The team hit the ditch last year so CMA finally gave in and went to more zone WITHOUT TRAPS. Our rebounding improved, fouls were reduced, we played defense with our feet and the players were not fatigued as much. We are always leaving players open against good passing teams since we double-team the ball handler and then that is compounded by bad rebounding.
A lot of the problems are from double-teaming the ball handler which leaves us in reaction to the open person who we also foul. The rebounding is another broken record. We don’t have anyone to rebound because we let our bigs get on the perimeter on switches too much.
The new fly in the ointment is tired guards. CJ Jones is the pivotal player because he is a liability on Off and Def if he isn’t shooting well, thus he he can’t sub for our 3 starting guards. All 3 starting guards are fatigued. Hall needs more playing time so he can develop as a solid 3 to relieve Beard, Macon and Barford. He needs to be our insurance policy for CJ and to reduce some pressure on CJ. Darious is quite good at driving to the basket, rebounding, and pretty good on Defense. He has shown some ability to hit the open 3 and deep 2 point shots, which is where he could really free up the the Big3 of Barford, Macon and Gafford.
The Big3 of Barford, Macon and Gafford have been a target of defenses to force the other two players to beat them. Our 4 position has enough players to keep someone fresh but the talent isn’t enough to help Gafford. Barford, Beard and Macon can create but it is better if they can drive and kick out to an open player for a clear shot. If CJ and Darius Hall can hit some outside shots then we are very tough because we can rest Beard, Barford and Macon OR we can press more.
We are also tough when Bailey Thomas, and Cook are rebounding, getting garbage baskets and hitting a few 10-15 foot shots. I would like to see us play Trey at the 4 with Gafford for a few 3 minute bursts each game to change the game. We have to do something different at the 4 so Gafford isn’t carrying so much. Trey and Gafford in a Hi Lo game could be very tough.
It will be interesting to see what Coach Anderson does with this team to help it get better as we get deep into SEC play and battle for an NCAA bid. Short of an overhaul in philosophy, which we know is not going to happen, what can or will he do?
We know the team’s strengths…2 good shooting guards and a talented, but raw center. The obvious weaknesses are no point guard and lack of quality depth. To cover up the fact you don’t have a point guard, you play the style you have been playing. The problem with our fast-paced game is we don’t have the quality depth to play this style effectively. So, what do you do if you are the coach? He probably sticks with the same plan he has used all year and hopes 1 or 2 of his guys develop and allows him to improve his team and squeeze into the big dance and win a game or two if we get a good draw.
Then, he goes and gets a stud point guard and a good shooting guard and prays Daniel Gafford comes back next year.
We are driving the lane out of control much more the last 2-3 weeks. Barford, Macon and Beard are getting charges because of the crazy charging into the defenders. I would not give the refs an opportunity to make the call. We don’t have anyone to rebound because CMA doesn’t make it a priority and we let our bigs get on the perimeter on switches too much.
You hit on a good point about the depth not supporting the style of play. The press AND the trapping are way too much strain for our shallow guard depth. I hope that we stick with Darius Hall at the 3 and Macon with the 2nd group. Darius is able to give all 3 SR guards a rest. CJ will somehow get out of his funk and he will keep the 3 SR guards fresh like they were in Nov/Dec. I would love to have had Khalil Garland playing guard this year so he could get experience like Darius Hall.