Wednesday, February 11, 2009

that was a miserable second half

at halftime I thought we were about 50/50 to win the game. Of course we needed to keep shooting well, and we needed to keep playing the kind of defense that had gotten us the lead. But I thought we had a solid chance.

I acually thought to myself that the worst thing that could happen was the halftime break that would kill our momentum and our focus. I've seen it happen too many times in the NCAA tourney when we get out to nice lead shooting well in the first half and then go into the lockerroom and go totally cold for the next 20.

But regardless I don't think we would have been able to hold off UNC tonight because Lawson played one of the best halves of basketball I've seen all season. In some respect his good half is partly for our over play on defense. It seemed apparent to me when he started driving every possession (at about the 12 minute mark in the half) that we needed to move into a zone or at least sluff off of him and force him to shoot 3 pointers. But we totally failed to adjust and continued to perpetuate the biggest criticism of coach K. He is so stubborn with his defensive style, and refuses to adjust regardless of the situation. I had hoped that his time with Boeheim on team USA would convice him at times he needs to play a zone and give up more 3s, but he just won't change. I love and respect him as a coach, and I wouldn't trade him for any coach in the game. But until we start getting the quality of recruits that we had during the early-mid part of Ks tenure we are going to struggle trying to run this system.

How does Zoubek not see more than 2 minutes of play time in the second half? And how do we play most of the game with both Thomas and McClure on the floor? I love both of those guys and appreciate their hustle and hard work, but neither one is an offensive threat, and when they are both out there it is like we are playing 3 against 5 on offense.

The scary thing is that this is starting to look more and more like Indiana post Knight's 3rd championship. We are struggling to recruit the caliber of athlete and player that will keep us in the upper echelon of teams, and I'm afraid that more and more players might be viewing Coach K as old and his methods of coaching and teaching young men as antiquated. The fact of the matter is that he refuses to bring people into his system that he doesn't think will fit. And that requires a dedication to the program, school, a requisite amount of discipline. You also have to have a willingness to put in the hard work that being a member of the Duke basketball team requires. I have a fairly unique perspective on this because I was a student athlete at Duke. I studied engineering while playing varsity baseball and managing a student owned company on campus. The requirements of my sport might have been a little less than the basketball players, but my off the field activities were much more difficult. I went whole semesters averaging no more than 4-5 hours of sleep a night, and at times it was absolute hell.

You tell me that big recruits with their eyes on the NBA are interested in that kind of college experience? Do you think the guys at UNC, Wake, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan State, UCLA, Texas, Oklahoma, UConn, Syracuse, etc would trade their significantly easier college experience for the what Duke and Coach K would demand of them? Because I simply don't think that most would. And I'm not even sure that most could cut it. If your post college plans don't include the NBA (guys like Scheyer, Paulus, McClure, Thomas, Zoubek) then Duke has a huge upside in that the education and experience is really invaluable. But most of the best players are looking to maximize their enjoyment of what is essentially the minor leagues of the NBA.

meh I'm tired of this post. I respect and love Coach K, and the job he does in teaching and coaching the players at Duke is outstanding. He is a great citizen and member of our school, and I'm proud to say that I root for his teams. I hope that he finds a way to mesh his demands of his players with the recruiting difficulties he's going to face in the future, but I have no doubt he won't compromise his principles. And that is the way it should be.

good game UNC, and I hope we get a chance to ruin Hansbrough's senior day like he ruined Redick's.

No comments: