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View Full Version : Point Guard Depth?



JoeZag
08-28-2007, 10:45 AM
In reviewing the current roster, it appears to me that we are woefully thin at the point guard position. The departures of Raivio and PMAC could be magnified if Pargo gets into foul trouble. I know that Matty and possibly Gray could fill in for short stretches, but I don't see any great ballhandlers in this group. Can one of the other newcomers fill in? Is Sorensen ready to play? Your thoughts please.....

CDC84
08-28-2007, 11:02 AM
This is the biggest concern I have with this year's team. If either Bouldin or Pargo go down for any major length of time, Gonzaga could be hurting. In fact, if Pargo does down GU will be hurting because however gifted Bouldin may be as a passer, he is not a very good ballhandler from a PG perspective. Which leads to another point....this will be the worst ballhandling team GU has had in quite some time. The last several years GU has had one of the best ballhandling teams in the nation. Pargo/D-Rav/PMAC could dribble thru a mine field, and for 3 years GU had the ultimate press breaking weapon in Adam. You couldn't press Gonzaga - it just didn't work.

This year's GU team you will be able to press. I think it is absolutely critical that the staff spend a great deal of time in practice working on press breakers. Not only will GU be playing a series of teams like Memphis, Pepperdine and Tennessee that like to press, but I can definitely see several other teams trying out this tactic to get GU out of its game.

I am not sure about Sorenson, but the departed Jordan Mast may have been able to help out Gonzaga in this area if they got in a bind. I was always very comfortable with him being on the court. Mast had a few D-1 offers coming out of high school - he has some talent. He also seemed to have a good grasp of the system.....

It is my understanding that Steven Gray has played little if any PG in organized ball. He's got a lot of learning to do...but GU is going to need him at that spot if they get in a pickle.

cggonzaga
08-28-2007, 11:24 AM
Have to disagree with you on the ballhandling issue. While yes we are short of "true" point guards, I believe this team is one of the best overall ballhandling teams we've had. Pargo, Bouldin, Downs, Daye, Gray, Heytvelt, Brown etc. are all good ballhandlers for their positions. I also believe we'd be a terrible team to try and press. With our length we could pass over anything thrown at us (passing being another strong area on this team). You don't dribble through a press anyway. I hope teams do press us because it could lead to many easy baskets. I think what we won't see a great deal of, outside of Pargo, is a great deal of breaking someone down off the dribble.

Butler Guy
08-28-2007, 11:30 AM
in his assessment of the lack of ballhanders outside of Pargo, then Gonzaga is going to see a lot of pressure defense this season. I would imagine a team like Pepperdine would pose some issues if it weren't for their talent disparity. What do you think Few will do if defenses start hedging and denying Pargo? Who is competent enough to have the ball in their hands in press break if JP simply can't get the ball?

MickMick
08-28-2007, 11:38 AM
People are getting confused here. An example is Daye. He is an exceptional ball handler.....for a forward. Downs is a good ball handler when compared to other forwards. Heytvelt is a good ball handler...when compared to other power forwards.

This post is talking about point guard depth and CDC's concerns are legit. A quick, pressing team may present a challenge to the Zags.

The Zags handed an elite eight to UCLA because they had trouble getting the ball up the court. I'm not talking about the last possesion. I'm talking about the last 4 minutes. Now take that team that CDC described as "one of the best ball handling teams in the nation" and see what the crunch time, pressing guard play from UCLA did to them. Comparatively, how would you suppose this year's version of the Zags might perform in a similar situation?

Some of us are having high hopes that Brown and Gray can pick up where others have left off. If the pieces fall into place, then all is well in Zag land.

sonuvazag
08-28-2007, 11:43 AM
A good press break doesn't require multiple ball handlers. Just good decisions and strategy.

cggonzaga
08-28-2007, 11:47 AM
Comparatively, how would you suppose this year's version of the Zags might perform in a similar situation?


Must better for reasons I stated above.

Butler Guy
08-28-2007, 12:18 PM
A good press break doesn't require multiple ball handlers. Just good decisions and strategy.

If you try to press break against a team like Southern Illinois without two competent ball-handlers it doesn't matter how good your strategy is; you are going to keep turning the ball over. There is a difference in breaking a press and breaking a press that has athletes better than your own. Do you remember the old Arkansas press?

