Looking Forward From the Injury

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First, one paragraph looking backward before looking forward. Obviously I feel terrible for the young man, and pray that however far he was going as a basketball player is only delayed and not denied. But from a fan's point of view yesterday brought the kind of emotion that is why we all put so much emotional energy into our favorites teams. A young man suffers that kind of shock injury, and his first reaction is screw the hospital -- I'm getting back to the bench. Players and coaches interrupting their efforts in a must win game to share love, prayers and comforts to the young man whose long term economic future was just put at risk. And then all of them handling that emotion by just increasing their toughness to win a game that they had to have on an afternoon where they couldn't have shot a 3 into the Connecticut River from a pier? Even winning all the time doesn't give you that kind of high. I don't know that I've been that moved by a sports victory since Andre Dixon walked into the end zone in South Bend after a month of trying and falling breathtakingly short of winning a game for Jazz Howard.

What does it mean for the season? We needed to win out to get in the discussion for the bubble. That becomes much, much harder. We're now playing with 7 1/2 bodies, and the odds just grow that somewhere along the line foul trouble or someone twisting an ankle or fighting a flu just leaves us too short handed. It also makes bouncing back for 4 consecutive games in the conference tourney without depth much less likely. But it's not time to panic either. Let's be honest -- Akok the last few games hasn't been giving us anything, and if Carlton and IW can stay out of foul trouble and Sid can get healthy and be part of a 3-man big rotation when we need him, I still think we can win any remaining game on the schedule. Not every game but any game. Which means, more than ever, that you have to take them one by one. Another one game season Thursday at Temple. That will be a tough road win but we have to get it, and a win in Philly might be the toughest remaining game we need to at least make sure that CV gets to play in at least an NIT before leaving us.

But make no mistake -- this has the possibility of having a huge negative effect on next year. I think it's unlikely that Akok will play at any time next year. And if he failed to improve over this year, his loss would be unfortunate but not critical. But we all know that his upside,based on not just his work ethic but also skills and athleticism that he hadn't figured out yet on the offensive side of the court, had the potential to take us to a very high level. We do not have a player who will give us the possibility of reaching the level next year that Akok gave us. Doesn't mean we can't be better next year, but the cieling is lower. Period. And there's no recruit coming in at this late stage with the potential to be a stretch 4 that Akok had. It is what it is.

Bottom line -- this is a huge setback for this year and the near term future. No sugar coating it. But it doesn't change the fact that you can only play games one at a time. We have a one season game in Philly Thursday night. We have enough talent to win, but it will require continuing mental toughness and better shooting than we had yesterday. Get it done. And whatever the recovery period is for Akok, it will be four days less that it was Sunday.
 
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Obviously, for the the rest of this season we need to stay out of foul trouble and can't afford any other injuries. I wonder if Hurley will go to zone. Part of me hates the idea because we aren't very good at it and when the opponents see us go zone, their eyes light up. Its a lot easier to catch and shoot instead of having Vital, Gilbert, Adams hounding you on on the ball. But it may be necessary to avoid foul trouble preserve guys a little that are already in foul trouble. Also, Sid is going to really need to step up.
 
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Hurley has got to find some answers that are not on our current roster. He needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat for next year, it's only realistic especially with that level of competition in the BE. Otherwise we are in the bottom of standings. With Akok it would have been tough enough. The one thing we need is hope and to get it we are going to need some rebounding muscle in the 4 and 5 spot. Hurley has put us on a good path but this is where he has to earn his millions.
 
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Hurley has got to find some answers that are not on our current roster. He needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat for next year, it's only realistic especially with that level of competition in the BE. Otherwise we are in the bottom of standings. With Akok it would have been tough enough. The one thing we need is hope and to get it we are going to need some rebounding muscle in the 4 and 5 spot. Hurley has put us on a good path but this is where he has to earn his millions.
The problem with that is we have a full roster as of now, and we're not going to kick out Akko (and potentially Polly) for recovering from basketball injuries. If Gilbert leaves that opens up a schollie, but we need a 5th guard because we'll be playing a lot of 3 guards without Akok. Who else is giving us a roster spot? Without naming names, there aren't a lot of players still in play who are going to come in next year and be major improvements on Carlton, IW or Sid.
 
