I think Mike had a bit of trouble integrating the Juco’s into the team. They are effectively freshmen to his system and style of play. They were all alpha dogs on their Juco teams and it takes time to build the chemistry needed to play this offense and defense.
I believe the rough patches we have seen were critical to the team meshing and the performance improving. The Juco’s had to fail before they could improve. You learn much more in failure than success. Think about a freshman. If he plays regular, by the time he gets to late February, he is nearly a sophomore and things come a lot more natural and instinctive.
With that being said, Coach A had to adjust as well. He now knows what makes this team tick and he is pulling the strong and making them dance.
I think people just dismiss the challenges of integrating so many alpha dogs into the team over the course of a season.
They could back slide, and we really dont know what our ceiling is, but they are doing well now and I highly doubt they slide back to Missouri or Vandy levels.
It will be a fun ride the rest of the season. It will be interesting if we see Jekyll or Hyde and which will establish themselves more solidly.
I think one of the things missing on this team is a true “Leader”, ala Cory Beck. There is no one that can step up that has the full respect of the other players if that one person has to yell at them to get their head right. I think we are seeing a team as CMA says, “Is learning their roles and learning to trust those roles”. I do not expect a deep run in the NCAA, but I would like to see a team that comes together down the stretch and plays its best basketball of the year.
I agree 100%. Barford has really picked it up the last 10 games. If he is on from outside it puts a lot of stress on the defense. His ability and strength on drives to the hoop is special. Him and Macon will be a terrific combo next year.
Both Macon and Bardford needed reps and to see what it takes to win together.
Cook just simply needs the reps also. Macon and Bardford will be studs from here on and I look for Cook to do the same next season. Cook has not had the playing time yet to get him going. This team will be a tough out in the dance if they are shooting well. Hope they can hit hit at least 12 or more 3’s a game form here on. All of the guards have the ability to knock them down so one or two of them should feel it each game. The players had to come together and I think they have now!
Cook is going to really have to step it up. He’s got competition coming in next year, plus he has Bailey getting better by the day, and I’m sure Hazen is getting better as well. The difference this year between Cook and the other 2 JUCO’s is when they got benched, they stepped their games up and responded well, Cook hasn’t so far.
Macon has been coming off the bench since his poor defensive performance against Mizzou, and since then he’s turned his defense around as well as taking his offense to the next level, same thing with Barford. Cook on the other hand, when he got bench and when he only played 2 minutes one game, he went to twitter to complain about it, then the next game missed 2 layups. Saturday he shot an air ball and didn’t do much else. One thing about CMA he doesn’t give anybody minutes you have to earn them, we’re playing every game for our post season hopes, it’s not tryout time, you earn minutes then play well with what you’re given, then you get more. If you’re going to go complain about something on twitter, then you better be ready to back it up when you get in the game, so far he hasn’t, all the forwards including Bailey have outplayed him the last few games.