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View Full Version : Some final game trends or STOP THE DAMN 3s!



FuManShoes
03-25-2013, 08:22 AM
I was curious how many times the Zags have been burned by the three-ball in their final game. Interestingly, for as much as the Zag defense has improved overall, at least during the regular season, it's in recent years that we've been giving up double-digit threes on our way to being bounced from the Dance. Perhaps a reflection of our size leading opponents to rely on perimeter shooting? Or just crappy D? Or bad matchups? Or GU somehow always facilitating an opponent's best shooting game? (I do think there's something to the idea that the Zags don't intimidate opponents; opponents come off the bus casting away, get some early success and feel the game is there for the taking).

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8527/8590022836_f1c16a426a.jpg

webspinnre
03-25-2013, 08:34 AM
What about our other tournament games, the ones we won? By selecting only games lost, you'll almost naturally have a higher percentage of made threes, as I've got to think that there's ar ough coorelation between 3 point percentage and win percentage.

FuManShoes
03-25-2013, 08:42 AM
What about our other tournament games, the ones we won? By selecting only games lost, you'll almost naturally have a higher percentage of made threes, as I've got to think that there's ar ough coorelation between 3 point percentage and win percentage.

I know stats can be misleading but double digit threes in nearly every elimination game of the last 7 years? And yes, admittedly my interest was in looking for trends in the games we lost, and how we might prevent that from happening again. Seems we go down to a barrage of threes time and again. I know that's part of what makes March Madness what it is, but it's also becoming our MO. This team was supposed to be much better defensively - the numbers said they were - and yet we still saw the same result. Either it's fate or the Zags need to do a better job preparing for the gameplan thrown a them or put guys on the court who can get out on shooters or recruit those kind of players. Or maybe we should just be happy to be a nice, solid program that wins a bunch of games but ultimately gets outgunned in the Dance.

Zageist
03-25-2013, 10:12 AM
that's interesting. Same thing we're talking about around the water cooler.

jazzdelmar
03-25-2013, 10:15 AM
thats 2013 college hoops vs the 1990 model, slow and sure, which is broke. the three ball is the game now, either making it or stopping it. feeding the post and killing the shot clock is yesterday.

Virginia Zags Fan
03-25-2013, 10:28 AM
I have put a lot of thought into this. Is this a chicken or the egg thing. We advance in all games that the opposition does not nail threes due to interior defense strength and lose all games when opponents shoot a high 3-pt percentage?

Do teams look at the interior strength of the team the past 4/5 years and determine to design game plans to shoot it from deep, knowing it was their best hope?

Guards that break down the defense and then kick to open shooters is how some teams have beat us. SMC did this to us reliably the past few years. Delly would drive, collapse the D, and shoot or kick. GU changed it's D rotation this year and I think did a fantastic job for the most part. The breakdowns against WSU hurt, but they made their shots at a much higher percentage than at anytime this year.

So do the Zags lose when the opposition sinks a bunch of 3's because that was the only way to beat the Zags?

So confusing. So much to think about.

Chicken Ball
03-25-2013, 12:46 PM
http://www.cougcenter.com/2013/3/24/4141950/gonzaga-wichita-state-upset-ncaa-tournament

Zags will not improve their March performance if they continue to leave the 3 pt line to chance. Coaches Few and Giacoletti have got to change their opinion that they can't or shouldn't try to stop teams from taking threes, especially teams that will otherwise struggle to score twos against us and are therefore going to be dependent on making a bunch of threes.

webspinnre
03-25-2013, 12:53 PM
I think that's the key. The point isn't that you can't win a lot of games with this strategy. You can and will. However, you're leaving yourself vulnerable to teams going off, which will happen. When it does happen, will you be good enough to withstand it? History suggests to us the answer is no. ESPN has had all sorts of articles that have suggested that "giant-killers" are basically teams that go off from 3. The way to pull big upsets is typically to hit a bunch of 3s. To you really want to let your tourney hopes hang on no team going hot against you from 3? Or do you want a more concerted effort to chase them off the line to discourage them from taking as many 3s? Especially when you're pretty big inside?

