Comparing Kaleena & Maya - first seven games! | The Boneyard

Comparing Kaleena & Maya - first seven games!

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CamrnCrz1974

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The blessing and curse of being a star at UConn is the inevitable comparison to great players. When Maya arrived, there was the Taurasu comparison. Had Maya won a third title, she *might* have surpassed Diana, as she would have accomplished what Diana did in 2003...leading a group of talented freshman to a title by making them better players (making the sum even greater than the individual parts).

But each superstar is unique. Lobo was the best player on a team of really good players who were not the most individually athletic or could create their own shots. But she was an incredibly versatile forward, more of a Euro forward who could go inside and out. Sales was a great scorer. Taurasi had the best court vision and savvy of any player to ever okay the women's game and a feel/touch that was unsurpassed in college hoops. Maya was underrated in her versatility (as amazing as it sounds) as she truly could play either forward spot (meaning she could do so both offensively and defensively with equal prowess). Charles was a dominant low post scorer in a Tim Duncan mold; amazing efficiency while adding elemenbts to her game every year. Montgomery was the best scoring point guard in UConn history, while Sue Bird was the best pure point guard.

Comparing players will always happen; it is inevitable. And this is especially true in KML's case, as she wears #23, came in when Maya left, and was the top player in her class as the best wing player. But when all is said and done, she will be an amazing player as KML'S, not as the next Maya.
 

Icebear

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I haven't given you a difficult time about any of the comparisons. Stats is stats. They are a still picture of a moment in time. I see little in what's there to shock anyone. We all have noticed the tremendous defensive pressure this year, well, it is born out in the stats. Maya and KML compare favorably. Each leading in some categories. The relative equality of Maya and KML on the boards is interesting and might have surprised some folks early on. Maya shot a better % overall being better at getting to the hoop but KML is at this point shooting the 3 better.
 
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I haven't given you a difficult time about any of the comparisons. Stats is stats. They are a still picture of a moment in time. I see little in what's there to shock anyone. We all have noticed the tremendous defensive pressure this year, well, it is born out in the stats. Maya and KML compare favorably. Each leading in some categories. The relative equality of Maya and KML on the boards is interesting and might have surprised some folks early on. Maya shot a better % overall being better at getting to the hoop but KML is at this point shooting the 3 better.
So if Johnny A makes the comparison it is not unfair.:rolleyes:
 

pap49cba

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I have to believe Geno and the staff is not going to be happy about this stuff. Let the girl play... the comparisons can come much, much later.
 

alexrgct

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Maya was the Big East POY as a freshman. KML will not be. They're not playing against the same competition, but still, I feel like people are hoping for too much. If the harshest criticism of KML is that she's not as good as Maya Moore, she will have a special, special career.
 

doggydaddy

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I'm just using your comments to offer some comments about the statistical comparison. Two things to always think about when things basic per game stats comparisons are made. The first is minutes played. Kaleena has averaged about 25% more minutes per game than Maya through their first 7 games, a total of 36 minutes more over 7 games. The second is strength of schedule. Kaleena obviously performed well against Stanford, but by this point Maya had played Stanford, Old Dominion, Duke on a neutral court in the Virgin Islands (Teams that would finish the year 3, 12, & 11 in the Sagarin rankings). She had also played a Virginia team that would finish 20th in the Sagarin rankings and traveled to Utah to play at BYU. Kaleena has yet to play a road game. Although did have Maya had an overall more experienced and talented team around her, but also not a single teammate that had been to the Final Four let alone National Championships and undefeated streaks.

The relative equality of Maya and KML on the boards is interesting and might have surprised some folks early on.
The similar per game numbers hide significant differences. There is the minutes differential. but more importantly 8 of Kaleena's 41 rebounds were offensive to this point. Where 21 of Maya's 40 rebounds were on the offense end. As the season picked up so did Maya's defensive rebounding just as her 3-point shooting did, but Maya's offensive rebounding will continue to be one of the most significant differences between the two.

[quote="Icebear, post: 97996"Maya shot a better % overall being better at getting to the hoop but KML is at this point shooting the 3 better.[/quote]
This is nitpicking and reading too much in to a comment, but "getting to the hoop" connotes driving to the basket to me. Where I would describe Maya as "generating layups" through the aforementioned offensive rebounding as well as beating everyone down the court in transition and making cuts to the basket for passes that left her defender standing still. Maya shot 69% inside the arc through her first 8 games. Maya wasn't taking many 3-point shots yet, but we already know how exceptional Maya was as a shooter as a freshman. And Maya was already taking a handful of 3s in her very first game against the National team so it's not like it is something she miraculously learned how to do mid-season. The option to not take 3s isn't really an option for Kaleena at this point.

So far Kaleena has been pretty much what I expected given what I had seen of her prior to playing for UConn right down to fer statistics being what I expected from three-point shooting to turnovers to rebounding to steals. When I have highlighted the differences between Kaleena and Maya in the past, it was done with the knowledge that Kaleena was this good. I was somewhat astounded to read Geno and CD say they were surprised at how good of a basketball player she was outside of being a shooter. I hope that was more a sound bite for the media or they simply forgot because it was already evident in the high school games I watched.

