The JCM transferring impact on AO's game... | The Boneyard

The JCM transferring impact on AO's game...

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D$

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I think everyone is puzzled as to why AO is playing like he is this year. Is it because of Drummond's presence, is it a lack of confidence, not getting enough touches, etc. I think there are many factors, but one that I think has the greatest impact is the departure of JCM.

He is AO's best friend, and his confidant. Now, these are all assumptions, but I think they are not that far off. If he had a bad game, he probably talked about it with JCM. If he was angry or upset with the coaches, he probably talked about it with JCM. JCM was probably in his ear telling him how good of a player he was, how badly the team needed him, etc. I'm sure the current players and coaches are telling him the same, but when it comes from your boy, it holds much more water and has a greater impact.

It has been reported that AO has a confidence issue, and I think not having JCM there to reassure AO, has had a negative impact on his game.

As previously mentioned, these are all assumptions, but I truly believe this is the main cause of AO's down season.
 
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The Flashes of Genius??? thread below has the same sentiment!
 

D$

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My bad, haven't read all of the threads.

Disregard then!
 
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Jeff had the same problem last year, which I believe is confidence-related. Eventually, he got through it and I suspect he will once again. But gosh, I hope it's soon.
 
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AO's frosh season was a disaster. His soph season was a mixed bag. 20+ rebs vs Texas, then a no show vs ND at home, and everything in between. Then, that 11 game championship run may have given us false hope for this year.
JCM was a malcontent his 2 years here. Other than 3-4 games where he had a good run, JCM always was complaining about something UConn. I doubt JCM was a positive influence on AO at UConn.
 
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1) I'm not privy to the social lives of our players, but I'm pretty confident that this is a very close-knit bunch and Oriakhi is not likely sulking in his dorm wishing his boy JCM was with him.

2) If Oriakhi really does miss his post-game venting sessions with JCM, I'm pretty sure he could pick up the phone and talk to JCM whenever he wants.

3) The majority of these (hypothetical) venting sessions between AO and JCM these past two years probably consisted of AO talking JCM off the ledge, not the other way around.

Oriakhi's not playing well, it's hard to figure out why exactly. My best guess (which has been said several times by others) is that he's just a kid who easily gets down on himself and that lack of self-confidence is affecting his game. Even though he had bad games last year, he was never in danger of losing his role as the most important post player on the team. If he played bad on Tuesday, he knew he would get his 32 minutes on Saturday and have a good chance of turning it around. That's not the case this year (partly AO's fault, partly due to Drummond and Olander) and the snowball effect appears to be in play.
 
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To paraphrase the late, great Randy Smith: "If JCM is the answer, then what pray tell is the question?"
 
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AO's frosh season was a disaster. His soph season was a mixed bag. 20+ rebs vs Texas, then a no show vs ND at home, and everything in between. Then, that 11 game championship run may have given us false hope for this year.
JCM was a malcontent his 2 years here. Other than 3-4 games where he had a good run, JCM always was complaining about something UConn. I doubt JCM was a positive influence on AO at UConn.

This, plus the confidence issue are the answers.

His per-minute numbers aren't that far off from where they were last year, except for fewer rebounds (sharing with Drummond) and more turnovers this year. The distressing thing is his field goal percentage is only 47%, atrocious for a big man, and about the same as it was his first year.
 
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He has to assert himself, which we have seen at times in the past, but it must not be in his nature. I kinda think Coach has to take the "Taladega Nights" approach with him, that is throw him in a locked car with a mountain lion (cougar).
 
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Who is puzzled? I am not. He played like this last year except for in Maui and the BET and NCAA tourney.

So you think he is playing like he has for 95% of his career because JCM is not there to hold his hand? This is who he is.
 
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My vague recollection is that AO also had an occasional disappearing act while at Tilton. Of course in high school, a player of Alex' size and inherent ability will always have a presence above most other players, so these mysterious hiatuses to his game are not noticed to the extent they are on the D1 stage.
 
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Who is puzzled? I am not. He played like this last year except for in Maui and the BET and NCAA tourney.

So you think he is playing like he has for 95% of his career because JCM is not there to hold his hand? This is who he is.

