…Macon and Barford settle in for the payoff year for JC’s. They always play lots better in their second year. Anton gets healthy and stays that way. Trey gets in even better shape during the off-season so he can be more of a full time player instead of a spot reliever. Jones will replace Hannah as the third 3-point shooter. Bailey and Thomas will both improve to provide better play at the 4 spot. Gafford takes on the Moses role. Garland provides a point/forward player to back up Anton. Hall brings power off the bench at the 3-4 position. If Macon and Barford buy in to Mike’s pressure defense to go with Bailey, Hall, Jones, Garland, and Thomas we can have a little more of the 40 minutes of Hell that is our tradition.
We will probably start 4 seniors and a freshman. Beard, Macon, Barford, Thompson, and Gafford. That should be a seasoned lineup with lots of mental toughness. The second wave will be Garland, Thomas, Jones, Bailey, and Hall and the Dogs of War will be unleashed. I can see this bunch providing a hellatious full court zone press with lots of long and lean athletes. Cook and Hazen could be in there. Glasper might move up as a point guard.
Overall, a more athletic bunch than last year and a strong senior class. Should be competing at or near the top of the SEC. JMVVVVVVVHO.
My take is that you are right about starting four seniors and one freshman. Just the wrong freshman. As I previously posted, by conference season, Barford, Macon, Thompson, Thomas and Garland will start. I see Thompson and Gafford share the 5. They won’t start together for the same reason Kingsley and Trey did not start together plus I am not certain Gafford will overcome his fouling tendencies as a freshman
Barford will be the primary PG. He is going to work hard at improving those skills. He knows that is his ticket to NBA. Plus I believe Mike really likes Beard leading the second unit.
Regarding Beard, I am concerned that he hasn’t shown any significant improvement over his freshman season, or has he?
About Beard, and I know I’m in the minority (I maybe the only one), but I thought he played better last year than he did his freshmen year. His freshmen year, he had some very good players with experience around him that could bail him out on mistakes. Last year, to me anyways, he didn’t make those mistakes. His shot wasn’t falling and people said he regressed. I thought he played smarter. This year, to me, he played more like last year, but his shot was falling more (especially early) and everyone jumped on the “he is back to his freshman form.”
I agree about Garland starting by conference opener, but I disagree about Gafford. I think both units (starting and second wave) will have 3 SR’s and 2 FR. the others will be sprinkled in.
I really expect Thomas to take a big step up in quality of play in his second year after setting out his transfer year. So many times, he hesitated when open on making his move at the basket and then passing off when they covered him. He will be more finesse than power but, if he gains some composure and confidence, he could be a much better offensive player. Then all he has to do is reduce the silly fouls from trying too hard and he will be an effective 4 for us. Gafford has more inside moves than Moses so that part of his game is not a worry. He has to learn how to play without fouling.
Beard caught a bad rap this year while many people never recognized the should injury he got in january. He played good and came back from a personal crisis that would wreck most people. Thomas frustrated me at times and made cheer at times, but he is like a JUCO in their first year as Hogmodo alluded to.