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View Full Version : Is too much depth a problem?



BobZag
12-23-2007, 10:34 AM
I have to think, "No." It doesn't bother teams like UNC or Memphis or another top-ranked team.

But what about Few and Gonzaga? ZagNut08 made an interesting observation about how Few had multiple plays for Ammo but how there are very few plays set up for Micah, for Daye, for [insert Zag player].

Might it behoove the staff to choose the best offensive players and start running plays for them, or just design plays that a number of interchangeable guys can be successful in? For instance, how about a dozen different plays that Micah, Matt, Steven, Pendo and even Josh can execute?

Is having so many options hurting GU?
Are there so many options that learning the system has been notably slower?

How are other successful teams with great depth handling this?

BroncoZAG615
12-23-2007, 10:50 AM
I would not say that this much depth is hurting GU. It seems to me that Few and the staff have not found that one player on this team that they are confident enough in to give them Ammo or even Raivio like control. Teams in the past have leaned on that one player to make a difference, whether it was Stepp or Dickau or Ammo. The player we are all probably most confident in to step up and be this is Josh or Micah, both who have some injuries limiting them at times. I would love to see more cuts in the lane by Pendo and more Ammo-like screen-for-threes for Micah. I think he could be very effective if we just set double screens for him and have him loop around ala Morrison.

Other teams with great depth have that player, such as CDR for Memphis or Hansbrough for UNC. Both they also have other shooters around them like Rose for Memphis or Ellington for UNC. Guys like Josh and Micah could develop into this once health and confidence restored. The sky is the limit, it is just time to adapt our depth to the Gonzaga way.

Gonezagaga
12-23-2007, 11:08 AM
I don't think that too much depth is the problem. I don't know that too much depth can ever really be a problem. I feel that the problem is that Mark Few has never had this much depth before and hasn't fully realized the best way to utilize all of his players. Having all of his players healthy now will give him some time before the tournament to work on different lineups and substitution patterns that will enable the team to be successful against different styles of play.

Reborn
12-23-2007, 11:09 AM
There is no such thing as too much depth. The Zags have a saying, and I really like it, and I'm sure that all teams have a similar saying. Here it is, "We are only as strong as our weakest player." So the more depth, the more strength. Lots of depth...like Tennessee and Memphis mean being stronger at the end of the game. Tennessee's coach felt that the reason they beat Xavier was that they were stronger at the end....

Too much depth may make selfish members of a team angry. But selfish players produce losing teams. For winning teams there is no such thing as selfishness. EVERYONE places the team first. So...I don't think it's a problem for Few nor the team. Figuring out the roles for these guys may be a problem, but it's a good one to have. Our problem right now is just readjusting in order to make room for Josh and Gray. Everyone will have to sacrifice some time. But afterall, the foundation stone to winning is SACRIFICE.

JAGzag
12-23-2007, 12:27 PM
I disagree with the above responses and believe it's more of an issue than we think. The problem is, this issue was really created overnight - we went from last year being JH and DR to this year where we literally have 6-7 scoring options at any given time (yes, not all on the floor at the same time). I've thought from day one we need our players to have known roles, to some extent, and know when they need to shoot. Look at LG, he knows his role and does it well. DP is another fine example; plays mop up and hits big shots when no one else is connecting. Then we have Daye, Bouldin, Downs, Pargo, JH, to name a few that all want to score but all can't shoot 10 times a game. We need folks like Daye and Downs to open up from outside, thereby making Pargo's drive that much easier and freeing up JH in the middle = that is a flow that needs to work.

Zagme-totheleft!
12-23-2007, 01:39 PM
I see both sides of the argument that Jagzag has pointed out. With both arguments on the table, it is up to Few (not any of us) to choose whether he wants to play multiple bench players, or stick to a solid 2 or 3 to rotate. Undoubtedly this is not an easy decision, but he is going to have to choose which route he wants to take with HIS team.

zagcheer78
12-23-2007, 02:28 PM
While watching the game the other night both my husband and I thought that coach Few was still working out who would do what on the floor. It was odd as it seemed like the opposing team was there for us to practice with and winning was an after thought.

75Zag
12-23-2007, 02:33 PM
Too much depth is a problem at the NBA level, where not playing guys can result in contract problems, agent problems, owner interference problems, etc. In college and especially with a successful and well regarded coach like Mark Few, having to divide limited minutes among too many good players should not matter at all. Few's job is safe regardless of who he chooses to play or to bench, and if a player wants to become a head case and make an issue out of how many minutes he gets, he is welcome to walk the 1.5 miles downtown to the Spokane Greyhound terminal. I will be happy to buy his ticket to UNLV or any number of other schools that specialize in dealing with head cases and problem players.

