Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In Which I Praise Bruiser Flint For an In Game Basketball Decision!


The above line was copied and pasted from the first half play by play available on (that's for all you longtime radio listeners out there).  Dartaye subbing in with nine to go in the half is nothing unusual, until you note these lines prior to the above listed line:


Ruffin had two fouls on him, and usually that's an automatic to the bench for the half for Bru, especially from a big man.  And while the injuries have caused a short bench, Bru still had options, neither Bah nor Williams had two on them, and with Tavon out he could have gone back to the four guard experiment.  Instead, Bru showed that he trusted his senior and Dartaye rewarded him in return by playing more than 7 solid (if not quiet) minutes without fouling.  He ended the game with 34 minutes played, 8 points and 7 boards and 4 fouls.  

The hoops nerds,  of which I am an undereducated but proud member, will tell you that sitting a guy due to fouls accomplishes very little.  Most coaches continue to do it, because that's the way its always been done, and they view minutes at the end of the game as more important than minutes in the middle.  In the case of guys who need to handle the ball against the press or shoot free throws with a lead, that's an argument worth making as those players can be critical at the end game.  For everyone else, there's not a great argument to be had for holding them until end game.  All that sitting Dartaye in those 7 minutes would have done would have him end the game with 27 minutes played and 4 fouls instead of 34 and 4 fouls.  Even if Dartaye had ended the game with just 28 minutes and 5 fouls, he still would have played an additional minute because Bru got him back in there, so the gamble is worthwhile.  In the past, Bru has been sitting almost all of his players with 2 fouls in the first half, in this game he took a gamble and won.  He's also played Massenat this year with 2 in the first half and generally seems to be evolving on this issue.

I'm sure a lot of what Bru has done this season that's away from his comfort zone, let it be the zone, the four guard, playing guys with foul trouble, is due to the injuries.  That doesn't mean that he hasn't been watching and learning.  Earlier this year Bru probably goes four guard in that spot, especially against a team like JMU that brings their forwards out to the perimeter on offense.  This time Bru didn't bite, but rather showed faith in his senior that I'm sure Dartaye not only appreciated, but that Dartaye rewarded the coach for as well.  That's the way these things should work.  A hat tip to both player and coach for making a potential bad situation a positive there.

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