Based on just this first exhibition, Whitt is going to be extremely important to the success of this season. The first five minutes of the game and the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half show why this appears to be true. During those two 5 minute periods we outscored UALR by 26 points. Jimmy appears to be our best facilitator, defender, and rebounder. We are, without a doubt, a much better team when he is on the floor.
IMO, if we are going to make noise this year in the SEC conference, Jimmy will need to play big minutes. We also will need much more out of Jones and Chaney than they showed, which I think will happen. Chaney was a victim of a couple bad calls on fouls and Jones just didn’t look comfortable yet with the new system.
I will say, Jimmy may have the ugliest free throw shot I’ve seen in a while. I hope the staff can help him a bit with that. His poor FT shooting could prove a detriment in the closing minutes of a tight game and he will need to be on the floor.
All in all, I was pleased with what I saw in their first game. Lots to work on but, the potential is there for a good first season under CEM. If Vanover can get eligible, that could elevate this team to maybe top 5 in the SEC.
Remember, all this is based on just seeing one game.
One thing that concerns me about Whitt is range on his jump shots. I think he will be okay on FTs.
In the closing stages the ball will be in his hands just like it was with Harris. Once the scouting report is out, the opponents will try to make him shoot from beyond the arc just like they did to Harris. This could be a liability. He may be a better version of a Harris, who by the way was a very good facilitator himself last year, just not a scorer.
What did PGs do before the 3 pt line? I’m not totally discounting what you say, but Whitt is much better in the paint then Harris. He can score inside and is long/strong enough around the rim to finish.
He also may have 3 to 4 3 pt shooters surrounding him that will open up the paint to those drives.
Whitt can play PG and not turn the ball over much. However, nothing in his past indicates that he is much more than a game manager as a distributor. His assist numbers are closer to Beard than Durham or Kareem Reid. He had 2 assists in 30 minutes on Sunday. I’m not so certain that this team doesn’t need more than that at PG. It wouldn’t shock me if Harris and Sills turned out to be better distributors. Really, when I was watching Whitt on Sunday, he looked like Darrell Walker to me.Sure, let him start the offense some, but slashing off the ball may be a better use for him on O.
These points are specifically why I used the word facilitator and not distributor or passer. When Whitt is on the floor, the offense runs smoother and more efficiently. Spacing is better. Passes are crisper. The ball doesn’t stay in the hands of a dribbler.
Harris was a good set up passer, but with lots of dribbling. I did not think he was a good facilitator of the offense. I especially like Whitt playing with Desi in the lineup.
Before the 3 pt line, opponents still forced PGs to take a deep shot if they could, didn’t they? It just didn’t count as 3 pts.
You are correct that last year we had only 2 to 3 pt shooters instead of 3 to 4 this year. Cylla is that difference. But I am not sure if we can get away with Cylla being the only big on the floor in big games.
I did say that Whitt is a better version of Harris. Just pointing out that he is not the perfect solution.
One thing that needs to be restated. When Whitt was here before, it was almost Gabe-like. No one wanted Whitt to take 3 point shots. He did have one good shooting game and it was at Missouri. I believe he hit 3 threes in that game.
I did not follow him at SMU. Looking at stats, last year he shot 28 threes and made 4. He was 6 for 21 the year before and he was 6 for 16 at Arkansas,
He was a slasher and scorer at Arkansas. Those continue to be his strengths.