Come on, that is not fair or accurate. He had 6 non-Maui regular season double-doubles and a few more near misses. He was inconsistent last year, but when he was good he was very good. This year he has been consistently bad.
 
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True. He had a big game in that great win over texas.
 
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Nice kid. Call it what you will-
The issue, seems to me, to be maturity (lack of).... plain and simple.

Emotional immaturity evidenced by his deflated body language and facial expression at every call that goes against him, player that beats him, missed rebound, strip, fumble and shot that doesn't find the target... he demonstrates up turned hands sagging shoulders and appears to get slower and less involved.

These classic symptoms have been consistent throughout his UConn career despite the fantastic games cited above, Maui, Texas, BET, etc.

He is consistently inconsistent except for this year. This year he has been consistently average to poor. Maybe, as suggested in other threads, he is just too nice a kid.

Again I think it's immaturity.

Whatever IT is were ALL scratching our collective heads and wishing he'd snap out of it.

Alex needs to wake up and realize there is only one way to realize his dreams, earn it!

Alex the window is smaller than you think. Time to visit that telephone booth, don the cape and tights (well maybe skip the tights) and turn into that OTHER Alex we fondly remember.
Oh yeah burn the Clark Kent cloths and personal....
When you step on the court embrace your inner warrior.

There are tons of 6'9 guys with far fewer physical gifts. Desire/competitiveness/"heart" is the great equalizer. In fact it's the most important attribute for success at anything.
 
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to me it is pretty obvious what the problem is and it isn't the fact that Coombs-mcDaniel transferred. Here is a guy who many tought deserved to be the MVP of the final four. Played great over the second half of the season and in th epost season. He came back this year as a key piece of the puzzle than at th e11th hour, he pretty much was replaced by a bigger, potentially better player. As a result instead of being one of the guys this year's edition of the Huskies is built around, he found himself a spare part. Different people react differently to finding themselves in that situation. Some compete harder to get back to the top, others sulk, and still others just say "screw it" and do what they can do and accept the fact that they are not key pieces any more. If you're 20 years old, have high hopes going forward and suddenly find yourself replaced by a guy who has yet to prove himself at anything at this level, it is pretty difficult not to just say "screw it."
 
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he has yet to develop skills from the right side of the basket... he has a nice touch left handed, but right-handed its a brick...
not sure why, but i am puzzled why this has not been an off-season emphasis. I noticed this as a frosh but wrote it off, last year still no right-side game... started to wonder, but had other parts of game that covered this up.... now with another inside presence time is harder to come by and NO right-side game. puzzling... take note on how he maneuvers from the right side, he seems, to borrow an NFL term, "alligator-arm" it, his arm doesnt extend and finish with a natural follow-through... resulting in hard/flat shots at the basket..

have others noticed this? I sure have

get a softer touch from the right and alex will be in the NBA.
 
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I don't think JCM really had anything to do with it. To my eyes, he simply is not a very talented player, at least offensively. Low basketball IQ, poor decision making, slow/weak lift, and as noted, tremendously inconsistent offensive game. I cannot recall a softer 6-9 240 guy or remember a guy who at times has zero lift off the floor rendering him completely useless offensively/defensively and on the boards. He seems to often play scared of contact and look for a foul. You couple that with inconsistent effort/heart and you have a guy who is going to be a total no show at times.

But, when he does play with heart/confidence, he is a solid 10 and 10 guy simply by getting into good position and wanting the ball. We saw that in spurts last year but unfortunately we just don't see it enough.
 
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He has to assert himself, which we have seen at times in the past, but it must not be in his nature. I kinda think Coach has to take the "Taladega Nights" approach with him, that is throw him in a locked car with a mountain lion (cougar).
That's where I come in.
 
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to me it is pretty obvious what the problem is and it isn't the fact that Coombs-mcDaniel transferred. Here is a guy who many tought deserved to be the MVP of the final four. Played great over the second half of the season and in th epost season. He came back this year as a key piece of the puzzle than at th e11th hour, he pretty much was replaced by a bigger, potentially better player. As a result instead of being one of the guys this year's edition of the Huskies is built around, he found himself a spare part. Different people react differently to finding themselves in that situation. Some compete harder to get back to the top, others sulk, and still others just say "screw it" and do what they can do and accept the fact that they are not key pieces any more. If you're 20 years old, have high hopes going forward and suddenly find yourself replaced by a guy who has yet to prove himself at anything at this level, it is pretty difficult not to just say "screw it."

