We are going to have to be careful with our headlines folks. With Fields and Green scoring 40 plus a night, you don't want to misspell anything and have someone think we are serving a fancy Sonoma County salad at Maples Pavilion. Some foie gras with that varmint tenderloin, sir? Yes, please. Fresh cracked pepper? Thank you and is the varmint fresh? Yes, sir, brought in from a stream in Martinez, California just this afternoon. A special shout out to Addie Ahlstrom, the very definition of precocious, who has mastered the art of trash talking Pato fans before leaving kindergarten. That is some quality parenting Michelle.
So, coaches in the Pac-10 are all trying to figure out how to get their teams to defend on the road. Young teams typically struggle with this and that was pretty obvious with the Pintails on Saturday. No intensity on the hard part of the floor. Dunigan - 14 minutes, 2 points and 0 rebounds. Nice effort big fella, and it was worse on the defensive end. But you would think that a veteran team like the Muskrats would get the job done. Makes you wonder a bit what is going on in Corneckistan? I suspect we have a group of veterans playing out the string for a new coach after the rose is off the bloom. Schaftenaar or whatever his name is took a bagel and got whipped by Jack Trotter.
Not enough is made of the fact that the Loons haven't won in Maples since 1986 (my redshirt year, which was why we lost). By my math, that is 24 years of futility, which is a lot. Seriously, 24 of years of futility. Nice. Hey, Uncle Clark and Uncle Mark, and Aunt Patty and Aunt Ann, Hey Dad, Hey Stacey, Hey Mema - How about them apples, huh?! Nothing like calling out your grandmother for a good time.
But I digress: Point guard play. I didn't see the Nutria game Thursday night, but I did listen to the dulcet tones of John Platz. If you don't get up and pressure Jarrett Mann, you are stupid. The Nutria didn't, and we just came down and ran offense and executed them to death. You leave Jarrett alone and he has proven that he will come after you and penetrate and hit the open guy, move the ball, and find the shooters and cutters. They let Mann run the point without much angst. The Goldeneyes did not make it so easy. From the outset, Malcom Armstead got up into him and Da'Veed and really forced the issue. A few too many turnovers under duress (Coach Dawkins can live with a bad pass in traffic now and then because those are errors from trying too hard) at the point of attack, some foul trouble and you end up with only six first half minutes. But a much better second half for the most part. The defense in particular was much better and I have a feeling that if Mann will get down and guard people like Armstead, make them take tough shots and smother those passing lanes, Mann is going to keep Coach Dawkins happy. But he has to toughen up with the ball, use the off shoulder to generate contact, and knock the hand checkers like Armstead off of him. Remember Chris Hernandez. How often did guys hand check him? There is a reason it was infrequent and it's not because he said anything.
Da'Veed Dildy. Best game of his career. Reminded me of an old teammate I had, named John Paye. He'd play 30 minutes and bore people to death with his stat line. He wouldn't make a shot, he wouldn't seemingly do much of anything - except he guarded the hell of someone, grabbed a few rebounds, passed the ball, ran the offense, set some screens, and generally just played tough. Dildy was great on Talittlebugger Porter. Actually, everyone that guarded him was great on him. Like Mann, Dildy was too soft at the point with the ball in the first half, but he solved that rather quickly after Coach Dawkins gave him a glare. What I liked, though, was that Dildy fixed it, stopped going behind his back without going anywhere with the dribble. He acted like a veteran that knew that the starter already had 2 fouls so he had some time to fix it. Excuse me for a moment here - Hey coaches, can one of you tear someone a new one in practice, just once, when they do the going nowhere behind the back dribble move or its evil twin - the between the legs going nowhere dribble or any combination thereof. It's killing me. Going nowhere dribbling has led to about 20 turnovers this season so far. If the ball isn't on a string, and it is not on this team, you don't monkey around with pseudo-fancy dribbling. This is Pac-10 basketball, not junior college. Armstead got up into us because he saw some crappy dribbling on film - and he got some more of it. Lesson learned, I hope.
Shooting Guards. Seriously, is Jeremy Green nasty or what? 8 of 12 against the Patos. Damn solid against the Nutria. Shot selection was excellent, but 25 points on 12 shots - those are Lichti like numbers. And I didn't think he moved very well without the ball. Not much of a comment when you go get 25 on 12 shots. Yeesh. That is owning the guy that guards you. That isn't Hot. That is Machine. Let me say that again. Those are Lichti like numbers.
Drew Shiller, starts one game and comes off the bench the next game. You are in, you are out. What that tells me is that Coach Dawkins thinks Drew is a grown up. It actually means he thinks the same thing of Dildy. It's testamentary. And that was 10 points off the bench for Drew, who continues to come out (as he has in every home game) looking for his shot. Take it on the road and lock and load, please. Landry was actually penetrating in the first half to get Drew open looks. Drew also ran some point, and, was the only point to not boot the sucker at the first sign of duress.
The Patos had to foul late, but with Drew, Landry, Jeremy, and Jack Trotter drilling free throws...not very exciting for the fans, but great for the stats. The Patos were truly horrible on in-bounds defense, but our inbounders still need to sharpen up on making the initial inbounds pass to Drew. He was there over and over again and we went to someone else because the passer lacked the confidence to put the ball in the target hand.
Thoughts From On Flooded Pond. I am just stunned at the coaching job
done by our staff with Trotter, Daian, and Bullock. Contrast what we got
this weekend out of our "walk-on" math majors against Schaftenaar, Daniel Deane,
Omari Johnson, Michael Dunigan, Josh Crittle, and Jeremy Jacob. On the
post-game interviews with Platzy and Daian and Coach Dawkins, the point was made
that to win on the road you have take care of the ball and defend.
Duh! Stuff that trite axiomatic crappola. What you have to do is get
a bad tape job on your ankle, drink too much, get in a fight in shoot around,
wear uncomfortable underwear - something, anything-find an edge, trick yourself
into playing with a chip on your shoulder. This team isn't one that can
look at itself and know it is going to win on Thursday at the McKale
Center. But if it can get itself to play pissed off then it can win at the
McKale Center. Someone punch a teammate on Wednesday - that should do the
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