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PacHoops for AllBuffs: It's OK

Discussion in 'Colorado Basketball Message Board' started by allbuffs, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. allbuffs

    allbuffs Administrator

    Nov 12, 2010
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    By Adam Butler

    With each clanking Alford heave – and without a growing lead or shrinking deficit – the law of averages was nipping at Buffalo heels. One of those threes was bound to fall, breaking the backs of the struggling Buffs. And not only did math suggest Alford would begin scoring, the odds were further stacked against them. Colorado had never beaten the Bruins. They knew this. UCLA knew this. Josh Scott wasn’t playing. As a reminder, he’s good. Another reminder I can provide is that UCLA is not a deep team. They 342nd in bench minutes. Which is the same as saying: Gyorgy Goloman gets significant minutes. With Gyorgy Goloman manning the Bruins’ paint, Dom Collier found Xavier Johnson just open enough for Goloman to yield him the basket. Johnson dunked – fiercely – and let the Bruins and Buffalo faithful know it. The game was now within a point, 42-43, and UCLA called a timeout. From that point forward, Colorado would outscore UCLA, 20-13. They won and Xavier Johnson accounted for just 2 of those finishing 20. So who cares about him muscling up a nominal role player forced into action by ubiquitous UC ineligibility?

    Everyone in black and gold. Because maybe we’ve had it all wrong. From looking for Askian enhancements to robust Jelly touches, maybe the Buffs have had the right agenda just not the right mindset. When the season tipped, we talked about restarting what they’d unimpressively started last year in the absence of he-who-no-longer-matters-to-this-season. We were curious if Askia would be more efficient and less voluminous, more facilitator than…well…Askia. He hasn’t. He’s been himself – but better. Career highs in: 3pt FG%, steal %, assist rate, eFG%, usage, and offensive efficiency. Askia Booker has been the best version of himself we’ve ever known. But he’s still the same player. Similarly, Josh Scott has been the player we’ve always known…but better. Career highs in: offensive efficiency (seventh nationally), eFG%, FTrate, block percentage, turnover rate, and offensive rebounding percentage. Similarly, Xavier Johnson has been the same just slightly better.

    Continuing the trend, Colorado as a team is playing almost identical – statistically – to last season. Their ORtg and DRtg are almost identical; slightly better on defense, little worse on offense. There are intricacies to this that suggest where the perceived struggles are coming from, but when looking aerially – getting real high up there – everything seems alright. The Buffs haven’t really changed the way they play. But we unanimously agree, they needed to change something. Following their poor trip to Hawaii, Xavier Johnson posted a photo to Instagram:


    Read that caption. “Cuz we got eachother.” The efforts we were looking for as the season began were individual gestures of enhancement. Sure they were cries to improve this team, but this team is who they are going to be. How will they beat someone? By relying on eachother. If Josh Scott can be a little better, then Askia Booker can be a little better, as can Xavier and every other player. It was Xavier’s play – a dunk and an exacerbation - that ignited this team. Because he’s regularly shown himself as the one willing to be
    extroverted. That’s no knock on Scott or Booker, but Xavier Johnson has been the guy to externally not back down. He stands up. He’s failed in those situations and succeeded.

    His team needs to see that it’s ok to dare to be better than they are. The Buffs are who they are and that’s not a bad basketball team. They’re capable of pushing anyone from Gyorgy Goloman to Delon Wright. They just need to believe they can. Xavier Johnson says they’ve got each other. It’s ok to collectively be a little better, to collectively exude, to have one another’s back.

    We were wrong and that’s ok. Because really all that matters is that something feel right inside that locker room. They can internalize their improvements knowing it’s ok to be externally improved. Which is of course an interesting juxtaposition. We must come together to beat them. The ins and outs of the psychology of competition. Which is what I believe Xavier abruptly challenged when dunking on UCLA. We made a play because we’re beating you. The intricacies no longer mattered. Tad Ball isn’t meant to be pretty. It’s meant to win. Last weekend, the Buffaloes seemingly allowed themselves to win.

    So with their biggest test of the season looming – Utah in the Huntsman Center – the focus must remain on themselves. They’re playing for the guys on their right and left in practice and on the plane and on the court. Not for you or for me. Xavier Johnson makes a play, screams, and lets them each know: It’s ok.


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