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Thoughts on the MBB team so far

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Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby JasonB » Tue Nov 08, 2022 9:58 am

I'll start with overall concepts and then we can get into individual players.

On the defensive side, the length of the team really stands out. Pure man. If the offense was more efficient, then we would pick up full court more frequently. It will be interesting to see if we work in any zone at all over the course of the season. Because of the depth of the team, it is probably in our advantage to just run man and make the other team run until they wear themselves out, which happened last night. The issues that I see are off the ball defending (will work itself out as the team gets used to each other), blocking out from the perimeter after a shot (again will work itself out), and sometimes players have a frustration hangover from the offensive side, have their head down a little bit, and they relax the defensive pressure on the perimeter (happened to 11 in the first half last night and gave up a three). Other than that, there aren't many players with clear defensive issues that everyone is trying to help on (took a while the last few seasons to gel because people had to cover for KD or off the perimeter from the backside of the defense or help down low, so the backside three was always wide open). My concern for the team defensively is that for the amount of press we do and the length of the team, single digit turnovers shouldn't happen. That should (and needs to) rise as the season goes along.

The offensive side is a little messy. Yes, we shot 50%, but we can't rely on Phelps and layups every single game. Lots of motion on the perimeter, not isolation but instead trying to create motion in order to allow individuals to drive. Phelps is the only guy who has shown the ability to create a shot for himself individually and finish a jumper. Everyone else is layups. I'm concerned that we don't see any inside out play, because that would help us get some open threes. Jank relied on ball movement, shooting the three, and crashing the offensive boards - we saw none of that last night. A little surprising that we don't try to hit the offensive boards more with our length. Assist ratio is going to be a lot different from the LB and Jank years if this is the offense we are going to run. Anyway, I think it is going to be messy for a while on the offensive side, and I am really concerned about our lack of three point shooting. Zero corner threes, it is just not clean on the offensive end.

Overall, I think we are really going to struggle early. The offensive side is going to get shut down by good teams, and then we will press too hard and turn the ball over. There might be some ugly games this next month, starting with the next game at Dayton. I'd set expectations low early on and hope that the team comes together in late december at the Hawaii tournament right before conference starts.

Going down the roster:
- Koulibaly - shows some good length and quickness, and great to have another point guard. I'm surprised that he struggled defensively after hearing all the hype. Might not have the speed to keep up with the smaller, shifty guards. On the offensive side, can run the offense, but not a threat to shoot at all. Just will be a backup point.
- Phelps - looks incredible. Obviously put a lot of work into his shot, and has shown in two games that he is willing to take the game over when he needs to. Great size, good defender. Clearly the best player on the team and will be in the running for player of the year in conference. He looks like an NBA guy.
- Jalen Smith - His game is the set three, and this offense isn't going to create it for him. Still very good on defense, but he will be ineffective on the offensive end until they start kicking it out or play an inside outside game.
- Todo - Great shot, improved defense, and has now shown the ability to drive to the basket. Really like how his game has improved.
- Wright - didn't play much, and really struggled defensively in his minutes. He has some work to do on that side of the ball. Also may be struggling with not being "the man" on the team. I would expect improvement over time.
- Nutall - Good defender, trying to be a leader. Can finish at the hoop and score, but still not aggressive enough. Has a good three point shot when he gets set, but on the move it isn't good. Doesn't have a mid-range game. Another player where the lack of ball movement is going to impact his offensive effectiveness, because he is forcing threes while moving.
- Williamson - An athlete. Nice length, solid defensively. Defensive focus lapses when he gets frustrated on the offensive end. You can tell he was mentally worn out at Louisville and needs to get that confidence back. When he plays aggressively, he is a fantastic rebounder. Just needs an aggressive mindset more of the time. On the offensive side, will be like Jarray Foster with the backcuts, but without the three point shooting.
- Njie - shows some good length, but is not quite caught up to the rest of the team on either side of the court.
- Foster - not sure where he is, but we could use his athleticism down low.
- Ambrose-Hylton - just what you would expect from the Alabama program - good, physical player defensively, not much yet on the offensive side. A good rotation piece.
- Odigie - love the energy, physical aspect of the game. Not a great leaper. Not sure if he brings a ton starting, but if Foster were able to get healthy and start and then Odigie comes off the bench, that is a hell of a combo down low. I would say average center in the AAC as a starter, but way above average coming off the bench. Certainly an upgrade over Jasey.
- Agunanne - a little surprised he didn't play more. He looks better than he did last season.


