This team is getting better

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MrMiagi

This team is getting better

Post by MrMiagi » Mon Feb 09, 2004 1:16 am

If someone had told me before the game that Freeman would be in foul trouble most of the game, that Bowers would be ice cold, and that AA would have an average offensive game by his standards, there's no way I would have thought this would be a competitive game, not three weeks ago anyway.

The game was there to be won in the final minutes though. UMASS just couldn't hit the shots.

Whether Lappas is the coach of the team next year or not (I obviously would like to see him get a chance to graduate AA) this team has legitimate young talent. I know every year things have been said about the young players and the future, but this time it's real. 3 rookies of the week and one could argue that Stephane Lasme should be rookie of the week this week. They continue to have their up's and down's, but they are all players. They have the best group of first year players in the A10 and it's not that close.

Freeman is going to be a force down low. Assuming he wants to become a dominant player, he can be. He's quick, he has great feet, he's got a soft touch, he's physical, etc. If he's willing to really commit himself to the game, he can be one of top 5 players in the league next year and the years after. He needs to work on his wind, his outside shooting(freethrow line), and his handle. He seems to get tired quickly. I'm not exactly sure the amount of minutes he averages a game, but he can absolutely have better stamina. Great players don't get tired. He has the most potential of any player on the team. If he really wanted to, he could become a deadly inside/outside guy.

I thought Stephane Lasme was the best player on the floor today. The difference between his game now and the game I saw vs Texas Tech is like night and day. You can tell he has so much better a feel for the game. Just the little things like getting the ball in the paint and keeping the ball over your head and dishing it back out. So many big men bring the ball down and let everyone hack at it. It's a little thing, but it's showing some understanding and poise. He shot 6-8, had 6 offensive rebounds, and blocked 6 shots. Playing against the best frontcourt in the league by far, he played a hell of a game. He's still raw, but he's way better than he was at the start of the year and absolutely is going to be a major contributor in the future. You never want to see a player go down like Lee, but Lasme is now going to get a lot of experience and he has more upside at this point than Lee. He definitely has a better frame to build on, he's pretty broad shouldered. You get Lasme in the weight room and let him get stronger, he's going to be a major contributor for the years to come. He just needs strength and experience. He just needs to play.

Bowers needs to make better decisions with the ball and he definitely needs to work on his jumper, but he too has the chance to be pretty good. He can get to hole, pull up, and he can take it out to three. He has pretty good form on his shot, so he has it in him. He just needs to shoot, and shoot, and shoot this offseason.

I think Maxwell has the same issues as Bowers and needs to get stronger. Maxwell is the better playmaker and ball handler of the two, while Bowers has more potential as a scorer.

I think Vigiano has found a home down low. He gives up size, but he does the best job of blocking out on the team. There aren't a lot of teams in the A10 that can really hurt you inside like a Dayton, so you can get away with his lack of size more often than not. One of these days he's going to become a much better shooter as well. He has great form on his shot, it's going to eventually click. His effort on those two back to back loose balls on the defensive end was awesome. I thought he was the second best player on the floor for UMASS today. He's got a nice game.

Obviously AA will be back next year and he's the glue of the team, but UMASS has 5 players to build around for the future.

They honestly played a pretty good game today against a veteran team that's been to NCAA tournaments and is going to another one this year, and it wasn't a fluke either. It's not like UMASS shot light's out for an afternoon or that Dayton was choking all day with wide open looks. UMASS from the outside was on the cold side if anything, and they played pretty solid D for most of the game. They got on the boards, blocked shots, made hustle plays, etc. The truth is they battled. That's probably the best way to describe the game. They battled.

Their goal should be getting to .500. It will be tough, but it's not impossible. Regardless, this team looks like it does have a future.

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Post by Orange Julius » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:45 am

I agree with most of what you wrote but let me add this. Let's not make too much of one game. They are still going to lose 15+ games this year.

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Post by VoxPop » Mon Feb 09, 2004 7:48 am

julius what is it about the concept of improvement that you don't understand? YES we all understand that this team lost games earlier in the season that they would not lose today - that is called IMPROVING.

