12.Jan.2012 Basketball: Oregon State @ Arizona
The Beavs are looking to rebound from a tough loss at home by traveling to Tucson tonight to face an enigma of a Wildcats team. I look at the talent assembled on UA’s team, and I just wonder why they’re not doing better than they are.
There are two major reasons which jump to the forefront. First, they have no viable bigs. Second, their backcourt is young.
Senior swingman Jesse Perry (6’7″) and junior wing Solomon Hill (6’6″) are the leaders of this team. They use their athleticism to roam the mid-range in, and their hustle provides them with high percentage opportunities. Both will fight hard for a board or a loose ball, and both will step beyond the arc if left open… though Hill is the more effective perimeter player. Junior wing Kevin Parrom (6’6″) was supposed to add to this experience with hard-nosed defense and efficient offensive play. But an off-season shooting has made his season more one of rehab than the play he was hoping to contribute.
Senior guard Kyle Fogg (6’3″) leads the backcourt in experience. But that’s not saying much. Fogg is not a slasher, and he seems to be afraid of the lane, spotting up for treys more than anything. He still manages to get fouls called his way when he does try to move to the mid-range, so I wonder why he doesn’t do it more.
Frosh Nick Johnson (6’2″) and Josiah Turner (6’3″) round out the backcourt. Both have a lot of skill, but both also start making mistakes when their legs start to tire. With all due respect to Perry and Hill, I fear Johnson the most of anyone on this team. He is so well rounded that when he figures out this level of play he will be very hard to stop.
Soph guard Jordin Mayes (6’2″) was supposed to keep the frosh at bay for at least this year. He had a good showing late last year, and he was expected to make great strides headed into this season. But he first lost the starting nod to Turner then seemed to lose his swagger. He still logs plenty of minutes off the bench, but he has had a more than inconsistent handle and shot to date. And his defensive lapses have cost his team on more than one occasion. Still, look for him to be more comfortable in the confines of McKale. Coach Miller keeps putting him on the floor for a reason, and he could go off at any time.
In the meantime, senior guard Brendon Lavender (6’5″) does take advantage of his time on the floor by providing instant perimeter offense. He can rest some legs on the defensive end, but don’t expect much more than a couple stretches where he will come in and put some shots up.
You may have noticed by now that I haven’t yet listed any bigs. That’s because UA doesn’t really have any. Look for frosh Angelo Chol (6’9″) to come in to counter the Beavs size, maybe grabbing some boards and throwing down some dunks. But he is a liability in the offensive flow, providing poor spacing for the scorers on the team… and no passing. Junior Kyryl Natyazhko (6’11″) is still there, but he hasn’t seen the floor too much recently. And senior Alex Jacobson (7’0″) had back problems last year, but even a healthy Jacobson provided little more than five warm fouls.
So I have no clue how this game turns out. The Beavs have the overall advantage in size and experience. But Arizona is playing at McKale, where they are historically just tough to beat. And they have talent enough to face anyone despite their size. Whichever team starts well will likely have the advantage. If the Beavs jump out to any sort of control, look for them to make their major run in the second half, when UA seems to take their time finding a rhythm.
This should be a win for our boys. But I would liken it to the win we should have logged in Pullman. It’s a road game, and OSU needs to show that they can play on the road. Until that time, I have to call this for the home team.
Zonies 81 – Beavs 75
Must admit, I am starting to lose the faith (again). I see a lot of potential…the team is close, but they continue to mess up the little things. Worst of all is that they do it over and over, night after night. At first I thought the team needed a game to get adjusted to Pac-12 speed. Now I'm not so sure.
I don't have any good way of knowing if a guy (like Moreland) dropping a rebound is CR or the player. I mean, I think it's the player and his (lack of) coordination or focus. But, who knows. Either way, it's time to produce. Year four, CR has all his own players…it needs to start soon.
Isn't it fun being a Beaver fan?