Adrian Oliver really just needs better health. Virtually 0% of the fans around the league have any degree of consciousness of Oliver because he either didn't play or was out on the court though injured in many of the WAC games but Oliver is among the candidates for league most valuable player in 2009-2010.
With Justin Graham, it's the health of his wrist that is the primary topic. Two seasons ago, he finished at 52% shooting overall and 50% from long distance in conference games. Last year, those numbers dipped to 46% and .08% respectively. With his outside shooting back, opponents will also have to defend him honestly and not slough off to doubleteam others or to prevent dribble-drives.
Robert Owens needs to be the 'Choo' who shot so very well from outside in the latter half of conference play -- Owens was 20+ percentage points higher in overall and three-point shooting in WAC games. He should be much more comfortable this go-around with a full season of D-1 experience. However, his defensive effectiveness will need upgrading because the league is chock full of backcourt shooters/scorers this coming season.
Mac Peterson has been the fill-in guy all over the backcourt but should be able to stay positioned at shooting guard this season. He remains the best foul shooter on the squad but his game doesn't get him to the line very often.
Chris Jones is someone we have no idea as to how much he'll score this season but we already have him penciled in as the top out on the floor defender on the team -- even as a freshman.
Aalim Moor is the backup at the point and strong, turnover-free play by him will get the freshman on the court this winter.
Anthony Dixon is a 6-foot-6 signee out of Chicago and we had the expectation that he would play inside to some degree. He may, or that positioning might be further down the line once he adds weight and strength. Right now, we see him more on the wing outside and possibly at the two spot.
Jerelle Wilson has been a longtime walk-on who may see more court time this season if the Spartans can put away games earlier.
Chris Oakes is the sole frontline senior. The amount of his playing time this season will be based on the degree of success he has fighting for and maintaining defensive position. Point prevention, or more accurately, a lessening of the shots opponents want to take, is the key to SJSU success in 2009-2010 and Oakes can play a prominent and positive role if he is willing to bang. Too often, especially in league play, the Boises and the Utah States owned the offensive paint simply by their 'bigs' coming down and setting up where they desired.
C.J. Webster has been re-classified as a junior and he's the top offensive force inside for SJSU. He can dominate with his scoring in the paint and has the capability of stretching out such periods of time, putting them closer together. We want more of this.
Moses Omolade takes his defensive play very seriously. He is 6-foot-8, weighs in at just 200 pounds but is warrior fierce inside. He will fight for position and use his long arms to block and alter inside shot attempts. There will be more of an offensive emphasis on running the floor this go-around and that plays into another of Omolade's strengths.
Kyle Thomas can also play on the wing and is a blue collar type who will compete. Defending, rebounding and scoring is the order of production desired from him.
Joe Henson is a freshman who already displays good footwork and a nice touch inside. His assignment this season, barring injury to him or anyone else upfront, is to gain experience for a much larger role come the following season.
Walk-on Garrett Ton is a practice player who forces the guys in front of him to work hard.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
- Watch how often and for how long Webster is unstoppable inside
- See if Oakes denies offensive position to his matchup much more often
- Determine if Omolade's defensive mindset goes viral to the team
- Remain as best in the WAC in overall rebounding
- Lessen allowing opponents to shoot 48% from the floor, say down to 43-percent or 44-percent, somewhere in the WAC's upper division
- Climb out of the league basement in turnover margin
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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at email@example.com
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