Post Mortem (Our Inside Play is Dead)

Hello fellow Boilers! Please excuse my attempt at a play on words in the title. After lurking H&R for a while, I've finally decided to contribute some analysis of my own. I've been around basketball my whole life and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the game, so hopefully I can provide something worth reading. Here I'm going to discuss our post game so far this year, as I see it as a major X-Factor for our team.

This team has not yet defined itself and is still very malleable in terms of confidence the rest of the year. Tonight's game against BC is a unique game in that we will face a team that will look like a pretty good win should we prevail, but also would be seen as a poor loss should we come short.

This contest will be a MAJOR barometer for AJ Hammons and Jay Simpson, and will probably affect their distribution of playing time the rest of the year. First lets talk about Dr. Jay Simpson. He has been a surprising offensive player, and is one of our only threats to create his own shot. He has made several NBA-style turn around 15 footers this year, something that even JJ took a couple years to develop. Honestly, Simpson looks much more polished and more emotionally invested than Hammons. He also looks more confident and cohesive with the our guard rotation.

Now onto our favorite seven-footer, AJH. Boston College has 3 players hovering around the 7' mark, but none have been real contributors. They do have a high scoring 6'9'' forward who will challenge Hammons in the post. If he can't develop the lateral movement and body control to stay in front of players without fouling, he won't be on the court much this game. If Hammons wants any NBA scouts looking at him even NEXT year, he should be dominant against inferior talent. He hasn't been thus far, and I would not be opposed to Painter giving Simpson the majority of the playing time for the near future.

Finally, I want to discuss something that has really irritated me this year, and that is how our guards are feeding the post. Our team is a poor passing team. I can probably count this year's number of good bounce passes into the post on one hand. Our guards are indecisive when passing into the post, often looking to either drive or kick to the top of the key before considering a post feed. This gives the weak side defender time to come help out, which is especially detrimental to Hammons because of his shaky hands. His refusal to get low, hold his position, and demand the ball exacerbates the problem even further. The lob passes that Ronnie, Terone, and our other guards offer allow defenders to easily deflect the ball or rotate into better defensive position.

The fact that this fundamental aspect of offense has gone unfixed for so long under CMP is puzzling and troublesome. These are D-1 college basketball players. Feeding the post quickly with a decisive bounce pass should be automatic. The fault equally lies with the guards for poor execution, our big men for lack of positioning, and our coaches for not recognizing this problem. This, along with his refusal to acknowledge that zone defense exists (don't get me started), is one of the few weak points of Painter's coaching thus far from my perspective.

Simpson is athletic and naturally gifted at basketball. Hammons has all the tools to be a game changing player. Our guards are quick and have the ability to make solid passes if they focus. Our post production can and should be fixed. If it is, then we will win this game and content in the Big 10. If these problems persist, we likely will have a very similar year to last. I trust our guys, and hope that Simpson and Hammons can turn into reliable parts of this team.

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