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Jstock12
08-03-2015, 10:45 AM
I've found this interesting article/analysis about our frontcourt defense, it's from a couple of weeks ago so it might have been posted already. If it was, sorry and lock this one up!

Making Sense of the Zags' Frontcourt Defense (http://bustingbrackets.com/2015/07/16/gonzaga-bulldogs-making-sense-zags-frontcourt-defense/)

(apparently it's a follow-up to their article/analysis on Zags' frontcourt offense - http://bustingbrackets.com/2015/07/02/gonzaga-bulldogs-making-sense-frontcourt-offense/)

A little tid bit from the article:

I know Mark Few loves his seniors, but he really should start Sabonis next to Wiltjer. He’s going to need a but more offensive firepower with guys like Pangos and Byron Wesley gone. Wiltjer’s shooting and Sabonis’ versatility are a great pairing on that side of the ball. Karnowski can come in off the bench fresh and bang with the other teams bigs whenever Few prefers, or whenever he needs a boost on defense. But Sabonis has the highest ceiling of anyone on Gonzaga, and higher than most players in college basketball. If Gonzaga wants to have another successful season, he needs to play more than 21.6 minutes per game.

seacatfan
08-03-2015, 11:04 AM
I strongly disagree with the premise of benching Karno. He does things that no one else on the roster does. His interior D/lane clogging is unique among the frontcourt guys (well we'll see what Edwards can do...) and he's really the only shotblocker. All 3 primary frontcourt guys are ridiculously efficient offensively, kinda hard to single one out as not being as good of an option. But the difference with Karno is that the offense can run thru him, he's so much more of a playmaker/catalyst than either Wiltjer or Sabonis. That is worth something.

Zagdawg
08-03-2015, 02:12 PM
Agree ---- doesn't matter who starts --all will get playing time and influence the game.

Much easier for the other team to game plan for Sabonis than for Karno -----no reason to make it easy on the opposition.

Doesn't make sense to try to force Sabonis to play out of position at the center if you have one of the better centers in college basketball on your team in Karno.

We will use the standard 3 big rotation and will do great with Edwards filling in spot minutes where needed.

amaronizag
08-03-2015, 02:17 PM
I'm really high on Karno. This has all been said many times before, but he changes the game in so many ways just by being in the lane. He has gotten smarter and more efficient on defense every year and commits fewer fouls every year. His inside presence and ability to score at will makes it essential for the defense to sag and double or triple him. He can score in traffic and can be the center of the offense when our guards are being defended tightly AND he passes outside well when the defense sags to cover him. Where he really proves his metal is against the top tier competition. He shows up every game while others fail to show up or are outclassed by the competition. Karno is solid as a rock and is always there in the big games. No way he doesn't start every game this year. We will see PK, KW, and DS on the floor together a lot this year. They will effectively clog the middle on D, while offensive sets will be highlighted that prevent clogging and promote clearing the middle. Lots of minutes and player combinations to put up different looks for different situations, but 3 bigs will be one of the prominent "looks" this year. I think we will have co-captains PK and KW. KW will be a scoring machine and Perkins will score inside and outside to score at a very high rate as well. Karno will average more than 10 pts a game and with a few extra minutes, DS will become a double/double machine. Many more top shelf players to rack up points and play solid D as well. Can't wait to watch this buzz saw tear into great opponents this year. We have too many player combinations and options to be stopped and we'll be a nightmare to match up against.

DixieZag
08-03-2015, 03:52 PM
I'm really high on Karno. This has all been said many times before, but he changes the game in so many ways just by being in the lane. He has gotten smarter and more efficient on defense every year and commits fewer fouls every year. His inside presence and ability to score at will makes it essential for the defense to sag and double or triple him. He can score in traffic and can be the center of the offense when our guards are being defended tightly AND he passes outside well when the defense sags to cover him. Where he really proves his metal is against the top tier competition. He shows up every game while others fail to show up or are outclassed by the competition. Karno is solid as a rock and is always there in the big games. No way he doesn't start every game this year. We will see PK, KW, and DS on the floor together a lot this year. They will effectively clog the middle on D, while offensive sets will be highlighted that prevent clogging and promote clearing the middle. Lots of minutes and player combinations to put up different looks for different situations, but 3 bigs will be one of the prominent "looks" this year. I think we will have co-captains PK and KW. KW will be a scoring machine and Perkins will score inside and outside to score at a very high rate as well. Karno will average more than 10 pts a game and with a few extra minutes, DS will become a double/double machine. Many more top shelf players to rack up points and play solid D as well. Can't wait to watch this buzz saw tear into great opponents this year. We have too many player combinations and options to be stopped and we'll be a nightmare to match up against.