There is no way in hell you are passing out of that, they deny the inbound, face guard the back court and cheat at half court with tweener front court guys (like Todd Day), the only possibility of a pass out of that is a high-risk, full-court look.

The safest and most efficient press break will always be a back screen in the back court by one of your big then ball sprint to the time line. If the opposition tries to double at the half court line you skip pass and the back cut will almost ALWAYS be open for the trailer. (his pick up would be at the trap)

sonuvazag
08-28-2007, 12:29 PM
If you try to press break against a team like Southern Illinois without two competent ball-handlers it doesn't matter how good your strategy is
I disagree. Our size gives us better looks over the top. Our three is going to be 6'9" or taller in most cases and he is not going to have to make a quick decision to avoid losing the ball.

More important than dribbling is composure. Most presses I see work because of intimidation. Hurried plays make mistakes. Presses that involve double teams always create weakness and, as you say, timely picks and cutters are all you really need. Bouldin and Pendo and Daye are all going to be great at press break in addition to Pargo (we do need Pargo.)

One good ball handler and everyone else on the court just takes care of the ball until they can get it back to him to set up the offense.

cggonzaga
08-28-2007, 01:03 PM
Agreed Sonu. May the force be with you.

wazZag
08-28-2007, 01:08 PM
It's also been said on this board that Ira! handles really well too.

gozagswoohoo
08-28-2007, 01:09 PM
I really don't think it will be much of an issue this season. It MIGHT in a game or two.

I was just extremely bored, so I did a little research....ENJOY.


Pargo only fouled out of TWO games last season. Of the 2 games, we lost one of them (Loy Marymount).

BUT...I figured up an average fouls per game, and he was right at 2.5 fouls each game last season. Pargo is a very smart PG, I think he will realize teams will be coming after him, but he still has an average of over 2 fouls left per game to give. I have faith that Pargo can handle himself.

drnoe
08-28-2007, 01:27 PM
The Zags handed an elite eight to UCLA because they had trouble getting the ball up the court. I'm not talking about the last possesion. I'm talking about the last 4 minutes. Now take that team that CDC described as "one of the best ball handling teams in the nation" and see what the crunch time, pressing guard play from UCLA did to them. Comparatively, how would you suppose this year's version of the Zags might perform in a similar situation?

Some of us are having high hopes that Brown and Gray can pick up where others have left off. If the pieces fall into place, then all is well in Zag land.

Bingo! Bad decisions primarily create turnovers. It's not difficult at all to break a great press, as long as sound decisions are being.

CDC84
08-28-2007, 01:28 PM
Unless Daye has greatly improved since I was saw him in January, Adam is a better ballhandler than him. That's how I see it. Which isn't to say that Austin can't handle the ball very well for a 6-10 guy.

None of the players you cited cggonzaga, IMO, come close to possessing the ballhandling skills of D-Rav and PMAC. I have yet to see Brown yet, and I have yet to see Gray fronting an attack, but I have concerns right now about the ballhandling skills of the other players. Downs and Bouldin particularly. In fact, ballhandling is the one worry I have with Matt in terms of his future at the next level. He constantly fumbles the ball while dribbling....he must have very small hands for a 6-5 kid or something.

Regarding the UCLA game....not a favorite subject of mine but here it goes...In the final minutes of that game, neither PMAC or Pargo were on the floor along with D-Rav very much to my recollection. Either way, almost everything the team did during the final 4 minutes was the exact opposite of what they did in the regular season. Everything they did well was forgotten about. They damaged or at least properly handled pressing teams throughout most of that regular season. I remember D-Rav having his pocket picked by Farmar and thinking that bad voodoo had entered the picture. Whatever faults D-Rav may have had at times as a player, that is something that just didn't happen.

So many things went wrong in the final few minutes of that UCLA game, and I think so much of it was nerves. Not just with handling the press, but doing anything properly on either end of the floor. Guys exhibited a lot of poor decision making and basketball IQ under pressure. The coaches probably could've handled a few substitutions better as well. As I have always said, Gonzaga lost that game in the 1st half. The Zags had to have known going into the locker room that they should have been up by 25, minimum, given how badly UCLA played in the 1st half. They allowed the Bruins to get to 13. For me, the game was lost there. And I knew going into the half that there was a very good chance GU was going to lose that game....I found myself mentally preparing for it. I view everything that happened after that 1st half as being a direct consequence of their failure to put UCLA away. GU throughout that whole season failed to put teams away, and as the lead dwindled and dwindled in the final few minutes of that game, they really felt the heat because they knew how much toughness and poise UCLA possessed.