I won't be surprised if eventually we switch to a bigger lineup:
Point - Phelps - Koulibali
SG - Nutall - Smith
3 + 4 rotation: Williamson (start at the 3 instead of 4) - Ambrose-Hylton (starting 4) - Todo (sniper off the bench at the 3)
Center - Foster - Odigie - Njie - Agunanne
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby ponyboy » Tue Nov 08, 2022 2:50 pm

Great thoughts as always. Not saying you’re doing this, but Todorovic is an easy pigeonhole as a mere sniper. I saw more than that. It wasn’t just that drive to the bucket. It wasn’t just his improved defense. He’s a lot more athletic than he’s given credit for. I’d like to see more.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby JasonB » Tue Nov 08, 2022 5:02 pm

ponyboy wrote:Great thoughts as always. Not saying you’re doing this, but Todorovic is an easy pigeonhole as a mere sniper. I saw more than that. It wasn’t just that drive to the bucket. It wasn’t just his improved defense. He’s a lot more athletic than he’s given credit for. I’d like to see more.


I'd like to see more too. Very strong on the drive to the basket. I'm saying that he is a great sniper, not that all he does is snipe :). And that his position is the 3, not that all he takes is 3's.

I also like that in the game, he basically said, you know what, I'm going to take a damn shot, and created his own three. Good, positive play.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby Blvd_Stang » Tue Nov 08, 2022 8:56 pm

I am less sold on Todorovic from what I saw in the game.

The huge potential is certainly there, but defense lacked enthusiasm and body language / attitude seemed predicated on getting the ball.

If he buys in to the team concept and can hang defensively, then I think he'll be given a chance to reach his offensive potential.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby Charleston Pony » Sat Dec 03, 2022 12:46 pm

Just checking SMU's NET and RPI rankings today. How in the world can any methodology figure SMU to have the 3rd best ranking among AAC teams (NET)? RPI has SMU ahead of only Tulsa and ECU which seems much more realistic given what this team has shown to date.

https://www.rotowire.com/cbasketball/co ... hp?cid=201
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby PonyTime » Sat Dec 03, 2022 6:26 pm

It seems very few post about basketball these days - and for good reason.

Those that are the die-hards (some in this thread), I have to ask the question - are we back to the 900 faithful plus random others at Moody now or has that grown to 1,000+ due to a few recent SMU alums that recall watching top -level basketball at moody during their time at SMU.

How long before those more recent alums give up and stop buying tickets? How long before W stops showing up?

I hate to see this - but it seems that there are some fundamental flaws with SMU being able to retain momentum that are at the very highest levels of the school and the board - and I am not going to even start to get into the Sonny Dykes element of this - that guy obviously made a great move to leave SMU. Thankfully we had a plan to at least try to retain the Mo with football. Seems like there was no real plan with Basketball - leading to a hire that you will have to admit is a little underwhelming. Even Doh had a resume of success at a top school.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby SMU_Alum11 » Sat Dec 03, 2022 7:13 pm

We have basketball? I thought we cancelled it when we left Larry behind.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby Charleston Pony » Sat Dec 03, 2022 7:28 pm

For years and years it was "the 1500" and I was a part of that group before we moved away from Dallas. That was the number of season ticket holders who actually attended games against the Jackson States and Paul Quinns of the basketball world, although I think SMU has consistently sold close to 2,000 season tickets even in down years. I had seats in the 2nd row of the mezzanine just above the SMU bench and the couple who had seats next to me were UT people who bought those seats just to make sure they had good seats to see their beloved horns. Sad to see that Hart & Turner destroyed David Miller's investment in SMU basketball and what Larry Brown was able to create in just a few short years.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby Arkpony » Sat Dec 03, 2022 8:01 pm

Charleston Pony wrote:For years and years it was "the 1500" and I was a part of that group before we moved away from Dallas. That was the number of season ticket holders who actually attended games against the Jackson States and Paul Quinns of the basketball world, although I think SMU has consistently sold close to 2,000 season tickets even in down years. I had seats in the 2nd row of the mezzanine just above the SMU bench and the couple who had seats next to me were UT people who bought those seats just to make sure they had good seats to see their beloved horns. Sad to see that Hart & Turner destroyed David Miller's investment in SMU basketball and what Larry Brown was able to create in just a few short years.