I loved your line about "showing up for every game" and "raising his game" to the level around him.

I recall during his frosh year, the Zags played an unbeaten Illinois team, I think both teams were at or near number 10 in the country. The energy in the Mac was electric from the crowd but the "Zag killer" (no, I'm not looking his name up) kept the team down, the crowd was pounding energy down and it seemed like Karno was the one that responded most - he (a frosh) really got into it with the Illini and was effective not just with his play but his moxey, much of it just on defense b/c he really didn't have a huge offensive role built up the team a little, I remember the crowd feeding off it. I think recall in an interview afterward, Few said that he should have had Karno in more, big statement.

Very impressive at the time, as just a frosh. What a great Zag - let's enjoy his final year!

CdAZagFan
08-03-2015, 04:45 PM
He shows up every game while others fail to show up or are outclassed by the competition. Karno is solid as a rock and is always there in the big games. No way he doesn't start every game this year. We will see PK, KW, and DS on the floor together a lot this year. They will effectively clog the middle on D, while offensive sets will be highlighted that prevent clogging and promote clearing the middle.

Like DixieZag, I agree wholeheartedly with the thought that Karno shows up in the bigger games... The link above to the article about the front court offense states that Karno "was famous for disappearing in big games." I'm not sure where he got that - I just rewatched one great example of that in the Sweet 16 game against UCLA. The author needs to re-watch especially that second half. Karno also played big against Arizona in last year's tournament (one of the only ones who did). So many more examples...

I'm curious to see what Few does this year with the big three - I'm thinking we do see all three out there off and on but I'm sure it will depend on the match ups.

thegloriousgoateeofKP
08-03-2015, 05:50 PM
Like DixieZag, I agree wholeheartedly with the thought that Karno shows up in the bigger games... The link above to the article about the front court offense states that Karno "was famous for disappearing in big games." I'm not sure where he got that - I just rewatched one great example of that in the Sweet 16 game against UCLA. The author needs to re-watch especially that second half. Karno also played big against Arizona in last year's tournament (one of the only ones who did). So many more examples...

I'm curious to see what Few does this year with the big three - I'm thinking we do see all three out there off and on but I'm sure it will depend on the match ups.

I understand how you guys feel, but "clutchness" has never been measured or quantified. It is, according to the most intelligent, analytical basketball minds, a fairy tale.

Not saying that Karno is bad...he's a great, great player. But he plays well in "big games" because he's a great, great player...not because he "raises his game."

zagamatic
08-03-2015, 09:57 PM
The author kinda lost his credibility with me when he said Dranginis running the point. Don't get me wrong, Dranginis can run the point, but that's not where he's going to be needed this year. Nor where most would consider him preferred to be. As far as Karnowski goes, even with Pangos, Bell and Wesley on the floor, the offense ran better with Karnowski out there than without more often than not. Wiltjer and Sabonis are probably the best at creating their own shot outside the rhythm of the offense, but the team offense runs better with Karnowski in the game. And that's a really good thing to be able to say about such a large human being.

CdAZagFan
08-03-2015, 10:32 PM
I understand how you guys feel, but "clutchness" has never been measured or quantified. It is, according to the most intelligent, analytical basketball minds, a fairy tale.

Not saying that Karno is bad...he's a great, great player. But he plays well in "big games" because he's a great, great player...not because he "raises his game."

I wouldn't say Karno is a great, great player (not yet, anyway) - but a really good player. And I don't think it is matter of him "raising his game" as much as it is his ability to not be overwhelmed by the bigger situations and not shrink on the bigger stages. And that is amazing to me because every time they show him on the bench he is chewing his fingernails which I would think indicates his stress level!

GonzagasaurusFlex
08-04-2015, 04:42 AM
The reason I believe all three bigs play significant minutes together regardless of defensive matchup concerns is because they are just so damn good. Whatever concerns I have about Zags defending an athletic wing player with either Sabonis or Wiltjer are trumped by how devastating our offense and rebounding and passing will be.