Merry Christmas.

dim4sum
12-23-2007, 02:55 PM
I agree with the concept of creating plays for multiple people. My only problem with that this year is that we don't consistently have a guy that can shoot the lights out in crunch time like Morrison or Dickau.
Pargo helps, but he also hurts (late going misses against Oklahoma), Daye has shown a steaky side and Micah is far from automatic, besides lacking Morrison's intensity and never-say-quit.
Also, with so many sets already in place, I think the idea is to implement better what's already there and the guy to do that would be Jeremy who hasn't yet shown an ability ( like Nash and Iverson) to make the members of the supporting cast better.

HillBillyZag
12-23-2007, 03:06 PM
This fan is not actually sure about what the prime reason this team has taken so long to meld. It could be a combination of the various opinions mentioned in this thread? Hopefully now that the team is back to 100% able bodies we will see a consistant rotation policy and things will smooth themselves out.

roxdoc
12-23-2007, 04:15 PM
I think depth only hurts you if you can't make up your mind who the starting 5are. Normally, after 12 games we should have that figured out and at least the starters will have started serious reps (together) at the plays. This year because of injuries we have had to dig deeper in the roster from the get go, and probably even had to insert plays to accomodate the lots of needed newbi playing time.

As a result, our half court offense has looked stagnent - not a lot of movement off the ball, lateral passing where the players give the impression of what should we do now coach? Perhaps with Josh back and Gray a viable sub we can start to have a real offense. Unfortunately, it will take awhile for Josh to get in the swim of things (like his feet being able to leave the floor once again). I am afraid that we are like about game #3 of the year in our preparedness, which does not look too good for the immediate future.

I would love to be wrong in my assessment of how fast we can develop from here.

GO ZAGS

BobZag
12-23-2007, 04:20 PM
While watching the game the other night both my husband and I thought that coach Few was still working out who would do what on the floor. It was odd as it seemed like the opposing team was there for us to practice with and winning was an after thought.

Interesting observation. Few does want to win these games, though. The change from Grier to Giacoletti may be a factor.

MickMick
12-23-2007, 04:26 PM
I have to think, "No." It doesn't bother teams like UNC or Memphis or another top-ranked team.

But what about Few and Gonzaga? ZagNut08 made an interesting observation about how Few had multiple plays for Ammo but how there are very few plays set up for Micah, for Daye, for [insert Zag player].

Might it behoove the staff to choose the best offensive players and start running plays for them, or just design plays that a number of interchangeable guys can be successful in? For instance, how about a dozen different plays that Micah, Matt, Steven, Pendo and even Josh can execute?

Is having so many options hurting GU?
Are there so many options that learning the system has been notably slower?

How are other successful teams with great depth handling this?

This pretty much sums up how I feel. Speaking of UNC, coach Williams was taking a lot of heat from the fan base for playing too many players last year.
I'm not entirely sold on the concept that they regularly play a larger rotation.

As I have said before, I believe in mastering a few things instead of being just good at many(especially with freshmen getting a lot of minutes). Pick your identity and go with it. Are we a defensive team (LG) or a offensive team (Matt)? Do we go up tempo transition or grind it out with a half court offense? I say pick something (and the players that fit that style) and master it. When the balance of the team is upper class men then we can start adding diverse play philosophies.

Edit: I will admit that this is contrary to what I was writing in the summer. That the Zags needed to adapt to any playstyle on short notice in order to advance in the post season. Of course I was sold on the concept that the player talent alone (and not the system) would allow the Zags to impose their will at another team's tempo. After seeing the season unfold, my view has changed 180 degrees. Now I am thinking that you master (dictate) style/tempo and make all other opponents adapt to you.

applezag
12-23-2007, 04:51 PM
I think all the talk about running things for various players is interesting. My memory could be failing me, but I really don't remember GU running an inordinate amount of plays for specific players until Ammo came along, and then it was pretty much everything designed to get him shots. The thing is, of late it doesn't seem like they are running offense with much purpose until they get into flex, which presents a multitude of opportunities for pretty much any kind of player, depending on how you want to run it.

I don't know if this team needs to really force the ball into anyone's hands via scheme, but I do think they could do a much better job of passing, cutting, screening, and generally playing with purpose in the half-court offense. That's a trademark of GU basketball that I think has diminished in recent years--good, smart, team-oriented, half-court basketball.

MDABE80
12-23-2007, 11:41 PM
Bigs- Kuso, Josh, Sacre

Guards- Gray, Pargo, Bouldin

Wings- Daye, Downs, Pendo

LG fits when we need a special defensive effort. He's a long guard or wing.

This is all we have to know. Develop those 9 or 10 guys to fit the problem and we win lots of games. Starting doesn't mean much here these days....having interchangeable parts and all.

