Monday, December 29, 2014

Iona Postgame - Learning from Dumpster Fires

Final:  Iona 81, Drexel 62

Player of the Game:  Freddie Wilson
Key to the game:  Not having a clue
Next Game:  Sunday January 3 vs Elon @ the DAC

I blew the preview for this game.  Just not good at all, and I want to come out and apologize to all readers for the misstep.  I hope everyone knows my thoughts on personal responsibility by now and knows that I will take this seriously and will improve from this.  Thanks as always for reading and any and all feedback that is offered.

Drexel bigs took only _(10)_ of the teams shots, Tavon struggled from the field so while he scored __(18)__ points he took__(18)__ shots to get there.  Officiating wasn't great but didn't effect the outcome.  Bru totally blew it by running his usual offense and by no seriously, running his usual offense. 

First, the good:
  • Kudos to Bru/Connors for recognizing the fact that Mohamed Bah was not nearly quick enough to keep up with the pace of this game and that Bah continues to struggle with shot fakes.  While DU could have used his rebounding, Laury would have abused Bah all day long in a one on one battle, so trying the younger more athletic players was the correct call.
  • Freddie Wilson won the blogs Player of the Game, marking the first time anyone has ever gone 0-fer from the field and won the award.  As painful as 0-8 was to watch, when London struggled and Bru called on Freddie for longer than normal minutes, Freddie put up this stat line:  6 assists, 0 turnovers.  Freddie played a fast paced Iona team and kept pace and was secure with the ball.  Playing as a pass first point guard in an uptempo attack is exactly Freddie's type of game, and his solid play went alongside a decent defensive effort as well.  Now he just needs to get a shooters roll for once in his career, because the shooting is just brutal.
  • Austin Williams didn't look ready for prime time, with 2 turnovers and 5 fouls and just 5 boards (zero offensive boards) in 24 minutes.  He was definitely spent down the stretch.  But he showed athleticism and ball skills that a Drexel staff could have a lot of fun with next year.  
  • Similar to Williams, Sammy Mojica continues to be a dynamic player who is becoming a force.  He filled up the stat sheet in this one with 10 points on 8 attempts, 5 rebounds, an assist, block and steal.  Sammy seems to have a nose for the ball on both ends of the court and can fill up the bucket while on the floor.  He needs to follow Rashann London's lead and catchup to the speed of the college game, but when he does he should be seeing 25+ minutes a game, every game.
  • From the final line of an excellent gamer from City of Basketball Love, Bru echos what I have been saying since the preseason:  "From a talent standpoint, if we get it together we'll be fine."

The flip side of the coin.  Iona is a very poor defensive team, they win games by outscoring opponents, but the Drexel squad (coaches and players) seemed to go out of their way to ensure that the Iona defense would look good. 
  • At least three times this game there was a Drexel player standing alone under the basket.  None of those times did those players get the ball passed to them by their teammates.  
  • Tavon Allen was being guarded by 5'9" Ibn Muhammad, and Tavon didn't shoot over him, didn't go into the paint, and didn't post him up.  Creating and exploiting mismatches is a cornerstone of college coaching, but instead of creating an isolation situation for Allen vs Muhammad, Drexel ran its normal offense and failed to take advantage.  
  • Damion Lee took only 11 shots in this game, and the front line combined for only 10.  Meanwhile Allen took 18, Wilson 8, and London 9.  The dragons have fallen in love with the jumpshot again and neither Lee nor the forwards are getting good looks often enough.  
  • Speaking of falling in love with the jumpshot, DU had only 18 points in the paint and was outrebounded against a smaller, finesse, jumpshot team.  Drexel was 4 for 18 from INSIDE the arc in the second half of this game which was the story that no one is talking about.  While Iona was slashing to the basket and drawing contact, DU players seemed almost frightened of contact and were just throwing balls at the rim from 5-10 feet out.  It was a weak (Bru would use another word), non-physical, abomination of an effort in the paint, if there was any effort at all.  Grandmothers drive harder than these guards do and it is an absolute embarrassment.  To be out-physicalled by Iona, a run and gun no defense team that wins with speed shouldn't be tolerated and is totally uncharacteristic of a Bruiser Flint team.  Abomination, embarrassment, dumpster fire, you pick, but this is something in that neighborhood.  For color:
Fouls Drawn per 40 minutes, Drexel Guards:

Current DU players in bold
The chart above doesn't look bad until one notes that it uses current year stats for current players, and for all other players I used their freshman* stats only.  Also, due to rule changes the current players are playing in a more foul happy/ offensive environment.  

This team just isn't physical enough, doesn't play in the paint enough, and doesn't involve their forwards enough.  Period.  They aren't going to out jumpshoot anyone, and their offense revolves around the jump shot.  And that brings us to the last note from the Iona game.

  • From the final line of an excellent gamer from City of Basketball Love, Bru echos what I have been saying since the preseason:  "From a talent standpoint, if we get it together we'll be fine."  Last year Drexel had 6 seniors, including 2 members of the All-Conference Team, and a member of the freshman All-Conference Team.  That team went .500.  From a talent standpoint, they were way better than that but they never put it together.  In 05-06 Bru had Elegar and Crawford, Mason, Mejia and Sanchez and went under .500.  From a talent standpoint, if they had gotten it together they would have been fine.  Pick a year, pick an under performance.  The problem isn't Bru, it's Eric Zillmer enabling Bruiser with contract after contract.  But we know that. 
Bruiser thinks the talent assembled is greater than the current product on the floor.  We know that too.  But whose job is it to collect, nurture and get the most from that talent?

"From a talent standpoint, if we get it together we'll be fine."

For maybe the first time, Bru didn't blame the players, he took personal responsibility for the problem.  He just may not have known he was doing it.

*Dominic Mejia's (transfer, NC State) stats are from his first season at DU

1 comment:

  1. I think apologizing for being wrong is unnecessary. Although I am guilty of the same sentiment, my tweeting involves the loss of others money. For that, an apology may be given. When you spend your time to give your thought to what is an excellent and fun blog. I do not think you need to say I am sorry for pouring your heart into it. I, too could not have been more wrong. For that, I lost as much I shall bet on a hoop game at this time. If others also lost their money, because some so called expert felt that a healthier Drexel, playing a team that they could both exploit and make uncomfortable, would finally play a good game, then I apologize. Until next game, Drexels first conference game against a very beatable Elon, I bid you adieu.