- May 9, 2011
That still does not explain getting blown out multiple times.When a team underperforms, it is on everyone: players and coaches. A coach has to figure out how to reach the players, the buttons to push and the rotations, etc. The players must execute the plans on the floor. On offense a coach can only design a scheme to get guys good looks. A coach cannot make the shots for the players. I’ve seen so many missed layups and bunnies this year and wide open threes missed. That leads to one area that most fans seem to be missing: the talent of the seniors isn’t as high as we need. This is what happens when you have three coaches in four years. The attrition is hard to overcome.
Let’s face facts: we outperformed last season, in part because the A-10 was down, and in part because the kids played loose and free. They built confidence as the season wore on. Even in losses (@ top-10 UVA), they were in the game until the end, which was a confidence builder. We overachieved for many reasons, but we weren’t the most talented team VCU has had either.
This season the A-10 is so much better, and many teams improved as their younger players improved from last season. The biggest improvement in players is typically from freshmen to sophomore and/or from sophomore to junior. By the senior season, most kids are who they are, with improvement coming at the margins. Other than Jenkins, who of our seniors was a highly recruited player? Of our seniors, who really has been an all A-10 caliber player? Evans and Jenkins? I love Evans, but he has been bitten by the injury bug since he got here. As they say in football, the best ability is AVAILABILITY. I think Vince could be special, but the injury bug seems to have gotten to him too. Hopefully he will have a healthy off-season. If so, then I believe you’ll see great improvement from him next season.
The overall talent and athleticism of our freshmen is better than our seniors, as a group. However, they are freshmen and they do freshmen things. I think Bones has a chance to be an all-time great at VCU, but he does freshmen things sometimes. (See late 2nd half against Dayton when he took a terrible midrange jumper, missed badly, then fouled Crutcher 80 feet from the basket; frustration foul.). Ward, McCallister and Clark are all showing encouraging signs and all are athletic.
The talent level is starting to improve, but it’s young talent. When the seniors aren’t playing well as a group, then a 17-10 record is what you get in an improved conference. It stinks. We all hate it, because after outperforming last season, we are underperforming this season. I still believe the future looks bright, and I am excited to see the freshmen getting some valuable minutes now. The only thing we can do is to grin and bear it at this point.