Thoroughly Forgettable Game
Tonight's game against UCSB was a disappointing, lethargic, lackadaisical effort by the Bears. Cobbs and Crabbe were pretty much AWOL from a scoring standpoint, Smith was virtually a non-factor as usual, and Solomon looked lost again. Wallace and Thurman were about the only positives in this game, and Kreklow looked good in limited minutes (although his foot was obviously bothering him). The Bears should have handled UCSB by 25 points, not 9. If we can't get out of the current funk, I don't expect that we'll win many Pac-12 games this season. Very disappointing.
Last edited by Golden One; 12-18-2012 at 10:46 PM.
True Blue Golden Bear
a win is a win
Looked like Cal couldn't get up for this game after 3 'big' games in a row. but we got the W so that attitude didn't cost us.
The good news is Ricky got some PT. He still needs to get in game shape and become comfortable in the system (and the other players need to get comfortable playing with him).
More good news is "CB" got some real minutes (12) against a real opponent and scored, got 4 rebounds and a steal.
Still more good news is Ty again did everything but shoot well (double-double)
However I do agree with you post. Just saying it wasn't all bad...
Originally Posted by Golden One
‘I don’t need easy, I need possible.’ Jorge Gutierrez
I agree, HD. Monty had the opportunity to experiment with the players he thinks he could possibly use in more difficult games. And see different combos.
Originally Posted by HoopDreams
Also, we saw Tyrone starting instead of Brandon. That brought a smile to my face.
A stronger overall performance would have been great, but ...
The refs weren't calling much and I thought UCSB adjusted to that way better than we did. They seemed more aggressive at both ends.
I think only Smith played good on-ball defense, fighting through screens and staying close to his man. Everyone else seemed a step slow, which allowed UCSB to get their shots off. They hit a lot more threes (13) than twos (9), so if we had played harder on perimeter defense we could have really shut them down.
Wallace started and was again hustling all over the floor and ended up with 10 boards and 4 assists. Thurman saved us inside with his ability to muscle in shots, and Kravish scored some on finesse.
It was good to see Behrens get significant minutes. He has some quickness but could work on improving his hands. Kreklow made some pretty passes and ended up with 6 assists in 18 minutes.
I like our improvement in depth, but I'd rather see it come from better play by the subs than from worse play by the starters.
Really was disappointed with body language of a couple of our starters. Obviously seemed to be going through the motions with no energy. Need to pick it up a couple notches or more to have any hope against better teams in our conference.
Plus starting bigs were terrible. Thurman played well, but Solomon and Kravish were very disappointing. UCSB had only one strong post player -- we are going to be in trouble against teams like Colorado and Arizona with stronger front lines.
Near the start of the PacXII season was about the time I figured Wallace would supplant Smith as both Cobbs' backup at PG, as well as be a contributer sliding over to SG. Monty has done a good job bringing Wallace along to be a key member of the guard rotation.
Honestly, I was waiting for the transition to happen, given the team had better results with Smith not playing--even when he was starting games. Perhaps it harkens back to Smith not playing well coming off the bench in previous seasons post-concussion, and Monty wanted to make sure his confidence was good if he became a starter once again.
Originally Posted by puget sound cal fan
But pulling the plug on that tactic became clearer with the passing of each game this season. I'm puzzled by Smith's erratic play, given he comes from a high school that values basketball IQ as well as work ethic--and defense. Because while Smith isn't tall or super quick or athletic for his size (think Nate Robinson or Randle), you would think he could make up for it with being more cerebral, but he ends up rushing up the court and making some real bone-headed plays, dribbling into traffic or getting caught in the air and throwing the ball away as a result. Just fundamental things like a jump stop has left his repertoire, and as a point guard, you gotta bring stability to the lineup.
He does bring a certain toughness and work ethic--and speed, but not much in terms of productivity, so his role should have been as a glue guy, but that wasn't evident. I'm firmly convinced it has some connection to his concussion, but I'm sure people hear 100% recovery and assume all is well. Sometimes it is not--I've seen personalities change permanently, and they're only finding out now the long-term consequences, but really believe the short- and mid-term repercussions shouldn't always be dismissed.
In any case, Wallace shows a good overall game, assisted by his athleticism and length. He is everything Smith isn't, altho both can be turnovers-in-waiting.
Could be that while we call it "Basketball IQ" it has nearly nothing to do with IQ or coming from a "ceberal" high school or any of that stuff.
Originally Posted by dakyne
Near as I can see it is the ability to think spatially and predict, with high probability, where 9 other players will be some 2-3 seconds later. I honestly think that is a function much less of "thinking" than it is playing over and over and over again with players of THIS level.
Maybe that is Brandon's "problem" - that absent a huge number of games at the elite HS level he is just unable to adjust to the fact that the weakside help can come so quick to help out...or the wing really CAN close 8 feet to pick off the pass from the high post. And when he starts to "think" these errors magnifiy and other things break down.
