall record and seeding, no fault of the team.


leaders yell at their mates, it happens. and few benched downs and talked to him harshly after that play as well if you take another look. as far as mo, i can remember quite a few times he yelled at guys for his own reason of not getting the ball. raivio did what most didnt expect he could before the season started.

I'm with 79 on this one - I distinctly remember that play and was left impressed with DRAV's leadership. Downs was all over the place that game and was playing pretty one-sided. DRAV did the right thing and it just happened to be caught on TV

gamagin
06-04-2007, 09:50 AM
but I agree it became a hallmark of our team last season. and i'm sure the opposing coaches are saying that to their players, to spur them on.

I think our situation is a management problem, on and off the floor.

My belief is it's just a sign that the zags have a ways to go, and perhaps the coaching staff, too. I believe they are fully aware of it, too.

We've assembled great number of excellent athletes. Now its time to set goals.

The first one, imo, is to play every minute of every game, end to end, no matter what the score, no matter how bad things seem & most especially if we are way ahead. do not repeat the lessons of previous seasons.

Play like your behind no matter what the score.

Because that's what the best teams do. We want to be the best.

We all know there are dips and runs and mistakes and fouls and on and on, but the best teams very rarely get pulled completely out of their game.

We might shake them up for a time, but once they find their comfort zone, return to their plan, execute their game, we sometimes get lost.

Those who beat us, besides being lucky (but also being opportunistic, frantic, playing their hearts out and NEVER giving up) stay focused, stick to their strengths, adjust to their weaknesses and never forget that every shot and play counts.

They jump on the shoulders of their leaders and they decide to lead.

Now, it's our turn to take it and keep it and never let it go.

UberZagFan
06-04-2007, 12:19 PM
The culprit behind late game meltdowns? Team defense. In the last 10 minutes of 2nd halves, team defense (which I define as including defensive rebounding positioning) is similar to the role of a closer in baseball.

GU teams will always be up and down with offensive output during the last 10 minutes but until they start playing defense like they did 4-5 plus years ago, then they will continue to resemble Heatcliffe Slocumb as opposed to Francisco Rodriguez....

RebornZag
06-04-2007, 04:07 PM
Hey '79. How are ya. Good pts. But I guess its a difference in style. I really like Lebron James' style. You guess get me to the 4th quarter and I'll win it for you. Or if the teams adjust on him and double and triple team him his team needs to step up. And hit the open shots.

My memory of 05-06 season seems different than yours. I remember Zags who were wide open, and couldn't hit a barn from 20 feet away. I remember time after time how Drav was wide open and couldn't hit the Broad Side of a Barn. And, yes several in the UCLA, and one in particular in the last minute when he was wide open. Drav had a horrible season...not because of Adam but because he couldn't shoot, and he couldnt' get his shot off (ask Few) because defenders knew he couldn't shoot off the dribble. I recall Announcers game after game wondering what happened to Derek, and each time it was attributed to his friend's death. I bought that story until I read the interview with him that I'm talking about. It's just NOT the truth that Drav and the others did not have their shots and wide open ones...COME ON!

05-06 WAS the beginning of the end for PMAC. He suddenly lost his confidence completely in mid season. He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. And then there was Pargo. PARGO the Freshman was not Pargo last year. Pargo could not only hit the rim from the 3 pt line, he could barely hit in from 2 feet. How many lay ups did he miss (I guess there is hope for Kuso, because I think Pargo missed more layups his Freshman year than Kuso did last). Let's see...Josh got hurt.....played little. Errol Knight was hurt most of the season. LG broke his wrist I think, but looked pretty good at time. Sean was Sean. ADAM HAD TO SCORE 35 PER GAME because no one but he and JP could shoot the ball, were healthy (let's blame Drav's problem on his mental health).

Adam was NOT a selfish player, imo. Neither was JP. They had to do what they did in order for GU to make it where they did...and look how close we were to the elite 8 and maybe the final 4. To tell the truth, I really believed that that team, 05-06 was going to make it to the Final 4. I we SHOULD have. I suppose most of us will always ask why. I see now that more people DIDN'T like that team then I knew at the time because I wasn't posting here. I see now that there were anti-Morrison guys...

brasszag
06-04-2007, 05:01 PM
I see now that more people DIDN'T like that team then I knew at the time because I wasn't posting here. I see now that there were anti-Morrison guys...

