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LongIslandZagFan
12-11-2015, 08:11 AM
These Zags are exactly what we expected them to be from well before the season started. Experienced elite front court... check. Green and inexperienced back court... check.

Honestly, most of the consternation on this board has me like:

http://wellthisiswhatithink.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/jean.jpg

GrizZAG
12-11-2015, 08:34 AM
Totally agree. Those including myself had higher than realistic hopes but you are on the money. Maybe a little too much hype on Melson and Perks sparked that over optimism perhaps.

slickguser
12-11-2015, 08:41 AM
And if I am not mistaken, the current results are on (semi) track with what the coaching staff alluded. Sometimes the Kool Aid is too strong.

The Washingtonians need to relax, enjoy some recreational outings, and cheer on the development of the current team.

Hoopaholic
12-11-2015, 08:50 AM
Didn't have unrealistic expectations but at the same time never thought I would see fatal flaws on such a consistent basis so it will take most of season to rid them of their fatal flaws as guards...simple is better than flashy, pulling up dribble at wrong times, lazy care of ball, shot selection as it relates to momentum and shot clock alignment

Shanachie
12-11-2015, 08:55 AM
I hate it when people quote themselves in a post, but that's what I'm going to do. Here's what I posted in June.


A few observations.

First, I see people have quickly adjusted from "The tournament is a crapshoot" to the expectation that another Elite 8 or a Final 4 is a given next year. It's not that easy, even if the team is good.

Second, I think the group of guards could be really good, and I'm excited to watch them play. But I also think people are undervaluing KP, GBJ, and even BW to an extent. Those three had 279 starts among them entering last year. EM, KD, SM, and JP have 37. It's not every year that you lose 3 starters, let alone three 4-year starters. It seems a tad optimistic to me to think that the Zags won't miss a beat, despite the talent of the guards that remain.

Third, and this is directly related to the previous point, last year's team had amazing chemistry right from the beginning, despite the addition of BW, KW, and DS, none of whom had played for the Zags before. I'm not assuming that next year's team will be able to replicate that right from Day 1, since JP and SM have not had any game time together. (Though I love KD's game and think he will be a steadying influence along with the bigs.)

What all of this says to me is that the Zags will probably show flashes of brilliance, but also probably some stretches that frustrate us, especially early in the year. I think they will lose a few more than last year, and because of that, get a worse seed. That means tougher matchups in the tournament, and even if they have worked things out and are playing great by that time, nothing is a given.

I haven't seen anything yet that changes my view. I'm still excited to watch this group develop. I guess it shouldn't really be a surprise, but some of the people who were highest on this year's team in June are the ones who are the most negative now.

Ezag
12-11-2015, 09:11 AM
Yeah, we were hoodwinked by our own unrealistic expectations....of course, repeated claims of the best front court in the nation (which is prob true with Karno), Top 5 player and national player of the year candidate, claims the Josh P might be the best point ever at GU (which still could be the case, mind you), it was said that Melson perhaps was the most NBA ready guard on the roster and KD coming into his own his senior year might have a little to do with it...

However, if we beat UCLA tomorrow and the guards show up, the tone on this board will totally flip 180.

LongIslandZagFan
12-11-2015, 09:16 AM
Yeah, we were hoodwinked by our own expectations

Some had high demands of the youngsters... demands that considering the experience level were probably unrealistic.

http://data.photofunky.net/output/image/a/5/b/0/a5b01f/photofunky.gif

Zag365
12-11-2015, 09:16 AM
I'm re-posting part of what Tommy Lloyd said at the Seattle tip-off on 10/28 because I think it demonstrates that the coaches knew well what the challenges were for this team. Of course, the absence of Shem in the line-up hasn't helped.

Comments that stuck out: Focus is on getting ready for March - it's never a given; would rather start slow and improve; wants to win every game, but sometimes you lose and it motivates you to improve. He indicated that this team will likely play faster but it is unclear how well that will work until the new combinations are tried out under game conditions. Stressed that each team each year has its own identity that needs to be worked out. KP and GBJ were tough, very steady, kept the team in rhythm, were extensions of the coaches. This year will take a few games to see who can handle what. Perkins is more openly demonstrative. Trying to allow him room for expression and firing up the crowd, but also working on being more careful about body lanaguage. Wiltjer will have to deal with POY publicity/pressure and other national press attention - so far, so good. Dranginis will get significant minutes, but probably coming off bench is most comfortable for him. Allows him to play at high level in stretches.

zagfan24
12-11-2015, 09:29 AM
Some had high demands of the youngsters... demands that considering the experience level were probably unrealistic.


