HumpYear

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HumpYear

HumpYear

Post by HumpYear » Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:00 pm

Say all you want about Steve Lappas and what he has or hasn't done at UMASS, but the man has a history of winning.

You can't take that away from him. No matter what you want to say about the guy, you can't take that away, he knows what it's like to walk off the court and shake the hand of a coach his team has dominated. He has beaten several coaches who have won National Titles. He knows what it's like to beat Martelli every year. He knows what its like to embarrass a quality Calhoun team. He knows what it's like to get picked to finish in the bottom of the league and make the NCAA Tournament. He knows what it's like to have a team that plays D, he knows what it's like to have a team that plays great offense, he knows what it's like to have a team that's exciting to watch.

Having said that, he also knows what it's like to walk off the court with a loss and shake the hand of a coach whose program recylcles uniforms. He knows what its like to be completely out of game after 5 minutes. He knows what its like to field a team that looked totally lost and disinterested. He knows what its like to have a team that plays lousy defense, lousy offense, and can't rebound.

The man has been on both sides of the fence. He knows what it's like to experience success right away and he knows what it's like to get off to a slow start. He knows what it's like to exceed expectations and he knows what it's like to fall below.

This is obviously a make or break year for him and the program, but its also the best team he's had to go into a make or break year.

You may say that's what you heard last year and the year before, but come on.

When has Lappas had a player that could hold Freeman's jock? How many publications are picking Freeman to be the A10's player of the year? Freeman has the chance to be a special player. I don't know the kid so I can't speak to his work ethic and desire, but he could be really dominant if basketball meant enough to him and he was willing to do the little things to set himself apart. Hopefully he sets an example for the other players, he certainly has the game to back it up. He looks to be in great shape.

When has Lappas returned two guards like Bowers and Maxwell? When did Lappas have two freshman guards like Maxwell and Bowers score close to 20 points in the final game of their freshman year? They now know the system and they know what it takes to play college basketball. In their freshman years they played against the best backcourt they'll ever face while they're at UMASS. That was tremendous experience for them last year. I'd be surprised if those two don't show the most improvement this year. They proved to themselves their freshman year they could play. They knew after the season where they needed to get with their games to play at the highest level.

When has Anderson had the chance to direct an offense that returned the same cast of characters? This will be the first year that Anderson gets to play with the same backcourt. You know what a difference that makes? You don't think a big part of what made West and Nelson so great together was how much basketball they played with eachother? I'm not saying that Anderson, Bowers, and Maxwell are on their level, because West and Nelson were special players, but they knew how eachother played and knew they could count on eachother. There is no substitute for an experienced backcourt.

I look for Viggiano to have a solid year. He certainly has the ability to be a very good A10 basketball player. He's athletic, he's strong, he hustles, he makes plays, he has the potential to be a solid outside shooter. He's just a junior now, but he's got tremendous experience.

Lasme is an athletic kid that showed great improvement at the end of last year. He was the best player on the floor in the Dayton game, a team that had quality interior people. He has way more upside than Gabe Lee. He's got a bigger frame, he's more athletic, better stamina, and he's better with his back to the basket. He still has a long way to go, but he'll be a factor.

Carrier was a highly regarded prospect who will be able to come off the bench and score points. If Carrier can become a fairly dependable outside threat at 6'8, do you know the mismatches UMASS can take advantage of? An opposing big will have to come out and honor his ability to shoot opening up Freeman down low on the block.

This will be the first year that Lappas doesn't have to depend on his freshman class to carry the team.

His first year he had to depend on Anderson as a freshman.

His second year he had to depend on Lasme and Viggiano as freshmen.

Last year he had to depend on Freeman, Bowers, and Maxwell as freshmen.

This years starting lineup will not feature a freshman unless Carrier warrants a starting position because he's just that good.

I'm not going to blow smoke and say this team is a lock to do great things. There certainly is still an ugly history there that is hard to look over. If people want to be critical of Lappas and hold the last several years against them, that's fine.