Nah, it's just a little more perspective on what we were seeing.

It was so very easy to get caught up in the excitement in watching JP and Ammo just batter other teams to pieces by themselves. If one of them wasn't the killer, the other was.

That being said - that was a team that had so many injury-strikes against it - to look as good as they did and get as far as they did was amazing. Don't forget we also had a decent outside gunner sitting on the bench all year as well in Nathan Doudney.

No injuries on that team and I truly think people would be talking about it being the all time greatest Zag team. It was all just starting to come together at the end there. DRAV's back was healed up, Errol was flying again...

ZagNut08
06-04-2007, 05:02 PM
I think a large change will be seen with the addition of talented depth. Players give it their all when they know they have limited minutes to prove their worth, or when they know they will be pulled if caught slacking.

Last year I think few had a tough time using this as a motivator, and I dont believe in the past he has had the true ability to do it.

Last year if heytvelt was slacking and mallon was on the floor...he could put in kuso or pendo for mallon, but imo their was a dropoff in talent. same thing with gaurds. pargo or drav slacking pmac was put in. same at the wing untill downs healed up.

this year if heytvelt is slacking we have davis or sacre coming in, downs will have daye breathing down his neck. we dont have to have two gaurds out there at all times, so pargo and bouldin will be challenged.

I think few will use this as a great motivator

BobZag
06-04-2007, 05:16 PM
I did see some odd body language by Derek, though. Flopping his arms in an exhasperated manner, making twisted up, disgusted facial expressions... I try to imagine Taurean Green giving Corey Brewer an angry look and telling him to pass the f---ing ball after Brewer misses shots. Micah was still just getting the hang of it, just beginning to feel comfortable, so he was bound to make mistakes.

I never saw Dickau and Stepp with that body language.

It didn't bother me, per se... just an observation is all.

RebornZag
06-04-2007, 05:44 PM
"It didn't bother me, per se... just an observation is all."

How do you do it BZ? How do you stay so calm. I think you should think about becoming a politician and run for Office...:) Or start up a business to teach others like me how to stay CALM!!!

How's BOB'S ZENCRAFTERS for a name for your business?

I guess maybe God just made us all so different so he could laugh a lot :lmao: :lmao: .

Zag79
06-05-2007, 12:15 AM
I try to imagine Taurean Green giving Corey Brewer an angry look and telling him to pass the f---ing ball after Brewer misses shots.

my point was that mo was the same way. how many times did mo make a face or yell at a team mate when he thought he should have received a pass? quite often. there was even one game where GU was up by alot with only seconds left. the inbounds comes to dr and mo wants the ball in hopes that he can get another point at the line. in disgust dr flips the demanding mo the ball. horn blows, mo gives him a ribbing and it ends up no big deal. to me thats selfish. your up by alot, the games over, let someone else go to the line.


My memory of 05-06 season seems different than yours. I remember Zags who were wide open, and couldn't hit a barn from 20 feet away. I remember time after time how Drav was wide open and couldn't hit the Broad Side of a Barn. And, yes several in the UCLA, and one in particular in the last minute when he was wide open. Drav had a horrible season...not because of Adam but because he couldn't shoot, and he couldnt' get his shot off (ask Few) because defenders knew he couldn't shoot off the dribble.

what changed for raivio if it wasnt his off court issues reborn? he didnt change his shot this year. he shot the ball quite well off the dribble this season. rewatch the game at santa clara for starters. he just magically upgraded everything over the summer? LOL. he got the ball is what happened. everyone got better. why? because they got the ball and got way more chances to perform all season. mo took as many shots as every player on the Gonzaga roster combined less JP. that doesnt help anyone but the guy taking all the shots. any player knows the more you stand around and watch a guy do it himself the harder it is for the res tof the team to be productive. no knock on mo, he was that good. but for arguments sake before you make stuff up look at the games, the situations, and take into account all sides.