class of 1312/6/2017 10:50:36 PM
Ok so technically nine games is a little more than a quarter of the season, but I think we can start to actually have a decent grip on what this team is and where it can go.
Results: 5-4 is one game better than what I believe the computer models expected for us coming into the season. The models would have suggested we would beat Rider, lose to Temple and lose to Princeton with every other result holding true. Surely we would all be feeling really good about ourselves if we pulled out the Rider game and were 6-3, but, as is always the case, Temple and one of Howard, Morgan St or Hampton could have flipped the other way and we'd be feeling real low at 3-6. I'll choose to mark 5-4 as better than expected.
Individual Play: While Yuta's offensive game has not reached the level many of us here hoped it would as a senior, is defensive impact on games is incredible and he's still capable of scoring 20 on any given night. To me that's worthy of an all A-10 team but we know how much people value ppg. Watching Jair can be a bit of a bipolar experience. When he's hitting shots like tonight it's easy to be captivated by him. When he's missing it's impossible to ignore the overdribbling and the ease with which guys beat him off the first dribble. Steeves and Toro have been about what I'd expect, although I did think Toro would give us a little more consistent scoring coming into the year. BoZ impressed me for the first time to night because he dug out a couple loose balls in the paint and showed a softer touch than I had seen thus far. TNJ has shown flashes in which he looks like a vet and flashes where he looks like a freshman, but there's no doubt he has the potential to be a special player. I would bet on him becoming an All A 10 performer before I'd bet against it. Juice is a solid burst of energy off the bench and Mazz reminds me of his older bro in terms of looking to keep the ball the moving and facilitate. I said it in the live chat of the FSU game and I still believe our ceiling this year involves him playing at least half of the pg minutes, but that will take him earning those minutes.
Areas For Concern: Depth is most obvious, but my primary concern is the difficulty we have in getting the ball into the paint. Forget points in the paint, I'm just taking about the ability to get the ball into spots on the court that force the defense to collapse and allow us to move the ball against their rotations. Against smaller Princeton guards tonight Jair was able to work his way into the paint off the dribble a little, but I haven't seen anything that makes me think he'll be able to do so against the majority of A 10 guards. We run a decent amount of offense through Steeves and BoZ on the block extended, but neither really collpases the defense. We saw some success tonight working the ball through the high-post tonight, but until we find a way to consistently force defenses into their rotations we will remain in the boat of "might win if we hit perimeter shots" "probably lose if we don't."
Conclusion: I'm proud of where this team is at 5-4. If I was to be honest I was a lot more worried about being 3-6 at this point than I was hopeful of being above .500. It would be amazing to steal one of the next two games, but I'll gladly take entering league play at 7-6. With Yuta quarterbacking the defense we will have to make a habit in A-10 play of holding opponents under 65 if we want to finish above .500 in A 10 play. The good news is I didn't think there was a path to nine conference wins coming into the season, and while I still think it's unlikely, I now believe it's possible.
bigfan12/7/2017 5:54:07 AM
Not proud of 5-4 and sure as hell hope players aren't.
But could have been worse and we are on an up cycle. There certainly is hope for the future, but we have to plan for a time when Yuta and Patrick aren't there. We didn't do that well last year.
Juice and Mazz can bring a lot of strengths when they are on. Maceo and Adam can make 3 pointers--and Adam moves the ball well.
Let's keep up the development, play a generous rotation to cover our weaknesses and emphasize our strengths, work on ball movement and make waves in a weak A-10.
bobo12/7/2017 9:03:06 AM
Princeton is 2-6 and #160 in Pomeroy so a home win should be expected. I am pleasently surprised by Bolden and Toro's hot 3pt shooting of late. GW is shooting well on 2s, especially Steeves, Nolan and Ziegler. They are also doing well on ORs with Toro being a beast on the boards. I'm not sure what else they're doing well besides not fouling on D. The A10 is ranked #10 in conference strength with only URI as an at-large NCAA bid candidate right now (bubble team). So GW can get some wins in the A10 vs a bunch of crappy teams this year. Yeah!
