March 10, 2015 at 2:07 pm #18908
I am not surprised by the outcome of the quarters and was fearful all along with this team. My opinion is the same now as it was all season, this team does not have the mental makeup or chemistry to win a championship! I am not a believer in youth as an excuse (see Kentucky) in today’s world of AAU, showcases ect… These kids come to school well ahead of the players 10 to 15 years ago.
PL player of year, rookie of the year, most athletic team in PL, size, ect…. Why did this team not dominate? IMHO, chemistry and mental makeup. Is it too many roosters in the hen house? Undefined roles? Willingness to buy into what the coaches are teaching? Willingness to be in a subordinate role? I would say yes to all of the above questions to a certain degree. This team has tremendous individual talent but is not a great TEAM! BA,AP,TK,KR,JC,MS all came to LU to be the man. Great school for sure but in the recruiting process I don’t believe that academics was the deciding factor for these athletes. The CJ factor I am sure played a part, maybe promises were made I don’t know but IMHO all expected to play immediately and have major roles. This has lead to inconsistent play as players struggle to adapt to their role as opposed to their own expectations. TK most consistent player all year clearly defined role as the man. Taking nothing away from his play as he deserved this role but can everyone else accept it and when called upon do the little things that make teams great. I guess the next two years will answer my questions.March 10, 2015 at 2:27 pm #18909
I don’t agree with much of the above post. People keep saying that Lehigh is the most athletic team in the PL, but I’m not sure what that is based on. The eye test?
Also, as far as youth not being an issue – I don’t think it is fair to compare a Kentucky team loaded with future first round picks of indicative of the college game as a whole. Show me an underclassman dominated mid major team that had a great year and I would put more weight in it. Wofford’s top 3 players are two seniors and a junior. Iona’s top 4 is one senior, two juniors, and a soph. Northern Iowa’s top 4 is three seniors and a junior. Further, look at Lehigh when CJ, Gabe, and Holden were sophs. They finished 16-15 and 6-8 in the conference with a top 5 consisting of 1 senior, 3 sophs, and a freshman. This is how it goes at this level. Bucknell was very young as well and they were up and down all year and lost a home semifinal game.
And, I agree that Lehigh is recruiting a better athlete and basketball player than they were a few years ago. But was MS’s energy off the bench, or JC adjusting to coming off the bench and having some really big games do to indicate they came to LU to “be the man” and are “unwilling to be in a subordinate role”? I think that is very unfair to those kids. If MS didn’t want to come off the bench, he would have transferred. Instead, he made significant progress this year.
Yes, I believe the coaches could have done a better job defining roles and creating a cohesive team. But no, I do not think that they players don’t possess the necessary make up to be team guys and win games.March 10, 2015 at 2:37 pm #18910
Agree with Bum. This team’s faults and plusses are pretty self evident to all of us. The why is a bit more elusive. See little factual basis for fan”s conclusions from this season. As it played out the senior class was a non factor. Our base was 2 sophs,2 frosh,and 2 jrs. IMO,mush to soon to rush to judgment. Next year will be the answer one way or the other.March 10, 2015 at 3:27 pm #18911
Didn’t say any of it was based on fact It is my opinion. Not attacking MS or JC or any other player for that matter. Simply pointing out that in my opinion the team chemistry and ability to make the mentally tough plays consistently plagued this team. IMHO there is no question that many players struggled with their roles on this team which lead to inconsistent play. This is not an attack on their character but a realistic view of how the college athletics work. All of these players were the best players in HS unless they came from a D1 powerhouse basketball factory. Adjusting to subordinate roles can be very difficult and IMHO was not established very well by coaching staff or accepted by players. In MS case I am in complete agreement that he made great strides this year. In fact I would say that over the last 10 games you could argue that he deserved to be a starter, this is my point. Explain BA playing last 5 minutes of QF and MS sitting? Maybe Kentucky is a poor example as Bum pointed out but ultimately I am sure teams younger than LU at the Mid-major level have had more success (do not feel up to doing the research). Sr,JR,2sophs,FR starting five not sure youth is issue anymore.March 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm #18912
Mid-majors ranked in top 25 nationally with very similar experience: Belmont starts FR,2sophs,JR, and SR. Buffalo: 2JR,soph,FR,SR. Very quick research, I am sure their are more examples of both very experienced and very in-experienced successful mid-major teams.March 10, 2015 at 4:01 pm #18913
Worthy of mention: Lafayette is a senior-laden team, and American has three kids with significant minutes listed as “seniors”, including one 5th year senior and another “redshirt junior”. You can make the argument that senior leadership means a lot, especially in leagues like ours (and is a huge reason why I had Lafayette in my finals in the first place, first beating BosU and then beating HC).March 10, 2015 at 4:04 pm #18914
I honestly see American giving Lafayette fits tomorrow. Those high-post screens that beat us won’t work against American. If AU clamps down on D early and gets in a rhythm, they’ll be dancing. Lafayette wins if their outside shooters become ablaze, which can and does happen. Going to be interesting.March 10, 2015 at 4:19 pm #18915
Mid-majors ranked in top 25 nationally with very similar experience: Belmont starts FR,2sophs,JR, and SR. Buffalo: 2JR,soph,FR,SR. Very quick research, I am sure their are more examples of both very experienced and very in-experienced successful mid-major teams.
