Saturday, January 3, 2009

After three games...

Caught this recently and it details an item we never gave much thought about until now:
TCU coach hopes practice is perfect cure for Frogs
Mercedes Mayer

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

December 29, 2008

...For players and coaches who love basketball — at least the way TCU coach Jim Christian does — this is the best time of the year.

It’s all basketball, all the time — no classes, no tests and no worries, just basketball.

The Horned Frogs will play only their third game in 21 days today against Colgate, and Christian hopes the extended practice time has helped the team improve and refocus.

"It’s a time where teams separate themselves and players separate themselves," Christian said. "Teams that want to get better, get better..."
We also saw this Tuesday at the site and love the metaphors used -- it's new Washington Wizards Coach Ed Tapscott speaking:
"...There are lies, big lies and statistics, and statistics can tell you whatever you want them to tell you," he said.

"Seeing the chemistry of the team, that's like HD. If you just look at statistics, it's like watching black-and-white... [pause]...analog TV...

"...If you just look at stats and think you know something about the team, you're watching analog television...
One of the interesting phenomenons in all of sports is the integration of major personnel and major talent that's supposed to happen instantaneously. In a chemical game, and that's what I call basketball, without necessarily playing a scripted offense, that takes time..."
So Adrian Oliver has played in three games to date for San Jose State. Yes, there are the not unexpected elements of rustiness for Oliver since practice is simply not the same as in-game action and there's also the period of adjustment with Oliver getting used to teammates likes/dislikes and vice versa. We're not about to predict the future as we claim no particular ability to do so but here is what we've seen in those three contests (we're not counting William Jessup due to Oliver's limited playing time):

*** Oliver's ability to ballhandle has eased Justin Graham's 'quarterbacking' load, both in bringing the ball up the floor against pressure and in creating both self and teammate-scoring opportunties. Less pressure generally means less fatigue plus the energy to spend on other functions of the game.

*** Though it's impossible for us to supply specifics about individual play, Graham's matchup in the St. Mary's contest -- Patrick Mills -- shot 4-12 overall. Coincidence? You be the judge.

*** Graham has compiled these assist-to-turnover ratios since Oliver's eligibility: Northern Colorado 13/6, USF 6/3 and St. Mary's 6-4. Now anything 2/1 or certainly above is a good figure, especially so for a dribble-drive penetrator and not someone who say plays outside the key and passes the ball around to open teammates. Happenstance? Again, you decide.

*** Adding up the Spartan point totals from the NC, USF and St. Mary's game, San Jose State averaged 83 points per game. In the games prior to Oliver's eligibility and minus the Cal Maritime score, SJSU averaged 54.8 points per game. Granted, playing styles and other factors make this a somewhat iffy set of numbers but is there not a correlation?

*** Oliver emits a confident and cool competitiveness. It's impossible to measure such or how this effects a team but check out these quotes:

Coach Nessman quoting Oliver: "...Coach, I wasn't as solid as I need to be. I made too many mistakes." That tells you where his mind is in terms of the type of player he wants to be...”

Oliver after the USF game: "...When it got down to three, I saw the expression on some of the guys faces that they were kind of worried. There was no reason to panic. That's kind of my role on the team to calm down the team when it needs to be calmed down and set the tempo. At the end of a game, that's when I like to take over when my team needs it..."

Coach Nessman again: "His toughness and his composure makes this team play way more confident...From two weeks ago and looking at our team now, you can see a change in attitude. There is an expectation in our guys that we can do this more and more than we've ever had before. That's the influence Adrian has."

Just maybe there's some magic for San Jose State regarding the capital letter 'O' or in a particular name variation for San Jose State. After all, there was Olivier St. Jean (Tariq Abdul-Wahad) and now Adrian Oliver.

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