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Thread: What's up with Richard Solomon?

  1. #1
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    What's up with Richard Solomon?

    We have to be pleased with Richard Solomonís play the last couple of games, especially on offense. And his rebounding is picking up. But it is his defense that is now worrisome. Perhaps it has to do with the emphasis the coaches are putting on not allowing offensive rebounds, but it is a problem.

    Where are the shot blocks? Solomon, who is the Bearsí premier shot blocker, has only 7 blocks in 11 games. Last year, Solomon had 16 blocks in 13 games, and in 2011, he had 27 blocks for the season.

    Solomon is well behind his shot-blocking pace of the last two seasons, blocking only half as many shots on a per minute basis this year as during his first two seasons.

    Right now, Solomon is the #3 shot blocker on this team, behind David Kravish with 14, and Robert Thurman with 8. He is barely ahead of Alan Crabbe, who has 6.

    It is really important for Solomon to get at least a block or two in every game, to put some fear into opponents thinking about driving into the paint, and make the opposing center think twice about shooting.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by SFCityBear View Post
    We have to be pleased with Richard Solomonís play the last couple of games, especially on offense. And his rebounding is picking up. But it is his defense that is now worrisome. Perhaps it has to do with the emphasis the coaches are putting on not allowing offensive rebounds, but it is a problem.

    Where are the shot blocks? Solomon, who is the Bearsí premier shot blocker, has only 7 blocks in 11 games. Last year, Solomon had 16 blocks in 13 games, and in 2011, he had 27 blocks for the season.

    Solomon is well behind his shot-blocking pace of the last two seasons, blocking only half as many shots on a per minute basis this year as during his first two seasons.

    Right now, Solomon is the #3 shot blocker on this team, behind David Kravish with 14, and Robert Thurman with 8. He is barely ahead of Alan Crabbe, who has 6.

    It is really important for Solomon to get at least a block or two in every game, to put some fear into opponents thinking about driving into the paint, and make the opposing center think twice about shooting.
    I didn't see much of the first half but some of this looks like it might be intentional with Kravish getting blocks on the weak side rotation. I really wouldn't read into it THAT much. We know Richard isn't a great post defender against big guys. He has decent quicks against guys that penetrate.

    (and if I am right that this is by design rather than effort it would make sense that he had more blocks last year as He was playing the offside role that Kravish is with Kamp playing the role he did).

  3. #3

    Exactly

    Quote Originally Posted by socaltownie View Post
    I didn't see much of the first half but some of this looks like it might be intentional with Kravish getting blocks on the weak side rotation. I really wouldn't read into it THAT much. We know Richard isn't a great post defender against big guys. He has decent quicks against guys that penetrate.

    (and if I am right that this is by design rather than effort it would make sense that he had more blocks last year as He was playing the offside role that Kravish is with Kamp playing the role he did).
    Solomon is being asked to play the teams biggest and best post offensive player. That frees up the other bigs to become weak side shot blockers. Also, Monty has really worked on him to keep his feet and use his size instead of looking to block shots. If Richard played alongside Thurman more often and Thurman took the 5 on the other team, you would see his shot blocking get better.

  4. #4
    I'll take a defensive rebound over a blocked or attempted blocked shot that leads to an offensive second-chance any day. Call opponents are shooting only .426 inside the arc, but have put up 52 more shots!
    Last edited by Civil Bear; 12-23-2012 at 11:38 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by socaltownie View Post
    I didn't see much of the first half but some of this looks like it might be intentional with Kravish getting blocks on the weak side rotation. I really wouldn't read into it THAT much. We know Richard isn't a great post defender against big guys. He has decent quicks against guys that penetrate.

    (and if I am right that this is by design rather than effort it would make sense that he had more blocks last year as He was playing the offside role that Kravish is with Kamp playing the role he did).
    Iím not understanding your explanation. Last year both Solomon and Kravish primarily played the 5. Kravish got just as many blocks per minute last year playing the 5 (in fact he got little more), as he is getting this year playing the 4. Have we changed defensive strategy so much that the 5 is no longer responsible for being a shot-blocking presence in the middle?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalHoopFan View Post
    Solomon is being asked to play the teams biggest and best post offensive player. That frees up the other bigs to become weak side shot blockers. Also, Monty has really worked on him to keep his feet and use his size instead of looking to block shots. If Richard played alongside Thurman more often and Thurman took the 5 on the other team, you would see his shot blocking get better.
    I agree that having to guard a dominant big man would hinder your ability to block shots in the paint. Aside from our three losses, Solomon has not had to guard very dominant big men. And Solomon is not always guarding the other teamís best post player, because some of the time we are playing zone. We are playing more zone this year, because in earlier games, our defense wasnít able to stop big men in the paint, and wasnít able to stop penetration into the paint.