Miles Stevens dunk was #3 on ESPN's Top 10 plays from last night so you can't say GW never gets on national TV.
class of 1312/7/2017 9:24:38 AM
Just to be clear Bobo, I was referring to the fact that before the season started the computer ratings would have had us as about a 1.5 pt dog at home to Princeton. You are correct that after 8 games of information we were favored, I believe lines closed around GW -4.
Again, my being proud with 5-4 has more to do with how low my expectations were entering the season. I understand anyone who thinks striving for .500 in a year where the conference is down is setting the standard too low at GW, but I also believe College Ball is very cyclical and I view this year as likely to be our low point in a cycle that'll end in a few years.
gw alum abroad12/7/2017 9:29:45 AM
4 of 5 wins came vs MEAC and an Ivy. Temple was a very nice upset win, Rider might be more indicative of what this team is. The game at No Longer Facilitating Kiddie Rape will help clarify things...
ziik the senile old man12/7/2017 9:32:05 AM
Like I said in chat, it resembled a high school game. Thank goodness Jair's shot was on, as Yuta was having troubles, Steeves did everything except put the ball in the hole. Nolan was aggressive and sharp, but got some sheap fouls, BoZ pitted his muscles against the PU nerds. Mazz was not much, all things considered, but, he's a kid. It's gonna happen.
I think the record is absolutely fine. Rider came to play, and the loss was not a disgrace at all. RU had a couple guys GW would trade for.
Temple was a total surprise. PU was, too. I expected a much tougher game. But Mojo seemed to have had his shakes and skipped the fried shrimp (smartly). He had enough energy for his brain cells to overpower his counterpart with PU, and, GW had enough energy to complete the game plan, even with Yuta's struggles.
Where is GW ball at this point in the season? The record is a bit better than I expected. Yuta's stats are a bit less than I'd expected, but, damn, he is a shot blocker extraordinaire! Toro is starting to come around, and, for a soph, is ok. Not yet solid, but he seems over his little funk and is trying. Steeves, I think. is holding something back.
Juice is a very pleasant surprise. BoZ showed last night that he can be a decent 7 man. Nolan played the point well for a short time. Mazz will improve in fits and starts.
I was impressed, when eyeballing the 3 guard lineup, how Jair clearly shows his year of experience. And, beyond that, his physical strength. Dude said Jair can jump. Well, that does not impress me as much as his overall strength. I don't want him playing 39mpg, but, he seems to have the strength to give it a go.
My expectation: we take it on the chin from PSU. We play a decent 20 minutes vs. Miami. We find out if BoZ can produce in some sustained minutes and learn some D. Mazz gets comfortable with the ball and the spotlight. Nolan takes some giant strides, with few slipups.
We have a .500 team, unless the A-10 really has hit the skids.
Mojo is learning to coach, maybe build a Jarvis style program. With no DogHouse.
(If GW can play with Harvard, well, we're better than I thought.)
the mv12/7/2017 12:02:37 PM
Great job with this thread Class of 13.
I am somewhat in your camp....substitute "pleasantly surprised" for "proud" and you've captured my feelings at this point.
Really thought we would be abused consistently down low. Either Steeves, Toro, Ziegler and even Yuta a bit have risen to the occasion to the best of their abilities or many of our opponents lack the wherewithall to take advantage of us down low. Probably a bit of both.
Terry Nolan Jr. described himself as a scorer. So far, scoring seems to be the missing ingredient from his game on most nights. But every night, he hustles like crazy, makes the right decision, showcases his astonishingly quick hands on defense, makes passes that many others would not see materialize, and even gets into the lane and outjumps guys for rebounds. He is a complete player. When the consistent scoring shows up, he has a chance to be considered one of GW's alltime better players.
With guys from Rider and Princeton beating this team off of the dribble, I am a bit concerned about facing the super-quick guards the A10 has become known for.
Felt Yuta really pressed when playing offense early on this season. Appears to be much more relaxed on offense the past few games. Has been spectacular on defense all season, not only blocking shots but in altering them as well. (or forcing his man to give up the ball)
Jair has been well documented on this site.
