11-01-16 Game Summary + Player & Coach Analysis

OSU_Sports_Nut

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I was at the game tonight and let's just say oSu basketball is BACK!!! I know we played a really talent deprived team, but we have enough returning talent along with 2 special freshman and a great coach to make the sweet sixteen this year (minimum).

From the opening tip until the final buzzer our guys played hard tough swarming intense defense. The offense had constant motion with back cuts. With all this energy expended I noticed Coach Underwood went 11 deep. I think this will be pretty close to his normal substitution pattern (10-12 players). Below is a player-by-player analysis.


#0 Brandon Averette
PG 5'11" 175 Freshman
Analysis: Will play 5-10 minutes per game this season. He is a great defender, good ball handler with a nose for the basket. He is a freshman and plays like it. Still has too many turnovers. He might receive more minutes early in the season, but watch for Waters to be playing more PG as the season goes on when Evans and Forte are out of the game.


#1 Jawun Evans
PG 6'1" 185 Sophomore
Analysis: We all know he is supremely talented and his game reminds me of Chris Paul. Obviously he'll start and play a lot, but this year he doesn't have to do it all. Expect to see his minutes in the 25 to low 30 range (in a normal game and even less in a blowout). If he plays within the team and doesn't get focused on minutes or points, he could lead us to a Final Four this year. He is an elite defender. He is extremely talented, quick, has a good shot and good vision, and he seems to have a great attitude. His best attribute is his ability to create his own shot one-on-one, which he'll have to do in transition because the offense is more about setting up an open shot via the pass and making cuts to the basket.


#4 Thomas Dziagwa
G 6'4" 180 Freshman
Analysis: I've heard he has a great shot, but I'm not sure he'll play more than 5-10 minutes a night. He is a below average defender, makes freshman mistakes, and he plays off his emotions which means he'll be up one game and down another. He seems to be really hard on himself and sometimes shows a poor attitude. I hope he can support this team if his roll is diminished to coming off the bench in certain situations for his 3 point shooting.


#5 Tavarius Shine
G/SF 6'6" 200 Junior
Analysis: He played hard, but forced some shots tonight. He'll probably be one of the first off the bench and play 10-15 minutes each night, but must understand his roll. He's a great defender, good passer, and can score... but he has to let the game come to him and not force his shot with all of the other players on this team.


#12 Cameron McGriff
SF 6'7" 210 Freshman
Analysis: I was pleasantly surprised and actually had high hopes for him. People have been comparing him to Ivan McFarland and I understand. They are both about the same size and hustle all over the court, but he is more athletic. However, I think the better comparison would be Draymond Green. McGriff plays great defense, hustles, goes hard after rebounds, is a good passer, but he can step out and shoot the three. This kid is special and will play more and more as the season continues. He'll probably start the season coming off the bench with 10-15 minutes. As the season continues, he'll be playing more and may eventually start. I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing 20-25 minutes per game at the end of the season.


#13 Phil Forte, III
G 5'11" 195 Senior
Analysis: His shooting reminds me of Steve Kerr for the Bulls (who currently is the head coach for the Golden State Warriors). Obviously he is one of the best shooters to play at oSu and this year he should break a few records. He will definitely play a lot, but will not be playing as much as Ford used him (which is a good thing because we'll need him later in the season and postseason). He is an undervalued on-ball defender and creates havoc in the passing lanes. Expect to see his minutes in the 25 to low 30 range.


#14 Lucas N'Guessan
F/C 7'0" 215 Freshman
Analysis: I was surprised to see him play so much tonight. However, I do not think that will happen during the season. If he does play this season expect to see him play 2-5 minutes a game. He is rail thin and really needs a year to fill out his frame with muscle. Yes he is tall, but he gets pushed around too easily. He definitely has some athleticism, but he is raw and still learning the game.


