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Cal Basketball

Cal Hoops Player Review: Lars Thiemann

May 24, 2021
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If you’re looking for a glimmer of positivity from Cal’s men’s hoops 2020-2021 season, sophomore center Lars Thiemann provides just that. Yes, his scoring output basically stayed the same (3 points per game last season to 2.9 this year). And Thiemann still shot right about 50% from the free-throw line. But the seven-foot center from Germany took a step (albeit a small one) forward.

Year Games %Min ORtg %Poss %Shots
2021 27 31.50% 91.3 14.30% 9.70%
2020 32 35.60% 86.2 14.50% 11.40%

During his two years at Cal, Thiemann has played in all but one game (he missed the home win against San Francisco this season). This season, Thiemann saw his minutes per game drop by about one and a half minutes, but he still averaged 13 minutes per game. His usage rates went down, but only slightly. Still, that drop in usage — especially shot% — likely helped Thiemann increase his offensive efficiency by about five points. That’s pretty solid.

Year eFG% TS% FT% 2P% 3P%
2021 57.80% 56.20% 50.00% 57.80% N/A
2020 55.90% 54.90% 48.70% 55.90% N/A

Again, Thiemann made increases (albeit small ones) in all shooting percentage categories. Thiemann seemed to let the game and the ball come to him a bit more this season compared to his freshman campaign when he had a tendency to force the issue a bit too much. 

Year OR% DR% ARate TORate Blk% Stl% FC/40 FD/40 FTRate
2021 7.60% 19.60% 4.1 27.7 3.10% 1.00% 5.1 3.6 88.9
2020 6.50% 12.40% 1.9 29.2 3.60% 0.80% 6.5 3.1 57.4

Thiemann’s rebounding rates increased on both the offensive and defensive side of the court. Overall, his average rebounds per game climbed from 2.2 as a freshman to 2.8 last season. His assist rate increased while his turnover rate decreased (again, slightly). And, perhaps more importantly, Thiemann dropped his fouls committed per 40 minutes rate while increasing his fouls drawn per 40 minutes rate. Thiemann’s ability to be a decent defender with relatively minimal fouling continues to earn him playing time over his sophomore frontcourt counterpart, D.J. Thorpe.

Production from Thiemann or Thorpe or both is an important piece to Cal taking a step forward and up the league standings next season. It’s common for the junior season to be the breakout one for frontcourt college players. With Andre Kelly returning, Cal doesn’t necessarily need Thiemann to have a “breakout” season (although it would be nice). But if you could get closer to 15 or 20 minutes a game out of Thiemann with an average of seven points and five rebounds each game, that’d win Cal more games than if we get another slight increase season out of Thiemann.

Getting close to those levels should be the goal for Thiemann’s junior season. That, and improving those free throw percentages.

Cal Hoops Player Season Reviews:

D.J. Thorpe

Kuany Kuany

Jalen Celestine

Monty Bowser

Discussion from...

Cal Hoops Player Review: Lars Thiemann

1,978 Views | 12 Replies | Last: 4 mo ago by calumnus
Jeff82
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IMHO, Lars' biggest problem is that his footwork is poor, which limits his ability as a defender. He overcommits when there's a drive, and then can't get back to his man to avoid being burned by the interior pass.

Frankly, one of the biggest losses in Monty's retirement was his ability, or his staffs' to develop big men, including Boykin, Kravish, Hardin and the kid from Arizona whose name escapes me. They were all players who were able to develop their athletic skills, which had limits, by learning good technique. Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.
stu
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.. said:

... Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.
Maybe he should run a summer camp for big men.
calumnus
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Jeff82 said:

IMHO, Lars' biggest problem is that his footwork is poor, which limits his ability as a defender. He overcommits when there's a drive, and then can't get back to his man to avoid being burned by the interior pass.

Frankly, one of the biggest losses in Monty's retirement was his ability, or his staffs' to develop big men, including Boykin, Kravish, Hardin and the kid from Arizona whose name escapes me. They were all players who were able to develop their athletic skills, which had limits, by learning good technique. Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.