Having said that, if you really take a look at the situation, this is by far the best shape UMASS has been in since the man took over. If you won't admit that, you're dislike for the coach is getting in the way. These are better basketball players than he's had in the past and he's not going to have to rely heavily on first year players. This group of players decided to stick with the program.

Lappas obviously has to get over the hump this year. It should be interesting seeing what happens. I personally think the team will do well, we'll see.

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Re: HumpYear

Post by Kosty » Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:11 pm

HumpYear wrote:Having said that, he also knows what it's like to walk off the court with a loss and shake the hand of a coach whose program recylcles uniforms.
And clearly over the past 3 years he has learned what it's like to shake the hand of a coach whose program only KNOWS about recycling....like Central Conn. and Holy Cross and Fordham and LaSalle and Davidson.......

Nice try but you're not going to find a whole lot of support for this diatribe on this board. You say that he knows how to win, well clearly HE FORGOT about 3 years ago!!!!!

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Re: HumpYear

Post by Rudy Ruettiger » Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:11 pm

HumpYear wrote:Say all you want about Steve Lappas and what he has or hasn't done at UMASS, but the man has a history of winning.
I'm stuck here...what does Villanova-era or Manhattan-era Lappas have to do with the past three years? I think we'll just stick to writing about what he has or hasn't done at UMass. Good suggestion. Less circuitous.

Edit: That said, if you are the AD from Manhattan or Villanova, feel free to pay us off and take him back.

HumpYear

Re: HumpYear

Post by HumpYear » Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:21 pm

Coach K would have forgotten too with the players Lappas inherited.

Coach K plays bombs away basketball. His teams are among the leaders in 3 point attempts and makes every season.

Unfortunately in todays world of college basketball, it's hard to find players that can shoot from 3 while having the athletic ability and skills to play big time basketball. Those players are the ones that go to the Duke.

Lappas is a 3 point coach, his teams have to be able to shoot well from the outside to be successful. He was able to attract those players at Nova, he hasn't been able to do so at UMASS.

If that doesn't change, he'll obviously be replaced.

His experience at Villanova does matter. He was winning against the Allen Iverson's and Ray Allen's of the world. I'm not referring to success he had in 1942 when there was no 3 point line and everyone was taking set shots.

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Post by Rudy Ruettiger » Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:29 pm

Well, using your logic, UMass was winning against the Tim Duncans and Allen Iversons...

Using our logic: Now they lose to CC State, Fordham, et al. That has nothing to do with (real or perceived) player ability. It reflects inadequate preparation, results in poor execution and shows terrible game-time adjustments and an inflexible style.

HumpYear

Post by HumpYear » Wed Oct 20, 2004 1:53 pm

UMASS wasn't beating Tim Duncan and Allen Iverson with the players Lappas inherited.

To use a football analogy.

Lappas inherited a football program that couldn't make a bowl game with a qb that set school passing records. Oh yeah, the qb wasn't returning for Lappas.

I'm not defending Lappas for losing to the programs he's lost to.

It's just that, those losses have nothing to do with what Lappas and the team can do this year.

If your convinced that Lappas doesn't have the ability because his teams have lost to some questionable opponents, then how does Herb Sendek survive in the ACC when he's 0-2 against Steve Lappas UMASS teams?

NC State stuck with Sendek, the fans stuck with Sendek, he built up his talent base, and now he has a solid program.

When it's all said and done, it comes down to the players. You need the players to win.

What is magical about Duke when they launch a 3 every time down the floor but it goes in? What's the great secret to that kind of success? I'm not taking anything away from Coach K, but his style of basketball doesn't work without talent.

Lappas has had players before and when he did, he won.

All I'm saying is UMASS looks to have better talent this year and I expect them to do better.

If UMASS stinks this year, you think I'll be defending him?

I just think it's pointless to belabor losses from the last several years, they have nothing to do with today and tomorrow. If there is a carry over, Lappas will be gone.

