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Author Topic: [Cracked Sidewalks] "I don't know how good we'll be"  (Read 9131 times)

CrackedSidewalksSays

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[Cracked Sidewalks] "I don't know how good we'll be"
« on: October 01, 2008, 09:15:03 AM »
"I don't know how good we'll be"

Written by: noreply@blogger.com (Henry Sugar)

With more time to reflect, there was one particular line from the Chicago Coaches Luncheon that's been sticking with me. Coach Buzz Williams repeated a few times during the Luncheon that he "doesn't know how good the team will be."

Let's start by saying that we get what Buzz was trying to do. The majority of his remarks at the event were about how he tries to focus on the present.   It's all very zen and I appreciate that.  Plus, he's working to manage expectations for this year's squad; expectations that are justifiably high.    Still, despite the obvious guard strength and senior leadership, the team is weak in the post (but what else is new?) and they have a brand new coaching staff and system to learn.  However, the elephant in the room remains.

This year's team HAS to be good.

The Warriors return one of the strongest senior classes in school history, led by three 1,000-point scorers who are complemented by another veteran starter in versatile junior Lazar Hayward.   The team was the #11 Pomeroy Team in the nation last year, racking up 25 wins along the way.  And of course, they were a last-second miracle shot away from making the Sweet Sixteen.

How could this year's team not be good?  It's a gift-wrapped opportunity for any coach to step in and succeed.  Conventional wisdom is that it would take a screw-up of major proportions to not compete for the BIG EAST title and make a run in the NCAA tournament.

For now, MU's recent successes are paying dividends on the recruiting circuit.  Rather than focusing on the great unknowns surrounding Marquette's new head coach -- and there are plenty of them -- Coach Williams has the benefit of of selling kids on the recent trajectory of the program, the promise of what he hopes to do at MU, on what he thinks the program will look like, how he intends to develop players and execute his system.   Selling against that promise during a honeymoon period as a new head coach is an additional benefit.   By any measure, he has been doing a great job in this area, taking full advantage of the state of the program.  If he doesn't have a watershed recruiting class already, Buzz is likely to grab that when he closes out the 2009 recruiting in the coming months.

Signing a breakthrough 2009 class is not, however, a luxury.  It's a requirement.  Regardless of  how highly ranked the 2009 class will be, Marquette's fortunes on the hardwood will almost certainly take a downturn in the 2009-2010 season.   That's to be expected.  A program simply does not replace three four-year starters without taking a hit.  It's not unreasonable to think that a .500 record could constitute a good year in 2009-2010.

What does it all mean?   The 2008-2009 Warriors squad must win, and win big.  If Buzz Williams leads a team that underachieves this year, the honeymoon will end quickly. It could be over in December with a slow start in three challenging non-conference games.

Detractors and doubters, who've been fed a large dose of crow based on Buzz' effectiveness as a recruiter this off-season, will once again point out the unnecessary risks that Marquette made in hiring Williams.  An underachieving team and the perception of a coach being out of his depth at what has become a high-major program would also make recruiting an even greater challenge.

How good will the team be this year?  For Buzz' sake and the program's sake, they had better be good.

*Joint effort between NYWarrior and Henry Sugar

http://www.crackedsidewalks.com/2008/10/i-dont-know-how-good-well-be.html

4everwarriors

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2008, 09:30:22 AM »
I think Buzz is just being honest. Until the 5 spot is manned by more than a player with major shortcomings, you're likely to get your ass handed to you nightly in the Big East. As for James, Jerel, and Wes, I think fans around here tend to overstate their skills. They are all capable, but have flaws in their game. Of the three, McNeal has progressed the most and has the best chance of playing in the Association.
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Henry Sugar

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2008, 09:43:22 AM »
The significant makeup of the team has not changed from last year, which is both good and bad. 

Despite the lack of noteworthy big man skills last year, we had a pretty good team last year.  Twenty five wins and limited depth last year too.  The top four players from that team are not only back, but they are all experienced.

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tower912

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2008, 09:47:29 AM »
If we win at 4 spots a night, but are consistently getting torched by 5's for 20 and 10 while getting nothing down low from our so called bigs, we will be 500 in conference.
Luke 6:45   ...A good man produces goodness from the good in his heart; an evil man produces evil out of his store of evil.   Each man speaks from his heart's abundance...

only a warrior

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2008, 09:49:25 AM »
Buzz was sandbagging.... any of our former coaches over the past 20 years would be drooling over what was left in the cupboard.

MR.HAYWARD

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2008, 09:51:53 AM »
The comment of "It's not unreasonable to think that a .500 record could constitute a good year in 2009-2010."  really lost me.  Not only is that comment unreasonable it is absolutely retarded!

Were you reffering to a .500 BE record?  if so then I take back the harshness.  The 2009-2010 team will win 18-19 games at a very minimum.

Henry Sugar

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2008, 10:11:03 AM »
Yes... a 0.500 record in conference.  The point being that no matter how good the incoming recruits are, the team will not be as good next year as they could be this year.