One of the worst screwups in many screwups by SMU administration was letting Larry Brown get away and then doing the re-seat. What a wonderful situation they ruined. There are no words to describe that incompetence.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby Mustangs_Maroons » Sat Dec 03, 2022 8:06 pm

Arkpony wrote:
Charleston Pony wrote:For years and years it was "the 1500" and I was a part of that group before we moved away from Dallas. That was the number of season ticket holders who actually attended games against the Jackson States and Paul Quinns of the basketball world, although I think SMU has consistently sold close to 2,000 season tickets even in down years. I had seats in the 2nd row of the mezzanine just above the SMU bench and the couple who had seats next to me were UT people who bought those seats just to make sure they had good seats to see their beloved horns. Sad to see that Hart & Turner destroyed David Miller's investment in SMU basketball and what Larry Brown was able to create in just a few short years.


One of the worst screwups in many screwups by SMU administration was letting Larry Brown get away and then doing the re-seat. What a wonderful situation they ruined. There are no words to describe that incompetence.


You just described it, “incompetence.” Do we have one of the worst ADs in D1?
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby PonyTime » Sat Dec 03, 2022 9:13 pm

Unless SMU is added to the PAC 12 in the next few months, RGT’s legacy will be leaving SMU in a worse place than when he started. He will be a complete failure and should be looked upon with the same contempt as AKPye. Staying with this same leadership for 20+ years will be the downfall of SMU as a Premium player in elite college brands that excel in college athletics and academics and that should be a reflection upon all of those on the board of trustees that allowed this to happen.

One only needs to look at the Directors Cup which we used to be at an elite level. Look at our Swim programs. Track. Tennis. Soccer. Golf. Not saying they are not good now - but compare those to 20 years ago.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby SoCal_Pony » Sat Dec 03, 2022 11:44 pm

PonyTime wrote:I hate to see this - but it seems that there are some fundamental flaws with SMU being able to retain momentum that are at the very highest levels of the school and the board…..Seems like there was no real plan with Basketball - leading to a hire that you will have to admit is a little underwhelming. Even Doh had a resume of success at a top school.


‘seems’ there are some fundamental flaws???? that to me is part of the problem. There ABSOLUTELY are fundamental flaws….call it what what it is….Pony Time, you are better than that.

RoboDoh coached at ND and UNC (where he was AP Coach of the Year in 2001) so yes, he had a much stronger resume than Lanier. BTW, just looked it up, Doh was 29-68 in conference play for SMU, having never made it past the first rounds of the Conference USA basketball tournament, yet we kept this mistake of a coach for 6 years (see a pattern here????)

As for Coach Lanier….look at his introduction as HC on youtube. Hart says he was only on their radar less than a week before he was hired. Let that sink in for a moment. EVERYONE knew Jank was a dead man walking during his last season here. Jank’s predecessor was wildly successful so we knew the potential for this program. Yet the best we could do was hire someone unknown to us less than 7 days before his hire, who was a failure at Siena (58–70 record) and had moderate success during his 3 years coaching a Sun Belt team. That my friends, reflects rudderless leadership without a plan. A program absolutely NOT striving for excellence.

I wish Lanier all the best. I personally don’t think he has even 1 player on this team who will lead us to anything meaningful. If he and his staff don’t immediately upgrade this roster, we are staring down a Doh-like drought.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby mustangxc » Sun Dec 04, 2022 5:23 am

I thought replacing Larry Brown was a tough act to follow but Lanier makes it seem like replacing Jankovich is much more difficult. What a disastrous hire. This guy is a joke. Admit you made a huge mistake and move on. SMU Men’s Basketball is a joke. Fire Rick Hart!
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby Bergermeister » Sun Dec 04, 2022 8:52 am

Crappy program. Crappy team. PM if you want the rest of my tickets.
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Re: Thoughts on the MBB team so far

Postby Charleston Pony » Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:54 am

I know he got the job "late" so I will give him a pass on recruiting his 1st year but right now Lanier appears to have a roster that "might" be able to compete in the SunBelt, but if he and his staff can't significantly improve this roster I suspect he will be in for a very short stint at SMU...or at least I hope that would be the case. We've already lost home games to SunBelt and SWAC teams and this team would do better as part of the Southland Conferende.
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