March 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm #9883
I know it is probably too early…but I can’t help myself. Hopefully this sparks some discussion in the coming days.
“It was a good win against a very tough opponent in a tough environment,” Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. “We still have to remember it’s Jan. 23 and there’s a lot of basketball yet to be played. Yes, we are pleased, but we don’t want to make this the highlight of our season.”
That was Coach Brett Reed’s quote after the win at Bucknell. Unfortunately, that did turn out to be the highlight of the season.
Winning 8 in a row from Nov 19th to December 20th. Winning 9 of the first 10 after CJ’s injury. The team showing impressive resolve and character by not folding after their All-American teammate goes down for the rest of the season. The aforementioned win @ Bucknell. Holden scoring his 1,000th and being named 1st team all PL. Gabe scoring his 1,500th and continuing his consistent play and leadership.
Never seeing a starting line-up of Mackey, BJ, CJ, Holden, and Gabe – what would have been by far our best 5 this season – and one that I believe could have competed for a PL championship. The home loss to Bryant. The lack of contribution from DC and JG. The lack of significant improvement by CB or SC.
Being swept by archrival Lafayette with by average margin of 14. Getting blown out of the water by Baylor and Pitt in our two marquee games to start the season. Losing 5 of our last 8. And obviously, losing CJ McCollum who chose to come back for his sr year, halfway through the season.
For a season that started with very high expectations, bringing back almost the whole team that one a game in the NCAA tourney, this must be considered a dissappointment. The team showed great resolve after losing their leader, but with or without CJ, Lehigh only won one game that they shouldn’t have (@ Bucknell), and didn’t post a single marquee win out of conference (w/ CJ). 1-4 vs RPI top 100 and just 4-8 vs RPI top 200. The majority of our wins (16) came against teams outside the RPI top 200. Started off the season in the top 5 of the mid-major poll, and finished without a single vote. Very little contribution from the freshman class, was an added dissappointment. Anthony D’Orazio would probably win a most improved player award for this squad. Stefan Cvrkalj had a huge chance to take a step this year, but was really only able to score against the worst portion of the schedule. Mackey continued to be a very good PL point guard, but also failed to take a significant step.
What else can you say? Arguably the four best players on our team (including BJ) and in the cases of CJ, Gabe, and Holden – they did it for four years. Made a terrific impact on the program and they will be sorely missed. The best way to honor them is to continue to build on the momentum they created (expectations, attendance, and most importantly, WINS). A real shame that all 4 of them couldn’t have spent more time on the court together over the past two years.
As stated above, Mackey was good, but not great this season. Not a ton of improvement. He stepped up his scoring, but on quite a few more attempts (273 vs 216) and at a lower %. AD had a much larger role, and while his production was inconsistent, his effort was always there. I like what he brings to the program, even if he’ll never be a star.
Corey Schaefer is great to watch. Fearless and heady. Also never going to be a star, but a real asset to the program. CB had a huge opportunity to begin the year, and was not able to capitalize. His situation has been discussed at length, but this was his time to really step up, and he was not able to do so. Still holding out hope that he can become a reboudning/defensive asset of the bench. SC also had a big opportunity. The man can shoot the basketball, no doubt about that, but he needs to do it against the athletic teams, and not just the patsies. He is our best floor stretcher, but way too inconsistent.
Devon Carter gets an incomplete, just because we hardly got to see him. However, his lack of minutes can’t bode well for his practice performance. I must say that I found JG to be an extreme roller coaster as a fan. One minute he flashes awesome effort and athleticism, and the next he is fouling/missing dunks/dropping passes/trying to do too much. One thing that I would LOVE to remove from his game are the wild swings in attempt to block shots. I didn’t see him get one all year, but he would often swing with all his might after the other player had already gone by him and/or shot the ball. Instead of trying to block a shot into the bleachers, it would be great to see him be in the right position to make an easier and smarter play. He has loads of potential but still has a long ways to go.March 20, 2013 at 6:22 pm #9886
Great overview. I agree with it 100%.
I would add a couple of things. After coming off the high of the NCAA’s with the Duke win, and really only a half away from the Sweet 16, this season was a crushing disappointment. I have no doubt that with a healthy CJ McCollum, we are playing in the NCAA tournament tomorrow or Friday. I truly believe that we would have had a great shot to run the table in the PL. CJ was playing at such a ridiculously high level before the injury. He knew that nobody at the college level could contain his game. This type of team only comes around about once in a generation, and we really never got to see the finished product. After the CJ injury, we battled, and played well, for the most part, but we still struggled to get our new core (GK, HG, BB, and MM) on the court, night in and night out. Those 4 were warriors this season, especially Gabe and Holden, who had great careers and reached significant milestones at the end of the season (1,500 and 1,000 points).
