View Full Version : "It'll make us better in March"

12-12-2011, 05:29 AM
I keep hearing this when talking to fellow Zag fans about the recent losses.

I dunno.

Here's why:

-- The WCC is on the rise. 7 of 8 teams with a winning record and some really good wins amongst several teams. No easy outs this season.

-- Upperclassmen have lost their way. Regression is killing us. We thought Carter was capable of replacing Gray's production while helping our young, inexperienced backcourt learn & grow. While the latter is certainly true, its not on behalf of Carter's example. Elias has forgot how to play defense and dunk. Rob has added some offense, yet hasn't broken his horrible habit of bringing the ball too low, allowing defenders to swat it away, and unable to pass out of a double-team(which is odd since he was doing this vs WSU).

-- Our *best* weapons are walk-on/non-scholarship players and true freshman. Having two non-scholarship players start at Gonzaga is a great story to watch unfold, yet its a telling story as well. To me, it hints at lackluster recruiting in select years, poor retention of players, and/or development of talent. While we wanted nothing to do with Gibbs, Arop, Goodson, Kong, Poling, etc, they were still solid players/recruits with upside and all are showing as much(save Meech). Ya know, ya gotta admire the walk-on turned team star story, as we have several, yet I'll take my chances with Top-100 recruits on scholarship first and have the non-schollie player backing them up and pushing them in practice second. Every D1 walk-on is one for a reason -- they have deficiencies that weren't good enough in the first place. Love me some Stockton & Hart, but its easy to see the shortcomings as well as the contributions. I'm happy as a clam they worked hard, yet are they really the answer? And what could be the alternative? As far as the freshman are concerned, its the one bright spot for future seasons.

-- We're beating teams we should beat, yet that is it. We're losing the games we've made a living off in the past. While Mich St & Illinois are BCS teams, big names, and affiliated with a good conference, they were both unranked this season for good cause. We need these wins in a big way. At-large births are given just b/c you play the games. We have zero signature wins and as of right now, the team is only good enough to play with a Top-25 team, not beat them. The month of December could be turn on us in a hurry unless we drastically improve.

-- We're putting a lot of our season's hope and 'eggs in a basket' on a player who averaged 9 ppg at the HS & JUCO levels. While Guy Landry is a sight to see and easily the most athletic player on our team, he isn't THAT good, folks. He will most definitely help out on defense and provide a nice presence on the court, even if its the way he commands attn by other athletic teams, he is not the answer. Guy Landry plays the "3". As much as we ride Mike Hart, he is leading the team in rebounds per minutes, Krause's hustle stats, & is 3rd in offensive boards. He's also pretty strong as well. I know Landry is more well-rounded on offense, yet do people really believe he's going to provide twice the output as Mike Hart's 5.3 rebounds per? I somehow doubt it.

-- Our front court is our "strength" this season; or is it? If it isn't, we are sure trying to force the issue and prove to ourselves it certainly is. Our Coaches and players are guilty of trying every conceivable way to 'get it to our bigs' even when its heavily defended, not an option, or not working. Pass it into the post and hope for the best isn't an offense, especially when your two bigs are unable to pass it back out.

If anything, the most promise I've seen from this team is coming out of our backcourt. I feel 90% of our Turnovers are from the guards looking at the Coaches, hearing the play called, then forcing the issue into the post. Every time Pangos, Stocks, Gary Bell try to create their own offense and play loose -- good things happen. Pangos is WAY better at ballin' than many realize. Ever notice he has some nice moves and an ability to score in the lane when presented the opportunity? Same applies to Bell, obviously. Also, Stocks has been a lights out shooter and shown a knack for making the right pass when he's able to move around and not just 'force it into the post', 'force it into the post', 'force it into the post' as with all our guards. Maybe we should put a little more faith in our guards to make basketball plays. The passes are being defended and while they can do a better job of making a better pass, its clearly being forced by someone on the sideline as well. Our bigs lack of development is another issue. Side note: the last time we played Draymond Green, he sucked, now he's a force in his 3rd & 4th year = proper development.

Overall, we all know what has to change to be a legitimate team and have a chance at winning our Conference or playing in March.

As much as Zags fans want to believe it, the NCAA Tournament is not a given based on our name alone. We still have to earn it. I'm starting to wonder if our Coaches and players are falling for this notion as well. There are 100's of D1 bball teams who have never made it, ever. For instance, I have a close buddy who is a Northwestern(Big 10) Alumnus and always reminds me how fortunate we are b/c their bball team has never once made the Tourney. Puts it in perspective.

It brings me back to my OP. I continually hear how these losses and playing these games will 'prepare us for March'. Really?

I don't know about you, yet given the reasons above and many more I'll wait to admit, March seems like a LONG LONG LONG way away for this team...maybe if we keep talking about March, it will happen. The power of positive thinking as a Zags message board.

12-12-2011, 05:34 AM
to-agree....in fact, the mvps so far are 1-2 "walkons." i would rate hart then stocks as mvps thus far. volumes right there.

12-12-2011, 06:12 AM
For starters, Few has said all along that this is not his most talented bunch (or words to that effect) but that they do have a real high team chemsitry.
If the team learns and grows from these last two games, then it will have been worth it. I expect that the younger players will, the older players, I'm not so sure about. That old saw "practice makes perfect" is BS. Practicing the wrong stuff over and over doesn't help a thing. "Perfect practice makes perfect" is more like it.

A few posters have dissed on Sacre some. I understand why, there was some reversion back to bad habits. OTOH, I saw him field a rebound with one hand extended and stuff it through the hole. I'm not sure I've ever seen him do that before. I also saw him fetch an errant pass off the floor, bring it up and control it. Another time he received the pass and went straight up. That's encouraging. I also saw him sky for at least two rebounds.

