Sunday, January 25, 2009

Uphill Battle

We're fighting one, no doubt about it. In a day where we played slightly better offensively, the defense was nonexistant. Florida shot the lights out but most of their outside game was uncontested. We've gotta get out on the perimeter more.

I think it's time to shut down Ogilvy for a few games until his heel is better. He's clearly not himself and when he's in he's trying to do too much. I thought Festus played well and had a couple of nice plays in the post. He obviously can't replace the points we need from Ogilvy, but he's serviceable underneath, and when he's not in we can put McClellan or Tchiengang at the 5 and run a bit undersized. We've done it before, and maybe that will allow for some more open looks outside.

I also think George Drake needs to get the starting nod over Tinsley. Bobby and I had a debate over this earlier in the week, but from what I saw today, Bobby isn't seeing the same thing I'm seeing. Bobby thinks that Drake doesn't take good shots and is a "me" player. I disagree, I think Beal, Drake, and Taylor are the only players out there who aren't shell-shocked. The team is lacking experience on the floor and could desperately use some of that leadership. This isn't to say Tinsley is playing terribly, on the contrary he's one of our best freshmen contributors, but we need some experience on the floor, and perhaps coming off the bench will give him a chance to loosen up a bit.

CKS' offense is terrible and needs to be scrapped. There's nothing more unimaginative than passing around the perimeter looking for a dump into the post. It makes all our outside shots contested, and when they are uncontested our shooters don't get into rhythm. I say this because if we could get Tinsley some open looks he may very well get hot and start hitting. Lance has that capability, as does Taylor. But to expect to get open looks without any kind of picking or movement on the outside is a pipe dream.

Jamie Graham needs to get more minutes. He's a defensive sparkplug.

Regardless of what the answer is, it's an uphill battle right now for this team. Unfortunately we drew the toughest part of the schedule early. But we haven't even been close to being in the last two games. It might be time for CKS to reevaluate: the starting five, the offensive and defensive gameplans, workouts, really everything. Because at this rate, we're not even going to make the NIT.


Bobby O'Shea said...

While I think Stanimal mischaracterized my position somewhat, I do think it's time for a shake-up in the starting five. It's hard for me to say, but Stanimal is right. George Drake is only guy looking to make something happen on the offensive end. He's a slasher, but unlike Taylor, is able to finish. I also agree that if AJ can't be a factor, they've got to shut him down. He's a crutch for the team that's giving them no support on either end.

Despite Florida's hot shooting, today's effort was pitiful. The defense especially was disappointing. How is it possible that a squad that's supposed to be one of the better defensive teams in the country, is unable to do basic rotations on the perimeter. It's easy to shoot 67% from downtown when you're that open.

Also, can we please devote some time to running in-bounds plays? After UT forced 3 (could have been more) turnovers on in-bounds situations, I would have thought it would have been a point of emphasis. Obviously not when you consider the best we can do on the in-bound is a pass to AJ 40 feet from the basket.

Stanimal is right (there, I said it again), this team is not very good right now. We've got an opportunity with these next 4 to turn things around. South Carolina and Auburn are on the road, but Alabama and Ole Miss are at Memorial. If this team has got any chance to play beyond the first week of March, they've got to at least go 3-1.

BP said...

Well put, Stan and Bobby.

-I have never been a big fan of George Drake, but now that we've hit conference play, he does seem to have emerged as a guy who can keep his wits about him when the pressure is on, and there is definitely value in that. Plus, he's "crafty" in the same way that guys like Ross Neltner and Scott Hundley were, and we can always use a player like that on the floor.

-Can someone please enlighten me as to what Darshawn McClellan brings to the table? That guy seems like dead weight on both ends of the floor.

-I'm definitely liking what I'm seeing from Festus. I think that with a bit more polish, he is going to be a legitimate weapon. In the long run, he could end up being better than Ogilvy.

Anonymous said...

Drake is the only player that seems to be doing anything right now BUT he is horrible at the same time. He takes shots that are bad, misses layups, and always wants to shoot. Recently though he's looked the best both on defense and offense.

Graham definitely needs more minutes. We need guys that WANT to play right now on the floor.

I've never left a Vandy basketball game early, ever, until yesterday. What a disappointment this team has been. Yes, they are young and yes they have to grow. But that was too much. Nobody should get destroyed like that on their home court.

I'm still looking for Jenkins....

