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Will Whelan For AllBuffs: A Diamond opportunity

Discussion in 'Colorado Basketball Message Board' started by absinthe, Dec 21, 2014.

  1. absinthe

    absinthe Ambitious but rubbish. Club Member Junta Member

    Dec 1, 2006
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    BOULDER, Colo. - As late December settles into rhythm in Boulder, to the tune of 34-degrees on Saturday morning, Tad Boyle’s Colorado Buffaloes are suffering through a 70-degree wake up call in Hawai’i.

    Such is the rough and tough price a team must pay for inconsistency through their first nine games.

    In a recent article by B.G. Brooks of CUBuffs.com, Boyle said:

    “Every team is different,” he said. “The thing about this team is we’ve got some strong personalities on this team, we’ve got some egos on this team (but) every team has them. The fact of the matter is, the expectation level coming into this season on this team was higher than any team we’ve had here. And we haven’t handled it.”

    In the preseason, most were looking at the Buffs’ trip to the islands as a chance to win another preseason tournament, like they did two years ago in Charleston. Sure, Nebraska figured to be a more notable opponent than they’ve looked to be thus far, but a possible match up with Wichita State would still give CU the signature out of conference win they’re looking for.

    First, this team has to find a way to generate some mojo against a DePaul team that has had their own ups and downs, like beating Stanford but getting curb stomped by Oregon State. How can Colorado do that? I’d say, by making a full commitment to a new rotational approach.

    There should not be a single minute that goes by next week without two of the following on the court at the same time: Askia Booker, Dom Collier (health permitting, though he’s expected to go), Josh Scott, Xavier Johnson and Wesley Gordon. Obviously, score and foul counts will dictate the reality of such an idea, but hear me out.

    Every single duo that could be formed out of that group brings a combination of offense and defense, as well as complimenting styles of play. Put the two guards together, and you now have two guys on the court (at least) who can break down a defense with the dribble as well as provide ball pressure on the other end. With Collier on the court, Booker can play off of the ball, running off screens and spotting up for transition jumpers. Collier can also control the flow of shots that Booker feels like taking if the game starts to lose control. Say you’ve got Xavier Johnson and Wes Gordon on the court together, along with some other combination of three guys. That gives you a spot up shooter--though Johnson is much more than that, as he is continuing to develop as a threat to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim--and a low post threat who has shown a recent knack for creating extra possessions via offensive rebounds. On the other end, you have two reliable rebounders and two guys who have the ability to guard multiple positions.

    Going through each combination would take us a while but you get the idea.

    Having two of those players together on the court would also take pressure off of players like Xavier Talton, Tre’shaun Fletcher and Jaron Hopkins to do things they may not be ready for. None of those three are going to consistently be able to penetrate and create opportunities for teammates. They’re all best suited to defer to a more offensively suited teammate, look for open cutting lanes, open spot ups and concentrate on affecting the game defensively. It puts everyone in a position to succeed.

    There is, however, one small glitch in that line of thinking. And I swear, it’s small. Yet to pop up as an issue this year. Nope.

    That combination of five has yet to show the consistency that suggests keeping two of them on the court at all times is even necessary. It seems like each game brings a different flaw. Someone was late and got punished for it. Someone looks like their head is at least 1,000 miles away. Off the court troubles. Energy issues. Shooting and toughness concerns. So far, something always seems to be wrong.

    And this reality is what has Boyle so concerned. In his interview with Brooks, mentioned earlier, he talked about having to coach effort, and account for substitution patterns based on just who felt like showing up that night.

    This team has made it difficult for Boyle to settle on any sort of rotation, style of play or pre-game approach. They have tested him as a coach and a person through nine games more so than any other Colorado team he’s been involved with. Such is the challenge of college sports. Such is the responsibility to being paid millions of dollars to teach young men the game of basketball. He’s not shying away from it, but he could use some help from those same young men, a little more “buy-in” than he’s received. He could use a sense of urgency and a commitment to consistency from his talented group, two things that would allow him to truly decide what kind of team this year’s Buffs will be going forward. What kind of rotation to use. What kind of style to play. What kind of identity they will carry.

    If that can happen over this holiday season, Colorado just might have a chance to save themselves from staring at the need for an unprecedented conference showing.
  2. cu2x

    cu2x Club Member Club Member

    Oct 27, 2008
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    How can we have all these strong personalities and so clearly lack leaders-ship and mental toughness? Just how do these personalities manifest themselves: "I want, I want"?

    Regardless of how we got here, I see the spotlight on Tad (our 2nd best major sport coach ever). He has to be the 'master of the ship' and get these guys playing his game

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