And I am willing to make this comparison between Kaleena and Maya. Kaleena will have more in common with Taurasi in terms of the type of shots shet gets, but Kaleena's basketball personality and approach is very similar to Maya's. They both have an even-tempered consistent approach, and play with incredible efficiency in their decision making on the court.
 

MilfordHusky

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Maya was the Big East POY as a freshman. KML will not be. They're not playing against the same competition, but still, I feel like people are hoping for too much. If the harshest criticism of KML is that she's not as good as Maya Moore, she will have a special, special career.
I am not conceding anything to Skylar. Not yet, anyway. Kelly and the rest of our defenders can really help KML by shutting down Skylar in the face-to-face meetings.

Let's see what Kaleena does in her second nationally televised game.
 
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kaleena has 6 turnovers in 7 games, which , considering her minutes, and how much she handles the ball, is pretty amazing. she seems to me to be a more solid ballhandler and passer than maya. her passes,especially down low to dolson, are crisp, deliberate, and on the money. two things i think she very much has in common with maya: she is unselfish, and she works hard for every second that she is on the court. i know that i'm tempting the wrath of many here when i say this, especially since kaleena's just a frosh, but i think her understanding and feel for the game is better than maya's.for example, geno says that one of the things that impresses him the most is how good kaleena is at getting to spots where she'll have open shots. i never thought that maya was especially good at moving without the ball.
 

alexrgct

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kaleena has 6 turnovers in 7 games, which , considering her minutes, and how much she handles the ball, is pretty amazing. she seems to me to be a more solid ballhandler and passer than maya. her passes,especially down low to dolson, are crisp and on the money.
I'd agree that her entry passing into the post is as good as anybody's on the team. Bria has had a couple of really spectacular entry passes, but she's also had some sloppy ones.
 

Icebear

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So if Johnny A makes the comparison it is not unfair.:rolleyes:
I don't believe I have ever made any comments about any of the comparisons being fair or unfair.
 
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Maya was the Big East POY as a freshman. KML will not be. They're not playing against the same competition, but still, I feel like people are hoping for too much. If the harshest criticism of KML is that she's not as good as Maya Moore, she will have a special, special career.
Pretty rash statement Alex, especially given your normally very thoughtful comments.

Sure Skylar would be the favorite right now, but it's far from a done deal. KML is already a better player than Skylar was in last year's regular season (check out SD's A/TO ratio for example). Diggins has had a very strong run between the NCAAs last year and the first few games this year, but there's no guarantee that will keep up. And should something happen to Skylar injury-wise (and let's hope it doesn't), KML would be as strong a candidate as any for BE POY.

Give me 4 to 1 odds, and I'd gladly put money on KML.

Maya was one of the greatest ever if not the greatest ever, and her learning curve was non-existent. So, I do agree with your underlying point. Even if you think KML will end up comparing well with the best of the UConn greats, to expect her to match Maya's freshman year is a bit silly. Fun perhaps, but silly all the same.
 

MilfordHusky

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The fact that this is a reasonable thread points to something obvious but noteworthy.


Maya was one of the best players ever in WCBB. Her career was arguably the best ever. In addition, she personifies class and is a role model for young and old. We were very, very fortunate to have her at UConn.

Incredibly, right after Maya leaves, we get another player who wears the same number, has virtually the same high school resume, and plays as if she is one of the top seniors in the country at age 18 (barely). The fact that we have 8 consecutive years of these great players is simply WCBB nirvana. We are extremely fortunate.
 

alexrgct

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Pretty rash statement Alex, especially given your normally very thoughtful comments.

Sure Skylar would be the favorite right now, but it's far from a done deal. KML is already a better player than Skylar was in last year's regular season (check out SD's A/TO ratio for example). Diggins has had a very strong run between the NCAAs last year and the first few games this year, but there's no guarantee that will keep up. And should something happen to Skylar injury-wise (and let's hope it doesn't), KML would be as strong a candidate as any for BE POY.

Give me 4 to 1 odds, and I'd gladly put money on KML.

Maya was one of the greatest ever if not the greatest ever, and her learning curve was non-existent. So, I do agree with your underlying point. Even if you think KML will end up comparing well with the best of the UConn greats, to expect her to match Maya's freshman year is a bit silly. Fun perhaps, but silly all the same.
The problem KML is going to run into is that a) she's a freshman, and b) she doesn't start. Yes, she plays starter's minutes, but I feel strongly that voters will see those points as strikes against her, with Point B being prohibitive. If she ends up in the starting lineup for UConn AND lights up Notre Dame, that could certainly change things.
 

