The Day After: Coppin St.

This is a tough one. Coach can use a game or two like this in order to see different players and continue to evaluate what they can do. The younger players can use a game like this to work on some things, gain some confidence, and see additional court time.

But I just am not sure that all that happened last night.  Sometimes you can revert to old habits or play down to the competition.

I'm glad that Coppin State came back and played a much better second half.  Hopefully we learned something about playing 40 minutes even with a big lead.  We definitely should have seen the difference in the way they were able to get to the hole and score rather easily at times.  There's always things we need to work on and improve at, and it helps when the other team plays well enough for some of those things to stand out a little more.

Sherron had a very lackluster first half, to say the least.  He just didn't seem like he had his head in the game.  He once again committed a couple of un-Sherron like turnovers.  He really didn't seem very aggressive.  It's almost like he felt he had to show up and play.  But he got it turned around in the second half and played much better.  His defensive intensity was way better.  We have to be careful against reacting this way against some of these teams.  One of them might just jump up and surprise us.

Of course Brady was the offensive surprise of the game.   I hope that he built up tons of confidence and that it carries over.  While his shooting was just outstanding, he is going to need to show he can do it over a period of time.  I don't mean he has to score as much as he did last night.  He just needs to continue to be able to knock down the open shot.  He still has to work on his defense, although I don't think it's as bad as some people say.  He's going to remain with a lot of minutes as long as can play and not make mistakes and knock down the occasional shot.  

Once Marcus Morris learns how to make a 2-footer, or less, then he will become a real offensive threat.  He has already shown he can score, but he cannot continue to miss all those layups.  I'm not sure dunking it is the solution either.  Sometimes I think a player can't decide between laying it over the rim or using the backboard.  The indecision can cause the shot to be slightly off.  I hope he can dunk the ones where he is all alone, but I would be happy if he would just get the others in.  But, as we keep saying, it's all a learning curve.  It would be interesting to see his old tapes when he was scoring so much to see what he did on the inside shots.  Maybe he got all of his points from the perimeter.  

It was good to see Tyshawn come back to the bench.   That was a little scary.  The play didn't look that serious, but when he laid there for so long you had to wonder.  Tyshawn can use a little work hitting those short shots, too.  But it sure was good to see him knock down a couple from the perimeter.  Everybody is going to have to score a little to help out the main shooters.  I like Taylor's aggressiveness.  He works hard on the defensive end.  It sure seems we get the ball up court pretty fast at times off of the other team's misses.  Part of it is our speed, part of it are the great outlet passes, and part of it is having several guys that can handle the ball - both dribbling and passing.

Broken record, but Cole has to work on the short ones, too.  He's missed at least three consecutive reverse layups.  He finally went to work dunking the ball and was much more impressive.  I believe he is 11 out of his last 12 from the line.  We really are going to have to keep track of how many lane violations occur when he shoots them.  Cole seemed a little passive in the first half, himself.  He was much more aggressive going after the rebounds and getting the ball in the hole in the second half.  There's no rest for the weary with three games coming up next week.  We won't be able to work on a lot of things because the guys will have to rest their legs some.  

Markieff did some good things, but he's not "standing out" as much as his brother or some of the others yet.  We definitely need him in the big man rotation.  Sometimes you are just as valuable if you don't stand out but just get your job done.  I think he is coming along fine and will continue to adjust to the college game with the time on the court.

It didn't seem to me that Tyrel got as many minutes last night.  Sometimes he rotates with Brady, and Brady was staying in the way he was scoring.  And Travis got a few more minutes out of it.  While I think Travis is productive when he's on the court, I just felt there were some areas where he has a lot of work to do.  I think he is still adjusting to the offense the coach wants and making some of the passes.  I think he will be fine in the long run.  I don't want to get into the “who should play more” controversy.  That's not my decision, and whatever I say isn't going to change Coach's mind.  So all I feel I can do is watch the development of the young players and see who steps up in the long run.  

Appleton and Thomas have a ways to go.  That's okay.  They aren't "one and done" players by a longshot.  It's got to be harder for Appleton because he only has two years of eligibility.  It's going to be hard for him to get much court time behind the guards that we currently have and will be bringing in.  Thomas, on the other hand, is a player that under Danny's direction might help us sometime in the future.  I think he has plenty of upside.  He just needs to get stronger and learn positioning and etc.  I fear that the Connor Teahan of old has not improved a great deal and will likely see time only if we need a shooter at the end of the game or in mop-up minutes.  Hopefully I'm wrong, and he can get better, but I just don't see it right now.

I think we needed an "easier" game to get our confidence back up and to be able to perform things we needed to work on.  Things like the Morris twins, along with Cole, should have been getting every rebound out there.  It was a chance to showcase some of the skills the different players have.  But I think it was almost too easy the first half, and they were able to win going away without having to work too hard.  From what I have read, Kent State on Monday night will provide a little stiffer challenge.

The team definitely has a long ways to go.  We can't judge them through wins and losses right now.  We have a lot of guys that need to get stronger.  We have players that have to learn how to finish off individual plays.  We have guys that still need to work on defense, boxing out, shooting free throws and getting the right angles on their passes.  We can't lose sight that we are so young and have to live and learn every game.  But little things  keep getting better all the time.  And little things eventually show up as big things.  If you sit back and watch the development of the individuals and of the team, then you will get a much better perspective of how this team is doing.  The coaching staff is definitely earning their pay this year.

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