New Season

slugboy

Moderator
Staff member
Messages
8,351
Thanks for the nudge :D
  • We have an exhibition against Morehouse on Oct 31. (McCamish)
  • Miami (OH) Nov 9 (McCamish)
  • The Stetson Hatters Nov 12 (McCamish)
  • Lamar Cardinals Nov 15 (McCamish)
  • UGA <ugh> Nov 19 (Stegman)
  • Charleston Southern Nov 22 (McCamish)
  • Georgia Southern Nov 26 (McCamish)
  • Wisconsin Dec 1 (McCamish)
  • UNC Dec 5 (McCamish)
How are the fellas looking?
 

MtnWasp

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
476
The team looks to me to have enough horses to have an >.500 record in the ACC for the third consecutive year. That is my big goal for the season. Cremins did it once. Hewitt only achieved one conference season above .500 in eleven tries. Gregory never finished above .500 in conference in five seasons.
 

GCdaJuiceMan

Helluva Engineer
Messages
1,861
I think this teams ability to be a tournament team starts from the inside out. Is Jordan going to have the help he needs to be able to draw defense in and open up the perimeter? Also, how will we defend the middle? Moses was a force and Jordan, who plays above his size will still need some help. Hope Meka and Howard have been putting in some overtime this off-season and both take a big step. Also, I just can’t wait to see this team back on the court. Will be interesting to see the type of character they take. Last year Jose really helped us develop a persona as a strong defensive front and frustrated opposing offenses. Pastner has done a good job with that since he’s been here. Excitement is definitely building and I will be at a lot of games this year.
 

MtnWasp

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
476
I am a big Moses Wright fan. The story of his Gt journey is epic. But my opinion is that he was, at best, an average post defender. I think that is the reason he doesn't have a spot on an NBA roster. While fantastically athletic and more than willing to hit the deck for loose balls, he is a bit of a tweener as a defender, not big enough to physically hold-up in the paint, and not quite quick enough to defend the perimeter.

He did improve his understanding of weak side post rotations as the year went on and he started to get better at blocking some shots. Still, GT's defensive efficiency ranking went from 29th when we had Banks to 160th when Moses took over in the post. I think the staff made a great effort to protect Moses in the post by trying to disrupt perimeter passing and create turnovers.

I actually feel that where we will really miss Moses (and Jose) is on the offensive side of the ball (where we jumped in offensive efficiency ranking from 296 to 40th!). I think that all of Meka, Howard and Saba have more defensive up-side in the paint than Moses did. But it remains to see if they can and will do it. But it has a consistent trait of our staff so far is that they get their guys better from year to year.

I look for GT's formula for winning will be better defensive efficiency (yes, even with losing Jose) and we take a hit in offensive efficiency.
 

lv20gt

Helluva Engineer
Messages
5,097
The more I think about it, the more I think how good we are really depends on how well Coleman and/or Kelly can come in right away and provide a quality starter on the wing for us. I think our best look this year will be something like

Sturdivant, Devoe, Coleman, Usher, Howard

where the main idea offensively is to have Devoe and Coleman be able to hit threes to force teams to try and not help off them opening up for drives from Sturdivant and Usher. If those two could also be solid 3 point threats in their own rights, that could put a lot of pressure on opponents bigs to help defend the drive which could open things up for Howard, or whoever we have at the 5, to be able to contribute. We even have a solid depth for that idea with Smith or Bubba coming in behind Kyle, or starting for, Maxwell and Kelly being three point threats, hopefully, off the bench, Moore (either one) at the 4 spot similar to usher, or Meka if we don't think they can hold up defensively, and then Gigi or Meka at the 5.

I don't think we'll always be in a look like that as I think we'll often see Khalid in at the 3 which I think will put a lot of pressure on whoever is running the point to help out the scoring load. Of course, I also think there is an outside shot that Gigiberia take a big step forward and can be a bigger contributor on offense from the highpost/top of the key area than expected and help open up things that way.

In general, I'm so excited because there are so many options that we could try. I'm just hoping we find a good one early and don't have to spend too much time experimenting to find something that works.
 

YlJacket

Helluva Engineer
Messages
2,832
Conceptually I agree with Ivy that next year is highly dependent on likely Coleman to live up to his billing as an outside shooter/scorer. If it is Kelly then great but same concept that we will need the 3 spot to become as scoring position to spread the D which we did not do very well last year. Usher in particular can be a beast on the drive if there aren't multiple defenders in the paint waiting for him. Same with Devoe to a lesser extent.

