As the Big 10 Season gets going, Purple Reign plans to extend our in-depth coverage of the Court Cats, using information from the Coaches, and our own analyst - Gregory Kane [GK]. I want to stress that the questions are designed to be topic headings, and may not be questions actually asked of the coach.NU Has as many Juniors and Seniors in the rotation as anyone in the Big 10. How much does experience count vs talent?
First - from the Coach, Bill Carmody [BC - on the Big 10 Teleconference]:
We're all done with our preconference schedule and now we're getting into the games ... that are really important.
As in all conferences, everyone knows everyone else pretty well, we're studying tapes, and waiting to see how the first 10 games have prepared you, if they have, for the conference schedule to come.
There's no easy passes in the league, it seems pretty tough, and we'll have to wait and play the games.
[BC] I'll take the talent (laughs) I've always thoughts its very, very important [but it does seem across the country] that more and more young guys are contributing, not only as role players, but a the focus of some pretty good teams.Does the Big 10 have one of the better Freshman Classes in the country?
In our case we have a couple of young guys starting for us. Both freshmen, TJ Parker and Jim Maley have played well for us, and going across the league, Indiana and Illinois certainly, Iowa starts two freshman.
So [while] you always think that experience matters, and maybe in the league play on the road it will matter more - it might be a little harder for them [the frosh] the first time around, but, Good players make good coaches, so I'd just as soon go with the talent [over] experience.
[Question from the Columbus Dispatch]
[BC] Oh yeah, I definitely do. Earlier in the year you heard of stuff going on like in Florida with the kid Walsh, and the North Carolina guys,. You look at Illinois, you look at Indiana , this kid Wright has been fantastic, then the Guard in Michigan who is playing extremely well just all around, you mention Iowa, just every place it seems like there are young guys who are really contributing.On That line, what about the development of TJ Parker?
At the beginning of the year I thought ... we had to because a lot of guys graduated; that a lot of freshmen would get a chance, but I didn't think that they would do as well as they are doing.
[Question from the Champaign Paper]
[BC] He's played really well, all around. We expected him to come in and play, I thought he'd be very good running our team, getting us into our offense, and pushing the ball down the court a little bit, more than we have in the past, but he's exceeded my expectations the first half of the year.Is Winston Blake back on track?
He just has a calmness about him and a poise that you don't see in too many freshmen, so we've been really pleased in every catagory..
[GK] Coach Carmody has said that they've been waiting all season for Winston to get his shot back on track. Winston knocked down a three-pointer on Saturday after 13 consecutive misses and may be turning the corner. Winston hadn't been shooting particularly well in practice all season until just this past week.How well do you think Aaron Jennings is actually playing?
Hopefully, the long balls will start to fall and Winston will continue to contribute on the boards, interior, and defense where he has shown improvement this season. He must also eliminate some of the poor passing decisions and turnovers.
[BC] He's done well actually. He has avoided foul trouble for the most part.Will the Aaron Jennings / Davor Duvancic pairing improve rebounding?
I don't know if he's had a full practice yet, as you know he has shin splints so most of the time he goes half court, some times he goes full court, but he runs very little, and that being the case he's had a very productive year..
And we're trying to help him by doubling down on him a little bit when his man gets the ball so he doesn't get into foul trouble, but our backup center, Davor Duvancic has played well of late and has helped us also so the drop hasn't been as great as I thought it might be.
[He's scoring] out of the block a lot, but we have our big guys play outside a little bit, even our center , and he's a legitimate threat from outside. He hasn't taken too many long shots, but he can make a long, 3 point shot, but for the most part he's scored on short jumpers.
[Answer to a question from Rick Brown - DM Register]
[GK] To steal a phrase from Coach Carmody, Davor seems to have more of a nose for the ball than Aaron does on the boards. Aaron leads the team in rebounding with 5.2 rebounds per game, but he's also 6'11. Davor adds size, quickness, and aggressiveness to the lineup, but also adds inexperience. Depending on game-specific matchups, I expect to see different combinations of Aaron Jennings, Jason Burke, and Davor Duvancic defending the low-post throughout the season.