1) Mansel showed a lot the last 4 weeks in terms of maturity, if he can build on his role, that'll be a major impact, to be a 25 minute guy and contribute at a next level
2) Murray gives a great point guard, obviously. Staff really needs to bring in a frosh/xfer point/back-up for continuity, we had the best tandem of point guards in CDM's era, but Murray is going to be getting the best defender on a lot of nights, it's not gonna be so easy next year, as much as he's an exceptional talent. I do expect Murray to improve on his passing, which would make him that much more effective.
3) Traore is a wild card, to the extent he can develop an outside shot, which I expect he'll get a green light until proven wrong
4) Jones, if there was one area that seemed we didn't maximize, it was movement to get JOnes more touches - the guy hit so many clutch shots, has length. Needs to work on a post up game, to utilize him more than just a 3 pt threat, he has to be a centerpiece more so of the offense.
5) Rotegaard. I think he has a pretty decent ceiling. Should be more comfortable from teh 3, he can get shots off. He blocked out well. Now....he simply did not have the quickness of the other guys defending and rotating, so that means our pressure defense may drop off, main thing for him is progressing his man defense to not get beat off the dribble
6) our entire success was based on interchangeable switching extended perimeter D. To think we can just duplicate without the length and maturity and chemistry without Cobb & Roberts & Slater is really really naive - Those guys were the core/glue of exectution, and then with the added exceptional explosiveness of Traore & Jones is what made it work - you can't just replace that easily.
starting off LB has a collection of 3 exceptional talents, and it's leadership / maturity that has to come from somewhere, replicating this defense (which is what sped up and created offense, but it was all based on pace set by defense) is going to be a chore. I don't see Scott/Rotegaard as potential starters but likely better role players
TOs: this is gonna be tough, even last night, Fullerton did to us in the half-court to some extent what we did to the rest of the BIg West. It's going to be a challenge especially without Slater/Cobb who were 2/3 of our ball control. I suspect we'll have a decent big coming in, however replicating what worked (perimeter & ball control) requires some supplement to Murray - have no idea who that player will be - I don't know of it yet from the current line-up or recruits.
7) Traore and Jones do have some next level potential - but shouldn't kid ourselves or them, this was shown against Big West teams. If they dedicate to some improvement over the summer (which they will), we'll see by next December just how real that potential is against the better/top 100 non-conf teams. They were key role players, and now they are going to have to be go to guys - and gonna be challenged to not get exposed and make turnovers when they'll touch the ball much more next year.
If there is one significant huge upside for next year, Traore/Jones can (and have to be) the leaders and set the example on defensive fundamentals to the rest of the team. If those guys can be and emerge leaders now, the team could be really really good, cause they have defensive explosiveness. that's easier said than done - hard to replace the maturity of Slater/Cobb/Roberts - it took 4 years for those 3 to get to that point.
Agree this season was an unexpected turnaround and a lot of fun to watch over the last two months. Kudos to the players and staff for their capturing the conference title and the getting so close to a BWC tournament championship with a flurry of injuries and unconventional post presence.
Yes there is a nice corp group returning and perhaps a post presence with the Allen Hancock College big coming in as well as culling the transfer portal.
To the coaching staff PLEASE commit to a strength and conditioning program
once again, just thought we had finally got outmuscled in a game, with no answer for Fullerton's big
and still made a run, with having a chance to win, and with the ball at the end. Wish Rotegaard has jsut taken a shot, at 6'7" he could of got it off and not double teamed, understandable to try to get into Murray's hands
Injury plague finally took a tool, Traore going out set up a stretch where we made a bunch of forced and unforced TOs. Those 1st half TOs did us in.
I'd rather not even see us play in the NIT, for this group I really don't see any plus side. They proved everything they needed to prove, and not sure with how badly banged up some guys are that another game or two against a Santa Clara or some lower run Pac-12 team really accomplisheds.
Last two weeks had some great finishes, leave it at that.
Jones, Traore, Murray are a great core, and solid contributions with Mansel (matured), Rotegaard, Scott. Add a developing big, and another ball handler, if at least one impact player is added, they could compete for a Big West title again.
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