Edit:  I also believe that finishing 0.500 in conference would be a good year for the 2009 team, not a most likely view.  My personal predictions on the team's BE conference victories?  Somewhere between 6 - 10 wins.


« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 10:44:21 AM by Henry Sugar »
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MR.HAYWARD

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2008, 10:37:04 AM »
.500 in the BE still most likely = NCAA tourney bid....i can live with that in anticpation of 2010-2011.   Also, I think you might be surprised with what that 2010 team can do.  The great "what could have been" with the 3 amigos is that not only did they not have a good inside compliment, they literally had the worst big men in the entire Big East all 4 years.  Even an adequate couple of big's and we could be entering our 4th straight year of having a top 10 team.  I will forever feel bad for those 3 kids, I feel they were sold a lie and Crean cheated them with an absolute dereliction of his duties in his inability to recruit even an adequate front court.  I love Burke, but he has no help.  I loved Oozed but my goodness the young man never played HS BBall and he is our 3 year starter for a BE program??!!.  How teams like Depaul, rutgers, seton hall, providence and So. Fla can year after year have a better fornt court than MU's is absolute malpractice.  Tom Crean's legacy with me will always be the screw job he put over on those three kids, if they are not bitter over his absolute failure on the recruiting trail for bigs to compliment our perimeter than those kids are simply great kids and have Mother Theresa type faith.
Back to my point, while we will defiitely have a fall off on the perimeter we will be a better balanced team.  We will have athleticism and size at the 5 and 10 fouls to give.  We will have tremendous depth and athleticism at the 3.  In fact I beleive we will be as good or better at those 3 positions.  At the 5 maybe not better but the fact that we will have 2 players 10 fouls etc. maybe be better than Burke alone.  The 4 stays strong with Lazar, throw in an improved Fulce and a talent like Maymon.  The 3 will possibly be a push as we lose Wes, and if we can find someoen that can match his defensive presence we should be able to replace his scoring.  The 1 and 2 will definitely have a fall off, but we are replacing DJ with a seasoned very highly rated PG, who should step right in. And he will have help with a 5th year senior in Acker and help also if needed by a Senior in Cubi and a Junior in Buycks.  The 2 will be a loss, No replacing jerel in year 1, Snare could do a huge job in filling that hole but I do not know if even he could bring everything as a Freshman that Jerel could as a Senior, in fact i know he could not.  But we will have talent and experience at that spot too with or with out Snare. 
So I really think that MU can still have a rather strong team in 2010.  I have persoanlly always wanted my teams to be balanced. A balanced team is so much harder to defend some of Mu's most successful teams over the years have been very balanced scoring wise.  Most recently look at the '94 team and the '96 and '97 teams also the 2003 team had a star but had no bankrupt scorers on the floor.     
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 10:40:02 AM by MR.HAYWARD »

NYWarrior

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2008, 11:11:34 AM »
So I really think that MU can still have a rather strong team in 2010.  I have persoanlly always wanted my teams to be balanced. A balanced team is so much harder to defend some of Mu's most successful teams over the years have been very balanced scoring wise.  

agreed on all counts.......alot of it depends on how Buzz rounds out this 2009 freshman class.  high upside is possible.

Blackhat

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2008, 11:23:16 AM »
You're delusional if you believe these kids are committing based on the Marquette name.   These guys are committing based on the relationship Buzz has created with them and their coaches not because "whoa, Marquette made the decent 32 last year".   And that's what we expect out of Buzz and he's delivering.  Big time.    The can he coach part is yet to be determined hopefully he can but this team does have holes and a top 5 is not guaranteed just like it wasn't last year because WE HAVE ONE POST PLAYER WITH EXPERIENCE.   
« Last Edit: October 01, 2008, 11:25:18 AM by Stone Cold »

MR.HAYWARD

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2008, 12:03:45 PM »
Stone Cold it is not a black and white situation.  If it were these same types of talent would have committed to him at UNO.  But no he did not get 3 4star commitments and a Juco all-american with a possible commitment from a MCD's AA while down there, yet he had the same conatcts and knew the same people.   In fact he is getting these kids becuse of those contacts and becuse of MU's name becuase associated with Mu's name is 3 stright tourneys, a top 20 preseason team and Big East affiliation and success and TV time.  It's the whole package. 
Lastly, he seems to have a way with kids that gets them to want to play for him.  Package..not black and white

Pakuni

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2008, 12:31:53 PM »
Stating "I don't know how good we'll be" is not the equivalent of saying "I don't know if we'll be good." I think it's very likley Buzz believes he has a good team. But I believe it's even more likely he wants to keep expectations in check. There's reason to believe this team can be better than last year's (four top scorers back, solid new role players in Butler and Fulce, etc.). But there's also reasons to think they won't necessarily improve, with the team's best big man graudated and a guy expected to get major minutes bailing.
Given the circumstances, I don't see anything wrong, or misleading, about Buzz's comments.

