So - we beat Cal easily, played as a team, everyone played well. Glasser was a true PG. Harden was solid. Pendergraph dominated..too little, too late, we lost 3 straight at a critical point. Pac-10 Tourney starts this week, I don't see us faring very well.
Let's hand out some grades.
Team, #21 22-8 (11-7):
Coming off last season, expectations were high. We had our senior PF, Pendergraph. Harden. Some solid roleplayers. We were preseason rank #18. Things were good. We had a good non-conference run, although not a very tough schedule. Then the Pac-10 season came and we had a lot of ups (See: two wins over Arizona, two wins over UCLA) and lows (See: getting swept by Washington schools..losing to Stanford at home..).. The team's identity has never really materialized, both offensively and defensively. Sometimes we ran the entire game through Harden. Sometimes we relied on Pendergraph. Sometimes it was all the other guys - Kuksiks, Glasser. Sometimes our zone was stifling and we ran a really slow tempo. Sometimes we let the other team dictate the game and we ran and ran. Ugh. So, while it was the most successful season we have had in 6 years, it was also rather frustrating considering the talent we all knew we had.
GRADE = B-
COACHING - Herb Sendek, 3rd Year (51-42, 22-32 Pac-10)
Herb had a lot of expectations after last year. His '07 recruting class brought us Abbott, Kuksiks and Harden. 3/5 of our starters. This year, his class was weak. We got Johnny Coy and Taylor Rhode. Coy ended up going home due to his father's sickness, and Rhode is not quite ready to play. His defensive coaching, while marred by a few problems this year, has been typically solid. His zone is strong, he keeps the guys committed to it, and overall we had a great defense. The offense though, has been an issue. Largely inconsistent, due to Herb's lack of focus - who is our focal point? Is Harden going to control the ball and let the game flow through him? Do we run a two man game with Harden and Pendergraph? Are you going to count on people triple teaming Harden, hoping other guys get open? Are we slow? Or are we going to run with teams who run? Inconsistent. Overall a solid season, but Herb had some issues this year.
2008 Recruiting Grade = D+
2008 Defensive Coaching = A-
2008 Offensive Coaching = B -
Overall = B
Harden had a similar season to his freshman campaign. He was no longer an unknown, he faced a ton of double and triple teams and lots of pressure, but still managed to shoot a very high % and averaged ~21 ppg, 5 and 4. He is a star. I hope he does not leave, but the chances of that aren't high. We all saw what he brings - when he is aggressive he is an offensive force, reminiscent of a D-Wade who can shoot from outside, with a sneaky athleticism and a penchant for playing the passing lanes. Harden needs to step it up and show us some more Wade like play in the tourney.
Best Game = 11/30 against UTEP, an 88-58 victory. Harden's coming out party for 2008/09 with 40 points (14/25 FG, 6/6 FT, 6/7 3P) 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Worst Game = 1/15 against USC, a 61-49 loss. Harden was shut down to the tune of 4 points (0/8 FG, 4/7 FT, 0/2 3P) 7 rebounds, 1 assist.
Grade = A (I would have liked to see Harden assert himself more)
The emotional leader on the team, and our sole senior, Pendergraph had a fantastic season. He has been especially dominant down the stretch - his last 10 games he has averaged ~17 points per game and 10 rebounds a game. His FG% this season was out of this world 66.5%. He figured out how to work the post, not rely on his jump shot as much, and STAY IN THE GAME. He averaged 5 extra minutes a game this year, mostly due to not getting in foul trouble like he did last year. He will be a big part of the tourney run.
Best Game = 1/2 against Stanford, a 90-60 win. Pendergraph had 31 (14/19 FG, 3/3 FT) points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and only 1 foul against a team he struggled against a lot last year - mostly due to the Lopez twins.
Worst Game = 2/28, the 51-49 loss to WASU. He had 8 points and 8 rebounds, and was not much of a factor against a small team.
Grade = A- (really solidified his game down the stretch, after some C+/B- performances throughout the season.
The Toni Kukoc of the team, Kuksiks really stepped his game up between his freshman and sophomore seasons. Doubling his minutes resulted in a doubling of production, something that is really nice to see. His 45.6% 3P percentage is the star here, as he pretty much shoots as high from three as he does from anywhere on the floor. Kuksiks needs to work on his defense, as his lack of lateral speed sometimes gets him caught in blocking situations. He hits the big three often, though does not often get the ball in his hands. He is inconsistent and needs to step up offensively more often, too often deferring to Harden and Pendergraph.