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A couple of points. I'm not going to sit and pretend that potentially losing Akok for all of next year doesn't greatly damage next year's outlook. But I also think we need to let things play out. The staff has been recruiting for a big for next year. This becomes paramount now. There are options out there. Bruner from Yale would be a PERFECT fit at this point. The staff can sell major playing time. Let's see what the roster looks like in June/July. And let's also get a better handle on the recovery time for Akok.

In terms of going forward...yes they have a small margin for error. I like the idea of bringing Whaley off the bench.

With respect to playing zone...if it makes sense vs teams like Temple and Houston who have struggled against zone you play it. I think you will see Hurley only press when necessary. He talked about making adjustments in his press yesterday.
 
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The problem with that is we have a full roster as of now, and we're not going to kick out Akko (and potentially Polly) for recovering from basketball injuries. If Gilbert leaves that opens up a schollie, but we need a 5th guard because we'll be playing a lot of 3 guards without Akok. Who else is giving us a roster spot? Without naming names, there aren't a lot of players still in play who are going to come in next year and be major improvements on Carlton, IW or Sid.
For the 1,000 time...we will have a roster spot for next year. Possibly two.
 
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Sometimes teams rally when the bench gets short. Each of the 8 remaining players know they will play significant minutes and need to contribute, nowhere to run nowhere to hide.

We just played our best game of the season and the tournament starts Thursday in Philly. Expect a war.
 
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A couple of points. I'm not going to sit and pretend that potentially losing Akok for all of next year doesn't greatly damage next year's outlook. But I also think we need to let things play out. The staff has been recruiting for a big for next year. This becomes paramount now. There are options out there. Bruner from Yale would be a PERFECT fit at this point. The staff can sell major playing time. Let's see what the roster looks like in June/July. And let's also get a better handle on the recovery time for Akok.

In terms of going forward...yes they have a small margin for error. I like the idea of bringing Whaley off the bench.

With respect to playing zone...if it makes sense vs teams like Temple and Houston who have struggled against zone you play it. I think you will see Hurley only press when necessary. He talked about making adjustments in his press yesterday.
Does anyone remember a guy named Miller? This is what I'm talking about. Don't know how realistic it is but that's what we need.
 
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Any thought of redshirting Polley next season is probably gone now. He is going to need to play.
 
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We may only have one more year left of the Bouk show which will make this off-season pivotal. The way I see it is that we need to add a real impact player next year to fill the Akok void. Maybe not exactly the same type of player as Akok (obviously a very unique skillset) but someone of similar quality in order to give Bouk the help he needs.
 

intlzncster

i fart in your general direction
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In terms of going forward...yes they have a small margin for error. I like the idea of bringing Whaley off the bench.

With respect to playing zone...if it makes sense vs teams like Temple and Houston who have struggled against zone you play it. I think you will see Hurley only press when necessary. He talked about making adjustments in his press yesterday.
You really want to start Sid? And that's leaving aside his current injury.
 
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First, one paragraph looking backward before looking forward. Obviously I feel terrible for the young man, and pray that however far he was going as a basketball player is only delayed and not denied. But from a fan's point of view yesterday brought the kind of emotion that is why we all put so much emotional energy into our favorites teams. A young man suffers that kind of shock injury, and his first reaction is screw the hospital -- I'm getting back to the bench. Players and coaches interrupting their efforts in a must win game to share love, prayers and comforts to the young man whose long term economic future was just put at risk. And then all of them handling that emotion by just increasing their toughness to win a game that they had to have on an afternoon where they coujldn't have shot a 3 into the Connecticut River from a pier? Even winning all the time doesn't give you that kind of high. I don't know that I've been that moved by a sports victory since Andre Dixon walked into the end zone in South Bend after a month of trying and falling breathtakingly short of winning a game for Jazz Howard.

