It’s that wonderful time of the year where college football regular season and college basketball non conference overlap for a month. Despite the football team having two wins, it is still an exciting time for the Beavs, as we have the two worst football teams coming to town. But this isn’t about football; this is about the basketball team.
After capturing the first NCAA tourney berth in 26 years, the beavers are looking to replace their former captain and do it all point guard GP II with a cast of Sophomores. Now through two games, they are 2-0 and here are my thoughts on the team.
- Tres will need to pick up the most of GP’s absence. Through two games he has done just that. Last year Tres only recorded one double double, already this year he has doubled that, with an impressive 20pt/15reb line in the first game and 26pt/15reb in 38 draining minutes in game two. One of the things the Beavers will miss the most from GP II is his intensity. GP II could just flip the switch and bring the Gill to its feet. Through two games, the intensity leader is obviously Tres, with Eubanks being his sidekick.
- Speaking of Eubanks, he appears to have spent a lot of time in the gym working on his offensive game. In two games we have seen both the right and left handed hooks, a nice drive to the hoop and improved mechanics on his jumper. If he can knock down that free throw line jumper, they can really stretch teams.
- Where’s Big G? After Tinkle hinted that we could be seeing a lot of the Twin Towers this year, he’s only played Big G eight minutes in the two games. It’s not the usual suspect of foul trouble as he has only had one foul or the other suspect of matchup issues. They have played smaller teams and it would be a good time to let him work on his post moves. We’ll see how this plays out.
- N’Diaye has actually looked like a basketball player. I think come conference play, a solid 12-16 minutes from him could go a long ways for this team. I’m curious to see if he can keep up this play with bigger and stronger players that they will see later in nonconference play.
- If I have to hear about another boot being on an OSU player, I might lose my mind. Ever since Issac Semulo went into the boot, the Beavers athletic department has been haunted by it. Stevie is now in one. I hope the media reports of this being only a precautionary measure are true and Stevie is back soon. We saw how much the Beavs needed Stevies ball handling, shooting and expertise in the UTSA game. Without Stevie out there, the Beavs had to rely too much on Tres and lacked spacing.
- JaQuori is baller but is he is still use to being the best ball player on the court. With more collegiate games under his belt he will get use to the speed and size of the game. JaQuori has a knack for getting to the hoop and I expect him to be a great slasher with Stevie and Tres along the three point line and Eubanks rolling to the hoop. That will be deadly!
- Ronnie should provide solid PG depth. He lacks any outside shooting, just look at his free throw mechanics, but he sees the court well and plays good defense. I’ve seen his hands in the passing lanes and it should lead to a few fast breaks.
- Four points off fast breaks in both games is not enough, especially when you are playing against the talent level we currently are. I expect the coaching staff to emphasize that this week in practice. The Beavs have the playmakers to play up-tempo but lack the fundamentals of the game. Just watch the fast breaks in the UTSA game. The dribblers head is down and the men are not filling their lanes. With Eubanks ability to run, this team could expect 10 points a game off fastbeak.
- Turnovers! 20 turnovers in game one and 15 in game two, with 11 of those coming in the first half is unacceptable. The Beavs have to rein those in before conference play. Other teams will take advantage of those and shut the door on us early.
- What was up with the OSU student section having only about 100 people in it? Really!? It’s a Sunday afternoon game! Step up students and show us why the camera switched sides. That’s embarrassing and I believe contributed to slow a start.
- I think this is the year we learn if Tinkle can really coach. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sold on Tinkle but so far his offenses have left a lot to be desired. What is our offense? Yeah that I thought, you couldn’t think of what it is. We’ve seen more of Craig’s ‘Princeton’ offense run under Tinkle than we ever saw under Craig and I still wouldn’t say that’s our offensive identity. Far too we often, the offense is initiated 35 feet from the basket, our centers receive the ball at the three point line and there is not enough movement. The Beavers showed glimpses of what it could be; a nice back screen from low post to high post for Dew is one of the examples I can think of, but other than that, the offense is pounding the air out of the ball and one on one. Don’t even get me started with the out of bound plays! I can’t think of one time we have ran a good one. Normally they throw the ball to the back-court. Stotts should teach Tinkle a thing or two about drawing up in-bounds plays. But for the past two years, I’ve given Tinkle the pass. It’s hard to run an offense when you have Olaf and Jarmal on your team. GP II, Tres and Stevie saved us last year. Let’s see what they can do this year.
- Last but not defiantly not least, the biggest thing through these two games is that no longer do we have to watch what I would say is the worst D1 basketball player I have ever seen is. Jarmal Reid is no longer here! If I had to see Jarmal put his head down and plow over another guy on his way to the basket, I would have ran out there and tripped him myself. The worst part was then he would gather all the guys and give them a talk. I mean what was he saying in those huddles and did the guys actually listen to him!?! Either way, I would be shocked if I was the only one that thinks this.
Next up, the Beavs have two games this week, home vs Lamar and then on the road vs Nevada. Both will provide more of a challenge then these two games but should still end in W’s based on talent a lone.
It’s an exciting time in the Pac 12 as it is deeper this year then it has been in the last decade. I expect the Beavers to have some growing pains and finish in the middle of the Pac. I hope they prove me wrong. No matter what, this team will be a lot of fun and has a bright a future.