Saturday, April 01, 2006

next year

Did you know that, for the longest time, I seldom watched any BB games once IU lost in the tournament? I might catch a few minutes of a game now and then, but that’s about it. In fact, when I think about it, a similar scenario unfolds during the regular season. I start by watching the Cream and Crimson game until I am bored stiff and will take in some preseason contests. When the Big Ten starts, I resort to the video…meaning I never see IU lose a Big Ten game!!

My point being that I really am in the dark regarding the abilities of most other teams in the country. I only view IU’s wins on tape against other B10 teams. Almost all of my info regarding other teams comes from the morning newspaper or ESPN highlights. But, for no reason I can explain, I found myself watching a lot of tournament contests this year. Here are a few of my observations:

1. I am very relieved that Mike Davis resigned. It appears that most other teams are coached to attack the basket. Isn’t that a novel idea? One player sets a screen, another drives toward the center of the foul lane where he has many options:
a. Continue driving in for an easy layup
b. Putting up a mid range jumper if not covered
c. Passing the ball inside to one of your two big men
d. Passing the ball to the left or right to two players stationed at the 3 point arc.
The most amazing find is what happens when the answer is (d), passing out to a player at the point arc…that player didn’t automatically shoot a three! On many occasions that player also drove into the lane, and so on. How many times did that happen during the Davis reign?

2. It is also interesting to note that most other teams (Nova being the exception) don’t have four guards on the floor at once. I think Davis was enamored with the idea of having Moye and Vaden as power forwards. Maybe it was a personnel thing, but I don’t think so. It would have been very interesting to see what IU’s rotation would have been if DJ White had remained healthy.

3. Oh yeah. One other good thing that can occur when you drive to the may get fouled. Do you recall when we used to go to the line a lot more often than our opponent?

4. If there is one thing I miss most from the Bob Knight years is the anticipation that one of the more obscure players would develop into an All American by senior year. Possibly a slight exaggeration. Guys like Greg Graham, Mike Woodson, Calbert Cheaney, Jim Thomas etc. would progress by leaps and bounds from their freshman year. Name me one current player that has shown significant improvement in the past 6 years.

5. So I guess I am optimistic about IU’s success in future years with Kelvin Sampson as coach. I will admit, however, that I still think it is an odd choice. I was hoping for someone with some Midwestern exposure; someone who has been recruiting the Indiana, Ohio, Illinois region. Sampson’s initial recruiting in the Midwest will be tough for him as he will be “introducing” himself first and then trying to outwit the likes of Thad Matta, Bruce Weber, Rick Pitino and Tom Izzo…good luck. I expect we will see some boys from Oklahoma and Texas in our program initially…guys that Kelvin has been wooing for the past few years. Hopefully, we will then land the Indiana kids and other Midwestern stars as he gets entrenched.

6. I was in a real funk the day that Samspon was announced as IU’s next coach because the same day there was a small blurb about Rick Majerus interviewing for the Arizona State job. I thought, “is it possible that Rick was available for the IU position and never considered”? I am almost glad that he didn’t pass his physical as I would have been crushed if he was named as the new head coach at A.S.

7. Looking forward to next year, I am certain we will be seeing a lot of new faces, but I am hoping that most of the returnees stay…even Vaden (a lightweight version). If only those players that give 100% effort on defense will play, Wilmont and Ratliffe will see plenty of playing time. Calloway has some potential to disrupt on defense…so, how good we will be comes down to DJ White, a guy who can block shots and get rebounds. Ben Allen should be worried.


Grandma B, Jr. said...

Daddy really wrote that blog "next year" could you tell?

Terry Bleizeffer said...

"Ben Allen should be worried."

I disagree with that. I think Ben Allen should be relieved that he has a coach that can teach him how to play defense. It's not like coaches who consistently field good defensive teams do it only through recruiting.

I think White will stay and Vaden will leave. So the potential starting lineup is Calloway, Ratliff, Wilmont, White, and Allen. That strikes me as a team that Sampson will have playing awfully good defense, and I can only assume that he'll be bringing in a few new players as well. I doubt he'll bring in any major impact players in this timeframe, but some depth.

I'm thinking that sounds like an NCAA tournament team... but not much more. On the other hand, maybe it's been so long since we had a decent coach that my perspective has gone completely wonky.