    Is this really true, that Montgomery ďworked on him (Solomon)Ö.to use his size, and not look to block shotsĒ? It sounds out of character for Montgomery, to not utilize the talents that a player already has, and put him in position to make plays using those skills. That is Montyís long time philosophy.

    Solomon is our best shot blocker, although not the most effective, because he does not control the ball with the block like Kravish does. Did you see the play yesterday, where Kravish blocked a shot, grabbed the ball, and passed way down the floor to a teammate who finished a fast break? It was a good Bill Russell imitation. Even Thurman is learning to control the ball with the block, and had a nice block yesterday, where he got possession of the ball.

  7. #7
    I am continued to be amazed with Kravish's shot blocking. He looks to become one of Cal's alltime shot blockers.

    But he doesn't do it with the monster swat that requires him to jump high and swing at the ball. Not only is jumping bad for defense (a defender up in the air can't move) but it often results in a foul and puts the defender in poor rebounding position (as Civil points out)

    I think Monty has coaches Solo to go after the block less often. Rather Monty instructs him to use his height to make the shot more difficult, block out, and limit fouls

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SFCityBear View Post
    Iím not understanding your explanation. Last year both Solomon and Kravish primarily played the 5. Kravish got just as many blocks per minute last year playing the 5 (in fact he got little more), as he is getting this year playing the 4. Have we changed defensive strategy so much that the 5 is no longer responsible for being a shot-blocking presence in the middle?
    Not defensively. Kamp usually played the main post threat. Solo (until suspended) and Kravish played the other post player and provided weak side help on the rotation. That is the position that usually gets blocks because you are coming over to swat a guy penetrating. The strong side post defender STAYS with his man for as long as possible to both deny the drop off and establish position for the rebound.

    Seriously, these criticisms based upon stat sheets are getting old and tiresome. I could care less about solo's blocks. What I want to see is him shut down post threats. So far so so. UCLA will be his next big test.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HoopDreams View Post
    I am continued to be amazed with Kravish's shot blocking. He looks to become one of Cal's alltime shot blockers.

    But he doesn't do it with the monster swat that requires him to jump high and swing at the ball. Not only is jumping bad for defense (a defender up in the air can't move) but it often results in a foul and puts the defender in poor rebounding position (as Civil points out)

    I think Monty has coaches Solo to go after the block less often. Rather Monty instructs him to use his height to make the shot more difficult, block out, and limit fouls
    I agree with all you wrote. Solomon has a lot on his plate. He is being asked to guard the best post, rebound, stop the other team from getting so many offensive rebounds, protect the paint. Offensively, he is being asked to score now, and to finish around the basket, without losing the ball. He is probably concerned about missing free throws. And he is being asked to watch his fouls and his emotions, to keep himself on the floor.

    Asking him to block a lot of shots would be too much. He only plays barely half a game now, but I donít think it is too much to get one or two blocks a game. He should be able to do that without sacrificing much of his other responsibilities. It is not a thing you plan to do. It is just choosing the best opportunity for blocking a shot and reacting to it, and let the other shots go.

  10. #10
    In the spirit of the holidays, I'd like to think we can all agree that Richard is s still developing, but incomplete, player at this point. I'd rather talk about the current trend in his development than pick on things he doesn't currently do or things that are still progressing. The post by HD does a great job of starting that conversation IMO....

  11. #11
    I'd rather have Solomon get points and boards and let Kravish do "mop duty", hustle work and D.

    *IF* Solo can get/average 12 pts and 9 rebs (basically a double-double) a game that would be huge for Cal. I know that's a big load but if I'm Monty that's what I'd tell him.

  12. #12

    What's your agenda/world view here?

    Quote Originally Posted by SFCityBear View Post
    I agree that having to guard a dominant big man would hinder your ability to block shots in the paint. Aside from our three losses, Solomon has not had to guard very dominant big men. And Solomon is not always guarding the other teamís best post player, because some of the time we are playing zone. We are playing more zone this year, because in earlier games, our defense wasnít able to stop big men in the paint, and wasnít able to stop penetration into the paint.