Unfortunately Hardin didn't play for Monty.

But you are thinking of Harper Kamp. Another example is Thurman and probably the most underrated player on this board, Richard Solomon.

Did Jay John work with the big men?

Monty had a lot of success developing effective big men at Stanford.
Big C
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calumnus said:

Jeff82 said:

IMHO, Lars' biggest problem is that his footwork is poor, which limits his ability as a defender. He overcommits when there's a drive, and then can't get back to his man to avoid being burned by the interior pass.

Frankly, one of the biggest losses in Monty's retirement was his ability, or his staffs' to develop big men, including Boykin, Kravish, Hardin and the kid from Arizona whose name escapes me. They were all players who were able to develop their athletic skills, which had limits, by learning good technique. Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.


Unfortunately Hardin didn't play for Monty.

But you are thinking of Harper Kamp. Another example is Thurman and probably the most underrated player on this board, Richard Solomon.

Did Jay John work with the big men?

Monty had a lot of success developing effective big men at Stanford.

Unfortunately, indeed. Rod Benson, too..

What I don't get is, WE all know about this "developing big men" stuff. Heck, I can rattle off some jargon... footwork... Pete Newell... drop step... drills... etc. and I am readily willing to admit that a Mark Fox or a Ben Braun knows just a tad more about the game of basketball than I do...

So where's all the off-season big man development? Does it simply not happen? Or does it happen, but less effectively? Inquiring minds want to know!
bearister
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The late Mark McNamara, a Bear and Bronco, was a respected instructor of Bigs.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Mark McNamara / A Bear and a wolf / Ex-Cal star skis -- and camps with unusual pet


https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/WHERE-ARE-THEY-NOW-Mark-McNamara-A-Bear-and-a-2803484.php
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.sfgate.com/sports/amp/WHERE-ARE-THEY-NOW-Mark-McNamara-A-Bear-and-a-2803484.php

Haines filmmaker and former NBA star Mark McNamara dies at 60 - Alaska Public Media


https://www.alaskapublic.org/2020/05/03/haines-filmmaker-and-former-nba-star-mark-mcnamara-dies-at-60/

Mark McNamara - RIP | Bear Insider


https://bearinsider.com/forums/3/topics/95451
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SFCityBear
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Big C said:

calumnus said:

Jeff82 said:

IMHO, Lars' biggest problem is that his footwork is poor, which limits his ability as a defender. He overcommits when there's a drive, and then can't get back to his man to avoid being burned by the interior pass.

Frankly, one of the biggest losses in Monty's retirement was his ability, or his staffs' to develop big men, including Boykin, Kravish, Hardin and the kid from Arizona whose name escapes me. They were all players who were able to develop their athletic skills, which had limits, by learning good technique. Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.


Unfortunately Hardin didn't play for Monty.

But you are thinking of Harper Kamp. Another example is Thurman and probably the most underrated player on this board, Richard Solomon.

Did Jay John work with the big men?

Monty had a lot of success developing effective big men at Stanford.

Unfortunately, indeed. Rod Benson, too..

What I don't get is, WE all know about this "developing big men" stuff. Heck, I can rattle off some jargon... footwork... Pete Newell... drop step... drills... etc. and I am readily willing to admit that a Mark Fox or a Ben Braun knows just a tad more about the game of basketball than I do...

So where's all the off-season big man development? Does it simply not happen? Or does it happen, but less effectively? Inquiring minds want to know!
Fox really had only one full off-season, where he had first seen all his players perform in actual games prior to that off-season, and that off-season coincided with Covid being in full swing. How much were they were allowed to practice, or even coach individuals or have team meetings in that off-season?
SFCityBear
Big C
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SFCityBear said:

Big C said:

calumnus said:

Jeff82 said:

IMHO, Lars' biggest problem is that his footwork is poor, which limits his ability as a defender. He overcommits when there's a drive, and then can't get back to his man to avoid being burned by the interior pass.