#21 Lindy Waters, III
G 6'6" 200 Freshman
Analysis: Mind blown! He is going to be special and might even be the best player on this team (I know we have a guy named Evans who is projected to be in the draft after this season). He is definitely the most versatile player on this team. He can play 4 positions, but tonight he mainly played the 2 and 3. As the season continues, I expect to see him playing more at the 1 when Evans is out of the game. I expect his minutes to be somewhere in the 30's. I would not be surprised to see him lead the team in minutes by the end of the year. Due to his versatility and extremely high basketball IQ, Coach Underwood will be able to play him all over the court and will be able to trust him to make plays. His basketball IQ for a freshman is off the charts and he is so calm and collected. He makes everything seem too easy. He has good size, above average athleticism, great vision, a knack for the game (the "it" factor), has a great shot, good rebounder, and makes extremely good decisions with and without the ball. When I first saw him tonight, I thought he looks like he could be Eduardo Nájera's kid. He did come from Norman and he is the right age to be his kid. Anyways, his game reminds me of a young Manu Ginobili for the San Antonio Spurs, but even better.
 
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OSU_Sports_Nut

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#23 Leyton Hammonds
SF 6'8" 215 Senior
Analysis: His leadership shows up on the court and even on the bench. He and Forte have done a great job making everyone feel welcome and a part of the team (which goes a long way towards team chemistry). He also does a great job of keeping everyone involved and loose. On the bench you can see him sincerely cheering for his teammates and encouraging them when they come off the floor. This type of leadership will be needed throughout the year to bring this team together even more. The more they come together, the better the team chemistry. We have the talent, a great coach, and if this team truly comes together on and off the court this could be a very special season for oSu basketball. He is also versatile and can play the 3, 4, and 5. He is a good shooter, defender, passer, and his leadership will be needed on the court. I expect his minutes to be somewhere in the 25 to low 30's range.


#24 Davon Dillard
G/SF 6'5" 215 Sophomore
Analysis: I was a little disappointed in his play tonight. Maybe he was trying too hard. However, I didn't like his body language and attitude at times. I understand he wants to do his best out there and might be frustrated with himself, but he needs to learn how be more even keel so his emotions do not effect his basketball game in a negative way. Some players can play off their emotions and thrive. I don't think he has the maturity, so his emotions tend to negatively effect him. I've heard he can play multiple positions and was the most improved player from the spring to this fall and could be the best rebounder (both per Underwood). However, I just don't see it. I hope it was first game jitters and that he was mad at himself, not the coach or other players on the team. Also, I didn't see the explosive athleticism that so many have talked about. His shot definitely needs some work. I don't see him getting more than 5-10 minutes a night.


#30 Jeffrey Carroll
G/SF 6'6" 215 Redshirt Junior
Analysis: In my opinion, he is the most improved player since last year. His game is silky smooth. We all knew he could shoot, but he has developed other parts to his game. Tonight he went to the basket multiple times with authority and threw down some powerful dunks. In my opinion, he is one of the top 5 players on this team. However, he is playing at a position that is loaded. I think we'll see him play some 2 when Forte is out of the game and maybe play the 4 if we play some Golden State "small ball." He has great athleticism, a great outside shot, good ball handling skills, and a knack for being in the right position at the right time. He also hustles all over the court and runs the floor extremely well.


#32 Tyler Underwood
G 6'2" 160 Redshirt Freshman
Analysis: I was surprised to see him play tonight because I didn't think he was going to be eligible this year due to transferring from SFA. Or maybe tonight was his reward because once the season starts he will not play due to transfer rules. Can anyone elaborate on his status? Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised by his play. You can tell he is a coach's son and that he knows this offense like the back of his hand. Tonight he made some really nice passes. He played the 1 and ran the offense surprising well. Not sure he will play much, but could play a few minutes a game. He is a heady player and doesn't make too many mistakes. However, he is a defensive liability (weak, gets pushed around, slow, and doesn't move his feet very well). He didn't shoot a three tonight, but I've heard he has a good shot.