ladybears4eva

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kaleena has 6 turnovers in 7 games, which , considering her minutes, and how much she handles the ball, is pretty amazing. she seems to me to be a more solid ballhandler and passer than maya. her passes,especially down low to dolson, are crisp, deliberate, and on the money. two things i think she very much has in common with maya: she is unselfish, and she works hard for every second that she is on the court. i know that i'm tempting the wrath of many here when i say this, especially since kaleena's just a frosh, but i think her understanding and feel for the game is better than maya's.for example, geno says that one of the things that impresses him the most is how good kaleena is at getting to spots where she'll have open shots. i never thought that maya was especially good at moving without the ball.
I thought Maya was known for her movement without the ball in her hands, her position, and ability to always be at the right place and time....

i know commentators on espy would repeatedly say this.
 

ladybears4eva

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maya was far more amazing as a frosh... because her team wasn't as experienced or good. KML has a team full of champs, vets, final four players, and starters as a team. So... its had to compare her with Maya at this point. She does seem to slip away from an unexperienced backcourt well enough at this point to score well, i.e. Stanford et al.

We can wait and hold on the Maya comparisons until she faces comparable guard play in the Baylor and ND games, which she is preparing for.

Maya is pretty awesome people, don't think she can be replaced that easily.
 

ladybears4eva

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and Tuesdays' game vs TAMU will be a guard defensive battle since Carter and White are still in the line up.
 

Icebear

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I thought Maya was known for her movement without the ball in her hands, her position, and ability to always be at the right place and time....

i know commentators on espy would repeatedly say this.
She was. Most of the time she was in constant motion. Announcers saw it, Geno saw it, her fellow players saw it and most saw it. However, there were games that teams played her very very physical and she was occasionally taken out of that motion. It happens at times. It happened less to Maya than most.
 

alexrgct

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maya was far more amazing as a frosh... because her team wasn't as experienced or good. KML has a team full of champs, vets, final four players, and starters as a team. So... its had to compare her with Maya at this point. She does seem to slip away from an unexperienced backcourt well enough at this point to score well, i.e. Stanford et al.

We can wait and hold on the Maya comparisons until she faces comparable guard play in the Baylor and ND games, which she is preparing for.

Maya is pretty awesome people, don't think she can be replaced that easily.
Maya did indeed come aboard when UConn had just gone through a few relatively down years, but the talent level on that 2008 team was ridiculous in hindsight. That's a team that had three Huskies of Honor members on it, plus Ketia Swanier, Brittany Hunter, Charde Houston, and, until they got injured, Mel Thomas and Kalana Greene. This Huskies team has experience on big stages, but not that kind of talent. Plus seven of 11 girls are underclassmen, including five of the nine-deep rotation likely to play the A&Ms and Baylors of the world.
 
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Do I honestly need to remind everyone that there has been SEVEN GAMES?
 

ladybears4eva

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Maya did indeed come aboard when UConn had just gone through a few relatively down years, but the talent level on that 2008 team was ridiculous in hindsight. That's a team that had three Huskies of Honor members on it, plus Ketia Swanier, Brittany Hunter, Charde Houston, and, until they got injured, Mel Thomas and Kalana Greene. This Huskies team has experience on big stages, but not that kind of talent. Plus seven of 11 girls are underclassmen, including five of the nine-deep rotation likely to play the A&Ms and Baylors of the world.

hindsight is worthless..

ok... saying Dolson, Hartley, Hayes, Farris (defense) and KML are lacking in talent compared to your list... is something you won't be able to say until they graduate.

not good enough of an argument.
 

alexrgct

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hindsight is worthless..

ok... saying Dolson, Hartley, Hayes, Farris (defense) and KML are lacking in talent compared to your list... is something you won't be able to say until they graduate.

not good enough of an argument.
It is absolutely something I'm able to say about this season, however. Bria Hartley could be as good as or better than Renee Montgomery, but Bria the sophomore is not Renee the junior. Tina caught a lot of flack from Geno as a sophomore, but, even though she wasn't maximizing her abilities, she was at least as good as Stef is as a Soph. Ketia Swanier was a fine player who was huge at moments that season, including the regional final against Rutgers. Brittany Hunter was good enough in spots that Geno felt comfortable starting her ahead of Tina to send Tina a message. Mel and Kalana were at least comparable to Tiff and Kelly. Charde Houston came off the bench as a senior. That was an absolutely stacked team that could very well have taken out Candace Parker et al had the team been at full strength. In fact, a less deep version of that team went 39-0 the following season. For Maya to join that squad and make the immediate impact she did was pretty special.

This is not to say that what KML is doing is chopped liver by any means. She's one of the smoothest, most confident/unflappable young players I've ever seen. But I would debate strongly that this year's team sans KML has the kind of talent that the 2008 team had sans Maya.
 

alexrgct

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Just as an addendum to this: I look back at that 2008 season like the 2001 season- maybe not as deep at full strength as the Huskies were in 2001, but still one where UConn at full strength could have and probably would have won it all (and yes, I realize the LVs were defending champs and had an all-timer in Parker and terrific, seasoned role players in Anosike and Hornbuckle). I won't feel that way about the 2012 team if they don't win it all. The 2013 team, however...
 
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