Bailey will definitely have a chance. His size isn’t a huge issue, necessarily. I don’t think anyone really knows how the 4 situation will work out. A lot depends on how Bailey and Hall develop over the summer. Thomas is the safest bet, but by no means does that mean he’ll be the starter. In my mind, Cook, while he had his moments, has the least upside of the group. If younger guys grow, I think he is the odd man out. But if Bailey/Hall wind up on the wing (doubt it happens with both), suddenly he’s back in the rotation.
I could see Thompson beginning the year as a starter, but I think Gafford will take over at some point. I think he’ll average more minutes, but it could be close to 50-50 and they may play together some. You’d hope the 4s are a little better so big minutes with them together aren’t necessary.
Ha! He did a nice job toning down what he was trying to do offensively last summer (still took too many jumpers during the year), but the 4 was easily the team’s weakness and he was a big part of that. Had a few bright spots (Texas, first A&M game), but was really inconsistent and just doesn’t bring a lot to the table aside from hustle, which at times didn’t make much of an impact. Thomas, for all his ups and downs, was trusted by the staff more as a whole and late in the year.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to think Bailey leapfrogs him. Obviously he did against UNC. In talking to Dudley, Hall has the talent to play right away. Cook would be best served if they played on the wing, but it it’s far from a given that happens.
It’s important they upgrade the 4. If that’s going to happen, last year’s pieces either improve dramatically or get their playing time cut as younger players step up. I just think Cook is the odd man out.
I think Thompson will be a fixture in the starting lineup. He’s too valuable as a passer on a team without a pass-first point guard. I also think he will score more when he’s expected to take shots regularly. His ability to step out and make good things happen will make it easier on the wings.
I don’t really have much of an idea on starters, especially since we know Mike will change that up at least 15 times. I do believe, after we hit our SEC games, the best lineup (in during the last 8-10 min of a game) may be Barford, Macon, Hall, Bailey (or Thompson), and Gafford. I only saw Hall play in the Championship game against Parkview. In that game, he took a much less talented team than Parkview and beat them for the Championship. If that game was representative of the talent he’s bringing to Fayetteville, he’s going to earn significant minutes this year.
The one starter that most posters include on their starting line-ups has me shaking my head. I know I’m in the minority, but I don’t understand why so many think Jones will start or even get close to 20+ minutes. Mike did not trust him enough to give him any meaningful minutes in a close SEC game all year. He didn’t even see the floor in nearly half of our SEC games. Bailey showed tremendous improvement as the season progressed and Mike gave him significant minutes as a result. If anything, it appeared to me that Jones regressed as the opponents got better.
Anyway, I didn’t mean to rag on Jones. I guess I’m probably wrong, because I’m certainly in the minority on this board. I hope most posters are right and Jones ends up being one of our best players this season.
Jimmy, if you saw practices last year and in talking to players and coaches, perhaps you can sell me on why you expect so much from Jones this coming season.
He didn’t play much last year because he had the 5 older guards ahead of him. I don’t view that as a knock on him. He brings scoring to the table. He probably could have provided that some last year, but they already had plenty of guard scoring between Jaylen, Dusty, Daryl and occasionally Anton. Manny was the best guard defender on the team, a leader and a glue guy who needed to play. C.J. made a lot of mental lapses on the defensive end.
But there’s a lot to like about his game and those within the program are super high on him. He has a very high ceiling because he’s 6-5, long, very athletic, has a pure shot and a scorer’s mentality. He needs to improve his strength, dribbling, defense and continue to mature/grow his basketball IQ.
Dusty and Manny played a combined 47.1 minutes a game last year. That’s a lot of playing time. Barford, Beard and Macon can obviously play a few more minutes, but they will rely on Jones and Garland to be able to play. They need C.J.'s shooting. I wouldn’t bet my salary on it, but I could see him averaging double figures.
Also, I had someone text me tonight about how impressed they were by Hall in that championship game. Apparently he hit 3 of the 9 3-pointers he made as a senior in that game. Did shoot 73 percent from the line. A lot of the clips I’ve seen from him make me think he has a decent handle.
Had an interesting discussion with someone about positions tonight. Part of it included Adrio having apparently really improved his ballhandling ability and that he and Darious will have the ability to play on the wing, basically be combo forward types.
Adrio talked about working hard to do that this summer back in March, so this is a good sign. Improving his shooting will obviously be very important, too.
Whether or not Hall and Bailey can play together or separately on the wing and alongside 2 “bigs” will determine a lot. If they can, that opens up some time for Cook. If not, he may be in essence the third 5 behind TT/Gafford.
I like his upside a lot for the reasons you mentioned. I think he’ll wind up the starter at some point, maybe even to open the season. He’s capable of being an impact player based on raw physical ability alone.
I feel the way PIG does about all three guys. I’ve said several times, I expect the first game the starting five to be Beard, Macon, Barford, Thomas, and Thompson. By the start of SEC play the first two “lineups” will be Macon, Barford, Garland, Thomas, Gafford, and the first “wave” will be Beard, Jones, Hall, Cook/Bailey (I personally think Cook will make a jump like most JUCO’s and his size will give him the edge over Bailey), Thompson.
Both are nice players, but I feel like Hall has the better upside. Garland really needs to work on his shot. I see him filling the Manny role next year. While he will lack Manny’s experience and senior year deft 3 point touch, he is a more athletic player than Manny while also being very court savvy. I think Hall has a chance to get major minutes at the 4 next year but will eventually be a great small forward.