Point Guard: C-
Ben Murdock had six points on two three-pointers (2-4 from three-point land). He also had two turnovers and four assists. Basically, he had a pretty boring stat line, other than the fact that his man, James Johnson, scored 19 points.
I still believe that Jimmer Fredette should be the starting point guard so that he and Sam Burgess are in the game at the same time. Murdock is not going to contribute on the offensive side of the ball enough to keep either Burgess or Fredette off the floor.
Shooting Guard: B-
This grade is in the ‘B' range because of Fredette and his points off the bench at the wing position. If not for him, this grade would be in the low ‘C' range. Burgess was pretty much a nonfactor in his 26 minutes, as he only took four shots, hitting two of them, and ended the game with six points. In a 17-point loss, there are not many high spots, but one high spot for the Cougars Tuesday was Fredette and his 15 points.
Small Forward: B
Other than Fredette, Lee Cummard was the most consistent Cougar Tuesday. He had 15 points on 7-17 shooting. He struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 1-5, but did contribute five rebounds. It's nice to know that Lee is going to show up regardless if his teammates do or not.
Power Forward: D
On Tuesday Jonathon Tavernari started his first game since starting against Michigan State. He ended the game with nine points on 2-11 shooting. As we have seen before, he forced some difficult shots and simply could not get it going. After a strong performance off the bench from Tavernari against Loyola Marymount, Coach Rose must've felt that he was ready to return to the starting lineup. One particular play that sticks out in my mind about Tavernari was when Cummard kicked a pass out to him on the wing. Tavernari attempted a crossover dribble which appeared, from the slow streaming reception I had on the internet, to be in slow motion. The defender stole the ball away from him and the Deacons ended up getting a layup out of the play. With the exception of the Loyola game, this has been the play of Tavernari recently, trying to do too much. I think he has really lost his confidence and needs to develop his game going to the hole because right now he simply is not getting it done from the perimeter.
Chris Collinsworth, coming off the bench for the first time in a while, only played 10 minutes and struggled. He did contribute four rebounds, but he also missed a layup and missed two free throws. While Collinsworth did not contribute much Tuesday, I think the power forward position is best when he starts and Tavernari comes off the bench. It gives Collinsworth some confidence and rhythm and increases the play from the bench when Tavernari plays well.
Trent Plaisted found himself in foul trouble again Tuesday, as he only played 23 minutes. He was guarded very well by Chas McFarland and got two early fouls that forced him to sit out of the first half when the Deacons went on their run. Plaisted ended with only eight points, going 3-10 from the field and 2-4 from the line. He was the game-high rebounder with 10 boards.
Chris Miles contributed 15 minutes and did fairly well. He blocked a shot that likely was going to go down as time expired in the first half. While Miles did contribute with some decent minutes, he also showed us why Coach Rose has been so reluctant to put him in. He got beat in transition once when he was not hustling back and McFarland got an easy layup. He also missed an easy layup when he got fouled, a layup that would have given him an opportunity for a three-point play.
Vuk Ivanovic should not play another meaningful minute for the Cougars for the rest of his career. If Plaisted is in foul trouble, Miles should play, and if Miles is struggling or in foul trouble, play Collinsworth at the five and play smaller. If Collinsworth is struggling, put Gavin McGregor and his injuries into the game. Whatever it is, do not put Ivanovic in the game. He is terrible! This time he did not have a behind-the-back pass that was two seconds too late, and he did not give up 20 points, but he did have two charge calls in near back-to-back possessions. These two calls came in the matter of two minutes. Coach Rose, do us all a favor and leave Ivanovic on the bench.
While the Cougars had 21 points from their bench, 15 of them came from Fredette, a true-freshman. On Tuesday Fredette looked like the player that we had heard about all offseason. He was attacking the basket, shooting open looks, and was aggressive in looking score. With this being said, he was the team leader in points for the second time this season, tying Cummard's 15 points Tuesday. He was 6-13 from the field and 3-9 from the three-point line. He did take a couple of difficult shots, but we have seen him make some of these shots in the past. Fredette was one of the only bright spots for the Cougars against Wake Forest. The more I watch Jimmer play, the more I believe he should be the starting point guard, and if not the point guard, then he needs to get more minutes each and every game. The kid can flat-out play.
Coach Rose was outcoached Tuesday. With this being said, he did have to go into ACC country as a favorite against an underrated Wake Forest team. While this is something much easier said than done, Coach Rose should have let Plaisted play more when he was in foul trouble. Plaisted had two fouls in the second half and was pulled in favor of Miles and Ivanovic. Without #44 in the middle, the Deacons got into a rhythm and nearly put the game out of reach in the first half.
Also, Wake Forest's coach deserves a lot of credit. He must've seen on film the Cougars leaving their feet a lot when going to the hoop, as the Cougars received numerous charging calls against them. The Wake Forest announcers even said that they were not used to seeing the Deacons take this many charges. This definitely changed the momentum of the game, as the Cougars turned the ball over numerous times because of these charges.
Next up: Saturday January 12, 2008 at 6 p.m. against Colorado State