It's a bunch of guys who can play multiple positions. Seems like we were on the attack the first several games. Now we don't seem to be attacking and setting the tempo of our games. We sorta see what the other team will bring and work with it. It's time that WE TELL "THEM" how the games are gonna be played.........and we play em on our terms, not vice versa. We have the talent to do that. Zags have some time off to heal up. Josh needs to get busy with his foot so he's not so tentative, gets his warrior back and his footspeed picks up. I think Gray's ready to go physically but he need to learn the system. I suspect he's a quick learner as a frosh even. Matt (poor Matt) needs to rest his ankle.

As a unit, this team is full of strong, capable players. It'll come. Might not be till mid-late January but it'll come.

ZagsGoZags
12-24-2007, 02:27 AM
A very educational thread for me to read.
I like what Abe said. I would only modify:

5 - Center, Kuso and Sacre
4 - forward, Josh and Pendo
3 - wing - Downs, Daye
guards, Pargo (mostly the 1), and Matt and Gray
add LG as it fits that part of the system

running this constantly with a system, where the guys know their part and are substituted generously ought to enable Few to settling down to running this offensive system and master it

We don't have an ammo yet, but Daye, JH, Gray, or Downs could mature into that. In the meantime though, we have lots of "2/3 strength Adam Morrisons" on the offense.

We ought to be able to maximize this by returning to the intense passing offense we used to be known for, looking for the open man. Bradley and WSU play offense now the way we used to be famous for.

Any of these guys can put the 3pt up (or long 2 pt shots) with reasonable percentage WHEN THEY ARE OPEN: JH, Daye, Micah, Matt, Gray, Pendo. That's a lot of firepower. Too often though, it seems like Daye, or Matt, or now JH, will get the ball and decide they are going to go in there and make a shot mostly on their own. Pargo same thing for drives. I don't know why Matt and Pargo couldn't use their ability to get inside to go inside and feed out to the open player half the time. When either of them go in, it seems like they are going in all the way. Except Matt, to his credit, does sometimes pass to one of the bigs when he approaches the bucket.

john montana
12-24-2007, 06:45 AM
Depth is a good thing, but you can't undersell how important chemistry is to a team. It is clear these guys like each other and like playing together, but chemistry is more than just getting along on and off the floor. Right now, they are simply learning where everyone will be on the floor in a given set. Who will fade off the screen and who will dive to the bucket off the screen? The OU game made it clear that this team is a long way from gelling, and as talented as these players are, we don't have an AMMO or someone that can put the team on his shoulders to gut out a win despite some ugly offensive sequences (Pargo nearly did it against OU). We saw some interesting combinations on the floor against OU, and every practice/game will be designed to get guys comfortable with each other. It isn't necessarily about knowing your roles, but it is about knowing your teammates.

While some of the games this year have been tough to watch, this team is just starting to build the momentum that carriers teams in the tournament. I would bet money that there are a ton of coaches out there thinking..."I want no part of the Zags come March."

zag67
12-24-2007, 07:50 AM
I will agree with Abe and Gozags. I think that depending on the team that we play against, both of you are right. Also if we get all of them back and up to speed, I would expect to see more of a full court press with certain groups of players. You could use a group built around LG, kuso, Daye (Downs), Pendo(Gray), and Bouldin to press (this would then let Jeremy have some short rests). That up tempo game would allow other players to rest and all of them would then better understand their roles. I think that you could also build a set of players to work against a zone.

I have to agree about not only the players learning each other and the plays, I think that the coaches are also. Now if they can get through the next 3 games with a 3-0 or 2-1, I think that this would be super and they will be ready for league. Hopefully we will see the team starting to jell and prepare to look better and better as the year goes on and be ready for the big dance.

Reborn
12-24-2007, 09:18 AM
As John Montana said, chemistry is very important, and right now I think that that's whats missing right now. And I agree with you, John when you say that chesistry is a lot more than guys getting along. Chemistry is how cohesive and fluid you are as a group. I see Memphis and Tennessee right now as very cohesive. You can see it. But they have all been playing together all year. Against Oklahoma we had two guys in the rotation who had not been, and I think it threw the team off. It threw the rotation off, and it affected the minutes guys were getting. And to have two new guys on the court, really threw everything off. You could just tell that Josh didn't know what to do out there because he hadn't practiced with these guys. I think Gray looks pretty good right now. I think Josh will be the key. Josh didn't look anything like the old Josh. So as he begins to play again I am hoping that we're going to see the old Josh, and as the guys begin to play together again, we'll begin to see much better chemistry. But this will take time.

sullyzag66
12-24-2007, 11:29 AM
While watching the game the other night both my husband and I thought that coach Few was still working out who would do what on the floor. It was odd as it seemed like the opposing team was there for us to practice with and winning was an after thought.
I was thinking along those lines, too. Not so much that winning was an afterthought, but that Few is still trying to find his team.