Guys are playing hard for MoJo and staff. That tells me a lot about the coaching staff. It was only 20 years ago or so that guys dogged it for Penders so we know what that looks like. Love to see guys playing hard for themselves and for their coaches.
free quebec12/7/2017 12:55:21 PM
MV, agree with your last point. MoJo's strength right now seems to be as a motivator. His kids play hard. They did last year, and they are this year. Jury is still out about him as a teacher and an X's and O's guy (and I still question his game management since he doesn't use time outs to stop momentum or settle his team down when the energy is bad), but at the quarter-pole mark, I think MoJo gets high marks for how hard his teams play.
the dude12/7/2017 2:19:47 PM
13, great post. I am very pleased through 9 games how the team is playing.
bo knows12/8/2017 9:34:40 AM
Mojo is hustling, Mojo is working hard, Mojo is learning. That's what young successful coaches do. Go back and look at the early careers of even the all-time greats. This is a job you learn on the job. No two ways about it. You have to experience certain things before you learn to adjust. Coaching is really a cumulative knowledge set of expereinces. There is nothing that absolutely prepares you for the HC position when you haven't been one because you haven't had the experiences. Yes you can observe others and try to emulate certain things but when you have to make decisions in real time it is a different animal entirely than being an assistant where your input is your commodity.
Mojo will be better tomorrow than he is today. Almost everyday he will grow as a coach because of knowledge gained from more experiences. He is showing growth not only as a in-game coach but as the leader of this program. It demonstrates that he has learned from experience and continues to make adjustments. That's all you can ask at this point.
On the record, I had us at 5-4 at this point but with the Rider and Temple games flipped. Other than those 2 games, we have won the games we should have won and lost those we should have lost. I expect us to win 2 more OOC games (UNH and Harvard) with a chance on Saturday (Penn State) to get a third. If we are 7-6 or 8-5 going into conference play, I would consider that a very solid effort from the entire program.
ziik the senile old man12/8/2017 9:43:33 AM
My grandfather coached 30 years, plus.
He went to clinics, corresponded with some of the college greats, had several enormous loose-leaf binders with his various check lists and tips.
My sense is GW struggles to stay at .500 ball for the season, but, individual players learn the college game, and there's a solid base for next season.
Anything more, and it's all gravy. Not the bottled gravy.
tennessee colonial12/8/2017 9:59:51 AM
While watching that GW/Umass game when Mass was #1 and undefeated the stats showed that their starters played well over 30 minutes a game. Very little help from the bench.
the dude12/8/2017 5:00:44 PM
Has any good GW team EVER had a lot of bench help? I was thinking about the 2005/06 team but even that team only played 2, at times 3 guys from the bench. The better your starting 5, the less your bench plays. In the last few years teams have really moved in the direction of playing the best 5 guys as much as possible, the players are in better and and better condition, and the pace of play has slowed down, teams run offensive sets, etc.
When you have 9 or 10 guys playing a lot, its usually a function of not really having a good starting 5.
the mv12/8/2017 5:23:50 PM
You're not going to find teams with ten guys averaging double figures in minutes unless you're going for a VCU/Havoc or Arkansas/40 minutes of hell effect where everyone must stay fresh.
The 2005-06 team had 8 guys who averaged 13+ minutes a game, plus two others in Alex Kireev and Rob Diggs who averaged 7 minutes per game. 7 minutes each game is not garbage time; that represents being a part of the rotation particularly when you appear in most games. So that's 10 guys and if you want an 11th, Noel Wilmore appeared in most games, averaged just under 5 minutes a game, and came away with arguably the school's most famous assist ever.
But I do agree that most team's 9th-13th best players are fairly inconsequential, which is why it's disingenuous to cite "bad recruiting" when these players transfer due to a lack of playing time. The real measurement of one's recruiting is the top 8 guys on a roster, whether they came from high school or via a transfer.
long suffering fan12/9/2017 7:11:04 AM
OK, MV...I have to ask. Is Noel Wilmore's "most famous assist ever" his airball that Carl Elliot converted vs. Charlotte?
the mv12/9/2017 12:24:55 PM
Of course LSF.