Frankly, one of the biggest losses in Monty's retirement was his ability, or his staffs' to develop big men, including Boykin, Kravish, Hardin and the kid from Arizona whose name escapes me. They were all players who were able to develop their athletic skills, which had limits, by learning good technique. Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.


Unfortunately Hardin didn't play for Monty.

But you are thinking of Harper Kamp. Another example is Thurman and probably the most underrated player on this board, Richard Solomon.

Did Jay John work with the big men?

Monty had a lot of success developing effective big men at Stanford.

Unfortunately, indeed. Rod Benson, too..

What I don't get is, WE all know about this "developing big men" stuff. Heck, I can rattle off some jargon... footwork... Pete Newell... drop step... drills... etc. and I am readily willing to admit that a Mark Fox or a Ben Braun knows just a tad more about the game of basketball than I do...

So where's all the off-season big man development? Does it simply not happen? Or does it happen, but less effectively? Inquiring minds want to know!
Fox really had only one full off-season, where he had first seen all his players perform in actual games prior to that off-season, and that off-season coincided with Covid being in full swing. How much were they were allowed to practice, or even coach individuals or have team meetings in that off-season?

A year ago, they weren't able to do jack squat, which is why I say, with all these guys returning, this is Fox's chance to show!
BeachedBear
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Big C said:

calumnus said:

Jeff82 said:

IMHO, Lars' biggest problem is that his footwork is poor, which limits his ability as a defender. He overcommits when there's a drive, and then can't get back to his man to avoid being burned by the interior pass.

Frankly, one of the biggest losses in Monty's retirement was his ability, or his staffs' to develop big men, including Boykin, Kravish, Hardin and the kid from Arizona whose name escapes me. They were all players who were able to develop their athletic skills, which had limits, by learning good technique. Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.


Unfortunately Hardin didn't play for Monty.

But you are thinking of Harper Kamp. Another example is Thurman and probably the most underrated player on this board, Richard Solomon.

Did Jay John work with the big men?

Monty had a lot of success developing effective big men at Stanford.

Unfortunately, indeed. Rod Benson, too..

What I don't get is, WE all know about this "developing big men" stuff. Heck, I can rattle off some jargon... footwork... Pete Newell... drop step... drills... etc. and I am readily willing to admit that a Mark Fox or a Ben Braun knows just a tad more about the game of basketball than I do...

So where's all the off-season big man development? Does it simply not happen? Or does it happen, but less effectively? Inquiring minds want to know!
The Pete Newell big man camp was unique and even declined while he was still alive, but too old to run it. However, I think the the biggest issue over the last 10 - 20 years is how the game has changed and more importantly how the players perceive the change in the game.

That is, the 'traditional' big man game is not used or appreciated as much as it was in the past. It starts with the NBA and filters itself down to young players emulating their stars. Compare Shaq Oneal to Dwight Howard to Anthony Davis.

Shaq was a big piece of humanity that used strength and size to dominate the paint and rarely moved out of the key (too bad he couldn't shoot free throws). Then look at Dwight Howard who had proto typical big man size and athleticism, but the game had morphed from inside-outside to starting the focus on a rim protector and rebounder (which he did well). Now look at Davis. He grew up as a point guard, but shot up in height later and played inside, but retained many of his guard skills.

Anyway, from my experience coaching kids during that time - it was near impossible to get 'big' kids to practice Mikan drills, footwork and proper blocking technique - They all wanted to shoot threes and dribble between their legs (which is great on the perimeter - not so much in the paint).
oskidunker
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I still think Kuani has the most potential of the Big men. He needs to play more so he is not always thinking about each move.
bearister
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oskidunker said:

I still think Kuani has the most potential of the Big men. He needs to play more so he is not always thinking about each move.