Anonymous said...

didn't get to see the florida game but with that said...

i do agree that drake can be sort of a "me" player. he can create his own shot and takes the ball to the rim better than anyone else on the team (and finishes). if drake can make other people on the team better with assists, i think he should start. right now though, i just don't think he can do that. if taylor could finish like drake does, he would be a hell of a player. it may just take some time.

i like festus and all but he reminds me of todd milholland in that WHEN he caught the ball, he might do something with it but catching the ball is harder for them. festus needs to work on his butterfingers trouble.

there's a lot of standing around on offense for my liking, especially with a more athletic team that can dribble and drive to the basket.

i'm really missing Andre Walker these days. i think he would've made a huge difference as he has some experience and we could've put the freshmen on the bench for awhile longer and not play so many minutes.

Stanimal said...

Perhaps its too early to say this for Drake, but I think y'all are grounding yourselves too much in his play prior to the beginning of conference play and for much of his career, and not enough on what he's done lately.

I concede that Drake is not a good shooter from beyond the arc, and he hasn't demonstrated that his mid-range jumper is any better. But over the past two games I haven't seen the indication of a "me" player. I actually think that he's coming into his own. Now in no way am I suggesting that he has attained the same level, but his sudden improvement reminds me of Derrick Byars surprising SEC performance. He's finally got his chance to step into the spotlight and earn minutes and he's making the most of them. From watching him it also seems as though his in-game decision-making has improved. And don't discount the teams he's played well against, he has done well against two tough opponents (by SEC standards).

Having him in the starting line-up might provide some sort of spark we need, right now, we're desperate for anything.

Anything but Gatorade said...

I concur with nearly all of your opinions, everyone. I'd like to add a few things, however.

- Vandy's perimeter defense in that game was nonexistent. Florida was not so much quicker than the Dores that some on-ball pressure D couldn't have kept the game closer. Sure, they might have been able to cut into the lane more easily, but at least they're not bombing wide open threes the whole game.

- Ogilvy's been a non-factor the entire SEC season; he needs to sit.

- Drake is the most assertive player on the team. Find a way to get him more meaningful minutes, make the offense flow through him. Beal gets a lot of cred as a PG, but I hardly even noticed he was playing in the past 2-3 games.

- Check out my blog!

Anonymous said...

its official, vandy is a football school. can we get to another and better bowl this upcoming season?????

Douglas James said...

Can't believe I am saying this but I agree Drake should be starting. I have bashed him as much as anybody but I have to say I have been very impressed with his effort the past two games. Right now we need people who aren't afraid to make decisions and for all his faults at least he is decisive. I have read a couple places that getting AJ "alittle" rest (like a week or two) won't really do much good and that he needs significant time off to get much better therefore I doubt they shut him down. It does stink that now Joe Duffy has to be a significant contributer in minutes. We have been spoiled the past few years in that we have had very few significant injuries where this year Lance's mono (now hamstring or groin?), AJ's heal, Festus's back and Walker's knee injury have all hurt us big time. I knew this year would be up and down I was just hoping for consistent improvement and I'm not seeing that right now. Let's just hope this team starts to find some direction in the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

man, i miss demarre carroll. he's posting over 16 pts and 7 rebounds a game. he'd really help this year. but i guess he's a senior at missouri and if he stayed he would be gone as well. but imagine last year's team w/ him..... maybe we wouldn't have dropped one to siena.

Douglas James said...

Maybe I am wrong but if he hadn't transferred we prob don't have AJ right? Wasn't he the last one in that class to sign? Am I wrong or was that Festus?

Anonymous said...

i think we'd still have AJ but not festus. and the way AJ's playing i'm not sure he's really even a factor so i wouldn't mind it any way.

Aaron said...

We would still have AJ. He wasnt that highly touted, and only got offers from St. Mary's, UNLV, and New Mexico.

Another loss tonight, and this team looks lost. 3 players foul out, and we get beat badly. Lost the last 4, not a good sign.

Douglas James said...

Just looking at the box score this is a weird loss. Taylor has a career night but fouls out. Drake and Tinsley also have solid offensive nights. AJ has 3 points.......3? In 21 mins which all came from free-throws but he did pull down 11 boards. But once again awful 3 point shooting, we turnover the ball a ton and we basically give them the game in 3 pointers and free throws. This is a very confusing team. I know that the NCAA's are pretty much impossible right now but I just want to see some improvement finishing out the year. If we win 6 league games it would be a miracle