Harris is my bigger worry. He was very frustrated vs MSU, they defended him well. He reverted to bad habits, he took time off on defense, and much of the time it was matador defense at that. He has the athletic ability to be a great defender, for some reason he just hasn't bought into it.

Carter is the big ? I just don't understand his play.

12-12-2011, 07:02 AM
. . .Harris is my bigger worry. He was very frustrated vs MSU, they defended him well. He reverted to bad habits, he took time off on defense, and much of the time it was matador defense at that. He has the athletic ability to be a great defender, for some reason he just hasn't bought into it. . .

Harris is a fine player and I enjoy watching him, but if his facial expression is any hint of what is going on inside his brain, he looks as if he is REALLY not enjoying himself out there. I hope I am misreading things and that he continues to contribute for another year or two, but I hate to see a guy play for GU who looks like he would rather be having a root canal than playing power forward for the Bulldogs!

Go Bulldogs! Get Bigger!

12-12-2011, 07:11 AM
IMHO, Few does more with less than any college coach ...he will have to work his magic even more this year...we needed some real luck (SD beats SM) and a most determined effort last year...we could win this year...but the WCC appears to be much improved ....someone posted in here that the fans and maybe the coaches take a Conference Title for granted. Some of the fans may, but I don't believe the coaches do....not for a minute....Yes, March is a long long ways away..in the end, the best players always play...

12-12-2011, 07:18 AM
The team chemistry talking point might be wearing thin. When Few made those comments we had yet to really play and I think there were quite a few players who envisioned seeing more time on the floor. Winning cures a lot, but throw in some losses and add to that those three or four players whose minutes have dropped or not materialized--and you now have a team that's not as talented as year's past and has some resentment/division/frustration instead of great chemistry.

12-12-2011, 07:19 AM
Illinois away from home and MSY at home are the real barometers of how this team is coming together and how far we need to climb to contend in March.

SMC doesn't play this tuff of a schedule; BYU will be very tough at their gym.

Pangos, Bell, and Carter had best get it together together and we all thought Carter would be doing alot better by now.

Harris was disappointing against MSU and Dower hasn't really shown much yet.

Even so, we should be ok- it was only normal to expect a learning curve for Pangos and Bell....Bell is emerging and Pangos has shown some flashes- if
Carter can't execute, its time to bring Keita along. Also- Landry probably can average at least 4-6 a game....so- we should reasonably expect to cut turnovers by at least 33 % and add BOTH Landry and Monninghoff to the mix, depending on matchups.

We all knew the frosh would need these games to mature and in the meantime Stockton continues to impress.

Somehow we need to get ALOT more from Harris and Dower offensively and defensively.

12-12-2011, 07:21 AM
More with less????? I thought this was one of our most talented teams?

12-12-2011, 07:34 AM
More with less????? I thought this was one of our most talented teams?

Who thought that? Maybe a few anonymous online posters but nobody on the inside. This is not one of the more talented Gonzaga teams. Few knows it and so do most of the observers. This team is going to have to win as a team.

Timeout! Great piece. That is how you deliver constructive criticism. I don't agree with everything, but I think you presented a well thought out argument and supported your ideas. Kudos.

12-12-2011, 08:15 AM
As tough as it is to watch, we are seeing a team that is going through a typical development process. It's the reason most elite programs schedule soft OOC. We don't have that luxury so we throw our guys right into the fire.

The offense is a work in progress, we have inexperienced guards who are learning as they go along. The offense does look like a walk-through and lacks the sharp cuts and crisp ball movement needed to make elite opponents uncomfortable. Those passes to the post are telegraphed and easily turned over. The assist to turnover ratio is upside down. It's going to get better but not overnight.

The prospects are bright however-Bell is going to be breaking down teams off the dribble more and more, Pangos and Stockton will realize they need to be more deceptive and crafty with their passes.

Carter and Dower need to step up for sure. Landry is a wild card.

It's a roller coaster-ride it.


12-12-2011, 08:56 AM
The failure to win the big games.

12-12-2011, 09:56 AM
There were quite a few posters in the pre season that stated that we didn't sign any recruits because recruits were afraid to come to GU because the talent was to great. I never bought into that, I think we have good not great talent and we have young talent which can cause its own problems. This year we had a lot of holes to fill and filled them with promising players who were untested. I completely expected to take some losses this year and actually thought we would have one more loss at this time than we do. But as the saying goes there are no freshmen in March, the more these guys play the more mature, more comfortable and the more confident they will get. By march this will be a very tough out in the tourney.

12-12-2011, 10:06 AM
I am not worried. We have two losses of less than 10 points to two teams that will be in the tournament come March. This with two of our key players being true freshman.

We have yet to get truly blown out. Neither MSU nor Illinois were pretty games, but in both Gonzaga gutted it out to keep the game competitive a few times when the game could have gotten out of hand (and did get out of hand for similar games in past Gonzaga versions--see Derek Ravio's trip to Illinois, for example).

I have high confidence that the kinks in the offense will get worked out as the season progresses and our new guys get more time in the system and everyone gets more comfortable playing together. It isn't there yet, but it could be and probably will be.

The whole scholly versus walk on distinction is meaningless to me. We have players who can play, I really don't care how they pay their tuition.

Once Rob learns to pass out of the double or triple team to an open, say, GBJ or Harris, we will be fine.

12-12-2011, 10:59 AM
Losing may help if its a tough game and you figure some things out. But winning a tough games helps out a hell of a lot more.

I dont know what would be better for our guys in March than to know that they had beat a program like Mich. St (without Guy Landry, when minutes were still up in the air, and while the young guys were still finding their roles).