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Post by twisters tavern » Mon Feb 09, 2004 8:57 am

What is Lappas improving upon? 18 losses from last season? 16 the season before?

Yes the players are improving but the system and results are still the same ... we are losing many more games than we are winning. With three seasons already under his belt, I think it is fair for us to ask that a Lappas coached system (regardless of the players in that system) should win a conference game at home. No loss at home is a "good loss".

Voxpop, be fair. Your observation of player inprovement is completely justified and correct. Don't let this short term improvement forget about the last two plus seasons of regression.

GO UMASS!

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Post by Orange Julius » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:01 am

I guess you didn't see that I said I agreed with what Miagi wrote. Of course they've improved. But then again there wasn't really much room to get worse was there? In their 4 game winning streak they probably beat 4 teams that aren't even going to the NIT. If they come out and lose at Xavier and URI gets revenge for their home loss, then I'll feel exactly the same as I did when they lost 7 in a row.

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Post by Wiggum » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:20 am

It's year three of the Lappas era and UMass fans are relegated to celebrating losing a sloppily played home game to a team with bigger fish to fry. The 4 game winning streak, while much preferrable to having any losses during that span, came against teams with an average RPI of 140. UMass' nine wins have come against teams with an average RPI of 174. The team has improved but that's only because over the first 16 games of the season they were among the absolute very worst teams in major division 1 basketball, a travesty given this collection of talent that underscores Lappas' failures as a coach.

The players are talented and have been all along. It's a shame it took something beyond Lappas' control to discover a lineup that plays more effectively than the one he thought would work best all season. There might be more in store for this program this season with this talent has Lappas identified what would be most effective on his own at the beginning of the season.

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Post by long time/first time » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:37 am

This team IS beginning to show growth and maturity, and improvement. This is a fairly young, and not-too-deep, squad this season. The recent stretch (the four game W streak, and even the well-played-but-nevertheless-a-loss game vs. a larger, deeper, more talented and older Dayton team- #2 in the A10, btw) has shown this improvement. Is this program where we all (well, most of us) want it to be yet? No. But there has been progress to cite, and cause for some positive interest for the remainder of the season. It is a shame that a few of the Fellowship of the Miserable here feel the need to p*ss on what has been a pretty decent stretch of UMass basketball recently. Go UMass!
Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.- Barry Goldwater

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Post by SFL89 » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:38 am

Geez Wiggum, you are being as negative as eldonabe was against Bruiser. "Sloppily played" home game... yes, there were a couple of passes to nowhere (happened to Dayton too), but to have a total of 11 turnovers (with our "sloppy" team) compared to 9 turnovers (on a team heading to NCAA) is not too shabby. We also beat them out on second chance points and bench points. BUT, I guess no matter what, you'll keep focusing on the negative.

I, for one, didn't even need my maroon glasses on to enjoy watching this game. Some people on this board have said they'd be happy to watch competitive, play with heart basketball, and I got that in spades. Viggiano diving out of bounds twice to get the loose ball, Lasme swatting the ball away from the 7 footers, the team playing all the way through the game, that was more like it!! I say good job guys, keep up the good work and thanks for a great game! Yes, I would have loved to see a better FT%, and a W, but it wasn't in the cards this time.

As Tate always says "GO UMASS!!!!"

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Post by Lump » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:39 am

I am definitely with those who were encouraged by the Dayton game. At this point in the season, I am thinking about next year and yesterday was a good sign. I won't repeat all the things said about Lasme, Chadwick (who is NOT better than AA, as one poster claimed) and Viggiano, but the overall picture was positive to me. If only ONE of the new big men coming in can play even moderately well, next year will be a different story. I saw Kit Rhymer stroll by during the game and I had no doubt we would have won by 10 if he had been in uniform and in the game. We need a center, period.