Statistically, the best way to win lots of games is to keep using the strategy we've used. Basically, it's a wonderful regular season strategy, when the regular season is about winning as many games as possible. However, the tourney isn't about winning as many games as possible, it's about winning 6 straight games. And the way to do that against inferior teams is to prevent them from having the types of games that lead to upsets (high-volume 3 point shooting). Much of the time high-volume shooting like that will lead to a loss for the shooting team. But, some of the time, they'll hit their shots, and that's when upsets happen. The question is if we're willing to consider modifying our strategy when we move into a different type of competition, one that isn't about "body of work" but instead about one (loss) and done.

siliconzag
03-25-2013, 01:07 PM
I think that's the key. The point isn't that you can't win a lot of games with this strategy. You can and will. However, you're leaving yourself vulnerable to teams going off, which will happen. When it does happen, will you be good enough to withstand it? History suggests to us the answer is no. ESPN has had all sorts of articles that have suggested that "giant-killers" are basically teams that go off from 3. The way to pull big upsets is typically to hit a bunch of 3s. To you really want to let your tourney hopes hang on no team going hot against you from 3? Or do you want a more concerted effort to chase them off the line to discourage them from taking as many 3s? Especially when you're pretty big inside?

Statistically, the best way to win lots of games is to keep using the strategy we've used. Basically, it's a wonderful regular season strategy, when the regular season is about winning as many games as possible. However, the tourney isn't about winning as many games as possible, it's about winning 6 straight games. And the way to do that against inferior teams is to prevent them from having the types of games that lead to upsets (high-volume 3 point shooting). Much of the time high-volume shooting like that will lead to a loss for the shooting team. But, some of the time, they'll hit their shots, and that's when upsets happen. The question is if we're willing to consider modifying our strategy when we move into a different type of competition, one that isn't about "body of work" but instead about one (loss) and done.

Instead of making it personal, or scapegoating the coach or individual players, Web has boiled it down to a non emotional suggestion. He suggests something that has always been true, dating back over 75 years. Strategies for March cannot be the same as the regular season, especially with the advent and ongoing increasing importance of the three point play. The Hank Iba era is gone, and even Eddie Sutton who believed every shot should be a layup when he was at Creighton evolved. Gonzaga coaches need an off site retreat, and need to reflect on 1) What are the goals of the program? 2) Are we satisfied with being WCC dominant and early NCAA road kill? and 3) If not, what sacred cows are we willing to slay?

Nice one Web.

maynard g krebs
03-25-2013, 02:01 PM
I'd suggest the Zags lost this game just as much because their 65% shooter shot 35% and took over double his normal amount of shots, 22 v 10.7. Also attempted 14 fts v a season avg of 5.3. Then Pangos took 17 shots v a season avg of 9 and also shot 35%.

Those 2 guys taking 39 of 59 (over 65% of attempts)shots and shooting a horrid % suggests a couple possibilities. (On the season,they combined for 659 of 1934 attempts, around 35% of the team's total).

I think it's an illustration of the team being tight when they go so drastically far from what they were doing all season; everybody else afraid to shoot in the big moment, which leads to KO and KP taking a lot of tough shots and shooting badly.

Or it could be a deliberate decision by the coaches to play this way. But that doesn't make much sense to veer so drastically away from what got the team this far.

Or Wich took away the other guys' opportunities and forced the ball to KP and KO and invited them to shoot, which makes even less sense.

A bad shooting team got hot and killed the Zags from the outside. The scout was, correctly, that Wichita is a bad shooting team. My point is that there's more than one reason this game was lost, and with an average , normally played offensive game, the Zags win, in spite of the 3's.

Hoopaholic
03-25-2013, 02:17 PM
ahhh maynard.....a voice of reason...an understanding to the complexities of the game and the game within the game called basketball......those who think it is a single point of failure simply dont understand the complexities of high level basketball in my opinion

ZagLawGrad
03-25-2013, 02:24 PM
Put aside the 3's, fellas.

9 missed FTs.

Game over.

former1dog
03-25-2013, 02:34 PM
http://www.cougcenter.com/2013/3/24/4141950/gonzaga-wichita-state-upset-ncaa-tournament

Zags will not improve their March performance if they continue to leave the 3 pt line to chance. Coaches Few and Giacoletti have got to change their opinion that they can't or shouldn't try to stop teams from taking threes, especially teams that will otherwise struggle to score twos against us and are therefore going to be dependent on making a bunch of threes.

Great article. Thanks for sharing.