    Is this really true, that Montgomery ďworked on him (Solomon)Ö.to use his size, and not look to block shotsĒ? It sounds out of character for Montgomery, to not utilize the talents that a player already has, and put him in position to make plays using those skills. That is Montyís long time philosophy.

    Solomon is our best shot blocker, although not the most effective, because he does not control the ball with the block like Kravish does. Did you see the play yesterday, where Kravish blocked a shot, grabbed the ball, and passed way down the floor to a teammate who finished a fast break? It was a good Bill Russell imitation. Even Thurman is learning to control the ball with the block, and had a nice block yesterday, where he got possession of the ball.
    You remind me of the folks who sit next to me at Haas. They love David Kravish and absolutely can't stand Solomon. Kravish has superior fundamentals and plays smarter basketball than Richard. That's clear but that's far from the whole story.

    Solomon is right now IMO a better defensive player, a better rebounder and a better offensive player than Kravish despite the shortcomings a lot of short white guys who believe if only they were 6'9" instead of 5'10" they would be in the NBA, believe.

    And on the list of things Solomon needs to improve on to help the team, shot blocking is down the list for me. I'd like to see him first and foremost work on his ability to finish inside. He needs to go stronger and more aggressively go to the hoop inside the paint.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalHoopFan View Post
    You remind me of the folks who sit next to me at Haas. They love David Kravish and absolutely can't stand Solomon. Kravish has superior fundamentals and plays smarter basketball than Richard. That's clear but that's far from the whole story.

    Solomon is right now IMO a better defensive player, a better rebounder and a better offensive player than Kravish despite the shortcomings a lot of short white guys who believe if only they were 6'9" instead of 5'10" they would be in the NBA, believe.

    And on the list of things Solomon needs to improve on to help the team, shot blocking is down the list for me. I'd like to see him first and foremost work on his ability to finish inside. He needs to go stronger and more aggressively go to the hoop inside the paint.
    What is my agenda/world view? What is yours? Racial stereotypes?

    My agenda, if I have one, is to try and be honest about what I see on the floor, with no bias. My world view: I am still working on it. Iíll let you know.

    If you are saying that I love Kravish and canít stand Solomon, then you should go back and read all my posts on both of these players. I have praised both for certain things and criticized both for certain things. I complimented Kravish for his shot block in the last game. But I also pointed out that Kravish blew the play on the airball at the end of the UNLV game, by losing his man completely, and not blocking out. On that same play, Solomon did EXACTLY the right thing, by blocking Bennett completely off the board, so he had no chance to get that rebound. I also complimented Solomon for saying it was all his fault, in order to comfort Kravish and shield him from blame.

    My assessment comparing the two is that Solomon is stronger physically, can jump higher, and may have more potential. Kravish seems to have better fundamentals and instincts. Both of them need to improve offensively. They are both decent rebounders, but Kravish this year is rebounding better than Solomon. Solomon is the better defender, but Kravish is the more effective shot blocker. Solomon seems to have improved in all areas over last year much more that Kravish has done, except perhaps in rebounding. Both of these guys need to learn how to finish better, and to shoot fouls. Solomon has made a big improvement in attitude and maturity.

    I donít care nearly as much about offense as I do about defense, especially with this team. This team loses games not because they canít score enough, but because they arenít defending well. That includes giving up offensive rebounds. They also commit way too many turnovers.

    You have also made a derogatory statement about short white people, which has some ugly implications. Kindly keep your prejudices about a personís height and your racist implications to yourself. Racism especially has no place on the Bear Insider. Or anywhere else, for that matter.

  14. #14
    +1

    Good post, SFCityBear.

    It is not racism to be frustrated with some of Richard's weaknesses, one of which has not been raised in recent discussion. That is his vulnerability to losing the ball to a swipe by not staying high with it. That is a concern going into conference games, where all opponents will be familiar with him.

    At the same time, he clearly is making some hugely impressive progress, particularly with his offensive moves. And at times at the free throw line.

    He is a major key to our season and has given us reason for cautious optimism.

    Kravish does some wonderful things at both ends of the court, but needs to play tougher and shoot better.

    Our entire team is a work in progress, more so than last year's. As Monty put it, with continual improvement we can contend for the top of the conference. But right now we are middle of the pack.

    Our other bigs, Thurman and probably Behrens, are also a key going forward. They have to hold their own for our team to be good in conference.

    Go Bears!

  15. #15
    Meh, never mind.

    Last edited by Civil Bear; 12-24-2012 at 08:11 AM.

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