PK is a senior, he's spent a good part of the summer working out with the Polish Hammer, and I predict he will be an even more dominant force this year. I'm especially excited to see him dropping dimes to Sabonis on a regular basis and making those smart, kick-out passes for open shooters when the inevitable double-team comes at him. Glad Zags have a tough schedule this year.

In the close-knit community of Zag players past, present and future the 2015-2016 team has a shot at immortality by leading Coach Few to the Promised Land.
#UnfinishedBusiness

PFzag
08-04-2015, 05:52 AM
The one reason I can see Sabonis coming off the bench is because he can play either the 4 or 5. Neither Wiltjer or Karnowski has that kind of versatility. This allows Few to substitute for whichever one gets in early foul trouble, or wherever he sees a strategical advantage.

All 3 will play alot, with Edwards around in case of foul trouble.

TheGonzagaFactor
08-04-2015, 06:37 AM
I understand how you guys feel, but "clutchness" has never been measured or quantified. It is, according to the most intelligent, analytical basketball minds, a fairy tale.

Not saying that Karno is bad...he's a great, great player. But he plays well in "big games" because he's a great, great player...not because he "raises his game."


He's a really good player who has noticeably played better in the biggest games. I think he is just a bit more fired up/focused and that takes him to the next level.

DixieZag
08-04-2015, 07:03 AM
He's a really good player who has noticeably played better in the biggest games. I think he is just a bit more fired up/focused and that takes him to the next level.

He goes through cycles, stair steps, might be a good term to use

If you recall, last year around the WSU game, the guy too a huge jump over 3-4 games was just unstoppable, and then maybe another jump at the end of the year.

Bogozags
08-04-2015, 08:10 AM
Dixie,

I remember that quite well...in all the games I can recall over the last two years, he has always had success and has been dominant over almost all inside players. He is just a steady player and don't recall him ever being defensively "stopped" by another player. He has had games where he has been off but not caused by his opponent but just not having a "good" day...

I don't think there is any team on our schedule this year that has a big that can stop PK on most possessions. He will be doubled teamed and will have to kick the ball out and reset. It will be interesting to see how our opponents play against our front line this year...we are stronger than any team in the country, maybe not as athletic as a UK but experienced and skilled.

If we stay healthy and Jenks picks up where he left off last season against Georgia, then we will have a fantastic season...IMO

seacatfan
08-04-2015, 09:47 AM
He goes through cycles, stair steps, might be a good term to use

If you recall, last year around the WSU game, the guy too a huge jump over 3-4 games was just unstoppable, and then maybe another jump at the end of the year.

He did have quite a stretch of games where he was just killing people. He got off to a slow start but I think it had everything to do with the deaths of some family (aunt and uncle I think) he was close to just before the season started.

seacatfan
08-04-2015, 09:49 AM
I don't think there is any team on our schedule this year that has a big that can stop PK on most possessions.


We'll get Karno vs. Zeus Part III this year. PK has gotten the upper hand both games previously.

hooter73
08-04-2015, 12:46 PM
Offensively, hes pretty much unstoppable. Or as others are saying, un-phase-able if you'll excused the word creation. Defensively though, he still cant stick with smaller more mobile centers/forwards. That used to mean fouls, now it just means giving away points, and this was against WCC competition. I guess its a necessary evil to have your 7 foot 300lb senior leader center on the court.

Bogozags
08-04-2015, 12:52 PM
SCF,

I watched every US game in the PanAm games and he can play defence but his low post game needs lots of work...I think we beat UA and UCLA in double digits at home this year and PK will be the difference. UCLA didn't have an answer for him last year either...fingers crossed for sure...lol

seacatfan
08-04-2015, 02:11 PM
Yeah Bogo, Zeus has been frustrating at time to watch during his career. He'll occasionally have a game where he's just a force on both ends of the court and you wonder why he can't do that more often, but he's often almost invisible on O. I didn't watch any of the PanAm games, but I read some reaction to it. Sounds like the primary US PG was a ball hog and Zeus hardly touched the ball at all on O. Maybe Zeus will have a big Sr. year, but I expect more of the same, with maybe slightly elevated stats. Their backup center will be interesting to watch. He's not as good defensively but already much better feel for the game, better moves, more fluid on offense than Zeus. He'll be a soph.

zag67
08-04-2015, 02:38 PM
PK will be a starter and control the center. There are not many teams in division 1 basketball that can guard him 1/1. That means double and triple teaming leaving shooters open. Wiltjer is going to be one of the better 3 point shooters in the nation and when you double down, Wilter, Dranginis, Melson, Alberts, Perkins, and McClellan will have one or more open.