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Post by philosopher » Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:28 pm

HumpYear wrote:I just think it's pointless to belabor losses from the last several years, they have nothing to do with today and tomorrow. If there is a carry over, Lappas will be gone.
Your enthusiasm is great, and you are careful in your thinking. The sentence I quoted is a bit off, though. How many "rebuilding" years does it take? The losses during those years do count, because of the coach's willingness to offer a rationale behind the underachievement. It obviously counts in his mind, so why shouldn't it count in ours? I will celebrate every win, and suffer with every loss, just as much this year as in past years. I genuinely hope your optimism is supported by the team's play and in their results, and that your optimism becomes contagious. I'd love to catch it.

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Post by DS Bruce Robertson » Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:42 pm

Oh good. Someone who wants to ignore Lappas' lifetime of producing underachieving teams and suggest that his epic failure of a performance has anything to do with players he inherited. Haven't seen this whopper in a while.

Tell your sob story walking. This argument has been dissected and rejected. Other coaches in the A-10 hired the same year have mangaged to deal with what they inherited without regressing so badly, and those coaches didn't inherit nearly as strong a program as Lappas did. And Lappas has only managed to produce worse and worse results as his players replace the players he inherited. If inherited players like Anthony Anderson, Shannon Crooks and Jackie Rogers weren't here, this team would have Fordham's sneaker prints on their face from looking up at them in the standings for the past three years.

Lappas was brought here to win and win immediately. If he said "I don't think I can get to .500 until my 4th season, and even that's an iffy proposition", he wouldn't have be hired. This program is where it is becase Steve Lappas is as shitty a choice for UMass basketball coach as could have been made. He very well might be the worst fit for a program that at least goes throught he charade of having national aspirations I have ever seen.
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Post by eldonabe » Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:49 pm

HumpYear wrote: What is magical about Duke when they launch a 3 every time down the floor but it goes in? What's the great secret to that kind of success? I'm not taking anything away from Coach K, but his style of basketball doesn't work without talent.
Agreed on the talent thing, but do you think teams might respect Dukes' inside presence a little more that ours? Not that our players are worse but they do not get used almost at all. It is easy to defend a one dimensional team - I do not care of 75% of Dukes' shots come from the three they are never, ever, ever considered a one dimensional team and any Steve Lappas team is - and THAT is the difference. Add to it the fact that Duke rebounds the ball like a mother f'er and our boys do not and you have the difference between a final four appearence vs. 4 conference wins for the entire season.

Until the game plan changes to include more inside-out basketball this team will always underachieve.
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HumpYear

Post by HumpYear » Wed Oct 20, 2004 2:52 pm

There is no blueprint to rebuilding.

There are so many variables involved in turning a program around, for someone it could take 1 year, for someone else it may take 5. There is so little margin for error. If players don't pan out, or they leave the program, the rebuilding process is challenged. There has obviously been a lot of turnover in Laps 3 year years, he could be blamed for that.

It's a cuthroat business today and if you can't demonstrate an ability to win within 4 years, your chances of ever really being successful are pretty slim. You won't have the credibility to attract the players to win. Lappas needs this year to get back that credibility.

This is Laps year to prove something and he knows it. He was willing to take a huge cut in pay and accept incentive clauses.

The thing is, if this team pans out, he can still succeed at UMASS for one huge reason. He would be succeeding with a young team whose core would be here another 2 years after this year. That would give him enough time to recruit the players to succeed.

If Lappas was going into this 4th year counting on seniors, he'd be toast. Even if the team did well, what would it have meant? The players have all graduated and it's time to start over. You've had 4 seasons, 1 good year, but now you've got to rebuild again? You can't build momentum that way, and building momentum is half the battle.

That happened to Jerry Dunn. He was on the hot seat, but had two senior guards and a senior forward. They made the NCAA's and saved his job. Those players graduated however and there was no one waiting in the wings with equal talent. The program fell off the face of the earth again and Jerry was fired 2 years later. His one NCAA run turned into a fluke, not a momentum builder.

IF this team really comes together this year, they aren't falling off the face of the earth next year. Anderson will have to be replaced, everyone else would be back, including the conferences best player.