Best Game: 2/22 Arizona, 70-68 win. 17 points (6/12 FG, 5/10 3P) 4 rebounds, 4 assists. Kuksiks was raining threes at crucial times all game. The kid does not shy away from the big shot.
Worst Game: 1/21 Arizona, 53-47 win. Kuksiks almost lost us the game. He had 5 points, was 2-11 FG, 1-10 3P and fouled out.
Grade = B
I have to admit, I have not been a Glasser fan. The low FG%, the poor shooting in big games... I just have not been that into it. He won me over a bit this season. His FG% was still low (37.1%) and he did only average 8 and 5 but he shot ~85% from FT and 41% from 3! A near 10% increase and arguably his biggest weakness. He plays good D, the team likes him, he works his ass off, and he is clutch as anything on FTs. He will have at least one huge moment in the Pac-10 or NCAA tourney.
Best Game: 1/10 win over Oregon 76-58. Glasser had 15 points (4/6 FG, 6/7 FT, 1/1 3P) 11 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal.
Worst Game: 3/5 against Stanford, a 74-64 home loss. Glasser went 0/5 FG, 4/5 FT, 0/3 3P for 4 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds.
Grade = B-
Sigh. Ty Abbott. What are we to do with you? Other than his rebound rate increasing a little bit, Abbott regressed in every other area. He was given the minutes, and just could not find his shot. 34%/67%/23% is just awful. His green light has been taken away and he still has some potential, but I do not expect much from him in the tourney. His defense has been really solid, however, and he does do well for himself on the glass.
Best Game: 11/14 (first game) against Mississippi Valley State. Abbott had 18 points (8/13 FG, 2/6 3P) 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 block.
Worst Game: 1/31, loss at home vs. Washington. 84-71. Abbott had 5 points (1/7 FG, 2/4 FT, 1/5 3P) 3 rebound and 2 assists.
Grade = D- (EDIT**: Dropped a letter grade after feedback/reconsideration. It is pretty bad to get 29 mins a game and put up those numbers, any way you cut it. From a regression standpoint alone he deserves an F.)
McMillan has a lot of athleticism and talent, and it was nice to seem him start to put that together this season. I still do not feel like he is living up to his potential (Scouts, Inc had him as a 93 grade recruit) he shot the 3 well, improved his FG%, and played solid defense. His FT% is atrocious, but he did only shoot 19 on the season...McMillan is still too timid. A few misses can ruin his flow for the entire game.
Best Game: 2/7 win over Oregon State. 39 minutes, 14 points (5/9 FG, 0/1 FT, 4/7 3P) 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals.
Worst Game: 2/26 loss against Washington. 23 minutes, 3 points (1/5 FG, 1/2FT, 0/3 3P) 3 rebounds, 1 assist.
Poor Shipp. The kid is from a illustrious family full of college basketball stars, and he showed promise as a freshman on a terrible team. But as our back court has become more talented, Shipp has seen his minutes slip. His FG% reached semi-respectable levels this year, but his FT and 3P shots are both inconsistent. He just does not get enough playing time. But as our 7th guy he is solid.
Best Game: 11/23, win over Pepperdine. 11 points (4/5 FG, 1/1 FT, 2/2 3P) 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal.
Worst Game: 1/31 loss against Washington. 12 minutes, 2 points, 4 fouls.
|2006-2007||Did not play.|
Interesting how a former McDonald's All-American, and the guy we all penciled in as our starting C turned out like this. Uncoordinated, terrible ball skills, ok defense, ok rebounding, terrible offensive awareness. He never got a lot of minutes this year after the disaster last season. He had a streak of games with solid minutes, but i dont expect him to play in the post season unless there is foul trouble.
Best Game: 1/10 win over Oregon. 22 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks.
Worst Game: eh. it's not worth it. Boateng doesn't get enough highlights as it is.
Grade = D
The rest of the team did not play much.
So there you have it, the team under performed a bit this year... but there is at least hope at the post season for once. We will have a pac-10 preview this week.