WH's follow-up on Reg. Season

Over on the [URL=http://www.basketballforum.com/atlantic-10-conference/][B][U][COLOR=DarkGreen]A-10 board[/COLOR][/U][/B][/URL], good ol’ WH has returned to chime in. Below are some of the comments he has made that apply to his thoughts on the league as a whole and the Niners.

The start of league play in January seems like eons ago, but I figured I’d pop back in for some remarks. I was hoping to go to the tourney this year, but once again my wife’s work-travel plans have put that plan on ice. Ah well.

I’ve been watching A-10 ball for 24 years – hard to believe it’s that long – and I have never seen a season crazier than this one. The conference was tougher top to bottom than it’s ever been, much like a major conference ought to be.

Of course, there’s the all-to-clear downside, which has been much discussed on this board. The league’s great success means we’ll get few NCAA bids. Three tops, possibly even one, if UMass falters in its first-round game and most of the other favorites lose before the final.

I don’t have much of a problem with the All-League teams. I might have substituted Lowe for Lisch. He is a favorite of mine, but Lisch didn’t have a great year. Lowe was the second best PG in the league, and at times spectacular.

The selection of Gary Forbes as POY is justifiable, but he left me nervous as a UMass fan. His shot selection was often questionable. That said, he did a ton for the team and was impossible to guard one on one. Had Lavender not gotten hurt, he would have been my choice. And Brian Roberts might have won if not for the injuries to Little and Wright.

[COLOR=darkgreen]I'd be remiss if I didnt remark on Charlotte. Here is a team that finished 18-12 but would have had several addition wins if the players did not make such boneheaded decisions in a handful of close games.

The most egregious game was a loss at Richmond, when the Niners coughed up a late lead. Charlotte played one of the worst 3-minute stretches at the end of a game that I have ever seen. Bad turnovers, quick shots, poor shots, errant passes, etc. I was shaking my head as a neutral observer. I can imagine how Niner fans felt[/COLOR].

[COLOR=DarkGreen]-Lamont Mack will be Charlotte’s go-to player next year and an all-conference performer. And Dijuan Harris was a revelation at point, even if he’s better suited to a reserve role. If only Phil Jones could max his potential. There is a star in that body, but can anyone extract it?[/COLOR]

As usual, WH is spot on with his A-10 analysis. After reading about what he said about Dunston, I’m moving Goldwire to 2nd team! :tongue:


Further notes on players and teams:

-Chris Wright was easily the best frosh in the league. His injury cost Dayton a certain NCAA invitation, though there’s still hope with at least two tourney wins.

That’s a darn shame, but the Flyers won’t be delayed for long. I think Dayton could be a better team next year, oddly because the Flyers won’t be able to rely on Roberts as much. Same thing happened with UMass this year.

Gregory also seems to have turned up the recruiting. So I like what I see, even if I understand the disappointment (that loss at LaSalle was especially a killer).

-Lamont Mack will be Charlotte’s go-to player next year and an all-conference performer. And Dijuan Harris was a revelation at point, even if he’s better suited to a reserve role. If only Phil Jones could max his potential. There is a star in that body, but can anyone extract it?

-Shawn James and Kojo Mensah were, in different ways, disappointments. In James’ case, constant injuries appeared to hurt his production after a terrific early start. Mensah, for his part, doesn’t take care of the ball well enough to start at point or shoot well enough to start at wing. His decision making was also subpar. I expect more of both next year. If they step up, Duquesne will go to the postseason for the first time since 1994.

-Fordham won’t be better next year, but the Rams will still be competitive despite a much younger team. Fordham needs to turn over a new leaf with young players and a guard-oriented attack. Something ossified on this team this year. Nor was it Whit’s finest job. His pouting on the bench is unbecoming.

-GW could be very good next year if Travis King returns healthy. King, Rob Diggs, Wyton Witherspoon, Damian Hollis make a nice starting four and Hobbs has enough material to fill in the gaps. The way GW played down the stretch is what A-10 foes should expect next season. The team doesn’t lose anyone important (and yes, I am knocking Rice here).

-LaSalle has lots of complimentary players, but the Explorers need a star. Jerrell Williams might become that player next year, especially if he learns to hold on to the ball. If Green makes a full transition to point, he also might be the guy. I suspect the biggest key, though, is Guillandeaux filling the role of Harris as 3-point shooter.

-UMass will lose Forbes, Brower and Milligan, but the Minutemen could have the best starting backcourt in the league and there’s plenty of young talent on this team. A third straight 20-win season is not out of the question if Ford is back. Papa Lo will be sophomore to watch with his terrific shot-blocking capability.

-Rhody can recover next year from its disastrous slide this year even though Will Daniels and Parfait Bitee move on. The problems at URI are not a question of talent or athleticism. Baron will have plenty to work with next year. Something else is amiss here. I like frosh PG Marquis Jones and Delroy James has tremendous potential. Of course, in the here and now, Rhody is still talented enough to win the A-10 tourney.

-I’ve already touted Richmond’s Kevin Anderson and David Gonzalvez, but a kid I really like is frosh Kevin Smith. A great athlete and potential lockdown defender with rapidly improving offensive skill. He will be a key cog next year. Just check out his second-half heroics in the win over Va Tech. Smith is a crowd pleaser.

-St. Joe’s was schizo this year and I’ve got to lay lots of blame on my favorite A-10 coach, Phil Martelli. He failed to develop a bench, which cost the team down the stretch, and he let his players ignore Nivins for long stretches in almost every game.

Basically Martelli coached too tight to the vest, unlike his approach during the Nelson-West years. It’s almost like he’s become too enamored with his own coaching ability. He needs to loosen up just a bit and let his younger players make a few mistakes in the pursuit of experience.

-Saint Louis was a mild disappointment, primarily in terms of consistency of effort. I did not expect a miracle from Majerus given the obvious limitation with the roster, but he did have two all-league type guards. Some of the losses – at Kent State, home to Bona – were inexplicable. I have to wonder if Liddell can stand another year with Rick, even if he’s not pro-ready.

-The Bonnies played hard under new coach Mark Schmidt and did not give up, a good sign for the future. And the success this year of Robert Morris makes his rebuilding job there look much more impressive, even if the new RM coach deserves a ton of credit. (He’s a guy I’d like to see the A-10 hire at some point). Bona has more talent arriving next year, so it’s only going to get harder to win in Olean.

-Xavier has Final Four potential if Drew Lavender regains full health. This is a complete team and the Muskies can play with anyone. I wish Burrell were a bit more offensive minded, and CJ Anderson could be more consistent. Yet Duncan has been fantastic (he’s finally learned to play inside) and BJ Raymond has been the bomb. Helluva job to get through league play with just two losses.

Link: More notes on players, teams


Link: More notes on players, teams[/QUOTE]

I included that above Run. Have some faith. :biggrin:

[QUOTE=ChevEE;303404]I included that above Run. Have some faith. :biggrin:[/QUOTE]
Chev, I thought that was a link to WH’s “W-t-f” thread. Anyway, good to have WH back.

[QUOTE=run49er;303413]Anyway, good to have WH back.[/QUOTE]

Yes it is. He did an outstanding job on nailing the OOC record! :clap:

WH is an A10 genius and has quickly caught onto pegging our team.