I’m kind of at a loss for where to start with all of this. It seems here we are in year three of the Larry era and a great many of you seem bothered by anyone with the expectation that we win basketball games. Outside of players and the parent of a player chirping at me last night (both of which I blocked because no good can come from arguing with either), here are a couple of quotes people fired at me last night. (and nothing makes me have less faith in a program than when players feel the need to argue with people on twitter, quite frankly it’s a sign of a lack of discipline)
Hey I think we should just be happy to see progress with this program. We were freaking horrible just two years ago
apparently @MACatHoyos expects 30 wins this year
I saw a lot of the, I’m just happy things are close category of tweets last night. Oddly from the same group of people who are nearly ready to fire our football coach. But I digress.
I’m tired of the close category. Close was for last year. If you want interesting close games that we lose, I watched us take Arizona to the wire on the road last year. In fact I watched Utah do that two years ago as well. I’ve seen that story and it doesn’t interest me any more. What does interest me is when we get an opportunity like we got last night, that we close it out. Boise’s 2nd leading scorer Derrick Marks goes to the bench with 4 fouls, sits for 10 minutes and not only does Utah not take advantage, Marks comes back on the floor to a Boise St. lead.
That I find frustrating.
But you people get upset that I complain about Utah basketball too much. So I’ll start with the positives that I saw last night.
1. The thing that makes me happiest is the play of Lenz and Bachynski. Having serviceable bigs this year will be a very big deal. I was skeptical after what we saw from both last year but this was good to see. That being said, what is going on with Jeremy Olsen right now? He has the most talent of our big men but looks lost.
2. Kenneth Ogbe will be a player should he ever learn the English word for defense. I’ve been saying that I believe Dakari Tucker will transfer at years end, I think Mr. Ogbe will be a big part of the reason why.
3. Jordan Loveridge bounced back from a horrid first half. I’ve always loved the saying, its not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get up. Mr. Loveridge got up in a big way.
4. Delon Wright’s first half. If it weren’t for him, the way the rest of the team came out, well it might have been lights out in the first half. That being said, despite the fact that several of you want to argue this, he got neutralized in the 2nd half for long stretches. My concern is, if an unathletic team like Boise can do it, who in the Pac-12 can’t.
Now for the downside issues.
1. This is something that I excused for two years and didn’t make much mention of, because really how much did it matter. But Larry’s late game and time out management were terrible last night and they have been for his entire tenure. Not having a timeout to be called when Delon was out of control going down the court late probably cost us this game. This has to get better.
2. Wright and Loveridge with serious mental errors late in the game. Not that Loveridge would have made a shot but he could have been 20 feet closer to take one. Fran Fraschilla tweeted last night about the 1 dribble per second rule and that his teams practiced it. Just a terrible error. Wrights was probably worse, utterly out of control when we needed anything but. Both were this team sort of falling apart right there. That’s a coaching issue.
3. We’re not a good shooting team. I know what the stats say, but when that shooting touch leaves you the second you face a quality team, well, that has to be looked at. Utah took 29 3′s last night. That can’t seriously be our plan. Especially when Boise, who lives at the 3, only took 14 because that shot wasn’t falling for them.
I think my take away from last night is this. It’s year three, time to win basketball games. Time for feeling warm and fuzzy over being close is done. Especially games where you are handed a prime chance like last night. And the concerning thing is that things that cost us last night, are a recurring patterning under Larry. I’m not saying they can’t get better. Nor am I saying there weren’t a lot of good things too. But in the end, we have to finish a game like that, and we just didn’t.
And before I go I might as well give you my unpopular opinion on the Onwas ejection as well. I know you people don’t like it, but that is how that is going to be called now. This is 2013 and there is no more tolerance for anything going to the head. I know basketball coaches used to teach to use your elbows and swing them to create space, but that is not allowed anymore. If you swing and elbow and make head contact, they are going to eject, no matter how minor. Players and coaches need to adjust to it, that’s just reality.