Chicken Ball
03-25-2013, 02:35 PM
I'd suggest the Zags lost this game just as much because their 65% shooter shot 35% and took over double his normal amount of shots, 22 v 10.7. Also attempted 14 fts v a season avg of 5.3. Then Pangos took 17 shots v a season avg of 9 and also shot 35%.

Those 2 guys taking 39 of 59 (over 65% of attempts)shots and shooting a horrid % suggests a couple possibilities. (On the season,they combined for 659 of 1934 attempts, around 35% of the team's total).

I think it's an illustration of the team being tight when they go so drastically far from what they were doing all season; everybody else afraid to shoot in the big moment, which leads to KO and KP taking a lot of tough shots and shooting badly.

Or it could be a deliberate decision by the coaches to play this way. But that doesn't make much sense to veer so drastically away from what got the team this far.

Or Wich took away the other guys' opportunities and forced the ball to KP and KO and invited them to shoot, which makes even less sense.

A bad shooting team got hot and killed the Zags from the outside. The scout was, correctly, that Wichita is a bad shooting team. My point is that there's more than one reason this game was lost, and with an average , normally played offensive game, the Zags win, in spite of the 3's.
Thing is, in the tournament, you're going to have games where you miss free throws and your best players have off shooting nights from the field. Can't really control that. You can control your defensive strategy to limit the chances the other team carries away a fluke victory. So, sure; there were a bunch of reasons we lost. But good teams (and make no mistake, we were a really good team this year) have to think about eliminating every avenue for an inferior team to win and the most probable one is getting hot from three.

Hoopaholic
03-25-2013, 02:42 PM
so you change your strategy and run out to the 3 point line (despite their entire season issue with shooting the three ball), which then opens up the interior for them to exploit their strength offensive rebounding.....which then the board would be complaining because we gave up 30 second chance points and put them on the line 30 times and our two best interior guys were on the bench fouled out.....pick you poison and the tapes and their tendencies clearly demonstrated that eliminate their offensive rebounding and reduce their 2 point shooting percentage and force them to beat us was the better option

caduceus
03-25-2013, 02:44 PM
I don't get the sentiment around here that since we lost one game to Wichita State that there is some pervasive, dubious flaw in Gonzaga University Men's Basketball. Some of the thinking in the past 48 hours really has me flummoxed.

Consider:
1) If I told you the Zags had a 7 point lead with 5:31 remaining, and the opposing team with a .330 season three-point shooting record had a 2346-to-1 odds of hitting 7 threes in a row, would you take those odds?

2) Gary Bell's injury was central to our loss. His plus-minus average is nearly +18 points (good for 13th in the nation). Do you think that the Shockers would have had nearly as many three point opportunities in the second half if he had been playing? In the first half, GBJ's plus-minus was even (Wichita St. scored no more points than the Zags when he was on the court).

Stockton's plus-minus average is a favorable +4, but not anywhere near GBJ's. Few knows this, and gives them minutes accordingly under normal conditions. Regardless, how do you effectively defend 4 separate guys that get crazy-hot and go off for 19 points in 4:34? This is not a coaching error in any way. The machine had an essential cog missing (GBJ).

You can pick and choose from any number of bad things that didn't go our way in that game. Poor late FT shooting, missed bunnies, brain farts on inbounding, a couple of questionable calls late, and so on. None of these are directly related to coaching, but are a combination of player factors and some bad luck.

Had the perfect storm of crap not occurred and we had won the game, I doubt there would be more than a small handful of overly critical fans on here questioning the coaching decisions, Few's system, or the program. Despite the Zags having their lowest eFG% of the season, an injury to a key defender/clutch scorer, and the opposition shooting orders of magnitude better than their average, we were within 2 points with 2 minutes to go.

