Tuesday Discussions

Not too much to discuss today. On the official agenda: a full house and whether or not it actually demands that points be scored; the GNAC’s center play; and Ryan Rogers of Saint Martin’s.

One interesting thing that’s started to happen is guys come ridiculously close to a full house but what they’re missing is points scored. According to the GNAC Men’s Basketblog, in a full house a player must have at least one of each of the following: rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and fouls.

That’s five items. Like a full house; see: Yahtzee. Generally if a player has all of those things, they’ve played considerable minutes (20 minimum) and thus have picked up at least a couple of points by default. But what if they haven’t? Does it really matter? There’s a lot of harping around here about how points don’t matter, it’s about making your teammates better and contributing first and foremost.

If that’s the case, then points scored shouldn’t matter. But life isn’t about player effectiveness rating and it seems odd that it could be counted because when it comes down to it: basketball is a matter of making baskets.

Emmanuel Johnson is the main player that brought this to our attention -he had four rebounds, two assists, a steals, a block, and three fouls but no points. Five items hit. Is it a full house?

No. It’s not. Because once again: much as player effectiveness rating is huge and Emmanuel Johnson should be proud of himself -if he hadn’t taken any shots that would be one thing, but he took a bunch and missed and thus no full house even though it otherwise would have been.

Now, had he not taken any shots? No. Basketball is still about putting the ball through the hoop and on a basketball team, every position is relied upon to score -it’s not like Quidditch where it’s no big deal if a beater doesn’t score a point- every player should be able to put the rock through the peach basket at least once per game when collecting the rest of what it takes to get a full house.

Ryan Rogers we wanted to take a closer look at because by most metrics, Saint Martin’s is underachieving and he’s a huge part of the reason. Not sure what it is with dismal center play as of late… that’s actually a different discussion that we’ll enter into now -Ryan Rogers, you are on hold.

Name the primary center for each team:

UAF: Almir
UAA: Kalidou? (pf hybrid)
SFU: Patrick Simon II (pf hybrid)
WWU: Mac Johnson
SPU: Cory
MSUB: Austin — ? Emmanuel?
CWU: Caleb
NNU: Kevin
SMU: Brent
WOU: Andy

Easy enough. Now let’s look at the ones getting it done to the point that their stats are easily reportable as a center not as a center/power forward hybrid:

Mac, Cory, Caleb, Kevin, Brent, Andy. You could make a reasonable argument that those guys are all not athletic enough to play power forward, which is why they don’t. Brent doesn’t quite fall into that category -he still has enough developing to do that he could end up as more of a hybrid, but right now SMU needs him as a center pretty badly.

Saint Martin’s: Don’t turn him into a hybrid, please. He’s better than that. Develop him with his back to the basket. Get his footwork where it needs to be. Bump up against him and get him banging. Obviously he needs weight, but the raw skills are there in center form, rather than PF. If he wants to shoot threes in his free time, great, but don’t force the issue.

We have too many center hybrids and not enough classic centers. Which actually may be what’s screwing Ryan Rogers.

Ryan is a 6’4 tubby kid that because of that tubbiness has been thrown into the center position, which as noted: is of great need by Saint Martin’s. The center position at its base isn’t particularly difficult to play -make sure you’re warmed up enough to get to the rim with ease, plant yourself in the paint, use your weight, don’t back down, keep your elbows in check, get the rebounds you can but don’t stress about it too much- that’s pretty much it. It’s a series of some really high percentage shots and easy grab rebounds.

However, there is also a sub-species of center dubbed the “defensive specialist.” The defensive specialist is primarily in there to make sure that the other team feels you, bang and, otherwise pick up fouls. They’re not particularly relied upon for scoring, everything they do is a bonus, and while they’re necessary they’re essentially the Snorlax of any basketball squad.

In the case of Saint Martin’s and Ryan Rogers: Someone needs to breakout the Poke flute because Snorlax needs to wake up and wake up now. I get it -Ryan Rogers is 6’4, got thrust into the center position because of his tubbiness, and guess what: THEMS ARE THE FISH and he really needs to hurry up and learn to fry them. There’s a mini guide book above. It’s really not that complicated.

When the Saints lost Lucas Shannon, everything shifted, not that Lucas could really bang anyway -dude’s skinny. He was a forward. He could play a little bit of center, but it’s not what he projected at. Ryan Rogers didn’t project at center, but tough luck. Brent Counts needs a back-up and because Ryan can’t get his calories under control he’s the most viable option. His whole role now is to be big.

Except see, Ryan Rogers was originally a skill guy. So you’ve now got a wing in at center. This means that he should have exactly zero issues making all of the point blank shots that usually get thrown at centers. He’s also 6’4, meaning his elbows are of much less risk than anyone else -he should be beasting. Maybe not picking up a double-double, but still not having nearly the scoring issues he is.

If he could start actually being productive at center, maybe Riley Carel could start lobbing inside and not being subjected to feeling like he needs to take a bunch of crappy shots. No clue what to make of his still poor shot selection, but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result. For the first portion of the season there’ve been accusations that Riley doesn’t look enough at what’s in front of him. He had some good games where he was assisting, but the number of shots he took was still ridiculous.

Now, he clearly feels he doesn’t have many other good options in those situations and that could very well be the case; hence why we’re now addressing the Ryan Rogers issue. If Riley could know that he could rely on Ryan to make all of those high percentage shots, how good does that make Riley? If he actually had non-dismal center play. And this isn’t a knock on Brent -Brent’s an 18-year-old kid that’s inevitably still growing into his body and has been impressive for a freshman.

But Ryan Rogers has grown into his body. It doesn’t matter that he’s usually a wing: again, the center position isn’t complicated. He should be able to make the switch pretty seamlessly and considering regardless of anything else he’s long had one of the higher BMIs on the team -it should’ve been going on in practice anyway.

Jon Brockman played center on the Pac-10 level at 6’7/240; guards in the Pac-10 are usually right around 6’5/200. It’s perfectly normal for a 6’4/220lb guy to play center in a conference where the guards are usually within a couple inches of 6’0 and tend to sit right around 175 weight wise.

Yeah, we have our classic centers; Cory and Mac being the most obvious ones -they’re big dudes, heavy, all that jazz, but if you think about GNAC play — you see more of the PF hybrid and thus lighter and lankier guys, giving more room in the middle. As noted before: Our forwards dominate our rebounding numbers; part of this is because of the foul implications, part of it is injury implications, part of it is that centers usually have more D1 options because you can’t teach someone to be 6’8 and weigh 240lbs, but the other part of it is that it means the position is wide open. You get a 6’2 beef cake guy to clog the paint, they can feasibly work as a center -there’s actually no more real risk of a block than if they were a guard because they’re able to plant themselves and stay put. That’s the real trick.

So what Ryan is going to do is the question. He needs to commit and do so now, he needs to be some much needed help for Riley -SMU has some talented young guys, but the vets really need to step it up. They’re not as a bad of a team as they’re pretending to be and as such: they need to stop letting down anyone that truly cares about SMU basketball (which admittedly, there are very few of us) but particularly their own teammates notably Trey, Brent, and Tyler.

That concludes our foray into the realms of basketball, Yahtzee, Quidditch, Pokemon, and how elders should respect their youths.

Tomorrow we’ll preview the WWU @ CWU game and look at some of the wider implications of what the latest bit of conference play said in context of ourselves and our other two west region counterparts.


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