I do think it is going to take a while for us to find our defensive identity with Howard replacing Moses and a freshman at the 3 spot. For all my expectation on Coleman above, I don't know how he will be on D - and if you can't guard it is hard to play. I can see us playing a lot of zone early on to keep Howard out of foul trouble and give Coleman some early help. Overall, I hope we can be good enough defensively early on while our freshman scorer(s) learn the game.
 

MtnWasp

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
476
Defensive rotation or player rotation?

So far, Coach Pastner has placed a lot of faith on the guys who have been there before. He has ridden the veterans hard the last couple of seasons. So, if we are going to start a Freshman, then that player is going to have to be unequivocally more productive than the veterans that are sitting.

Typically, Freshmen have more trouble adjusting to playing on the defensive end than getting their shots. I don't see Pastner tolerating youth based defensive breakdowns with this upcoming squad. I'm not saying that it can't happen that Freshman is a top minute taker, but I will need to see it before a buy it.
 

lv20gt

Helluva Engineer
Messages
5,097
So far, Coach Pastner has placed a lot of faith on the guys who have been there before. He has ridden the veterans hard the last couple of seasons. So, if we are going to start a Freshman, then that player is going to have to be unequivocally more productive than the veterans that are sitting.

Pastner has a pretty established record of riding new faces fairly hard. Okogie, Banks, Alvarado, Devoe, and Usher all were leaned on pretty heavily in their first year and while two were transfers neither had really been there before in terms of playing that role. Even last year I think the plan was to go with Howard/Saba at the 5 before the GAState/Mercer games and then it was a "we don't have time" mindset.

I think he, like most coaches, prefers veterans, so if Moore starts showing the ability to hit the 3 then he'll go that option. But I think unless we see one of the PGs or C's step up and be a real third core, then we'll need scoring from the 3 spot
 

MtnWasp

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
476
Those were the losing teams that didn't have anyone else. But with the last two winning teams our coach went with the veterans. Strudivant gradually took Bubba's role. But Coach has valued guys who do not break down on either end. Assignment/rotation lapses on defense and turnovers on offense got guys the hook.

Cremins used to leave guys in through their errors to allow them to figure it out. I don't see that from Pastner when there are other options. Pastner runs a tighter ship than that.

I think that it will be the same this season, especially when we hit conference play. If a sweet-shooting Freshman can avoid youthful mistakes, then I'm sure that they will get the nod. But I do not see our coach enduring growing pains while Khalid Moore or Bubba (who will not make many mistakes) sit.

I know that it is typical for fans to mostly think about offense when they try to prognosticate. But I don't think our staff will share that bias. I think we will try to get back to playing top level team defense.

To me the biggest question for the upcoming season is, will it be Sturdivant or Smith, or will it be Sturdivant AND Smith? Are they competing for time or do they play together?
 

gt24

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
352
Defensive rotation or player rotation?

So far, Coach Pastner has placed a lot of faith on the guys who have been there before. He has ridden the veterans hard the last couple of seasons. So, if we are going to start a Freshman, then that player is going to have to be unequivocally more productive than the veterans that are sitting.

Typically, Freshmen have more trouble adjusting to playing on the defensive end than getting their shots. I don't see Pastner tolerating youth based defensive breakdowns with this upcoming squad. I'm not saying that it can't happen that Freshman is a top minute taker, but I will need to see it before a buy it.
agree with all your points with one or two notes to add...

1. CJP played mike significant minutes his frosh year, and now the best recruits (on paper) since mike are deebo and miles. perhaps there is a difference between talents like mike/deebo/miles and other frosh who do not see the floor under CJP.

2. i see so many 51/49 (or 55/45) decisions in this roster. defensive strengths vs offensive strengths. experience vs youth. speed vs size. it can put a lot of pressure on a coach to make the right 51/49 decision for the long-term early in the season. and it's not always about deciding which of those 2 players is better, but which one makes the best lineup/rotation for the long-term. not too hard to decide for one game. much harder to project/decide for the long-term (the full season). the most interesting CJP decision to me (on paper) is deebo or miles offensive upside vs defensive inexperience/liabilities. (idk if they are actually defensively behind more veteran players, but the history of cbb says there is a high probability they are.) does CJP play one of them heavy minutes in november and december because of long-term (second half of season) potential, or does CJP go with more experienced reliable consistent defensive players (khalid) ahead of deebo/miles with lower offensive ceilings. normally i would guess he goes with experience and defense. but deebo and miles are 6'6" or 6'7" -- and multi-positional on the defensive end, reportedly. plus we play plenty of hybrid zone which has the potential to hide some flaws while the staff continues to teach and develop defensive competencies to an adequate level. those wing spots on the hybrid 131/23 are not as demanding as weakside m2m rotations/reads/responsibilities. i'm not saying it's as easy as HS or AAU weakside zone, it's definitely more nuanced than that, but its also not the same task as learning to defend m2m in P6 or the ACC.