Super quick move to the hoop that leaves most defenders holding their jocks (if there still is such a thing).
Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the House of Detention
I got some friends inside
Big C
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BeachedBear said:

Big C said:

calumnus said:

Jeff82 said:

IMHO, Lars' biggest problem is that his footwork is poor, which limits his ability as a defender. He overcommits when there's a drive, and then can't get back to his man to avoid being burned by the interior pass.

Frankly, one of the biggest losses in Monty's retirement was his ability, or his staffs' to develop big men, including Boykin, Kravish, Hardin and the kid from Arizona whose name escapes me. They were all players who were able to develop their athletic skills, which had limits, by learning good technique. Monty was great at coaching big men, and we've lost that since he left.


Unfortunately Hardin didn't play for Monty.

But you are thinking of Harper Kamp. Another example is Thurman and probably the most underrated player on this board, Richard Solomon.

Did Jay John work with the big men?

Monty had a lot of success developing effective big men at Stanford.

Unfortunately, indeed. Rod Benson, too..

What I don't get is, WE all know about this "developing big men" stuff. Heck, I can rattle off some jargon... footwork... Pete Newell... drop step... drills... etc. and I am readily willing to admit that a Mark Fox or a Ben Braun knows just a tad more about the game of basketball than I do...

So where's all the off-season big man development? Does it simply not happen? Or does it happen, but less effectively? Inquiring minds want to know!
The Pete Newell big man camp was unique and even declined while he was still alive, but too old to run it. However, I think the the biggest issue over the last 10 - 20 years is how the game has changed and more importantly how the players perceive the change in the game.

That is, the 'traditional' big man game is not used or appreciated as much as it was in the past. It starts with the NBA and filters itself down to young players emulating their stars. Compare Shaq Oneal to Dwight Howard to Anthony Davis.

Shaq was a big piece of humanity that used strength and size to dominate the paint and rarely moved out of the key (too bad he couldn't shoot free throws). Then look at Dwight Howard who had proto typical big man size and athleticism, but the game had morphed from inside-outside to starting the focus on a rim protector and rebounder (which he did well). Now look at Davis. He grew up as a point guard, but shot up in height later and played inside, but retained many of his guard skills.

Anyway, from my experience coaching kids during that time - it was near impossible to get 'big' kids to practice Mikan drills, footwork and proper blocking technique - They all wanted to shoot threes and dribble between their legs (which is great on the perimeter - not so much in the paint).

That's a really good point. I will add, however, an anecdote that is based strictly on memory: I read an article about Pete Newell's Big Man Camp when it was very well established. One of its big proponents, to the point that he had become a participant/leader was Kiki Vandeweghe, who credited it with improving his facing-the-basket footwork, as a small forward. So it was more than just post-up stuff.
calumnus
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In his nine years at Georgia he has one pretty good example of a big(ish) man developing: Yante Maten, a 6'7" undersized power forward/center that came in as the #211 recruit and improved every year, tested the draft waters after his junior year, came back and was named SEC POY as a senior. He went undrafted and has been playing in the G League. In the pros he is a small forward. A successful undersized center generally has to have good fundamentals.

This article following a blowout loss to Vanderbilt sounded familiar:
https://uga.rivals.com/news/column-after-loss-to-vanderbilt-is-fox-running-out-of-time-

Here is another article involving another loss to Vanderbilt and Fox's use of 6'9" 250 lb center Derek Ogbeide:
https://www.onlineathens.com/article/20160220/SPORTS/302209974

Ogbeide actually got WORSE in several categories during 4 years under Fox.
His rebounds per 100 possessions:
Fr 20.2
So 18.9
Jr. 17.2
Sr. 15.2
However his scoring increased, though there was almost no change in his offensive rating (or his defensive rating).

His overall development as a player (in WS/40):
Fr .074
So .135
Jr .131
Sr .108

He basically peaked as a sophomore, then regressed.

Fox's quotes in the last link are not what I want to hear from my coach. Unfortunately I hear and read much the same at Cal.
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