The snow flakes barely left an impression on the windshield at the beginning, but by the time we passed through the whistle stop of Steptoe, the bus had slowed to 25 mph because you couldn't see 50 yards. It may not have been the tundra, but it might as well have been. As far as I know, no one's written the song about trying to get out of Pullman, WA at night, in the dead of winter - and there is no other period of winter in Pullman, dead of winter is all there is - and probably because the dude that would write that song drank himself to death after watching our point guard play this past weekend in the People's Democratic Republic of Flannel Patterned Snowboarding Attire. Actually, I lived, but have traumatic songwriters block syndrome.
I don't know if Coach Dawkins cusses or not, but I can't see how he didn't cuss just a bit Thursday night in the old barn by the lake, Hec Edmundson Pavilion. So what they changed the name and put a new logo on the floor. I didn't see or hear the Wazzou game, so...But, I watched the Coyote game Thursday, when like a pack of starving ferals the sled dogs ravaged our backcourt as though we were lame marmots. How is that for mangled metaphors muchachos? Ain't as ugly as what actually happened, is it?
Hey, this is really simple stuff. Your shooters can't shoot if the guy passing the ball to them turns it over first or throws the pass off their shoes. Or, as happened a lot on Thursday night, the shooters have to come out of their cuts, break out of the offense, and go help the passers move the ball before a five-second count. No rhythm, few open looks, mostly bad passes when there were open looks, and a lot of bad offense, wasted energy, and one-on-one moves to doubleteamsville.
Hopefully Jarrett and Da'Veed and Gabriel, the guys that ran point in that game, learned some valuable lessons. We were manhandled by Gaddy and Overton, and we knew that the Puppies were going to play that way. Nine point guard turnovers, shared three ways, compared to two assists. We weren't ready at the point guard spot, which is where it has to start on the road. Ownership of the starting point guard spot comes with responsibilities, the most important of which is not being the barometer, it is being the bellweather. I understand not being ready and being eaten alive in front a TV audience and 12,000 screaming idiots. I get being a bait ball. Learn from it, grow, and get more intense. Let's improve our pass through skills and get more physical. You can't fart knock around changing directions every other dribble against Venoy Overton. Go somewhere with purpose every dribble.
It's hard to match intensity like that right out of the chute. Almost impossible. But you have to weather it, you have to hunker down, and let your opponent see that you aren't going away. You have to rise to the physicality. Look, we know that Jarrett, Da'Veed and Gabriel are all big, strong kids with good athletic ability. We also know that Gaddy and Overton are quicker, faster guys. At some point, Jarrett has to get his butt down and dribble lower, get the crow bar elbow out, initiate some contact with the shoulder or hip or elbow and let the opponent know that it may be storming, but that my game is under control and my team is gonna weather this thing. Didn't happen. Coach had to go on a point guard safari.
For what it is worth, I thought Harris' second half minutes were good, but the game was over at that point. He did change direction with purpose and dribbled more intently than Jarrett did though. And he did make two shots in the first half against Wazzou when we were desperate. And then...aaaghhththhthththpppt!
Jeremy Green and Drew Shiller didn't have much chance against the Doggies because they rarely caught the ball in a position to shoot. Great pressure on the passers, not just the point guards, but on everybody, forced a lot of mediocre passes. The result was a lack of good looks and too many rushed shots. Thus, one week after glowing over Green, we are left highlighting how important it is for shooters to catch in rhythm. Funny thing, though, I thought Green played well. I thought he and Drew really competed and played smarter than their teammates. The points didn't show up and we played too much bad zone (that is a whole 'nuther story), but I thought Jeremy in particular was competing on the defensive end better than most of his teammates.
I did notice from the print out of the Palouse game that Jeremy and Drew both bounced back with lock-and-load efforts against Wazzou. We had a real chance to just go away at half time against the Kittens and instead we fought back. Everyone should feel proud of that and take some positives away from that, from the coaches to the players to the fans. Lots of teams completely fold in those situations, but after three halves of playing individually and collectively like crap (26 turnovers in 60 minutes), and with another man down, we got the hair on our back to stand up and claw back. Nice - sort of.
Deep Thoughts: Stress fracture season is apparently now upon us.
Zimmerman (who deliberately threw an elbow at Pondexter's face on Thursday,
which I liked) and Harris are now in the walking boots driving around campus in
the rain in golf carts. The Duckies and Nutria come to town this raining
weekend and we need to play with desperate effort, like we saw from the
Huskies. But, like the Huskies the effort has to be matched with purpose
and execution. These are winnable ballgames as the opponents are not that
good and lately played some horrible games. Like us, these teams look good
one minute and then the tide goes back out. This thing ain't over and one
bad roadie doesn't mean anything more than that. Time to get all
environmental and protect the Map.
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