Now that the college basketball season is long over and we’ve kind of hit a dead spot in PSU sports, I thought I’d post some thoughts on this past season and some thoughts on the upcoming season.
First and foremost, I only made it to three games this season and had little opportunity to watch other games on TV due to travel and work schedule. I listened to Steve and Dick just about every game.
Secondly, I’m an incurable optimist and positive thinker. I’m of the opinion that a positive attitude can cure a lot of ills and generally puts one in a position to accomplish more and live a more enjoyable life. So if my post appears overly optimistic, that’s why.
Thirdly, I don’t have time to read all the posts, so I realize much of this has already been discussed, so I apologize if I’m treading on well worn ground.
- I thought this was Ed’s best recruiting class. I thought several would contribute early.
- I was really excited about Tim Frazier and looked upon him as the heir apparent to Stanley’s role.
- I also thought Sasa would play a lot more than he did and make up for the points lost with Jamelle’s graduation.
- I also thought Andrew Jones would have a breakout year based on his play in the NIT.
- I thought we would be a better foul shooting teams - too many times in the past, teams would foul Jamelle and we would have tense moments toward the end of the game as he made some and missed some.
- Finally, I thought the experience factor of Jones, Jackson, and Talor playing their third season as starters would be a huge benefit.
- As far as the rest of the Big Ten was concerned, I thought it was going to be a tougher league - many starters returning and some good incoming players.
- I knew we would struggle early trying to make up for the losses of Jamelle, Danny and Stanley, but I thought our experience and Talor’s summer experience would make up for their departure to some extent.
- All in all, I thought we’d win somewhere between 16 - 20 games and probably go something like 7 - 9 in the conference…
- Some nice wins at home and then that inexplicable tournament in Charleston. Shooting started to emerge as a problem.
- A nice win at UVA, a close loss at Temple, some blowout wins over patsies and then a loss to VATECH in a game we should have won. Some more cupcakes and we’re 8 - 4 preseason. Shooting continues to be a problem.
- At this point in time, Frazier looks like a freshman, Babb starts to look better, and it is becoming apparent that the Cornley leadership has not been replaced.
- Also starts to look like opposing coaches understand that if you stop Battle, you stop PSU. There are no other “go to” alternatives like there were last year.
- The D isn’t bad - the focus comes and goes.
- Clearly, we have things to work on, but a lot of it seems fixable.
Big Ten season:
- 5 pt loss at Minny. OK. They’re always tough for us. Came away with some positives.
- Annual humiliating loss to Wiscy at the BJC. We haven’t matched up well with them for years. Disappointing, but not unexpected.
- The loss at home to Michigan. Blew the big lead on national TV. This is when the wheels came off and the team lost its confidence.
- We then proceeded to lose five games that could have gone either way. It’s starting to look like we don’t have the confidence, the killer instinct, and the “it” needed to close out the close games like we had last year. We’re close - almost always in the games that could go either way and in the end, we fall short.
- We get thumped by Purdue and then come back with strong efforts aginst OSU, Minny and MSU - at least two of those games were winnable. All of a sudden, we’re 0-12.
- Then we beat NW, UM, lose to OSU and beat NW and then lose to MSU by 2. Despite a terrible start, the guys are still playing hard. Babb is emerging as a good defender and reliable, if not great, outside threat. Frazier is starting to understand how the Big Ten game is played, but we get nothing from inside. Shut down our guards and you beat us.
- We close out the regular season with a tough loss to Purdue.
- Then we run into a hot Minny team in the BTT and end the season at 11-20 and 3-16 in the Big Ten.
- Of our 20 losses, nine were by 5 pts or less; five more were by 10 pts or less. There were only a couple blowouts. We were competitive in most of our games, but just couldn’t close out. If we win five of those close games, we’re 16 - 15.
- This was not a bad team. Lots of inexplicable stuff happened. Last year’s close wins turned into this past year’s close losses. As Jerardi said often, PSU is the team no one wants to play.
- This team never really learned how to win - every successful learns how to do that in any sport. We were missing that this season.
- The shooting. We shot very poorly all year. Two or three more baskets per game and we’re a .500 team. Four or five more baskets per game and we’re a 20 win team.
- Have to admit I was surprised Andrew Ott decided to pack it in. Until he got hurt, I thought he was giving us some good play in the post. I would have liked to see him return for his senior season. Can’t understand why he wouldn’t.
- Chris Babb. He played pretty solid defense, so I think we’ll miss that. His shooting improved over the year, but he was slow to the basket. I guess he just wanted out of town. Hope it works out for him wherever he winds up.
- Bill Edwards. I don’t think we’ll miss him. I don’t think he added much. I know Ed liked him and Steve Jones and Dick Jerardi gave him a lot of props, but I just couldn’t see him. He never seemed to play a team game - just looking for his shot all the time. Several bad shots he took turned the momentum in several games. Good luck to him at Miami.
- Talor - (thankfully) will be back. He is one of the top guards in the nation. Hopefully he won’t have to do it all this year.
- DJ - looked solid at the end of the year. Hopefully it carries over.
- Andrew Jones - I don’t know what to say. I’m hoping he can find the game he had at the end of the 2008-09 season. He needs to find some more offense.
- Jeff Brooks - flashes of brilliance. Better and more consistent last year. Hopefully he’ll have an Andrew Quarles senior year - inconsistent for three years and then a great senior year.
These four guys are entering their fourth year as starters/sometimes starters. Just their experience alone should get us some wins.
- Tim Frazier - Great raw talent. Great speed. I think the physical nature of the Big Ten caught him off guard. If he can learn to penetrate and take the 10 foot jumper, look out.
- Cam Woodyard - one of the better pure shooters on the team. Struggled to get minutes last year. Hopefully he can be a Danny type player this year.
- Sasa - never understood why he didn’t play more. He was the one Big guy who showed some offensive prowess. Steve Jones seemed to indicate that he just didn’t play that well in practice. Towards the end of the year, he played more.
So we’ve got seven sold returnees. That bodes well for us.
The new guys:
- Taran Buie - hopefully will be Talor Battle II. He’s a good one. He should also know what to expect. I’ll expect him to contribute right away.
- Tre Bowman - if he can shoot, he’ll get some PT. He’s really the equivalent of a R/S freshman, so he may be able to contribute.
- Jonathan Graham - not sure.
- Jermaine Marshall - not sure.
In the final analysis, the guys were bringing in are probably better and will contribute more than the guys we lost. Ed is bringing in one very good player and some solid players.
- I think we’ll be better. I expect Talor to take charge.
- I think we’ll shoot better.
- I think our experience will help.
- We’re still vulnerable in the middle. Sure wish Ott was coming back.
- I think two things will dictate our season: (1) developing a shooting guard to compliment Talor and (2) getting some more offense inside - Sasa might be the key here.
- Even through the 0-12 start to the Big Ten season, I don’t think this team gave up on itself. I don’t know if there were some internal issues, but they never seemed to manifest themselves on the court. I didn’t see any of the antics you see on other teams (yelling at each other, yelling at the coach, moping, etc.).
- I see a lot of positives for next season. Here’s hoping we can send Talor out with a solid senior campaign.