PennStateHoops.com Discussion Forum

Unscientific assessment of where we are


#1

With a five day break coming up, I thought I’d give my unscientific assessment of where Pat is with the program right now:

Effort - close to where Pat wants to be.

Hustle - close to where Pat wants to be

Defense - we’re getting there; still too many open three’s and late in possession breakdowns.

Foul Shooting - huge improvement; poor at the beginning of the season, much better now - we’re typically over 75%

Rebounding - close to where Pat wants to be. We generally win the rebounding battle

Turnovers - need some work on this; still too many unforced errors, although we generally win the turnover battle.

Offense - for a young team, we seem to be doing pretty well running Pat’s offense and getting open shots. We do need Jon and Sasa to be more active in the middle.

Shooting - this is our Achilles heel. If we shoot close to 40% we’re in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten. We’ve missed an awful lot of layups this year. That has to turn around next year.

Home - I think we’re starting to get a home court advantage. We are tough at home. Need a few thousand more butts in the seats.

Away - Actually, I think Pat is probably OK with this. We seem to play a poor first half and then a good second half on the road. As Steve said today, the only guy on this team who played meaningful road minutes the last two years is Tim Frazier. Play on the road is all about familiarity and most of these guys are doing it for the first time. The key is that they get better in the second half of just about every road game. Next year, there will be no first time road venues except Illinois and Minny.

Players - it really is a shame that Jeff Brooks wasn’t red-shirted his freshman year. I think Jeff was the best pure athlete PSU has recruited in decades. It took him three years to put his game together. I would have loved to see him on this year’s team. Tim is a bona fide excellent - great player. Billy showed flashes as have Marshall and Woodyard. The rest of the guys are just learning their roles. One thing I note is that they all have desire. I expect them all to come back next year as better shooters. I think that’s what they’ll work on all off-season. Jamelle Cornley made himself into a better outside shooter between his junior and senior years; Jeff Brooks became a legitimate three point threat his senior year; Stanley Pringle emerged as a three point guy. I see Sasa and Jon improving - which is important because you need some bigs who can score. We’re bringing in some talent in the next two classes and hopefully Trey Lewis can find his way back to the lineup.

Record - throw out the non-conference schedule; the team was just beginning to get used to each other. So far, we’ve got Big Ten wins against Purdue, Illinois and Nebraska. We’ve got a win against a ranked team (Illinois). If Pat can get a road win this year, I think I’ll consider the season a success.

For the record, Steve Jones said earlier this year that John Beilein was exactly 0.500 in his first four years at Michigan (67-67). Of course, he got into the NCAA tournament his second and fourth years - I’ll be really impressed if Pat can do that. The bottom line is that it takes a while to turn things around and get your kind of players into your system. At any rate, Beilein was 10-22 (5-13) in his first year. I believe Pat started a lot farther behind than did Beilein. Michigan always recruited well in the Detroit area and in other midwestern areas; PSU just never had that pipeline from Philly or Pittsburgh into State College. Also UM had a much broader fan base than PSU.

Overcoming Inertia - The BIG is notorious for somehow having the favored schools in the conference always get the controversial calls because they are expected to win. In football, we’ve all seen OSU and UM benefit from receptions that were drops, inbounds calls that should have been out of bounds, phantom holding calls calling back an opponents TD run, etc, etc. In basketball, it seems the BIG wants Indy, Purdue, MSU and Wiscy to be the winners. I even heard the broadcast team refer to this predilection on the part of the BIG. I have to hand it to Pat - he really, really works the refs whenever one of those “huh?” calls goes against PSU. If he can level the playing field in Big Ten hoops, I’ll be really, really impressed.

Pat, Bill O’Brien, Cael, Coquese, Guy Gadowsky. I really like this quintet of young, passionate, aggressive, smart coaches. I think the future is bright.

Comments?


#2

Our defensive problems are mostly from being out-athleted. We play in what is consistently one of the toughest conferences in the country, against teams that are scratched and clawed at twice a week. I think that problem is going away. Next year we already add two who sound like they can be coached up to defend - DJ and Akosa - and we’ll see about the big kid.

We need a shooter or preferably two, and one of the existing bigs to develop. I don’t think we need a Lisicky or Titus Ivory or Dan Earl quality shooter, just someone who can keep defenses honest, and bail us out with a big bucket or two.

I think the on the floor coaching is excellent.


#3

I’ve yet to see Bill O’Brian do anything except be young…don’t know yet about the rest. Hoping for the best, however.


#4

People here who haven’t seen the team live, when you do keep an eye on Chambers and how he’s constantly teaching. Never stops.

I can’t say enough about Tim other than thank GOD we have him for another year. His growth and development as a legit 1 has been very rewarding for me as a fan. I recall when he was a Soph early last year and fans from other schools were completely discounting him as anything to be worried about. Granted, Battle was who you were worried about, but now as a Jr he is burning guys at the stake. He can score over anybody. He has perfected that release on that runner in the lane and he can float it over Mt. Everest. It’s almost like a skyhook from a good big man. He can outrun anybody and his conditioning is off the charts. My one hope is that he stays healthy.

The game today was simply a joy to experience. No panic, no blowing comfortable leads and making a coast to the finish line into some excruciating turmoil. In command all the way. Great to see, good kids who clearly buy into Pat’s system and a lot of hope on the horizon.


#5

I only got to watch a few minutes of the game, but at one point Sasa was taken out of the game, went right to Chambers, and he was drawing something up on the whiteboard to show him.


#6

You probably could have said the same thing about young Joe Paterno back in 1966 and that worked out pretty well. I like his enthusiasm, the staff he has built, the new weight training and his forthrightness. I also thinks he knows that PSU is the sleeping giant that could dominate the BIG if he can lock up PA, NJ, NY, MD, DC, and NE.


#7

Coach Gadowsky has turned two hockey programs around already in his career – Princeton and the Alaska school he coached. I am a lot of confidence in his ability to build our program.


#8

Great Santini wrote:

Pat, Bill O’Brien, Cael, Coquese, Guy Gadowsky. I really like this quintet of young, passionate, aggressive, smart coaches. I think the future is bright. Comments?

I agree on all counts.

With respect to Cael Sanderson, if what you’re saying is you don’t know about what he has accomplished (rather than you aren’t convinced about him as a coach), here’s a link - he’s worth knowing about: http://www.gopsusports.com/sports/m-wrestl/mtt/sanderson_cael00.html. If you’re not convinced about him as a coach, you are a very tough audience.