In Reply to: I am with you on that, going far in March/April posted by DrKahanamoku on September 15, 2023 at 20:51:35
Think he feels he has his PG - it's Andrews. Others can pick it up at times but Andrews understudied Tyger, as experienced a Mick Cronin PG as any ever, for a full year. He's trained for the job.
He - Mick Cronin - also has his post in Bona. Also trained and really emerging at the end of his freshman year last year before the injury. With young Master Mara's physical gifts and athleticism and Berke's size and talent (and DWilliams' potential and Ken Nwuba's experience behind them all) he has room to experiment with combinations and variations to find what works best, but Bona is the key - again, proven and provides a stable base for development.
i anticipate Berke begins the year as the third starter (Andrews at point, Bona at post, Berke as the close to ideal PF) with Mara first in up front.
The fourth starter is Stefanovic. He's the most experienced player on the team other than Nwuba and he's sparkled in the early going.
That leaves Mack, Vide, McClendon and Fibleuil competing at (primarily) the off-guard spot with likely Vide getting minutes as the backup point. Mack impressed quite a bit in August; his energy is terrific but as several have noted he takes a lot of shots to rack up his points. McClendon has the experience and the defense - imo a true key to the season - BUT has has no shot. He'll play - but hard to play too much without being any sort of threat on the offensive end of the court. (He was a good shooter in HS, was up until his injury cost him a year. It was my expectation that if his shot returned he was the clear other starter but it hasn't returned - still hoping it will. Fibleuil seems to be a bit behind the other three (and Brandon Williams may well need a year to develop to get into the mix for serious PT.)
As to the team, with so many parts and all but Andrews and Bona new to Mick's systems and to playing with one another, seems to me there are two limits on the team - their youth physically - strength to stand solid against older, more experienced players. This can be somewhat mitigated by having four who are strong and a bit older in Bona, Stefanovic, Andrews in his spot and of course Nwuba if Mara and Berke get pushed around too much so not so major a concern but it is real for all the freshmen.
The other limitation is mastering Mick Cronin's concepts especially his team defense. Just review the previous team - it progressed markedly over the three years it was essentially together. It was truly outstanding defensively last year until the crippling dual injuries to Clark and then Bona. But two years before it wasn't nearly as effective on defense. Some of that was Clark becoming Clark and Bona arriving on the scene but a significant factor is that the unit - playing together - became more and more skilled and knowledgeable with the additional experience.
How much can this unit learn and improve in a single season?
If McClendon could regain his shooting ability - to just a moderate level - that would be a big positive in that regard. But that hasn't happened yet. And i very much doubt the Euros have much experience with US- and especially Mick Cronin-style defense - a major reason why they came here to learn it.
So, Dr.K, no idea about our record early in the season - perhaps overwhelm weaker opponents with pure talent while indeed struggling to overcome more experienced opposition - but some struggles certainly. Fully agree with you there. Also agree with Fuzzy that we'll be pretty darn good by late season. (Where that falls in terms of conference standings by the end of March depends an awful lot on how the opposition turns out at the top end of a very strong conference at its top end as well as how we develop.
Post a Followup