To Be Relevant This Time of the Year...

We have to land some top 50 players that can be our bell cow come tournament time. A player that can take over a game and carry us to victory on the offensive end, and making the other players around him better. I’m talking lottery type perimeter talent & we need more than one, preferably in a couple of consecutive classes.

I remember in Nolan’s hay day, we had May-Day with Big O, who all had decent NBA careers. Then we signed probably the top player in the country in Corliss along with salty perimeter players like Scottie & Corey to go along with Ron Huery, but we also signed Darnell &Lee Wilson the following year to get us over the top. Then, we had the Kareem Reid &Derek Hood show before we signed Joe Johnson.

Since Mike has been head coach, we’ve had BP & now Gafford with NBA talent, but I’ve not seen good NBA guard/perimeter talent on his rosters. I don’t see us making a deep run in the NCAA-T without it. Am I missing something?

You are right that you need that type of talent. It is about players making plays and shots. Focus on coaches is overrated.

To be fair, if you are listing Scottie, Corey, Lee, Kareem, Derek as NBA talent, you have to list Qualls, BJ Young, Kingsley and Barford as NBA talent.

Also, Robinson, Wilson, Kareem and Derek made it to Sweet 16, but they only had to beat Marquette to get there.

When we had Portis, Qualls and Kingsley together, that was the year we should have gone a lot further, but we ran into UNC. Still should have beaten them, but they were sitting on a talented group that was one year away from a national championship.

I’d put Butler & Marquette at the same level. And I don’t think some of those guys you listed ever really made it to the NBA, with Barford still a question mark for the NBA.
My point is we’ve got to improve the roster quality & depth if we’re going to regularly make the sweet 16. Weve had one sure fire NBA talent on the team these last few years(BP & Gafford) & this isn’t enough to carry a team deeper in the NCAAT. And Mikes system is built on elite guard/perimeter play, not necessarily for post play, and I’ve not seen elite perimeter play since Joe left or maybe Brewer. Where are the elite perimeter players on next years roster?

You are making an extremely good point about Guard play and quality in this system. We miss the Clint McDaniels, Robert Shepherds, Corey Becks, etc.

I don’t think it’s the only way to make noise (check the teams in the Sweet 16), but it’s the best way IMO.

Barford will play in the NBA. You can write that down. Macon might.Barford will. No question.

The reason I mentioned Qualls, Kingsley, Barford is that the guys you mentioned Scottie, Corey, Kareem, Lee, Derek never made it to NBA either.

I thought Macon and Barford are excellent perimeter players. You cannot expect more than 35 to 40 points a game from that position. They were two of the best we had. But that is all we had. As I said your overall point is valid.

The issue hasn’t been with our top 2-3 players. The problem:

  1. Not getting enough offense from the role players. I checked the stats. Nolan’s teams had 7-8 players averaging 6+ per game. We had 5; the big 3 plus Beard and CJ.

  2. Not enough team length and quickness to create chaos on defense. No one to cut off the head of the snake.

People forget you can’t play defense like Nolan did.

We need length and quickness. I think he has it coming.

Bit of an apples and oranges comparison. We’re not playing at the pace that Nolan’s best teams did. Fewer shots, fewer points. The NC team averaged 83 possessions a game. This team averaged 70.8. Part of that is due to your second point. We forced many more turnovers in '94 than we did this year. Part of that is officiating to be sure; Corey Beck would have fouled out in the first five minutes with some of the refs we’ve seen this year.

We have a lot “no don’t shoot” role players. Every player on Nolan’s teams could hit double digits. One game, Crawford would be in the top 3 scorers, another game it could be Beck, or Dillard, or Rimac, or Robinson, or Stewart, or McDaniel, or Wilson.