What does it mean for the season? We needed to win out to get in the discussion for the bubble. That becomes much, much harder. We're now playing with 7 1/2 bodies, and the odds just grow that somewhere along the line foul trouble or someone twisting an ankle or fighting a flu just leaves us too short handed. It also makes bouncing back for 4 consecutive games in the conference tourney without depth much less likely. But it's not time to panic either. Let's be honest -- Akok the last few games hasn't been giving us anything, and if Carlton and IW can stay out of foul trouble and Sid can get healthy and bre part of a 3-man big rotation when we need him, I still think we can win any remaining game on the schedule. Not every game but any game. Which means, more than ever, that you have to take them one by one. Another one game season Thursday at Temple. That will be a tough road win but we have to get it, and a win in Philly might be the toughest remaining game we need to at least make sure that CV gets to play in at least an NIT before leaving us.

But make no mistake -- this has the possibility of having a huge negative effect on next year. I think it's unlikely that Akok will play at any time next year. And if he failed to improve over this year, his loss would be unfortunate but not critical. But we all know that his upside,based on not just his work ethic but also skills and athleticism that he hadn't figured out yet on the offensive side of the court, had the potential to take us to a very high level. We do not have a player who will give us the possibility of reaching the level next year that Akok gave us. Doesn't mean we can't be better next year, but the cieling is lower. Period. And there's no recruit coming in at this late stage with the potential to be a stretch 4 that Akok had. It is what it is.

Bottom line -- this is a huge setback for this year and the near term future. No sugar coating it. But it doesn't change the fact that you can only play games one at a time. We have a one season game in Philly Thursday night. We have enough talent to win, but it will require continuing mental toughness and better shooting than we had yesterday. Get it done. And whatever the recovery period is for Akok, it will be four days less that it was Sunday.
nailed it. First paragraph made me a little misty.
 
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Any thought of redshirting Polley next season is probably gone now. He is going to need to play.
That, of course, assumes he will be able to. Which is certainly possible but not assured in any way,.
 
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This is the exact situation where a grad transfer would be useful -- a positional need that's really open for only 1 year.
Yeah we have an unbelievable sales pitch to a grad transfer 4. But, especially to Jordan Bruner.

- Starter minutes available.
- Don't even have to move states. (Jordan can visit his Yale buddies whenever he has time).
- First year in the Big East. Tons of national attention will be on us.
- The team will almost assuredly be an NCAA tournament team with a quality grad transfer.
- The rest of the team's continuity will be high, so it won't be hard to fit in a transfer. (Only losing 1 starter from whatever lineup finishes the season as the starters, adding 2 guys who have been practicing all year with the team).
- Go-to scorer in Bouknight in place, so you don't have to come in to a new place and be "The Guy". (Bruner's versatility and playmaking will fit in perfectly).
- Great culture instilled by Hurley. Just watch how the team rallied behind Akok.
- UConn is a top ~25ish grad school for Econ.
 
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Hurley has got to find some answers that are not on our current roster. He needs to pull a rabbit out of the hat for next year, it's only realistic especially with that level of competition in the BE. Otherwise we are in the bottom of standings. With Akok it would have been tough enough. The one thing we need is hope and to get it we are going to need some rebounding muscle in the 4 and 5 spot. Hurley has put us on a good path but this is where he has to earn his millions.
Bryson Williams as a Grad Transfer to the NBE. Assuming he leaves UTEP which is probable even though he was recruited to Fresno State by Rodney Terry. He has to leave.
 
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Any thought of redshirting Polley next season is probably gone now. He is going to need to play.
No two injuries are the same, but AJ Price tore his knee in March and was playing in November. Hopefully Polley has a similar recovery
 

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