Thursday, February 28, 2008

Whit's first blog - Bama basketball

So Will invited me via e-mail to post on his blog. Since I don't post enough on my own, I think I'll just post on here if I get motivated to do so.

Yesterday, I called Will and we discussed the state of the Alabama Basketball program. One question that really sparked my interest was when Will asked me, "Ok, you're interested in coaching basketball, so what would you say the identity of the basketball team is right now?"

To this question, I'd to like to explain my response.

First of all, I'm more aggravated with Mark Gottfried than I have ever been in my life. He needs to be removed from the head coaching position. There is no evidence, that I have seen, to prove his coaching ability. Coach G is an awesome recruiter and as a result, Alabama is competing with the best schools in the SEC in recruiting every season. In fact, this upcoming recruiting class looks to be one of his best recruiting classes in a while. However, if past performances have shown me anything...Coach G will be praised for his recruiting ability and then the season will underachieve next season.

2004 - 10th ranked recruiting class in the nation
2005 - 9th in the nation
2006 - not in top 25
2007 - 23rd
2008 - 11th in the nation with only three players committed

Wow! The players are in place. Where else could the problem be but the coaching?

Problems with Coaching
Coach Gottfried isn't a bad coach. He is simply not the caliber of coach that THE University of Alabama should have. The lack of offense and poor defense is evident of poor coaching. On offense, we are constantly running the same plays that we ran last season. Normally, this is not a problem for teams, but we do not have the personnel that we had last year. Bama Basketball was three times as good last season and even better the season before that. Last year, Jermareo Davidson was a factor inside and that allowed Richard Hendrix to have an awesome year. With those two in the post, an offense that ran through them worked quite well. Steele was handling the ball that year too. Everybody can say that we're not winning because we don't have Ronald Steele, but it the coach's responsibility to adapt his offensive and defensive plays according to the players that he has. With this basketball team, there is absolutely no reason for a 4-9 record in the SEC. Absolutely no reason except poor coaching. This team should be running the floor and staying with a small lineup instead of trying to start two big guys.

My proposed starting lineup: PG-Hollinger, SG-Torrance, WG-Riley, PF-Gee, C-Hendrix

With this lineup and decent plays, there is no telling how well this team could do. I think we would be much better off and would be better on the road because all of these players are experienced.

This year, however, I see the team running many of the same plays as last year and yet there is no dual post threat. Hendrix is the post game for Bama. Aside from last night against Arkansas, when Jemison put up 19, there has been no other game in which a post player other than Richard has stepped up like they should. I think this lack of another post man and also the poor guard play is the coach's fault. He has yet to look at a starting lineup and feel completely confident in those 5 guys. I don't know how many of you have ever played sports, I haven't played that many at all, but when a coach looks over at you and says "you're in," there is a certain amount of confidence that runs through you. The coach is putting confidence in your ability, and that makes the athlete feel excited and confident as well. Gottfried's indecision to cement a starting roster for every game is why Bama can look like a championship team one night, and then the next can look like an intramural team. We must have a coach that feels comfortable placing confidence in his players. Without a coach's confidence, players are sure to falter.

With all that said, the "identity" of this team is difficult to label. In one word, the identity of this team? CONFUSED. There is no confidence among the players and no ability among the coaching staff.

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