I think too much emphasis has been placed here on deficiencies in the program/coaching when in reality, it would appear we had some bad things happen that to a great extent were beyond our control -- the loss of Gary being the biggest.

former1dog
03-25-2013, 02:45 PM
so you change your strategy and run out to the 3 point line (despite their entire season issue with shooting the three ball), which then opens up the interior for them to exploit their strength offensive rebounding.....which then the board would be complaining because we gave up 30 second chance points and put them on the line 30 times and our two best interior guys were on the bench fouled out.....pick you poison and the tapes and their tendencies clearly demonstrated that eliminate their offensive rebounding and reduce their 2 point shooting percentage and force them to beat us was the better option

Or, you make in game adjustments. Up by 8, they start hitting 3 after 3. They need to overcome the lead, because we're scoring on the other end.

maynard g krebs
03-25-2013, 02:47 PM
Thing is, in the tournament, you're going to have games where you miss free throws and your best players have off shooting nights from the field. Can't really control that. You can control your defensive strategy to limit the chances the other team carries away a fluke victory. So, sure; there were a bunch of reasons we lost. But good teams (and make no mistake, we were a really good team this year) have to think about eliminating every avenue for an inferior team to win and the most probable one is getting hot from three.

You have a point. But St Louis has a reputation for being an elite defensive team, and they couldn't stop Oregon from making 8 of 11 Saturday. I realize they limited attempts, but they lost by 17. And what I said, I think, goes beyond "off shooting nights" and suggests something more structural in how the game was played.

I think you have to consider the makeup of the roster, too, esp w/ Bell being out in the 2nd half. GU doesn't have a bunch of long armed 6'6 high fliers going out at shooters like say Syracuse or Memphis do. The one guy on the roster who fits that mold would up glued to the bench this year because he wasn't doing things to the coaches' satisfaction.

Hoopaholic
03-25-2013, 02:48 PM
they DID make in game adjustment...go back and watch second half tape...we came out and played extremely good defense and made a run...adjustments were made.

Then they made 7 shots in a row (team that shot 33% for the year, 10% day before and several kids who had only shot 10 3 pointers all year are now chucking them up), 4 of those we were in defensive position and one involved fumbling the ball and basically throwing it up......short of putting 6 MANUTE BOL out on the court not whole lot to be done

Granted 3 of the shots I have charted were defensive errors where strong side help hedged too much and could not recover

Arneson
03-25-2013, 02:56 PM
Next year we should just foul all 3 point shots good enough that they miss and hope they miss 1 of 3 free throws.

Obviously joking, or am I...

webspinnre
03-25-2013, 04:36 PM
One of the wonderful things that the "sabermetric revolution" in baseball has brought about is an invigoration in the pursuit of statistical analysis in other sports, such as basketball and football. Football is much more complicated, given the extreme differences between positions, but basketball is a wonderful sport for analytics. All sorts of great analysis has happened in recent years, including the work being discussed here and other places regarding 3 point shooting percentages. However, just like in baseball, mainstream coaches tend to be slower to catch up with these sorts of things, apart from a very small group.

CanadZag
03-25-2013, 07:41 PM
Not to beat the topic ad nauseam, but I was curious about the three-point D in the tournament, as even when we have won in past years, I feel we need to "survive" a three-point barrage from our opponent...So I went back through every Tournament game in the last 10 years (we are 10-10 in that time, which makes for easy math). Here are the raw numbers:

Year Team 3PTM 3PTA
2013 Southern 10 23
Wichita State 14 28
2012 West Virginia 3 17
Ohio State 9 23
2011 St. Johns 7 15
BYU 14 28
2010 Florida State 6 20
Syracuse 12 25
2009 Akron 10 23
WesternKentucky 12 25
North Carolina 11 19
2008 Davidson 11 22
2007 Indiana 9 25
2006 Xavier 10 28
Indiana 16 36
UCLA 6 21
2005 Winthrop 10 26
Texas Tech 4 11
2004 Valparaiso 6 23
Nevada 8 17

Total Figures 188 455 41.32%

In Losses 98 219 44.75%

In Wins 90 236 38.14%

I was shocked when I put the figures together, not only at the percentages, but also at the number of 10+ games as well, win or lose.

Comparing these statistics to the general trends in college basketball, http://statsheet.com/mcb/beyondthearc, opponents are shooting above the norm, win or lose, consistently on Gonzaga come tournament time (and pretty much 10% better than average when we lose).

Make what you want out of the statistics, they are just that.

Doesn't make the ending to such a special season taste any better.

Hoopaholic
03-25-2013, 07:51 PM
Be interesting to compare each if those teams how many shots they took during the year to see if their attempts per game was out of whack compared to attempts vs zags

Chicken Ball
03-25-2013, 08:10 PM
You have a point. But St Louis has a reputation for being an elite defensive team, and they couldn't stop Oregon from making 8 of 11 Saturday. I realize they limited attempts, but they lost by 17. And what I said, I think, goes beyond "off shooting nights" and suggests something more structural in how the game was played.