Now when Sabonis comes in he will force them to play differently and not many teams have a backup that can stay with him. Or a starter that has been running hard, then have to play faster to be able to rebound and get up and down the floor to be with Sabonis. Sabonis can also come in to play for either Wiltjer or PK if they are in foul trouble or need a rest. This is one of the few teams that have 3 legit big men that will end up playing major professional basketball.

Personally I think that Sabonis is going to be here at least 3 years and maybe 4. It will depend on what he and his father think about where he stands and what he needs to be a complete player in the NBA. He has the instinct, rebounding ability, motor, passing ability, and short range shots. He needs to improve things like his mid range shot, staying in front of his player, not making dumb fouls. The NBA does not do a great job training players, they are good at molding what they have with other players on their teams. Take as example Daye. I think that if he worked the extra year would have really helped his career.

Bogozags
08-04-2015, 02:39 PM
Yeah Bogo, Zeus has been frustrating at time to watch during his career. He'll occasionally have a game where he's just a force on both ends of the court and you wonder why he can't do that more often, but he's often almost invisible on O. I didn't watch any of the PanAm games, but I read some reaction to it. Sounds like the primary US PG was a ball hog and Zeus hardly touched the ball at all on O. Maybe Zeus will have a big Sr. year, but I expect more of the same, with maybe slightly elevated stats. Their backup center will be interesting to watch. He's not as good defensively but already much better feel for the game, better moves, more fluid on offense than Zeus. He'll be a soph.

If Coach Few had another experienced and skilled PG, they might have done better but the PG they had, got a couple of Techs and unsportsmanlike fouls and we know Coach Few doesn't tolerate that BUT he didn't have another choice...the back up was the rising freshman PG for Maryland...he has skills but not ready to play internationally.

dan71w
08-04-2015, 03:08 PM
I am not understanding why some people think our offense will be lower this year. My understanding we are an inside-out team, and we have been for quite awhile. In my opinion we have moved away from Guard-U syndrome for a few years now. Yes we will miss KP and bell, not so much because of their offense, but there consistency overall. Yes they could go off a game or 2, other games they would vanish on points production same thing every year no matter who we have running the show.

This year our bigs will dominate on offense, each of our 3 main bigs can be high output scorers and have all shown that ability. The difference this year I think our new guys coming in are leaner,meaner, and hungry to take this team to the next level. they are bigger, faster and more athletic. defense wise i think our bigs will totally outshine any team we face, Karno does not get moved even if they brought a bulldozer for heavy lifting, Karno will hold his own. KW, though he may not be great at D, he is not near as bad as many would have us to believe (that is more a match-up issue), and DS if you think your gonna run past him more than twice, good luck he is nasty mean, and will not allow anyone to beat him.
We are an inside-out team, our bigs know the system and will be up for any challenge this year may bring. plus big E from Montana, remember watching first year, even after he had mono, and lost all the weight and muscle, damn kid could play, and he will be better this year and will surprise many. that gives us 4 bigs all with very different strengths and weaknesses. I do not see any team able to field a better frontcourt.
this team really feels primed to take this program to the next level it is a championship team. In my opinion.

Zagdawg
08-04-2015, 03:51 PM
Some folks are not sure how well our offense will function this year (we lost the career three point shooter for us)----- One of the primary ways a team opens up the inside for their bigs is by having good 3 pt shooters on the floor--it makes it very hard on the other team if their guards cannot sag off our shooters to help cover our bigs down low.

The jury is still out on how well our guards will shoot the 3 (we think Perkins can also hit the three somewhat, we have heard Alberts can shoot the three and we know Drangs can bang some in also, we have Kyle W that can hit a 3 when he gets a shot) --this will make a big difference in our offensive flow --if we struggle hitting the three --our bigs will get double teamed more. If we can hit the three--it will open it up for our bigs to be able run more 1 on 1 plays inside (opposing teams will have a very difficult time slowing our bigs 1 on 1 inside this year).

Just waiting to see what we can bring to the table---we have the capability of being a great offensive team if the threes are falling for us.

Go Zags