At one point against Oral Roberts we had Hall, Gafford, Jones, and Bailey out there along with Barford. That is one long group of basketball players and it really showed. At this point I think we get two years from Gafford. If we do then yes we will sustain. I say this because we have a high speed low drag PG sitting out this year, our freshmen will become sophomores, our sophs(Bailey and Jones) will become break out stars with starter minutes and our incoming freshman class are all talented basketball players. And I haven’t even mentioned Garland who, if able will be a big help.
I was asking myself the same thing at the beginning of the season, thought next year we’d take a step back. However, seeing the emergence of Daniel Gafford and CJ Jones makes me very optimistic. Gafford and Jones next year will have the ability to be the new Portis/Qualls combo. Except I think their scoring numbers will be a bit higher. I think CJ will probably average about 16-18 PPG next year, and Gafford will probably get about the same. Gafford will also have a decision at the end of this year, most mock draft that does rankings put him in the upper 30s, which would be a second round pick, most kids in that range do return to improve their stock. Assuming Gafford returns, I think we have a pretty good shot at making the tournament next year.
Also, another person that has me optimistic is Reggie Chaney, he’s an absolute stud. He’s killing it for Findley Prep right now, he’s their best player, and they are stacked with D1 players, and they are currently ranked the #4 school in the country. I think he’ll be our starting 4 next year to play alongside Gafford.
Here’s what I think lineups would look like next year…
Also, I think we’ll see CMA play possibly 11-12 guys. Outside of Jones and Gafford I don’t think anyone else is going to demand 25+ minutes. So, he’ll throw a lot of different guys out there and really try to wear teams down.
If Gafford comes back and Garland is good to go, I think we’ll have a very good chance to dance next year. In the days before mass exodus of undergrads to the professional leagues, losing six seniors would have meant a major rebuilding season for most teams. These days youth is the norm. If you’ve got talent and a good system, you can dance.
I had to look it up, because I remember individuals complaining about a slow start in the SEC last year. We started 1-3. Then we started winning again, then had another 1-3 at the end of Jan, beginning of Feb. there were people who thought the sky was falling and a few called for Mike’s job. Seems that it worked out well.
Now, I don’t expect to be 1-3 this year to start the SEC. I know each year is different, but we have TN at home in front of a sell out crowd. Can’t see us losing. Mistake worries me. But then we get AUB, we have not lost at AUB since they built their arena. Until they beat us, I pencil that game as a win every time. That means we start a minimum 2-1.
As for next year, I agree with most of what Blu has said, I just think some of you are overestimating CJ, and underestimating Joe and Phillips. And I’m not knocking CJ, think he is gonna be really good next year, just think those other two are gonna shock some people.
I think the most important thing for next year is the minutes played THIS year by CJ Jones, Bailey, Darious Hall, Gabe O, and practice or maturity time for Kahlil Garland. I want Hall to get as many minutes as possible this year so he can develop a LOT!!!
I agree with you about minutes, but here is my difference with Blu’s list. Both Hall and Jones aren’t guys that are creating their own shots. Others are creating their shots for them. Both Joe and Phillips (and Garland, and Sills) all can create their own shots. Phillips is 6’7 but has played all five positions for his HS. Right now, I can’t put Hall over him. We still aren’t sure on Khalil. Phillips is the better ball handler between him and Hall. Maybe Hall improves, but right now, I can’t see Phillips being the third option at the 3. When it comes to Joe, everything I’ve seen is he is just as good a shooter as CJ, but he can create for himself and others, something I haven’t seen CJ do yet. Now, again with all the experience he will get this year, maybe he gets better. If I had to pick a starting five for next year (this will be by the time conference season starts, CMA will start experience in the first few games, like he did this year), it would be:
PF: Chaney (I can’t stress enough how good I think he is)
Now, the good thing about this discussion is CMA will legitimately have a number of combos to chose from.
Offensive: PG Embery, SG Joe, SF Jones, PF Phillips, C Gafford
Defensive: PG Sills, SG Garland, SF Hall, PF Henderson (length) , C Gafford
Comments: I’ve said this countless times before, please don’t take offense. Mike does not receive enough credit for coaching up his players. The dye has already been casted for seasons to come, remember where you heard it…
Comments: It appears to me both comments are similar and dead on spot in scope, and as of the results the basketball program will be the better from it, as I understand it from a highly reliable source no one will be losing sleep with these ballers coming in the 2018 class regardless of the one that was lured to go elsewhere. When you include the returning players plus Garford with another year for some under their belt optimisms should be very high, the die is cast expectations are high…
I think you are forgetting player development. Creating his own shot is the next stage of CJ’s development. Even this year he has driven the lane a couple of times and pulled up for a jumper and swished it. As far Joe, he is a great shooter but I think CJ is a shade above him. Everyone of CJ jumpers looks like it is going in. I don’t get that feeling with Joe.
Regarding Hall, he was never a spot up shooter only in HS. If you limit your comment to jump shots, you are right that he has not shown he can create his own shot. But in HS he was very good at driving the lane to create his own layup.
What this discussion shows is what an influx of talent we will be witnessing next few years. After 2018, we will be adding one or two 4 stars in 2019 and then a couple or three studs in 2020.
It is amazing to see the change in attitudes. A couple of years ago, many on this board were espousing firing the coach who could not recruit or coach. Now things are looking wonderful. Hope that it stays this way. WPS!!!
You make such strong point about CMA’s player development. He has a history that is forgotten at times, but he is good at player development. Now that you mention it, I have noticed CJ driving to the basket more so that makes me very happy to see him already developing this early in the season. I have already noticed Hall driving on his own a little more and have NO concern about his ability to create on drives. I think he is working on his 3’s a little more but he may also need to work on a mid range jumper in the 3 spot. Jones and Hall are able to be stable starters that allow the new freshman to come off the bench next year. What do you think?
I will take my lumps on it. You are correct. I think the one issue I forgot is the talent level that CMA has been working with at times. NO coach can take a 1 or 2 star and make everyone one of them a 4 star. The problem is that this team’s talent reminds us what CMA can do with 3 star talent with some 4 stars mixed in. The problem was I was judging him on his previous teams and let’s be honest that talent back then is marginal compared to this year. We have had mutliple years of uneven rosters with almost half of the players being projects or last minute additions to fill a spot.
Not now, and not for the next 2+ years. Based on last year and so far this year; if CMA has 3-4 star talent he can compete with UK, UNC, Etc.
Regarding recruiting, I think it should be noted that the 2016 class (Macon-Barford class) was the first class when CMA was recruiting from a position of strength at Arkansas, coming off the Portis led NCAA tournament run. And remember the last minute projects type additions were due to late unexpected departure of Qualls and late dismissal of Williams.
How much have you seen of Joe? I’ve probably seen him play 6 full games. Different days and different levels of opponents. And, throughout all of those games, I kept saying one thing, “every shot looks like it’s going in.” At the same stage, I believe Joe is the better shooter. Splitting hairs, though. Both are great ones and I’m so happy that we’ll have them.