I predicted a 5-loss season, which still seems about right to me. I expected the youngsters to struggle, but what has surprised me is the inconsistency from Dranginis, and to some extant from EMAc. I had hoped that the talent and experience of these two would help overhadow the inexperience of Perkins, Melson, and Alberts...but that hasn't really been the case thus far. I still maintain that this team has a very high ceiling, but the floor is a bit lower than I thought it would be. In part, I think the "problem" remains that our 3 best players (when healthy) don't necessarily all fit on the floor together in an ideal way.

vandalzag
12-11-2015, 09:54 AM
For some there is as much joy in building things up as tearing things down. Unlike the most Zag teams of the past the team you saw end of December was what you would see come March. This is different. When pondering the greatness of past players, you seldom remember faults. This team has a chance to become very good. Due to the parity this year a very good team will have a chance to make a deep run come March. But the young ones have to grow and improve. Takes time and can be painful to watch (which we are going through now). Roles have to be identified and accepted. Coaching strategy must adapt to the roles and talent on the floor. Above all else they have to stay healthy. The fact that we are less then 10 points from being 7-0 puts this team ahead of where I thought they would be. The losses have been caused more by the Zags themselves than by the other team. If they had been blown out in either of those games I would be really concerned. I just look forward to watching this team grow.

bartruff1
12-11-2015, 10:17 AM
My only surprised that EMac has not been the "break out player ".......at least to date....

hooter73
12-11-2015, 10:59 AM
It's been so long since we've had a raw backcourt. Pangos and bell played like upperclassmen from day one and before that we usually had at least one high level senior to offset the freshman curve. Pargo offset Goodson, gray offset, well Goodson still lol.

just an experience fans aren't used to to be seeing a completely underwhelming group.

23dpg
12-11-2015, 11:28 AM
I'm not surprised so far. But I can still be a little disappointed.
Before the season, I predicted 6 losses. I'm still down with that number and it would still represent a pretty damn good season.

CDC84
12-11-2015, 11:29 AM
The frontcourt is simply not as "elite" as it once was with Karnowski in the rotation. All three big guys bring something different to the offense, and Karno is very crucial to Gonzaga's defense. Because the backcourt is inexperienced and offensively challenged at times, GU's defense needs to be even more stingy than it usually is.

I am not surprised by what has transpired so far. That being said, the team really needs to come together and beat UCLA this Saturday. You have to protect your home floor. It needs to be a full 40 minute effort.

cjm720
12-11-2015, 11:31 AM
Of course! The forest is tough to see when among the trees...

Karno injury hurts big time.

Zagceo
12-11-2015, 11:54 AM
http://i914.photobucket.com/albums/ac342/ceo_500/Screen%20Shot%202015-12-11%20at%2011.50.29%20AM_zps8kmibgnk.png

zag buddy
12-11-2015, 12:29 PM
I thought Perkins and Melson would be much better because they had a year to intellectually learn the Zag way and each played in some games to have a feel for the speed, timing, etc. I did not see them as new guards coming into this year. I thought they had a very good head start but I was wrong. A glaring error I see which is unexcusable, kind of like football players not knowing their blocking assignments, is that many times I've have seen one of the players have to tell another player which direction to go. Inexcusable to me.

Ezag
12-11-2015, 02:00 PM
http://i914.photobucket.com/albums/ac342/ceo_500/Screen%20Shot%202015-12-11%20at%2011.50.29%20AM_zps8kmibgnk.png

Yeah, claims of Final Four season at the start of the season have always jinxed the team, thanks Gary! LOL

LongIslandZagFan
12-11-2015, 02:41 PM
Yeah, claims of Final Four season at the start of the season have always jinxed the team, thanks Gary! LOL

Well... yeah... everyone knows jinx rules.

GonzagasaurusFlex
12-11-2015, 02:55 PM
I thought Perkins and Melson would be much better because they had a year to intellectually learn the Zag way and each played in some games to have a feel for the speed, timing, etc. I did not see them as new guards coming into this year. I thought they had a very good head start but I was wrong. A glaring error I see which is unexcusable, kind of like football players not knowing their blocking assignments, is that many times I've have seen one of the players have to tell another player which direction to go. Inexcusable to me.

