Mike's top priority this year should be "playing time/experience" for the promising eight frosh/sophs. They need minutes, touches, shots, confidence, experience. They are the future of this program and their rapid development is critical.
Richmond, St Louis, Davidson, GMU, Dayton, Rhody will have key seniors leading them this year (and then clearing out) - Golden, Gilyard, Sherod, Francis, Grady, French, Godwin, Russell, Wilson, Crutcher, Chatman, etc. Our "A-10 title/NCAA window" re-opens the next two years (2021-22 and 2022-23 when Bones, Tre, Mac, and Hason are Jr/Srs). If we've learned anything from the names above, it's how early PT (i.e. significant starter or rotational role) in one's career can accelerate growth/development. Look at St Bonny w/ Lofton, Welch, Osunniyi, etc. All started as frosh........and will pay big dividends now and next yr. Same is true for the UR guys, for Fatts, for Crutcher, for the Billiken guys, for Grady, for GMU, etc.
Mike needs to roll with (i.e. start and play) the underclassmen, take our lumps, and fortify as needed w/ the upperclassmen (who should be role players). A bench that includes Curry, Williams, Douglas, and Stockard isn't a bad thing (Shuler came off the bench as a junior). We are not dancing this year (we are rebuilding) and Mike should not invest heavy minutes in the upperclassmen at the expense of our "core nine" underclassmen (including BMB, who is not eligible). Starting a group of underclassmen who could potentially play together for 3 years might pay big dividends (like Duncan/Lamb/Schlegel/Brown).
If all goes well and the underclassmen develop some chemistry and confidence, we could/should be in the title hunt next yr along w/ St Bonny, Rhody, and UMass (if Mitchell stays).
If the following "player comps" can materialize during their careers (to some degree), we'll be back to our contending ways (but this only happens if the young kids actually play and experience the highs/lows now). These eight kids need to be a priority.
So Ward - Sanders
So McAllister - Pellot-Rosa
So Hyland - Maynor/Melvin
So Clark - Weber/Theus
Fr Baldwin - JQ
Fr Banks - Shuler
Fr Watkins - Graham/B. Burgess
Fr MBJ - Reddic
If the upperclassmen can just give us comparable contributions, we'll be competitive.
Jr Curry - Brandenberg
Jr Williams - M. Doles
Sr Stockard - D. Reid
Sr Douglas - J. Guest
BA Walker and JPR started as frosh on our 2004 NCAA team
Brad Burgess started as a frosh on our 2009 NCAA team
Larry Sanders started as a soph on our 2009 NCAA team
Eric Maynor started as a soph on our 2007 NCAA team
Michael Brown started as a frosh/soph on 1980's NCAA teams
Duncan/Lamb/Schlegel started as sophs on our 1983 NCAA team
Treveon Graham started as a soph on our 2013 NCAA team
Juvonte Reddic started as a soph on our 2012 NCAA team
Play your best 5 - whether they are freshman or junior/sr - no coach in the country sits their best/better players to hope they can win 1-2 years later
the NCAA is now allowing players to transfer and play immediately - what if Bones and our best freshman decide like MSS they can get better exposure for playing at the next level by transferring to a P5
If all 5 of our best are soph and frosh play them now - that we agree upon
now I agree with you about the 6-9th players in rotation that if a frosh/soph is the same as a jr./sr I would prefer the younger player gets those minutes
as a hypothetical?
how would you feel if Williams was your son and one of our top 3 or 4 players as judged by coaches in practice and the coach put him on the bench because he was not a freshman / sophomore and part of the "plan" to potentially be better in 21-22 or 22-23
Just my humble opinion (we can disagree peacefully)