But hey - Modern basketball is all about me and not "team", Leon Powe Sucks, and if we would just play like Newell's teams did everything would be OK. A special call out by that other poster to the ball fake and running the weave.
As John Wooden would say, "Never mistake activity for achievement."
Originally Posted by dakyne
I think Smith just has limited athletic ability. It is what it is: He's fifty times better than I ever was and he's a good Golden Bear.
Originally Posted by socaltownie
Agree. It was a memorable game for me as I had the opportunity to sit two rows behind the Cal bench.
Originally Posted by BearlyLegal
Body language from Solomon, Cobbs, and Crabbe (the latter two in particular) was horrible. Moping around and not looking at their teammates. Crabbe was half asleep whenever he entered the game. Cobbs was either moping, silent, or irritated with his teammates/coaches/opposing players/refs and still hasn't learned his lesson about talking to opposing players right in front of an official. Crabbe was lucky he didn't get a T at the end of the game after he swatted a dead ball away. They don't get a call and continue to whine or give up on plays. Last night basketball seemed like a chore to them.
Replacing Jorge and Harper's leadership was a huge question going into the season -- those guys were so good at holding teammates accountable for their effort and performance. While I think Cal can improve in many aspects -- depth, rebounding, halfcourt defense, post play, shot selection -- the lack of leadership is very troubling, both for this year and next if Cobbs and Crabbe return.
True Blue Golden Bear
17 assists and shutting down the opponent’s best player weren’t too shabby. If UCSB didn't hit almost half of their plethora of 3-pointers (most of them contested) in the second half it would have been a 25-point win. This despite Crabbe not showing up.
Agreed completely actually. In essence, basketball IQ does not necessarily = high IQ. Otherwise, Einstein would have been one of the greatest basketball players the world has ever known. There are many traits in defining basketball IQ, one of which is anticipation, which you thoroughly described. Look at Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, some of the highest basketball IQ players ever. Neither could jump high or run fast. Hell, the way they walked looked painful--I wouldn't call either "graceful" athletes. But boy did they have anticipatory skills--and eye-hand coordination.
Originally Posted by socaltownie
I think Kreklow brings that to Cal. I would have thought Smith brought those intrinsic/trained qualities too. Apparently not. No doubt he's a tough kid, and a Cal player told me he is super fast and has unbelievable endurance (runs a 4-something mile). But alas, college basketball isn't a track meet.
A good parallel is the transition from college football to the NFL when it comes to closing speed. For instance, Desmond Howard, everybody's Heisman winner, was an unbelievable receiver at Michigan. However, as an NFL wide out, and despite being a good kick returner, Howard was terrible. Why? Early on in training camp before his rookie season, there were alarming reports that he couldn't get separation against bigger, faster, and more athletic defensive backs. Turns out those assessments were prescient.
Wow, that's a pretty honest assessment. Let me give some anecdotal evidence. Trust me when I say there were more than a few NBA scouts there last nite. Last year, UCSB had 3 players NBA scouts and GM's were looking at, including Mitch Kupchak and Jerry West. In games against UNLV, SDSU, Cal, and Washington, there were sometimes 20 scouts at our games. OJ is in the NBA, Nunnally in the D-League and Somogyi was the last player cut from the final Lakers roster this past fall, believe it or not.
Originally Posted by smokeyrover
And Cobbs and Crabbe are definitely on their watch list. Given that scenario, Crabbe is losing millions of dollars with his body language, attitude, and play. He's a smart kid--he should realize that loafing on defense won't get you into the NBA. Because if you don't defend against Kobe, LeBron, and Kevin Durant on consecutive nights, you will get embarrassed and they'll score 50 points on you--each. In other words, the slogan that NBA players don't play defense, and all they need to do is score points--is a myth.
In other words, big-timing opponents, refs, and your own teammates won't get you very far with NBA GM's. I've seen it personally happen to a very promising player who could have played out of the high school, but he was black-listed by one Lenny Wilkens, who by every account, is a true gentleman. The kid just didn't know who he was dealing with. In other words, it's a closed loop and word gets out very fast.
Crabbe is potentially a great shooter--and scorer. He's a shooter who isn't afraid to put it on the floor, which is rare in an era of catch-and-shoot specialists. I hope he realizes what gifts he has and doesn't squander them away.
I'm not saying that their effort was substandard, though in a few isolated instances their heads didn't appear to be in the game.
Originally Posted by dakyne
Just that the body language and leadership were lacking.
If I were a scout it would certainly raise flags (btw Bob Myers was one of those scouts at the Creighton game). That said, if they aren't going to be asked/expected to be leaders on an NBA team, then it might not be a strike against them. Some guys are fine teammates being role/supporting players and asking them to become leaders just isn't in their nature.
Maybe it was just a severe hangover from the 3-game losing streak and finals -- I hope so.