Gabby and Kelly: Different players, but . . . .

Discussion in 'UConn Women's Basketball' started by VAMike23, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. VAMike23

    VAMike23 The Virginian

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    "When they guard you, you're guarded."

    Gabby's performances this year have, IMO, put her on a very exalted defensive plane. Until now, Kelly was my gold standard alone but Gabby has managed to turn that ride into a two-seater. Mo was also very special, ditto Kiah Stokes, but in terms of pure defensive acumen it was still--for me--Kelly Faris and then everyone else. No more.

    Gabby's vertical, her overall athleticism, and her desire have made her a rebounder nonpareil for UCONN, at least for her size. Lorin Dixon's vertical is the only one within shouting distance of Gabby's, at least in my 8 1/2 years of following the team. Kelly was also an excellent rebounder and leaper, just not at Gabby's level. Geno often said that Kelly was actually the best pure athlete on the team, a team that included Maya Moore. It shocks me to say that pound for pound, on a per-minute basis, Gabby is an even more effective rebounder than Maya, who was truly a rebounding machine at 6'0".

    Kelly was also relentless, even by UCONN standards, on the defensive end. I still give her a slight nod (I said SLIGHT) over Gabby when it comes to shutting down a hot-shot guard on the perimeter and playing textbook individual defense. She was better at using her body to make life difficult for ball-handlers and shooters in a more classically-trained way (cue Geno and his famous chest bump with Kelly on the sideline, an acknowledgement of the sheer ridiculousness of Kelly's 'D'). She also was even better at moving her feet to keep guards in front of her, cutting off angles. But Gabby is just as relentless, which is saying something, and her foot speed is almost Kelly's equal. And her ability to alter or block your shot is way ahead of Kelly's. As far as getting steals, both grade out very highly - Kelly a little bit more by picking pockets, Gabby a little bit more by jumping lanes.

    As Geno said last night, Gabby hallmark is that she is now the LT of the women's game---she can blow up whatever scheme you're trying to run. Kelly for all her gifts and grit was not able to disrupt the 'D' to the same degree. Yes she could demoralize you by taking away your team's leading scorer or boxing out a 6'4" PF/C or producing steals, but I have not seen a defensive one-woman wrecking crew quite like Gabby Williams. She is as stellar at help defense as she is one-on-one. It's like combining Kelly and Maya. Maya was a superb help defender; she could blow up the other team's defense, too. She played by instinct. Kelly was a superb one-on-one shutdown defender who played mostly by the book (but what a book) and could put your best player on Faris Island with no questions asked, collecting more than a few rebounds and steals as a side bonus. We switch a lot this year so there is not the same situation where one player gets "the Assignment" for the whole game, but regardless, Gabby excels at both help and individual 'D.'

    Gabby Williams and Kelly Faris: Really, really, really good defenders.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
  2. Suebird10fan

    Suebird10fan

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    Where's the LOVE button?
     
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  3. Scotter

    Scotter

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    Geno was asked about Gabby's similarities to Kelly a few games ago and it is a great comparison that extends beyond their defense. Gabby's offensive recognition skills have developed to where she can impose her will offensively just through passing and setting screens.

    I've also noticed Gabby falling victim to the same situation that Kelly and other great UConn non-point guard passers have faced. Gabby isn't there to pass the ball to herself so she'll work to great position in the post or transition, but the pass is never gets made or isn't made with the same anticipation so the defense has a chance to recover.
     
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  4. wire chief

    wire chief Testmeister

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    Evidence too that Gabby cherishes assists over scoring.
     
  5. BroadwayVa

    BroadwayVa

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    Kelly would have paid big money to come close to Gabby on Defense and body parts to be Gabby on offense and rebounding. Until Gabby the REAL shutdown artist, and also an offensive threat, is/was Moriah. You name the scorer on Ohio, ND, USC etc that wasn't 6-2 or bigger--Moriah rode their belly buttons until they fouled Moriah in frustration. Kelly never ever did that. McBride on ND--could shoot from anywhere--didn't score in the game until Uconn had the game put away--thanks to Moriah, loyd too. Kia isn't so bad at that--and she is a scoring threat, few have stuffed her--if they did they were over 6-2--not 5/9 (Diggins). i'm not a Diggins fan. Diggins found it harder to score but wasn't shut down.
    I agree at times Gabby is much like Maya in her senior year--and better on Defense.
     
  6. JudgeSCR

    JudgeSCR

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    Kelly was outstanding on defense. No one is as versatile as Gabby. However, Moriah Jefferson was the National Defensive Player of the Year. Her Junior and Senior years she didn't just guard the other team's best scorer (often shutting them down completely) she disrupted offenses. She stole the ball and just harassed people leading to fast break baskets. She was all over the place. I have a hard time saying anyone else was better.
     
  7. VAMike23

    VAMike23 The Virginian

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    I probably sold Moriah a short - especially on the "disrupting defenses" part.

    However, when looking at the overall defensive contribution, both Gabby and Kelly--especially Gabby--are super rebounders. Mo was too, for her size, but Gabby is just a much more impactful rebounder overall. And we need her to be. I'm thinking of that rebound where both Gabby and Brianna Turner went up for the ball, and Gabby came down with it. Even Maya would not have won that battle. Ditto shot-blocking and help D. Mo was an excellent shot-blocker for her size, but again Gabby alters tons of shots and blocks or tips many others on a regular basis. Is she at the level of Kiah Stokes? No, but she is pretty intimidating.