All the "intellectual learning" in the world cannot prepare you for the real-time pressure of having to be the man and execute the offense under the bright lights without having to first mentally process what you ought to do next.

I'm over my post AZ angst and am firmly camped in the "give these youngsters time" to get comfortable in the spotlight camp. I will gladly accept some early season growing pains for the sake of this team getting comfortable in their roles and ironing out the glitches before peaking in March! As far as I'm concerned, the jury is out until the end of the season....but don't quote me on that when I write my first post after our next loss :-)

Coach Crazy
12-11-2015, 03:22 PM
The frontcourt is simply not as "elite" as it once was with Karnowski in the rotation. All three big guys bring something different to the offense, and Karno is very crucial to Gonzaga's defense. Because the backcourt is inexperienced and offensively challenged at times, GU's defense needs to be even more stingy than it usually is.

I am not surprised by what has transpired so far. That being said, the team really needs to come together and beat UCLA this Saturday. You have to protect your home floor. It needs to be a full 40 minute effort.

In that Arizona game, even with the guards playing an average game, we run away with that one by 12 or 15. Is the front court *as* elite without Karno? Well, no. But they are still a top 10 frontcourt, even with Karno out and Edwards in.

I agree with the idea that these guards need time. Seeing Josh as one of the offensive catalysts has changed his game from what it was, last year. Nonetheless, the criticisms of their play are not unacceptable. A great team and fan base can have those expectations, criticisms, and still like the kids when all is said and done.

Reborn
12-11-2015, 03:50 PM
I will admit that I never thought I'd see this team turn the ball over the way they have, and even by players like Wiltjer, PK, and Sabonis. 15 turn overs a game is really a lot. I just thought Perkins would be better at handling the ball. I thought Melson would be twice as good as he has been playing. So, sorry I have been disappointed. I saw Arizona play Santa Clara and Providence without their center and I thought we'd handle them easily at home. Home losses are always disappointing to me. And finally, I have been disappointed that Wiltjer has not closed the game better.

A disappointing start to a season, in no way has me believing that it will be a disappointing year. Hopefully the Zags rebound tomorrow against UCLA and begin to play with more confidence. A victory against the Bruins will really help get back on course.

Zagger
12-11-2015, 03:51 PM
These Zags are exactly what we expected them to be from well before the season started. Experienced elite front court... check. Green and inexperienced back court... check.

Honestly, most of the consternation on this board has me like: Dude scratching knoggin.

I agree except .... just don't like the look of 1/2 the TOs. P&B carried a lot of weight last year (arguably Wesley too). But, just too many of the TOs look ugly.

DixieZag
12-11-2015, 05:07 PM
Some had high demands of the youngsters... demands that considering the experience level were probably unrealistic.

http://data.photofunky.net/output/image/a/5/b/0/a5b01f/photofunky.gif

I think you are largely correct. What no one accounted for was the loss of Karno and the number of minutes that kill KW and DS late.

Plus, though we should have had more tempered expectations re: guards, I'm not sure anyone thought they'd be off to quite this bad a start. I mean, anyone think that KD would play this horrible?

Plus, 2 losses is probably fine, 3 is getting very high, and, realistically? We could easily have 3-5 losses right now. Pitt, UConn, and if that wide open 3 went in for MT and we're in OT? That's NOT what was expected.

ZagsGoZags
12-11-2015, 10:11 PM
I will admit that I never thought I'd see this team turn the ball over the way they have, and even by players like Wiltjer, PK, and Sabonis. 15 turn overs a game is really a lot. I just thought Perkins would be better at handling the ball. I thought Melson would be twice as good as he has been playing. So, sorry I have been disappointed. I saw Arizona play Santa Clara and Providence without their center and I thought we'd handle them easily at home. Home losses are always disappointing to me. And finally, I have been disappointed that Wiltjer has not closed the game better.

A disappointing start to a season, in no way has me believing that it will be a disappointing year. Hopefully the Zags rebound tomorrow against UCLA and begin to play with more confidence. A victory against the Bruins will really help get back on course.