*as many of us said last march, the number one factor for offseason individual skill improvement on the entire roster would be khalid's 3pt shooting. if he did that more than just marginally, everything i wrote above is likely a moot point. but my view is that guys like khalid (athletic wing tweener forwards who prefer to drive) rarely make significant perimeter shooting improvements in one offseason.

*everything i just wrote is ridiculous speculation having seen none of the workouts or preseason practices, but it is fun to speculate.
 

gt24

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
352
To me the biggest question for the upcoming season is, will it be Sturdivant or Smith, or will it be Sturdivant AND Smith? Are they competing for time or do they play together?
juicy. this is fun to think about. kyle and smith with mike at the 3rd guard spot while at 6'5" defending the other teams 3-man. plus usher and a 5-man.
as you and others have mentioned many times in the past, will mike learn to push pace/tempo or will he continue to walk the ball up the floor??? kyle and smith want to fly. usher wants to fly. the trailing 5-man is irrelevant (mostly) if there are 4 others flying up the floor on the secondary break.

to lv's overall point about shooting though, there aint enough half-court shooting in that lineup if they aint really pushing the pace aggressively. that lineup needs transition buckets.
 

YlJacket

Helluva Engineer
Messages
2,832
I am the first to say if you can't guard you can't play. And I agree that like most coaches Pastner wants to start with defense and add offense on top. But you have to have balance and the problem he has is he is losing 35 points from Moses and Jose - and the guys poised to take over for them are likely to get half of that total or maybe less.

For the last half of last year whenever we played Moore his defender ignored him unless he was within the paint. That can't happen. Especially as that player sitting in the lane takes away Usher's greatest strength.

Again, if Coleman can't guard then he doesn't play. But from what I/we know right now he is the best option to bring scoring to the 3 spot (which we need desperately) and balance this team.
 

MtnWasp

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
476
How the players play will determine all of this, of course.

I just look at the efficiency numbers. 160th on defense is way worse than any other season under Pastner and 40th on offense is way way better. With Moses and Jose gone, even if the Freshmen are good scorers, I doubt they will be able to match the offensive efficiency numbers that Moses and Jose (who shot a ridiculous percentage) were able to achieve.

That means, to sustain winning, the shortest distance between two points is to play better defense, to substantially improve that 160th ranking rather than expecting the Freshmen to be able to float an offensive efficiency ranking around 40. I think that the roster supports this strategy.

I'm not trying to forward what I would do or what I want to see done, but I am predicting what I think the staff will end up doing. If we have a true 5 who can play, then what I see happening is that we sure-up post defense and use our length and experience on the perimeter to execute our amoeba zone and disrupt the opposition on the defensive end.

If the post players flub once again, then we have to go small and up-tempo, run and press and try to outscore the opposition, by using our depth and athleticism and run opposing 5s off the floor.

As for Smith and Sturdivant, my thinking about line-ups is pretty simple. You put your best players on the court. I think that Smith and Sturdivant are two of our best players and the staff has been more than willing to play two and sometimes even three point guards on the floor at the same time. So, my prediction is that by the time the ACC slate rolls around, that we will see both Sturdivant and Smith on the floor at the same time for extended periods of time.

Another BIG (or juicy?) question for the upcoming season is whether or not CJP will be able to use a short rotation again by the time the ACC slate rolls around? If he only plays 7 guys as is typical, how many transfers out will we see?
 

OG-T

Jolly Good Fellow
Messages
191
This season will test Pastner’s adaptability to coach a deeper rotation. I hope he opens his perspective on it and executes on it. He has been clear he likes a shorter bench, doesn’t know how Hamilton/FSU can effectively platoon like they do; no easy task. However with our roster depth, Pastner owes it to these guys to adapt and consistently use the strength of an 8 man rotation, at times 9, and then in select meaningful games, even 10.
This would engage players, back up his “5star development” mantra, and likely help keep players fresher and hopefully decrease chances of injury.
 

orientalnc

Helluva Engineer
Retired Staff
Messages
7,824
Location
Oriental, NC
If Pastner doesn't expand the playing time beyond 7 players IMHO he is making a major mistake with this roster. Hope he doesn't.
I am countering this by asking who should have played in 2020-21 but did not? Rodney Howard was 8th on the team in minutes and Saba was 9th. Do you think either of them deserved more minutes based on how well they played? Meka and Maxwell were both essentially unavailable. No one else was going to see the floor in a competitive game.

Oh, based on the data, if Didenko had played every game we would have been undefeated. So there, I concede the point.
 
Top