There are sites out there that do this work for you. Based on minutes distribution by class, Lehigh was the 68th youngest team in the country (if you based it on statistical production Lehigh would probably skew even younger as CS played solid minutes without a lot of statistical contribution). By contrast, Buffalo was 198 (older than average). Belmont is a good example as they were the 105th youngest, although significantly older than Lehigh. There were two teams in the PL this year younger than Lehigh (BU and Loyola) both of which finished under .500 overall. The three most experienced teams (Colgate, American, and Lafayette) all made the conference semis.
The top 5 of the mid major top 25:
Gonzaga (307th youngest of 351)
Northern Iowa (318th youngest)
Wichita St (190th youngest)
Stephen F Austin (214th youngest)
Murray St (294th youngest)
This team absolutely has a ways to go, and very well may never get there. There were certainly times this year where there was no cohesion, uncertain roles, and ugly play. There were also times when they played very, very well. I don’t think you can discount experience (and adjusting to roles) when looking back on this year, or forward to next year.March 10, 2015 at 4:43 pm #18916
I didn’t check, but does it take into account a difference between freshmen and redshirt freshmen? It does list Binghamton as the “youngest school in the country” and their frosh don’t seem to be redshirts.March 10, 2015 at 4:49 pm #18918
No differentiation between redshirt, transfer, etc. Simply a weighted measure of minutes distribution by eligibility class. Of the 67 teams younger than Lehigh, 22 had winning records, and that percentage would be MUCH lower if you took out the power conference teams with one and done type players.March 11, 2015 at 3:20 pm #18923
I agree that at the mid-major level, experience is huge. It is the primary reason why these mid-majors can go on runs in the NCAA tournament as they are men (21/22 year olds) playing against “one and done” 18/19 year olds. Plus they have 60-120 games at the college level under their belt. The era of the “one and done” has made it better for mid-majors come tournament time. On paper looking preseason, you had to love an experienced Lafayette team, and although they struggled at times during the season, their experience and desire for one last go around (that urgency) has put them into a PL final. Their only non-veteran (Lindner) plays like a veteran, and has been huge down the stretch in games.
On the athleticism topic, the “eye test” is really all we have to go on. There is not going to be a Superstars competition preseason to see how athletic these guys are. They are not going to a combine before the season, so we can test them out. I think, after watching all of the PL teams, Lehigh is clearly the most athletic. We have one guy in TK who is not super athletic, but he is a really big skilled player (rarely seen in this league). The younger guys we have brought in who contribute are all plus athletes in my opinion (MS, AP, KR, BA). We you see a 6′ nothing MS elevate and jam so easily, you know he is damn athletic. We are losing 3 of our most unathletic guys in CS, SC and CB. We also are athletic in the frontcourt with JG and JC, who are bigger guys who can jump, are quick, and can run the floor. I think we clearly were more athletic than Colgate, American, Lafayette, and Bucknell based on the eye test. Quickness, jumping ability, ability to run the floor, explosiveness, etc. Unfortunately, athleticism doesn’t win you ball games, particularly in the era of the 3 point shot, where teams can have a non-athletic specialist who can shoot the ball. (Ptasinski for example, but really Lafayette’s core). As said earlier, we don’t get a lot out of our athleticism as we are not picking up full court and not really pressuring our opponents. We have the athletes to do that, in my opinion, but we don’t for whatever reason. I guess since we run everything in the halfcourt through TK, and he is not a get up and down the floor type of player, we are not interested in really pushing tempo. But, Reed, in my opinion, has done a better job of recruiting more athletes over the last 6 or so years.March 11, 2015 at 3:41 pm #18924
I do agree that Lehigh is athletic. MS could very well be the best athlete in the league, KR is incredibly quick. I think AP is probably an average athlete at the PL level, maybe slightly above. TK is below average (more than makes up for it in skill, size, and smarts). CS was probably at or below average. JC is very athletic in some ways, but also can be quite awkward – I think Holden was more athletic than him. What I’m trying to say is that I DO think this team is athletic, but I’m not sure I buy the “most athletic and talented” argument.
I think Holy Cross and BU were just as athletic. Bucknell and Loyola have some excellent athletes as well. I think Chris Hass is longer and more athletic than any of our wings.March 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm #18925
On that note, here is an awesome high school clip of Lehigh’s JRG against Bucknell’s Steven Kaspar in high school. JRG catches a dunk on one end and then Kaspar annihilates one of his teammates on the other.March 11, 2015 at 4:10 pm #18926
Glad to see that video again. Kaspar is a great athlete. If he could only shoot, he would have been All-PL a couple of times. Was among the league’s top guards in rebounds per minute, steals per minute, and blocks per minute. Also led the league in assist:turnover ratio.
Bucknell actually has a number of guys who can jump (including four white guys) – but it didn’t help at the defensive end. At that end, the whole was less than the sum of the parts – partly due to Paulsen’s rigidity when it comes defense.March 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm #18927
Lordy, I hope AU wins tonight. I really like pulling for the PL team in the NCAA tourney…
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