A win against UCLA will confirm the high opinion of us here, and elsewhere.
We are the highest ranked team in the nation with two losses in the AP poll.
One more loss and we will see ourselves in the fine print.

jpn17
12-12-2015, 09:11 PM
I expected drop off from these guys compared to Bell, Pangos and Wesley, no question. As stated the current backcourt is very green and they lost 3 veteran seniors. That said I am still disappointed in just how poor the guard play has been. There have been so many unforced turnovers, extremely poor decision making and these guys couldn't throw the ball in the Pacific Ocean. I realize and understand that there will be growing pains, I expected that heading into the season and I'm not giving up on the season or anything like that. But these guys should be better than this, a freshman guard should be able to knock down a wide open three sometimes. And that's not even mentioning that McClellan and Dranginis look like freshman more often than they look like seniors. It allows teams like UCLA to collapse 5 into the paint when the ball goes inside, it gives them the flexibility to double or even triple team Wiltjer and Sabonis. The guards are going to get better. I still know that the potential for all of these guys and this team is huge. But their play has been extremely disappointing and there's no sugar coating that fact.

Ezag
12-12-2015, 09:28 PM
Well at least we won't have the pressure of being a top 25 team the rest of the season

SteelZag
12-12-2015, 09:36 PM
Well at least we won't have the pressure of being a top 25 team the rest of the season

Beat me to it.

bartruff1
12-12-2015, 09:38 PM
I will give them a A for effort...... they didn't quit.....they just got beat by a better team.

hooter73
12-12-2015, 10:29 PM
Whats the problem? I thought they overachieved tonight considering what they have been playing like...

CdAZagFan
12-12-2015, 11:46 PM
I thought the guards would struggle at times early this year, but didn't think they would do it on a consistent basis. Now, with Karno out, it's not just the guards. I think Sabonis really benefits by having another big man in the game, and I'm disappointed in not seeing KW really looking for those end-of-shot-clock and end-of-game shots. It looks like he is more intent on screening for someone else to take those last shots...

Encouraging to see Emac play well - hopefully he and Perkins can continue to improve this year. I don't believe Draino will continue this awful shooting percentage of his - but he's going to have to be aggressive offensively to get out of his slump. I think WCC play will allow some of the guys to come around - but if Karno is out for the season, this season could be bumpy.

Zag79
12-13-2015, 04:17 AM
These Zags are exactly what we expected them to be from well before the season started. Experienced elite front court... check. Green and inexperienced back court... check.

Honestly, most of the consternation on this board has me like:

http://wellthisiswhatithink.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/jean.jpg

LIZF, let me tell you it's good to have your post be the first I read upon sticking my head in here after a long time away. Any negative post might have sent me packing for good, and that'd be a shame. I was on the original board, no more than 20+ guys that dissected and talked Gonzaga hoops. No one whined about what happened, we debated and enjoyed opinions of why. My whole family are long time fans, my grandpa graduated law school there. We went to games when no one did, listened to games on radio when games weren't televised. I snuck my family into games in the old Martin Center, games against Pepperdine were the best back then. The runs and success, surprise trips to the big dance every single year for almost two decades! And yet fans are acting like they deserve more, as if little Gonzaga hasn't done enough for their needs.

I want Gonzaga to hit a Final 4, and am a Few is awesome but isn't Coach K guy. Thankful for what he's done and kept alive, as well as furthering it each year. We know he gets tight in big games, game plan adjustments and big leads aren't his specialty. The three ball often is why we lose, us missing (tonight) or the opponent making too many. But he wins, and does it with class. I don't care if we play in the WCC, show me a coach or school that has done what Gonzaga has, is, and will do. Mark also does a lot with less, we still don't get burger boys and future NBA studs. Close, but not close enough.

How anyone could be surprised that we lost closely contested and hard fought wins to factory hoops schools, minus one the most dominant bigs in the land, along with a backcourt of youth with hardly any game experience. Wiltjer and Sabonis are willing us into these games, someone else needs to step up until the big guy comes back if he does. Until then, win by committee and grind out the bumps until everyone learns their role and picks up their game a little. It shouldn't surprise anyone that we've had the start we have, I for one accept it and can't wait to take some frusterations out on the next squad coming into The Kennel. One year Fewie will break thru, and it will satisfy us all. But until then, I'll continue to enjoy how special he, the school, the players, and the incredible moments a small private university in Spokane have given us are. Enjoy the rest of the season, you know this team will take us on another journey in March. And thank you for the most accurate post that could've welcomed me back LIZF. Go Zags!