I don't see it this way at all. Oriakhi seemed thrilled when Drummond came aboard. I think he figured the plan all along would be for him and Drummond to play in the frontcourt together. Olander is competing hard for Oriakhi's minutes, and Alex doesn't seem to be responding well. Hopefully he figures it out, but as I said, it is Olander, not Drummond, taking away Alex's minutes right now.
 
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I don't see it this way at all. Oriakhi seemed thrilled when Drummond came aboard. I think he figured the plan all along would be for him and Drummond to play in the frontcourt together. Olander is competing hard for Oriakhi's minutes, and Alex doesn't seem to be responding well. Hopefully he figures it out, but as I said, it is Olander, not Drummond, taking away Alex's minutes right now.

Bingo! +1


Power forward is his natural position despite his previously play time at center in prep and UConn. If he matures, reignites that competitive desire and works hard he will play and succeed and obviously so will UConn. If he is content to underachieve and shrug "why me" ... well obviously I don't see good things going forward.
 

junglehusky

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I don't have much to add to this thread, other than maybe it's difficult to accurately psychoanalyze a kid based on what we see on TV and maybe a few quotes and tweets.
 
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I don't see it this way at all. Oriakhi seemed thrilled when Drummond came aboard. I think he figured the plan all along would be for him and Drummond to play in the frontcourt together. Olander is competing hard for Oriakhi's minutes, and Alex doesn't seem to be responding well. Hopefully he figures it out, but as I said, it is Olander, not Drummond, taking away Alex's minutes right now.

Exactly... this is a much more accurate assertion than the OP. It's sad to see a 20 year old kid show such a lack of maturity in fighting through poor play and earning playing time. His body language this year is absolutely horrendous, I'm surprised Calhoun even puts him on the floor at all anymore sometimes when I saw the way he sulks up and down the court when things aren't going his way. Not only that, but he's been playing incredibly soft. Perfect example of this was a game or two ago (forgive me I can't remember which game it was exactly)... Alex had essentially a wide open layup down low with a defender that was arriving late. Instead of taking the shot before the defender got anywhere near him to affect the shot and possibly getting fouled AFTER the easy shot, Alex looks for the easy way out and slides right TOWARD the defender to make contact and draw a foul. Thus, he bricks the shot and ends up missing the first free throw (possibly both, my memory is weak lately I know.. he definitely missed the first if not both, though). It could've easily been a 2 point play (and maybe he would've still gotten fouled w/o throwing himself into the defender), but Alex chose to bail himself out of taking the easy shot and threw himself into the defender causing him to miss it.

It literally looked like he threw himself into that defender in order to have an excuse if/when he missed it (because he got fouled), whereas there is no excuse for missing a wide open layup. It screams "lack of confidence" and is really sad, but only he can fix that type of problem.
 
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Bingo! +1


Power forward is his natural position despite his previously play time at center in prep and UConn. If he matures, reignites that competitive desire and works hard he will play and succeed and obviously so will UConn. If he is content to underachieve and shrug "why me" ... well obviously I don't see good things going forward.


Why do you guys keep saying this? Size wise he is a PF at the professional level, but he is really not a natural PF at the college level. Look around college basketball, how many teams are playing PFs who can't step out and guard someone in space, who can't pass, who can't hit a shot out to at least 15 ft with consistency, who can't put the ball on the floor, etc. I'm not saying you have to possess all of those qualities but in reality AO doesn't really possess any of them. AO is a 5 here, the fact that people say he is undersized as a 5 is ridiculous, where are these college teams that are sporting these hulking 7 footers at the C position?
 
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AO is a 5 here, the fact that people say he is undersized as a 5 is ridiculous, where are these college teams that are sporting these hulking 7 footers at the C position?

Only in Jim Calhoun's mind. If you notice over the years, we are probably the only team in college basketball that routinely plays two guys 6-10 and above (and three guys 6-8 and above). JC would rather err on the side of being over-sized.
 
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