79Warrior

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2008, 12:44:27 PM »
I think Buzz is just being honest. Until the 5 spot is manned by more than a player with major shortcomings, you're likely to get your ass handed to you nightly in the Big East. As for James, Jerel, and Wes, I think fans around here tend to overstate their skills. They are all capable, but have flaws in their game. Of the three, McNeal has progressed the most and has the best chance of playing in the Association.

I agree with you on the 5 spot. The BE games will punish us at that position. Expectations are way to high for this team. The guards will keep us competitive, the post will cost us dearly.

77ncaachamps

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2008, 05:16:04 PM »
You're delusional if you believe these kids are committing based on the Marquette name.

While that may be true, we can infer (from a recruit's statement) that Marquette's "exclusive" uniforms might be another reason kids are committing to MU! ;)
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jmayer1

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2008, 05:21:34 PM »
I agree with you on the 5 spot. The BE games will punish us at that position. Expectations are way to high for this team. The guards will keep us competitive, the post will cost us dearly.


Expectations are similiar to what this team has done the past 3 seasons, how are they too high?

Daniel

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2008, 06:11:24 PM »
The Big East is better this year than any other year we've been in it - every game, for the most part, will be a battle.  So yep - we have a good team, but there is a lot of pressure in the BEast, and there are some very good 5s we'll be up against on both ends of the floor - so this, I think, will be a tough year in the BEast and we will be very happy with each win we get - which will be hard fought.  Top that with a few very tough non-con games, and we are at "we don't know how good we'll be" scenario I think.
If things fall our way in a few games, if we can get some decent time from the due of Burke and Otule, and Otule surprises us , then ok - but even Buzz is saying Otule ahs a long way to go - which is to be expected. 

MR.HAYWARD

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2008, 07:50:06 PM »
Not so sure the Big East is better than in our first year.  Uconn sent 6 guys to the NBA, Nova sent 4,  the BE was absolutely loaded with the #1 team in the country and Nova was top 3 or so.  Very deep and talented that year, but agreed stronger than it was the last 2 years. 

Marquette84

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2008, 08:12:52 AM »
Not so sure the Big East is better than in our first year.  Uconn sent 6 guys to the NBA, Nova sent 4,  the BE was absolutely loaded with the #1 team in the country and Nova was top 3 or so.  Very deep and talented that year, but agreed stronger than it was the last 2 years. 

The comments about the Big East being its strongest are based on depth, not the strength of one or two teams at the top.

The #7-12 teams will be much stronger than in 2006. 



MR.HAYWARD

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2008, 08:57:14 AM »
The Big east was incerdibly deep our first year as well.  I simply highlighted that the BE had 2 of the top 3 teams in the country that year.  Either way an absolute bear.

only a warrior

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2008, 12:36:54 PM »
Is it Buzz doesn't know how good this team will be OR how good HE will be??

Blackhat

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2008, 01:29:06 PM »
I think it just comes down to Buzz isn't that stupid.   Izzo took heat last year after he came out saying MSU was going to do big things.   Izzo isn't doing that this year, he's taking the Buzz approach.    Not too many benefits in proclaiming your team "great" before fall practice starts.   Especially for a guy big on work ethic like Buzz. 

muarmy81

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2008, 05:55:49 PM »
Geez,
The guy hasn't even coached a game yet and people are jumping all over him.  I would think with his recruiting successes we'd cut him a little slack but I guess not.  I'll reserve judgement after the first few conference games...and then see where he goes from there.

CTWarrior

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2008, 10:32:00 AM »
The 4 stays strong with Lazar, throw in an improved Fulce and a talent like Maymon. 
Just getting back into college hoops as MLB winds down, but to me this is a consistent misconception about MU.  Lazar Hayward is NOT a solid 4.  He is an excellent 3, but is overmatched whenever forced to go up against a true PF.  He is forced to the perimeter to get anything going whenever the opposition has a legit PF.  Our interior weakness last year encompassed both the 4 and 5 positions.  I think there are big things to come with Buzz, but our ceiling this upcoming season is pretty much what it was last year.  We'll be OK until we run into a team with two good, athletic big men.
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jaygall31

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2008, 03:31:37 PM »
this may be completely out of the blue, but does anyone think we may be just a little more relaxed this year? I mean, with a coach that actually may sit down during a game? Instead of constantly yelling every play 8 times a possession? I dunno, just something I've been thinking about.
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mufanatic

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Re: [Cracked Sidewalks] \
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2008, 04:01:37 PM »
or that maybe McNeal has actually taken it to another level and will be extremely difficult to stop on the offensive end. 

I expect a huge year out of McNeal with a lot more firepower on the offensive end with the addition of Fulce and Butler. 

The key to a deep run in the tourny will be Otule's ability to defend the low post without getting into foul trouble.  We don't need Otule to be a star defender out of the gate, just to progress defensively at a good clip as the year goes on.