Hoopaholic
12-13-2015, 09:14 AM
I love this team and saw some good things with improvements

We will win league and make it to sweet sixteen

bballbeachbum
12-13-2015, 10:50 AM
I love this team and saw some good things with improvements

We will win league and make it to sweet sixteen

hope you're right. I love this team too. the struggles of a younger group are part of it, right? and fun to watch get addressed, to watch the players grow...I love all that stuff. That team that struggled when Heytvelt got busted remains one of my favorites to follow after all these years of basketball, even before following GU starting in '99. that team was something else how they responded

would say we need a healthy Karno to go sweet 16...then maybe depending on Josh's growth and Emac's consistency (like making layups) it happens or not

Zagceo
12-13-2015, 11:04 AM
hope you're right. I love this team too. the struggles of a younger group are part of it, right? and fun to watch get addressed, to watch the players grow...I love all that stuff. That team that struggled when Heytvelt got busted remains one of my favorites to follow after all these years of basketball, even before following GU starting in '99. that team was something else how they responded

would say we need a healthy Karno to go sweet 16...then maybe depending on Josh's growth and Emac's consistency (like making layups) it happens or not

Speaking of '99 team…………….how many recall reading or listening to (because I'm guessing not 1 person on this board ever saw it) the UT Pan American game Dec '98?

bballbeachbum
12-13-2015, 11:07 AM
Speaking of '99 team…………….how many recall reading or listening to (because I'm guessing not 1 person on this board ever saw it) the UT Pan American game Dec '98?

well, my answer supports your guess ;)

Alum08
12-13-2015, 11:15 AM
Many people over the years have claimed that the Zags always fall short in the tournament because they don't face as much adversity over the course of the season as a normal powerhouse. I tend to agree with them to a certain extent.

This year will be the first year in a really long time that we will need to come together to win and face the critics all season long. Could this be the test that finally pushes us over the top? Can we eventually become a powerhouse with the return of Karno and inevitable improvement from the guards, but also present with a Cinderella mindset and focus that stems from our stumbles thus far?

Lastly, how will this change the mindsets of our younger players in the long-run? For the better or for the worse? Is this a growing experience or a crippling one? A forgettable nightmare or fuel that drives the fire?

Zagceo
12-13-2015, 11:28 AM
This team has yet to play a great game against a good team and yet could be undefeated with a shot here or couple of free throws there against 3 really talented teams.

I agree with Eric


"I think we grew tonight, though we lost," McClellan said. "That's a talented UCLA team that came in here."
"You can see why they beat Kentucky. They're aggressive at all five positions," he said.

mtnZag
12-13-2015, 11:29 AM
For some there is as much joy in building things up as tearing things down. Unlike the most Zag teams of the past the team you saw end of December was what you would see come March. This is different. When pondering the greatness of past players, you seldom remember faults. This team has a chance to become very good. Due to the parity this year a very good team will have a chance to make a deep run come March. But the young ones have to grow and improve. Takes time and can be painful to watch (which we are going through now). Roles have to be identified and accepted. Coaching strategy must adapt to the roles and talent on the floor. Above all else they have to stay healthy. The fact that we are less then 10 points from being 7-0 puts this team ahead of where I thought they would be. The losses have been caused more by the Zags themselves than by the other team. If they had been blown out in either of those games I would be really concerned. I just look forward to watching this team grow.


Great post vandalzag.
That's looking at our current situation with a glass-half full attitude.
We've been spoiled by mostly great play in the past, good enough to win conference championships and qualify for big dances.
It's hard to watch highly touted guards play so tentative and unfocused.
Your post makes me feel like there is hope for this team to improve enough to make post season tourneys.
WCC play will not be a cakewalk.
Conference teams like nothing more that payback for being Zag whipping dogs the last few years

Mantua
12-13-2015, 01:27 PM
I've been waiting for this thread since last summer. It's a great relief to read what the grownups have to say. It's a bit of an adjustment to be a diehard fan rooting for a struggling team when that's the last thing we're accustomed to doing. I understand that some on this board had higher expectations for this season, but it's time to reset and find things to root for during Zag games even if it's just because they're breathing. I've been following the Celts and the Warriors. Watching the Celts climb the standings to sixth in Eastern Conference has been as thrilling to me as watching Steph Curry perform miracles.. On the other hand, the Warriors' first regular season loss was painful despite the knowledge that it was bound to happen. I'm excited to see the Zags win a lot of WCC games. A bigger adjustment for the fans may be in order if Karno can't return soon.


It's time for Zag fans to suck it up.