    IF we deployed Gabby in the same way that Mo was often deployed - as The Glove against the opponent's hot-shot guard - I think we would see a similar result. But we switch on D this year and Gabby is also busy guarding posts a lot, so she doesn't have that opportunity. Is she as quick as Mo on defense? No but she's not *that* far behind, and with her extra length she wouldn't have to be quite as quick to be just as effective.

    I understand people who would rate Mo #1 on defense or make it a triumvirate between Mo/Kelly/Gabby. I am sticking with Kelly/Gabby for the moment. JMO.
     
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  8. BroadwayVa

    BroadwayVa

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    \

    My disconnect with your previous posting wasn't your good words about Gabby--she is all that and more. But
    Kelly was NEVER the defensive AND scoring threat as Moriah Jefferson---She took on those that Kelly had previously defended and stopped them dead. Kelly was/is an emotional Uconn crowd favorite--nice kid --had one very good game--and angered Geno that it was never repeated. Geno liked her fundamentals--they were sound--she worked hard in practice --he knew what he'd get from Kelly--even if it wasn't all he wanted. --But no Gabby or Moriah.
     
  9. VAMike23

    VAMike23 The Virginian

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    1) My OP was on Defense only: "When they guard you, you're guarded." Certainly things are different between the three on the offensive side of things.
    2) My opinion that Kelly was one of the two best overall defenders in recent UCONN history in terms of total impact on that side of the ball is unchanged.
     
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  10. BroadwayVa

    BroadwayVa

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    I'll give you all that and let you win with the King of Hearts. Others have said Moriah was Def Player of the Year--Not kelly. We got Kelly when Diggins choose ND. I never have been a Kelly fan--she never lived up to the expectations and as I said she only had one good (offensive) game. Her defense against Diggins wasn't anywhere near that of Moriah-s defense of many others on the ND and other team. In each contest against ND Diggins got the best of kelly. She eventually (as a Senior ) hit the three once in a while but not as accurate as Moriah or others. She was a liability on offense because, as Geno pointed out, teams played 5 on4 leaving Kelly open. Some say she was fast--not in my memory.
    So I'll leave you VA mike with: your opinion and of many is as you say for Kelly.
    We agree on Gabby totally--any further discussion is pointless--Kelly is gone, a non factor--Gabby and Dangerfield are the future--I'll discuss that with you any time.
    I hope you don't have an emotional attachment to this---To me it's just an opinion vs opinion--i throw opinions out there--and don't really own them--take em or leave em' they aren't worth the air I write them on. If you must win--you have won!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  11. BroadwayVa

    BroadwayVa

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    If one of the 2 best defensive players was Moriah--and Gabby the other--I can agree--While I don't think much of Kelly's defense against ND--and can't think of another defensive player--YOU ARE RIGHT.
    Have a good evening --and I appreciate your comments and different views--thanks for taking the high road --it is appreciated.
     
  12. VAMike23

    VAMike23 The Virginian

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    Nope, no big emotional attachment to my position - I always enjoy a little back-and-forth. No 'winners' or 'losers' here in these threads. We see these things similarly just not identically - be well!
     
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  13. dtbtbtb

    dtbtbtb

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    Mo and Kelly were amazing one on one defensive players...Gabby is better in covering more than one player as the team switches constantly. With MO and Farris there was no need for a lot of switches as they had rim protectors behind them (Charles, Dolson, Stokes, Stewie)
     
  14. DaddyChoc

    DaddyChoc His Chockishness

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    I know Nurse isn't a defensive lockdown player... She has energy but get blown by often, lately
     
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  15. chrissaran

    chrissaran

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    UConn never used Kelly to guard centers that 4,5, or even 6 inches taller than her and then have to guard the other team's best guard. Kelly was tenacious on D, but Gabby even more so because of the shot blocking and rebounding. As I said in another post, at times there seems to be three or four of Gabby on the floor.
     
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  16. mntncougar

    mntncougar

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    Regardless of who you're comparing her to, Gabby still has another season and a half to go - and they don't! :D
     
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  17. blackbird

    blackbird

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    I thought kelly was a better defensive player than Moriah.

    The funny thing about those kind of awards is, you have to be a great offensive player to get them.
     
  18. Bigpetunia

    Bigpetunia

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    Gabby Williams is a player so athletically gifted that irrespective of her bountiful contributions to her team's success that we have witnessed to date, we get the unmistakable impression that she is yet to achieve her ultimate potential, a thought that ought to strike fear in every UConn opponent for the next couple of years. Kelly Faris, on the other hand, game after game, played at a level that exceeded any reasonable expectations of her based on potential...that's the main reason why we fans so loved her game! Kelly was all heart and effort that somehow elevated her performance beyond her natural skill level...yagotta love that!
     
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  19. Bronxjeff

    Bronxjeff

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    I don't think they are very comparable.

    Kelly played with grit and pretty great basketball smarts. She made the most of it with her good athleticism.

    Gabby is definitely one of a kind and getting Uniquer! Her athletic abilities are off the charts. She is still improving every game, as her basketball skills develop and catch up with what her muscles can do.