That't the biggest thing going for Lappas right now. If he wins, he's winning with something that will be sustained for another 2 years after this. That would give him the ability to replenish and build legitimate momentum within the program.

We'll see what happens.

HumpYear

Post by HumpYear » Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:02 pm

That's not entirely accurate. You don't just have an interior offense. If you don't have interior players that can play, it doesn't matter how many times you force them the ball.

Jason Lawson, Malik Allen, and Michael Bradley were all tremendous scorers in Laps offense. The thing all those guys had in common was that they could PLAY.

Freeman has an inside game and he was the teams leading scorer last year. He was also the guy opposing teams keyed on. So to say Lappas won't go inside isn't entirely correct.

The key for this year is that there is consistancy from the outside. The more points UMASS scores from the outside, the more points Freeman will score on the inside.

I don't think you can compare Duke big men with recent UMASS big men, Duke big men are McDonalds All Americans.

Having said that, Freeman late in his high school career abused a McDonalds All American that I believe went straight to the pros.

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Post by eldonabe » Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:18 pm

C'mon man. I know that Freeman led the team in scoring but how many of those points were "given" to him rather than him having to get them himself off the boards?

A Umass - coach Lappas led - team has never consistently driven and dished or driven and fouled.

They shoot, then they opass around the perimiter and shoot some more....

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Post by tonymontana » Wed Oct 20, 2004 3:49 pm

the best thing for Freeman in Lappas offense is that the 4man has to have the ability to make outside shots.......When the 4man was Gabe Lee...teams layed off Lee and sagged on Freeman.....but with a guy like Viggs or Carrier who have the ability to shoot from the outsise...Freeman has room down low to work.....if they double him..then Freeman kicks out for open 3s....
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HumpYear

Post by HumpYear » Wed Oct 20, 2004 4:17 pm

Exactly

Look at Duke's last National Title team and who started at pf. Not a 6'11 250 pound forward with no offensive game. They started Shane Battier, a 3 point shooter that could open up the floor.

In their championship win against Arizona they took 64 shots, 27 of them were 3's. That's 42% of their shots from 3.

Legitimate BIG MEN took 10 shots the entire Championship game for Duke. Boozer had 9 shots with 12 rebounds. How many of those 9 shots came off of rebounds? Most? Duke had playes that could shoot and put the ball on the floor and they won a Championship.

Look at St Joe's last year. They had 3 of the best 3 point shooters in the country. It opened up the floor and allowed Nelson to penetrate and dish when the defenses overplayed from the outside.

People act like it's so simple. POUND IT, TAKE IT TO THE BASKET.

Like the team that has no offensive line and no wr's with speed. SPREAD THE FIELD, THROW DEEP. If you're line can't protect the qb and the wr's can't get down field, you can throw deep till your blue in the face, you aren't going to be very successful and your qb is going to get killed. Even if you had the wr's to throw deep, if the oline can't protect the qb, he won't be able to throw it down field and take advantage of his wr's speed.

Like the team that has no passing game at all, FORGET THE PASS JUST POUND IT. If you can't throw, they're going to stack the line and they'll have more players attacking the line then you have blockers. Now if you have ALL PRO offensive lineman and Jamal Lewis, you can get away with it SOMETIMES, but that requires EXCEPTIONAL talent.

It's a different sport, but the same things apply with basketball. If teams don't respect your ability to shoot from the ouside, they will collapse on your big men and take away dribble penetration. If your big men are weak but you can shoot, they will overplay and let you throw it inside. If you can't shoot from the outside, you don't have skilled big men, and you don't have slashers who can get to the basket, then you're really screwed.

It's about creating mismatches and advantages. Advantages and mismatches that UMASS couldn't create in the past and will have to create this year.

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Re: HumpYear

Post by CRR_ » Wed Oct 20, 2004 4:54 pm

HumpYear wrote:Coach K would have forgotten too with the players Lappas inherited.
The players who gave him his best record at UMass?

Sorry, all your "credibility" just went out the window with that comment.

I meant to add "Mr. Miagi" on the end of that.
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