24.Nov.2014 Oregon State @ Oklahoma State
JackBeav with an excellent writeup.
Oklahoma State (oSu) will remind you a lot of Nikegon. Travis Ford is an excellent coach, and he is now putting together a bunch of frosh, JUCOs and transfers in order to keep his system running. Gone are Smart and Brown. That’s the good news. But there remains a good core for Ford to work with while keeping his aggressive offense going.
While Smart was there, nobody outside Stillwater talked about his old high school teammate, Phil Forte III. He’s a diminutive PG who I think is a better perimeter defender than Smart but never got to defend the handle because Smart was on the floor. But now he’s showing some great on-ball defensive skills outside. But Forte has also managed to score in double figures for the whole of his career. And his shot selection has improved with experience. He’s a savvy handle who can break down lanes and get to the line. He’s not a great facilitator, but he does manage the game well.
Le’Bryan Nash is the scoring heir now that Smart is gone. He’s a long 6’7″ swing who can hit from outside or bang down low. He also has a knack for getting to the line. And he shoots well from there. He will likely be the most trouble for the Beavs tonight because of his versatility.
Michael Cobbins is the returning big of the group. He doesn’t have any special hands or feet. But he is a physical defender and doesn’t make many mistakes on the offensive end. He can score on put-backs against zones, but he is the glue guy in the post for this team.
Leyton Hammonds is the other returnee of note, but he will be out with a sprained ankle.
Hammonds would be the trey shooter on this team, but expect frosh Jeffrey Carroll to step into that role. He’s a rangy swing who will probably remind you of our own Mr. Robbins.
While Cobbins is the glue guy, oSu does have a 7’0″ JUCO transfer in the form of Anthony Allen Jr. He’s not the best looking kid, and he looks like he has a mean streak. But he can be skilled when disciplined. And he can eat up the defensive glass.
And an LSU transfer, Anthony Hickey Jr., is another diminutive guard who seems to be content as the facilitator in the back court. But he can be called upon to make some timely shots.
Beyond that, expect to see another rangy frosh swing in Tavarius Shine (cool name) and a plodding frosh big in Mitchell Solomon.
Ford plays a tough, aggressive defense which varies between man and zone depending on match-ups and game flow. It’s not terribly effective as a defense in itself so much as it’s a part of an aggressive offensive mind-set. The Pokes will get out and run if you let them do so.
The offense is a varied motion with either the double post set or an overload with a ton of flex screens. Most of the offense is predicated on getting Nash and Forte open looks or in advantageous positions where they can draw fouls and get to the line. But, as with any motion, there are second and third options when the first breaks down. It will be key for the Beavs to shut down passing lanes first then key in on individual defenses. If the offense can’t get to Nash and Forte, the offense can’t go through Nash and Forte.
It may be advantageous that Tinkle’s era has only just begun in that Ford won’t know how to attack the amoeba, if that’s the way the Beavs defend. But I doubt it. Ford is a good coach. It would be more likely his team simply is too new together and might make mistakes in our favor. But with a decent core, that’s not likely either.
The Beavs will just have to make shots in this one. If we’re not 75+, then we will have had to play a monumental defensive game to show a W at the end of the night.