I think you have to consider the makeup of the roster, too, esp w/ Bell being out in the 2nd half. GU doesn't have a bunch of long armed 6'6 high fliers going out at shooters like say Syracuse or Memphis do. The one guy on the roster who fits that mold would up glued to the bench this year because he wasn't doing things to the coaches' satisfaction.
And you have a point, too. SLU is a team that focuses on taking away three point shots, and that was very successful for them all year, until they ran into Oregon. Everyone, after all, has a bad night here and there. SLU's just came in a really important game. The difference with GU is that we have a bad night taking away the 3 fairly often; we were one of the worst teams in Div 1 this year at taking away the 3 point shot (and the trend extends back, too), which leads me to believe that it is, in fact, a structural problem with our defense. And, frankly, I'd live with their 6'6" guys trying to make shots over our 7' and 6'8" guys in the paint if they drive by our short perimeter defenders because they've overextended in trying to jam (rather than block) the shooter, especially late in the game with a lead. Why? Because it's easier to overcome a deficit shooting threes than shooting twos. And I'll take Gonzaga against almost any team in the country if it comes to trading two point baskets.

And Cad, this hasn't been a one game complaint. As long as I've been reading the GU Boards, all the way back in the old format around 2000 or so, the team's lack of three point defense has been a concern. And don't get me wrong. It's not the world's biggest flaw. AFter all, Coach Few has won 80% of his games with this strategy. As web said, it's a great strategy for the regular season. But if you don't want to leave these thigns to chance, you've got to fix the structural flaw in your defense. And after all, if our goal is an NCAA championship (and it should be!), 80% (4 out of 5) games isn't enough. We need six in a row. Which means maximizing our chances to avoid early upsets by hot shooting teams.

And I'll just second everything webspinnre has said in this thread, too.

Zags11
03-25-2013, 09:08 PM
Not to beat the topic ad nauseam, but I was curious about the three-point D in the tournament, as even when we have won in past years, I feel we need to "survive" a three-point barrage from our opponent...So I went back through every Tournament game in the last 10 years (we are 10-10 in that time, which makes for easy math). Here are the raw numbers:

Year Team 3PTM 3PTA
2013 Southern 10 23
Wichita State 14 28
2012 West Virginia 3 17
Ohio State 9 23
2011 St. Johns 7 15
BYU 14 28
2010 Florida State 6 20
Syracuse 12 25
2009 Akron 10 23
WesternKentucky 12 25
North Carolina 11 19
2008 Davidson 11 22
2007 Indiana 9 25
2006 Xavier 10 28
Indiana 16 36
UCLA 6 21
2005 Winthrop 10 26
Texas Tech 4 11
2004 Valparaiso 6 23
Nevada 8 17

Total Figures 188 455 41.32%

In Losses 98 219 44.75%

In Wins 90 236 38.14%

I was shocked when I put the figures together, not only at the percentages, but also at the number of 10+ games as well, win or lose.

Comparing these statistics to the general trends in college basketball, http://statsheet.com/mcb/beyondthearc, opponents are shooting above the norm, win or lose, consistently on Gonzaga come tournament time (and pretty much 10% better than average when we lose).

Make what you want out of the statistics, they are just that.

Doesn't make the ending to such a special season taste any better.

Shhhhh. Its just bad luck.....SMH. Fact after Fact, but most defenders will say...its just bad luck.

Zags11
03-25-2013, 09:09 PM
In NCAA march madness tournament...on avg teams shoot 32% from 3.

spike_jr
03-26-2013, 10:36 AM
So I have a question for the statistical types on this board. KD (6'-5") checks into the game at the 18:29 mark in the second half. GU is down 32-36. He checks out at the 10:57 mark with GU up 49-45. He plays a total of 7min 32 seconds and in this time the score changes 8 points in GU's favor. Over this same time period, WSU is 1-3 from three (which is about their season average). Is this statistcally significant? Did they take less shots because they had a 6'-5" guy helping to gaurd them? Did they make less shots because there was a 6'-5" guy gaurding? WSU shot 25 threes for the game and if you average it out, they should have shot 4.7 threes over the 7 1/2 minute stretch that KD played.

I think we very much missed a healthy GB in the second half. But my eyes and the box score all tell me that we maybe should have seen a little bit more of KD in the game.

webspinnre
03-26-2013, 10:55 AM
Depends on what you mean by statistically significant. If you mean does it matter, and can we learn something from it, then yes it does. If your question is whether that 7 minute section is statistically significant in the fact that it's a large enough sample size, then probably not.

I'd also point out that plus-minus is one of the worst stats out there as it takes a team statistic (point differential) and tries to turn it into an individual evaluation of a player.

All that being said, there's a reason baseball teams have scouts, and that's because you need both the data you gain with your eyes as well as the statistical data that might be gathered from box scores and other sources. As others have mentioned, it's too bad Kyle didn't have more time this year to allow him to gain the confidence he needs, and as importantly, for the coaches to have the confidence in him to have him be the guy when GBJ goes down.

hooter73
03-26-2013, 11:06 AM
no offense to him cause I really like him, but KD didnt do a thing all year. Its like people saying that even though GLE didnt play for three months, in the tournament he will really help us out.:confused:

spike_jr
03-26-2013, 11:13 AM
But Hooter, KD did play in the game and we have actual numbers to look at when he was in the game. GLE never saw the floor so we have no data or "eye test" to go on. In some ragards, both are nothing more than speculation, but I thought the KD question was an interesting one.

Reborn
03-26-2013, 01:54 PM
So I have a question for the statistical types on this board. KD (6'-5") checks into the game at the 18:29 mark in the second half. GU is down 32-36. He checks out at the 10:57 mark with GU up 49-45. He plays a total of 7min 32 seconds and in this time the score changes 8 points in GU's favor. Over this same time period, WSU is 1-3 from three (which is about their season average). Is this statistcally significant? Did they take less shots because they had a 6'-5" guy helping to gaurd them? Did they make less shots because there was a 6'-5" guy gaurding? WSU shot 25 threes for the game and if you average it out, they should have shot 4.7 threes over the 7 1/2 minute stretch that KD played.

I think we very much missed a healthy GB in the second half. But my eyes and the box score all tell me that we maybe should have seen a little bit more of KD in the game.

Thanks for the great post and good ideas. I agree completely with you. I have said it before and I'll say it again. GU can not win in the big games in the NCAA tournament with David Stockton playing a major role. He is JUST too short folks. It's not a slam on David. It's not his fault he's 5'10." He was trying to guard guys 6'3". David is also not a threat offensively. When he and Hart are in the game at the same time, and they were in that second half, it was GU playing 3 vs 5 offensively. And yet offensively we did ok when David was in. It's always been his defense that hurts us against teams who are scoring on offense.

Mark Few has always ignored the importance of defense over offense. And he has always ignored the importance of defending the 3 point line. Its a fact that a 5' 10" defender can guard guard a jump shooter who is hot as well as a 6' 5" player (Dranginis or even a 6'6" player like Barham). David Stockton played 17 minutes, and most of them in the second half, and all the minutes going down the home stretch. To me it was and is a coaching mistake and Few has made this same mistake over and over. And to be honest with you, I feel he will continue to do so because if there is one character flaw I see in Mark Few it is stubborness. He is very slow to change, and now in a time where change is needed, I truly wonder if he is capable of changing.

I'm not saying that Few isn't a good coach. He's a very good coach and has taken Gonzaga basketball to a wonderful place. We all enjoy what FEw has done and where the program is. But I think some of us would like to see Few take us further than we are. And the question is out there, "can he?" Facts will not support an argument that he can do it. He has one chance, imo, and I've said it on another post, he must change.

gonwick
03-26-2013, 04:23 PM
I agree that KD seemed to coincide with a big push by GU and it baffles me why we never saw him again. KD looked awkward at times during the season. I wonder if it was a lack of playing time, constantly looking over his shoulder for the hook, or that he simply isn't as good as i think he is. I suspect it is the former. As others have said here and in other threads, it would be a shame if KD's growth is stunted by few's love of stockton. His minutes will likely have to come from stockton, given Coleman's arrival. Something tells me few won't do it. DS is one of the only zags I've ever seen with no leash from few. That phrase doesn't work well, but the thought is clear. No matter how much some people love stockton, you can't coach height.