I will always look back at this season as the one that got away. I remember posting prior to the season that we had been lucky that CJ had 3 injury free seasons, and had played about 100 games without missing one and no injuries. Well, it caught up to him and Lehigh. He played a ton of basketball 18 months prior to the injury, and his body just broke down at the wrong time. I still think he will be a very successful pro. He has the ability to score the basketball in a number of ways, at that is at a premium at every level of basketball. I will always wonder in the back of my head, however, could he have played? Was he still in a boot 11 weeks post injury because he needed to be, or whether it was just being overly cautious, because of his future. I certainly would have liked to see him give it a try for the program, his teammates, his coaches, the fans and the university. He didn’t owe anybody anything, but it was hard to see him sitting there on the bench. Your Ferrari stuck in the garage with a flat tire. But, I can’t really criticize him without knowing all of the ins and outs of his diagnosis, treatment course and prognosis. It may have been a decision made more by his handlers than himself.
Time to rebuild in what should be a wide open PL next season. I think it will be a wide open league next year.
.March 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm #9887
I have no doubt that with a healthy CJ McCollum, we are playing in the NCAA tournament tomorrow or Friday. I truly believe that we would have had a great shot to run the table in the PL.
Thanks for the response ’90. I don’t think I can get totally behind this way of thinking. I have the utmost respect for CJ and his talents, and losing him was absolutely crushing. That said, we got obliterated by the only two good teams we played this year with him. The other teams we beat while he was still healthy had an average RPI of 236. Not to mention the home loss to Bryant. I’m not saying we wouldn’t have won the PL with CJ, we very well could have. But it’s not as if we were playing like world beaters up until his injury.
Long story short, I think we should recognize the things we could control and failed to do – namely to recruit a big body center and develop the young/role players – instead of just focusing on the “we would have won if CJ didn’t get hurt.”March 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm #9890
You can’t recap the season without talking about that hideous final minute of the Wyoming game. Two giant breakdowns lost us that game. That game was Lehigh’s to lose.March 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm #9891
You can’t recap the season without talking about that hideous final minute of the Wyoming game. Two giant breakdowns lost us that game. That game was Lehigh’s to lose.
Disagree. It would have been nice to win a couple games in the CBI, but the season ended with the last loss to Lafayette. The Wyoming loss has an extremely minimal effect on how I feel about the season as a whole. I still don’t believe we should have been in that tournament in the first place.March 20, 2013 at 7:46 pm #9892
Which reminds me of an interesting tweet I read today. Apparently had Lehigh accepted a bid to the CIT they would have had a road game at Loyola (MD), but they declined and instead they got sent to Wyoming.
Both had their advantages/disadvantages: Loyola would have at least had folks get a chance to travel to see Lehigh, while the Wyoming game was on TV. And in the end, hey, it’s the CBI or CIT.
But IMO you go into these tournament games to win them, and I admit there’s the danger in looking too much into the game or not enough into the game. But objectively that last minute was not Lehigh basketball.March 20, 2013 at 8:16 pm #9893
Have to disagree with you about impact of CJ. We got killed by Pitt and Baylor because we simply could not match their front line size. Guards are irrelevant when you are giving up half a foot operating position across the frontline. We got out rebounded by about 30 per in those games and gave up uncontested dunk after dunk. Not to mention, CJ was a beast vs. Baylor but didn’t matter. Bottom line is without arguably the best 2 in the country we took VCU to wire on road and won at Bucknell. After Bucknell win, we were favored to win every single PL game. We obviously didn’t do it, but with a healthy CJ it is a totally different season. Take Muscala off Bucknell and where would they be? You can’t replace a guy that is a given 25 a night.March 20, 2013 at 11:59 pm #9894
The mistake many of us made was not adjusting our expectations for this team after January 5.
The dreams we had for this team should have been shelved that day. The start the rest of the
team got off to in the first ten games after CJ went down fooled us.
The fact neither of the two most athletic players on the team played 20 games was a setback.
HG, GK, MM, played well this year. There have been years when 10-4 was good enough to
win the Patriot League. But with Mike Mascala on Bucknell, this wasn’t one of them.
About last night. It was a war of attition between two teams missing important parts. Lehigh
let one get away when they got sloppy and went cold for most of the last five minutes of the
I say we appreciate what this team did, when they were forced to adjust on the fly.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.