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View Full Version : Team Chemistry: Our Secret Weapon?



DixieZag
01-17-2011, 03:05 PM
I noticed something in the game against LMU, after Keita grabbed a rebound and baseballed a pass to Steven Gray who took it in for a dunk, the fans went wild, LMU called timeout, and Steven ran into Keita? - I think, with a big jumping chest bump. And they were laughing. All five on the floor joined together with huge smiles and went to the huddle.

If this team is going to continue getting better, if it is going to beat SMC, beat Memphis and win more than one game in the tournament, I think the key is their mental touhgness, cohesion and chemistry. Chemistry is something you know when you see it. I am not sure we have had a lot of good chemistry in the last few years.

There was a question that haunted the board a while back, when was the last time that the Zags exceeded expectations? It is a loaded question b/c half of us expect them to go to the final four every year when, realistically, only 3 or 4 teams had the talent to go that far in a perfect scenario. Last week we were asked to rank the Zags teams over the last decade and it really got me thinking. Which Zag teams had great chemistry? Of course the 99 team did. I would argue that the Stepp/Turiaf team that lost to Arizona did and so did the team with Ravio/Morrison/Batista (damn UCLA).

The most talented Zag team may have been Daye's sophmore year - they ran into UNC, and no one was going to beat them that year. I think this year's team, having survived the adversity early in the year, losing at home, crushed by WSU, losing record - is now finding a way to win each game and I think part of it is the chemistry and believing in each other.

This years team has its stars; Gray/Sacre/Harris - but in every game during our win streak, someone else has also stepped up, I think that each person on this team believes that somehow they can now count on each other to pull out a win. And they also know that their "best player" is their "defense" and that takes everyone, even Hart is called upon. I think winning the regular season conference title will be harder than ever and if they do it - it will be b/c this team has learned to love playing together, playing tougher defense than ever and believe in each other.

Do we have the chemistry to win the WCC? Play a second weekend in the tournament?

ezcure17
01-17-2011, 03:46 PM
Hey DixieZag,

This is one of the best posts I have read in awhile...AND...so so true. I feel EXACTLY as you do in this post. We are now a totally different team we were earlier in the year. When every game starts, I find myself thinking...I wonder who is going to be the STAR in THIS game...AND...I LOVE that feeling. This is a very dangerous team right now... When we are clicking..we can't be stopped, and when we aren't... we are STILL finding ways to win..

Once again, you post was awesome!! I wish we had a game tonight!! lol

ZagHouse
01-17-2011, 05:08 PM
Since my hands are finally healed after all the hand wringing I did early in the season, I can type that one of the things that had me worried (our bench) is now something I think separates us from a lot of teams. Now instead of shaking my head when Stock enters the game or looking and seeing Keita and wondering if he'll be back next season, I am now thinking it's our bench that will be the difference this year. Early Manny and Kelly were a disappointment, but as of late everyone seems to be settling into their roles. I know the popular sentiment is to talk about tightening the rotation, but I say to hell with conventional wisdom. Let's play 10 and not 8. If the outcome is that we have better chemistry because the kids know they might be called on at any time, then let them all play.

DixieZag
01-17-2011, 06:08 PM
It will be interesting to see if we keep getting stronger down the road, in terms of wearing out, I only worry about big Rob, he has been a beast all year and probably played as many minutes as anyone. SMC has had to play their starters throughout their blow-outs b/c of injuries and redshirts, McConnell/Delledova might wear down, we all saw Matt flatten out last year. I think we can be sure that anyone not working on defense will have some time to think about it on the bench.

It feels like this team is committed to being defined by its defense, which is great - defense can cover a lot of weaknesses.

U Zig, I Zag
01-17-2011, 06:40 PM
Good comprehensive post, Dixie. I agree. To me, it seems like these kids talk a little more and have a little more fun out there than some of the previous groups we have had.

zagitarious
01-17-2011, 09:04 PM
when the game ended before heading to the locker room which they usually do right away it seems, the whole team gathered at center court in a big huddle and were pumping eachother up and getting stoked for a good 5 minutes. I think this game was a big boost for their team chemistry.

MickMick
01-17-2011, 09:44 PM
I agree with most everything but "the most talented team" part.

I guess it is how you define talent. Certainly far from the most skilled team.

We are talking about the team that lost at home to Portland State and laid an egg at Utah aren't we?

The Batista, Turiaf, Morrison, Ravio, Pendergraft, Knight team would have smoked em.

DixieZag
01-17-2011, 11:02 PM
Good point. But then again, I think there were chemistry problems on that team - Daye's sophmore year, they ended the year playing well. You are probably right, the Morrison team DID have the co-POY in the country.

This team is bigger and faster than any that I remember, if we had consistent guard play - as we have had lately, by whoever is playing well in any particular game, then we win. I have seen Meech make great strides on both ends of the floor, but some games, Stockton or Carter have done better - - that is not a critique, it is an asset. Keita is not a guard, at least, not on offense, but he can shut down a shooting guard or even pg. It is a great option.

So long as we have enough offense to keep our bigs involved and occassionaly pop Gray, Hoff, Arop or even Kelly out for a three and then work the opponent over defensively, we seem to be on the right track.

Having watched Kansas, Mizzu and even the U-Dub tonight, I would say that we still have to get a lot better to beat teams that match our size and speed, but they are getting better.

Oh do we need an old fashioned road route of SCU/USF to really bump up the confidence coming into next week. With THIS team, the next game truly is the biggest game of the year, b/c they have to keep getting better.

Reborn
01-18-2011, 10:11 AM
The best thing about this year's Zags is that we are still a work in progress. We are still a ways from jellling as Few wants them too. We are beginning to see what the picture is like, but to me it's still fuzzy, but each week it gets clearer. I like that about this team. We are NOT going to peak early, and I think that that is important. The season is a long ways from over. I think we will have to wait until we play St Mary's now to see how much we have improved. There is still one glaring issue that has not been solved, and that is the 3 point and outside shooting of our point guards. Im not sure how important that is, but I have a feeling that against the better teams in the top 20 that it's going to be important. I had hopes that Monninghoff was going to fill that gap but I kind of doubt it now. Arop is the one who we need to step up in this area and begin to try to get 2 threes a nite. We need that. And Harris needs to improve in this area as well.

GrizZAG
01-19-2011, 09:02 AM
I am glad we don't have an Ammo type guy this year and even gladder that we have an entire team that can burn the opponent. This has to be a difficult team to scout for our opposition. MF has a lot of tools to work with and they are improving weekly, we can see it. (Great coaching I might add!)

Think of how many different cultures and new relationships had to be glued together since early fall. You can see the comaraderie growing in parallel to the success we are seeing. This team is gelling into the real deal quickly.

Zag79
01-19-2011, 08:27 PM
great thread, i completely agree. i have held steady in the belief that come march this team will be as good, if not better than any zag team we have had. literally. this team still doesnt have a "bad" loss, and has as many if not more "quality" wins than the average zag team. a few bumps here and there, but regardless this team is scoring as much as last years team and is improving each week. the one thing i normally see is our teams peak in november and december, which doesnt help come the tournament. i think this team is going to be one of the few that ges better and better, playing its best ball in march. the team chemistry is a huge part of that, it seems as if everyone gets along and sincerely wants the other guy to do well. meech is cheering when stockton does good, sacre when kelly makes a play, and so on. chemistry can beat pure skill more times than some would think, and considering we have alot of skill to go along with that we get the best of both worlds. i wouldnt want to draw this team come march thats for sure, what a season we are getting to watch unfold.