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Post by nale » Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:57 am

Wiggum wrote:It's year three of the Lappas era and UMass fans are relegated to celebrating losing a sloppily played home game to a team with bigger fish to fry. The 4 game winning streak, while much preferrable to having any losses during that span, came against teams with an average RPI of 140. UMass' nine wins have come against teams with an average RPI of 174. The team has improved but that's only because over the first 16 games of the season they were among the absolute very worst teams in major division 1 basketball, a travesty given this collection of talent that underscores Lappas' failures as a coach.
Wigs your bitterness towards Lappas is bordering on pathological and is very pathetic. It was not a 'a sloppily played home game' by any objective measure. It was a very good basketball game for a basketball fan. Disappointing for a UMASS fan but a well-played game. The Umass players played with more intensity then any game I have seen this year and the crowd was the most supportive and vocal of the year also.
So yes there were some things to celebrate. Why shouldn't a fan enjoy whatever they can in this sad season?
Why do think you have to remind everyone that the season has been
terrible so far? Do you think we forgot the losts to no-name teams?
I am no great Lappas supporter but I try to enjoy what I can one game at a time. It is great to see Jeff back to playing like we hoped he would.
Lasme has shown that he could develop into a fine player. I feel only pity for you, that a once strong UMASS supporter has fallen to your level. It it truly very sad.

GO UMASS!
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Post by Will_Noyes » Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:03 am

Basically I agree with everyone. I think this was a very encouraging game that we had a chance to win, without playing out of our minds. The yound talent on this team is really starting to impress me and had it not been for Freemans foul trouble, we may have won the game. I also agree that this team underachieved at the start of the year with the talent level on the court. As some people have commented this team hasn't done anything in 3 years. Well, this will still be a season of 15+ losses probably, but I think we have more to look forward to now then we have in a few years now. I can't wait for them to start play next year, with even more talent. I believe that this program has hit rock botton and is starting to rebound. I expect a winning record next year, and maybe an NIT bid if things fall the right way. As for the rest of this year. I will continue to enjoy watching a team come together and play. It doesn't happen very often when you have the opportunity to sit and watch so many young players mature at the same time.
Nope

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Post by Orange Julius » Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:08 am

Lump you mentioned next years class. I saw some recruiting rankings recently on line (maybe ones from Clark Francis?) and saw that their ratings did not have Umass among the Top 60 classes in the country - the list only went up to 60. The top team, believe it or not was DePaul followed by ucon and then dook. Xavier and one other A-10 team was on the list but I can't remember the other. My point? Don't expect much from the new guys. I'd be more looking toward Lee and even Kouyate to contribute more.

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Post by Wiggum » Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:50 am

I am thrilled that there are people who are enthused with the recent play and are encouraged. That's wonderful. Go to games, bring people with you and buy UMass merchandise when you go. I think that shooting .361%, taking ill advised 3 pointers during crunchtime (Viggs beyond NBA range jumper comes quickly to mind) constitutes a sloppily played game. I don't care if you folks fall all over yourself with glee about a 9-12 record in the 3rd year of the savior's tenure or merely take solace in the fact that UMass for almost 30% of the season UMass hasn't played as if it were among the very worst teams in major college basketball. Conversely, you shouldn't be so troubled that it doesn't change my opinion that Lappas is a complete disaster as a basketball coach and that UMass would be much better served removing him and finding a replacment at the end of the season.

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Post by 78 » Mon Feb 09, 2004 10:55 am

Lump wrote:I am definitely with those who were encouraged by the Dayton game. At this point in the season, I am thinking about next year and yesterday was a good sign. I won't repeat all the things said about Lasme, Chadwick (who is NOT better than AA, as one poster claimed) and Viggiano, but the overall picture was positive to me. If only ONE of the new big men coming in can play even moderately well, next year will be a different story. I saw Kit Rhymer stroll by during the game and I had no doubt we would have won by 10 if he had been in uniform and in the game. We need a center, period.
Lump -- Chadwick is a better POINT GUARD than AA hands down. better player -- No. Chadwick at the point is under control. He should start there with AA spotting up to shoot the three.
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Post by obg » Mon Feb 09, 2004 11:09 am

Just to keep the record straight, we shot 36% from the floor, we had a 4 minute period of no scoring and we lost. Sound familiar?
They may not be great, but they won't be boring!

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