I still maintain that the last two Zag teams had vastly superior ballhandling to this year's crew. Hence, the team is really going to need to be sharp in how they handle their press breakers. They won't have as many guys to dribble out of a mine field if someone gets stuck. They are going to have to be fundamentally very strong. I am not saying it can't be done, but outside of a major injury to Pargo or Bouldin, this is the #1 concern that I have going into this season. Keep in mind I have had concerns going into prior seasons that I ended up not being concerned about once the games started and I could see the team execute in a variety of situations. But that's how I feel at this moment about the situation. It makes me, shall we say, a bit nervous.

cggonzaga
08-28-2007, 01:56 PM
None of the players you cited cggonzaga, IMO, come close to possessing the ballhandling skills of D-Rav and PMAC.

I never stated they were. I just said as an overall group, this class was better. Almost every player handles the ball pretty well for his position. I personally believe Austin handles the ball way better than Ammo. That being said, you do not need 3 DRav's to handle the ball or break a press. It was a nice luxury to have but not necessary.

BobZag
08-28-2007, 02:12 PM
If Pargo and Bouldin never get hurt, this is moot. Steven Gray is the third PG.

sonuvazag
08-28-2007, 02:14 PM
So if Pargo, Bouldin, and Gray all get hurt, we're doomed.:D

MickMick
08-28-2007, 02:22 PM
So if Pargo, Bouldin, and Gray all get hurt, we're doomed.:D


If Bouldin and Gray bring the ball up in the third round of the tournament against a guard tandem similar to what UCLA presented two years ago then yes......we may be doomed.

You see, the scenario doesn't have to go nearly as far as you took it to make some of us nervous.

sonuvazag
08-28-2007, 02:27 PM
It was a joke. Let's just hope we don't have to find out what we miss without Pargo.

Zag365
08-28-2007, 02:39 PM
It seemed to me that one of the problems last year for Matt was inability to get rid of the ball quickly. He regularly got called for failing to inbound timely or he got trapped along the baseline or he didn't find a cutter as double-team closed in and he got tied up for a turnover. I attributed this deer-in-the-headlights to inexperience at college game; but surprised that it occurred as much as it did. I never felt confident with Matt trying to inbound or bring the ball up when the other team started playing lockdown defense.

roxdoc
08-28-2007, 04:01 PM
CDC brings up a good point about killer instinct. I know its a little off topic, but we have had threads this summer talking about what was needed next year and I don't think the killer instinct was mentioned. For the last couple of years we really have not had it. In easy games we will get ahead and then you can just see the air going out of the tires and in some cases we had to play like hell to pull it out in the end. Are killer instinct and poise under pressure like a full court press related?

MickMick
08-28-2007, 07:32 PM
Speaking of the press (http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=7#s=7&f=1398&t=903958)

sittingon50
08-28-2007, 08:36 PM
Watched the NCAA game vs Louisville again last week. Zags had 24 turnovers in that one (as opposed to 17 vs UCLA). All ya' gotta do is shoot about 60% when you don't turn it over.;)

tyra
08-28-2007, 09:40 PM
I personally believe Austin handles the ball way better than Ammo. That being said, you do not need 3 DRav's to handle the ball or break a press. It was a nice luxury to have but not necessary.

Yes, but I think CDC's point is that there are times when you need two strong dribblers (not just players with good judgment and good passing skills), especially against a team that has a lock down press. And therefore, after Pargo, there's who? I don't even want to say it out loud but it does raise the question as to where we will be if Jeremy, God forbid, gets injured.
And this is also probably why BobZ has been on a PG in 09 crusade.

dim4sum
08-29-2007, 06:21 PM
I think LG can do all of the good things guards are supposed to do. If he learns to finish, and doesn't play scared, psyched out by last year's injury, I think he can be a contender for bigtime playing time. He may get good PT in say the Pepperdine game. We know the Waves will press, but can they themselves handle a taste of their own medicine. LG can be that disruptive factor that enables the Zags to trounce Pep.