View Full Version : 2016-2017 Was Supposed To Be "THE YEAR."

Phantom Warrior
04-13-2016, 02:19 PM
Think back to early January (January 5), 2014.

Luke just announced he is transferring to MU from IU.

As a Top 100 recruit in the Class of 2013 (#71 on RSCI), Luke joined JJ (#30), Deonte (#54), and Duane (#59) in that freshmen class at MU. I was even more excited about the program and its future than I was after that trio initially committed to the program. I figured it was the Second Coming of the Amigos: Duane would be point, like DJ, JJ would be 2 guard, like Jerel, and Deonte would be the 3, like Wesley. Only now it looked like we also landed that elusive, talented 5.

I was thinking, "Wait until these guys are juniors (2015-2016 season). They'll be really good. And as seniors, in 2016-2017, we could make a serious run deep into the NCAA Tournament."

Well, here we are, the spring before the 2016-2017 season.

That 2015-2016 season, instead of being "really good," we didn't make the NIT, let alone the NCAA.

And now, waiting for the 2016-2017 season, when I figured we'd have a line up that included Duane at point (I was sure he'd be our point guard, not a two guard), JJ at either the 2 or 3, Deonte at either the 3 or 4 (though under-sized for a 4), and Luke at the 5, here we are, hoping to start a new streak of NCAA Tournament appearances.

So what happened? Yeah, Deonte transferred. But, ironically, Deonte has now been replaced in that imagined 2016-2017 line up by another Top 100 recruit, this one from the Class of 2012, Reinhardt, and Reinhardt was ranked even higher (#40) than Deonte was. So, if none of these guys transfer, we will still have three Top 100 recruits from that Class of 2013 as well as a Top 40 recruit from the Class of 2012 on this year's team. And Reinhardt has actually had a better overall career to this point than Deonte has had.

So what else has happened to derail that vision that I - and I'm guessing many others - had back in the winter of 2014 after Luke transferred to MU? Well, none of the three Top 100 2013 recruits - Duane, JJ, or Luke - has played like a star; not one of them has even been in contention for all-conference recognition, let alone gaining all-conference honors. They've all had decent production, especially offensively. Last year Luke averaged 12.1 ppg, Duane averaged 11.6 ppg, and JJ averaged 10.2 ppg in only 23.7 mpg. Looking ahead, Reinhardt averaged a respectable 11.4 ppg last year, but he, too was not even close to warranting all Pac-12 recognition. In short, again looking forward, all four have been pretty good players, maybe even good players, but not excellent players.

On top of that, none of those 2013 recruits has shown much in terms of rebounding. Luke averaged 6.2 rpg overall last season, not too bad, but in BE play he didn't even end up among the Top 20 rebounders in the conference and averaged 4.8 rpg despite playing around 28 mpg. JJ has a lot of upside, but he, too, has not proven to be a solid rebounder (3.2 rpg last season), and Duane is at best, an average rebounder for his position (2.6 rpg). Looking ahead, there has been no indication that Reinhardt will be an effective rebounder as he has not shown that ability at UNLV or USC.

There are, and have been, of course other factors that have us - at this point - hardly posed for a possible BE championship or a deep run in the NCAA. Our 2014 recruiting class ended up with one freshman - Sandy - and we lost out on both Hill and Shayok. Sandy has not yet shown the ability to produce against high-major competition on any consistent basis.

We did land Henry for last season, but he's gone.

Bottom line, at least for me: I think Langston Hughes called it "A Dream Deferred." We have a Top 40 player from the Class of 2012, and three Top 100 players on the roster from the Class of 2013 and one from the Class of 2014, plus two from the Class of 2015. Maybe that deep run will actually happen this year, but it just doesn't look that way now, not even close to what I'd figured back in the winter of 2014.

04-13-2016, 03:47 PM
Here is an alternative theory.

The fan base way overhyped the talent level of its players and recruits.

Here is another.

Nowhere do you mention defensive abilities with the players. We as fans look at the numbers of scoring, rebounds, assists and blocks. It is very hard to quantify how good a player is on the defensive side of the ball. And this past season, our defense was horrible. We couldn't stop anyone. And I am not talking about rebounding, I am talking about stopping someone from scoring. How many of Luke's fouls were because our guards would let their man into the lane and Luke got whistled for trying to take a charge or block a shot? If we prevent that from happening, Luke can be more effective.

By all accounts, Katin should help in this area. We need Traci and HC to get better as well. Do this, and the 16-17 season will be much better.

04-13-2016, 04:35 PM
Another theory: Making predictions four seasons out is a dumb idea. Players come and go, (and in this case, coaches as well) they turn out better or not as good as expected. So best to take it a year at a time and just enjoy the ride. JJ certainly improved significantly in the last year. Let us see what happens his senior year. Luke for various reasons has been slowed up. I would like to have seen more out of him last year, but he lost some time to injury and basically lost a year of eligibility transferring. I would like to see how he does his last year.

As for the rest, some of our players have turned out better than expected. Some have not. That's basketball.