#33 Trey Reeves
F 6'4" 215 Freshman
Analysis: Good kid with a great attitude. He was the last player off the bench. Do not expect to see him much this year unless oSu is blowing out a team and everyone plays.


#34 Will Lienhard
F 6'7" 255 Sophomore
Analysis: He seems like a hard worker, but he is too slow to make a deference in the Big 12.


#41 Mitchell Solomon
F 6'9" 245 Junior
Analysis: I was surprised to see him use the jump hook tonight. If he can develop this shot where he feels comfortable using it anytime, we could have our low post presence answered. He moves really well in the full court press. I think he is more nimble on his feet this year. He made some mistakes tonight, but IF he can learn to forget his bad plays, maybe he will develop some confidence. I expect him to play 20+ minutes a game out of necessity, unless we create a "small ball" lineup that doesn't include him (which will take away some of his minutes). I think he will be one of the most improved players on the team by the end of the year.
 

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If you haven't already done so, every oSu basketball fan should consider buying 2 season basketball tickets to help fill up GIA. This is going to be a special season. If you wait, you'll regret it. You can purchase a season ticket for only $199 with NO donation. In the link, you can find some of the NO donation seats in sections 305, 307, 308, 313, 314, 315, 316, 319, 320, 321, 322. If a season ticket is too much of a commitment, consider buying single game tickets to the OU game for only $20 each or the KU game for only $50 each. If nothing else, we need to keep opposing fans from buying these tickets! This is going to be a special season and GIA is going to be rocking this year!!!
 
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OSU_Sports_Nut

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For those of you who may have missed this, back in March I did an in-depth analysis of Coach Underwood. I'm a metrics guy and work with numbers for a living. Here is a summary of what I wrote.

This may or may not surprise some of you, but Brad Underwood is a GREAT coach (or an elite coach according some metrics/analytics data I complied). A few days ago I went to this NCAA site to compare a bunch statistics on division 1 basketball teams. Then I created a very intricate Excel spreadsheet using team and conference statistics to more accurately predict wins/losses in the NCAA tournament. For the 2014-15 tournament, my spreadsheet accurately predicted many upsets and was 86% accurate for all of the games. It accurately predicted all Great 8 teams and 3 of the 4 Final Four teams by giving me more accurate seeding information. Anyways, after looking over this data something started to really stand out in the data. For example, EVERY team from last year (2014-15 Tournament) that advanced to the Final Four had 4 data points in common. All of these teams placed in the top 50 in the following 4 categories (Assist Turnover Ratio, Field-Goal Percentage, Rebound Margin, and Scoring Margin).

In other words, only the very successful teams scored well in these 4 categories. It was the only thing they all had in common, so I determined it must be some type of indicator/recipe for success. Here is where these stats got my attention regarding coaching. These statics help to show which teams are well disciplined and well coached. For example, a coach that doesn't hold players accountable and doesn't teach them the right thing to do with the ball will come down the court and jack up shots and miss more than they make. Teams like that will not have a very good field goal percentage and can be very inconsistent when it comes to winning games (i.e. Travis Ford teams). Also, if a team is playing reckless and out of control the teams assist to turnover ratio will not be very good and that team will have a hard time getting into any offensive rhythm (i.e. Travis Ford teams). If a team doesn't win the rebounding margin, they typically struggle winning consistently (i.e. Travis Ford teams). A good coach will teach/preach rebounding until they are blue in the face and talk about the importance of crashing the boards. And finally, teams who give 100% effort from the beginning to the end of the game won't blow huge leads and will therefore have a good scoring margin at the end of the game. In 2014-15, there were ONLY 9 TEAMS in the NCAA Tournament who ranked in the top 50 in all 4 of these measurements and here are the results.

Duke (won the NC) - head coach Mike Krzyzewski
Wisconsin (lost NC game) lost to Duke - head coach Bo Ryan (retired mid-season 2015-16)
Kentucky (Final 4 team) lost to Wisconsin - head coach John Calipari
Michigan State (Final 4 team) lost to Duke - head coach Tom Izzo
Arizona (Great 8 team) lost to Wisconsin - head coach Sean Miller
Gonzaga (Great 8 team) lost to Duke - head coach Mark Few
North Carolina (Sweet 16 team) lost to Wisconsin - head coach Roy Williams
Utah (Sweet 16 team) lost to Duke - head coach Larry Krystkowiak
Stephen F. Austin (lost in 1st round) lost to Utah - head coach Brad Underwood

That is a pretty elite group of coaches that Brad Underwood is with. If he can recruit the right athletes to oSu, I believe he could build a program that is just as successful as Izzo, Calipari, and Krzyzewski. Below are some other statistically well coached teams from last year. The following teams ranked in the top 50 in 3 of the 4 categories above and all of these have good coaches too (Davidson, Georgia State, Iowa State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, SMU, Villanova, and Wichita State).

Now guess which teams made the NCAA tournament and did NOT make the top 50 in any of these 4 categories? Kansas (which was bounced out in the 2nd round by Wichita State) and I believe they win a lot of games mostly on athletic talent and not great coaching. Sorry if you're a Bill Self fan. I think he is one of the best recruiters, but he is far from one of the best coaches in the industry. His deficiencies in coaching are usually covered up by the talent KU puts out on the floor. For example, in 2014 Kansas was a 2 seed with an RPI rating of 2, but my spreadsheet had Kansas as the 36th best team. On the other hand, Wichita State was a 7 seed with an RPI rating of 17, but my spreadsheet had Wichita State as the 16th best team.
 

OSU_Sports_Nut

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And finally, for those of you still on the fence about Underwood. Here is an excerpt from a write-up I did back in February regarding the differences between a good, a great, and an exceptional coach. This article is interesting to read now because it has (in detail) exactly what to look for in a successful head basketball coach. Currently, where do you think Coach Underwood ranks?

A GOOD coach at any level knows the X's and O's of the game, can teach fundamentals to the players, can setup and create organized and purposeful practices to make each player better, sets high standards for the team and holds all players accountable, is firm and consistent with team discipline, set roles for each player and gets them to accept and flourish in their role on the team.

A GREAT coach can do all the things mentioned above, plus be a great recruiter and motivator. In addition, a great coach knows exactly what he wants to mention to his team during a timeout (whether he called a timeout or not). The coaches who do not have a clue what to say to their team during a timeout will typically waste their time yelling at the refs or find other ways to waste time, instead of using every precious second to work on explaining any in-game strategy during a timeout. Coaches always have the option to yell at the refs during the rest of the game, so it doesn't make any sense to yell at the refs during a timeout when they have the opportunity to talk with their players. And finally, the best indicator of a great coach is watching their team in the final minutes of a close game. A great coach will have his team well versed on what to do if they are down by 2 or more, know what to do if they are up or down with fouls to give, know when to strategically call timeouts, know who and when to substitute players on offense and defense, know when and who to foul if needed (by leaving the worst free throw shooter open to catch the inbounds pass, then fouling them as soon as they touch the ball or even better doing this without any time running off the clock and without getting a technical foul). Calvin Sampson (like him or not as a person) was great at doing this and was one of the hardest coaches to win against in the final minutes of a game. He is a great coach and was selected to help coach multiple USA basketball teams, was selected as the "Coach of the Year" at least 2x in college, coached in the NBA, and is now the head coach at Houston (he will turn that program into a winner). His negatives had nothing to do with coaching, but everything to do with recruiting violations.

EXCEPTIONAL coaches are rare. These coaches are rare because they can do all of the GOOD and GREAT things mentioned above, but also invest time teaching boys how to become men. This is done by taking time to teach players lessons (even at the expense of winning) on being respectful, hardworking, and men of good character (morals & ethics). This is what made Coach Sutton special.