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  • Many players are lured by the bragging rights of saying “I played D1”, even though many low to mid-major D1 teams could lose to an upper-echelon D2 team. Bruce Pearl (Auburn coach and formerly at D2) has stated as much. Just look at Ryan Hawkins of NW Mo. State. He is clearly the best player on Creighton’s team.
    Players should take a long-term view:
    • Look in the mirror – Am you physically built to play in the NBA? Look at the height and weight stats of NBA players. Even Curry is small for a guard at 6’3”. If not blessed physically, then why consider a D1 team that emulates the NBA style, while not developing the skills to play overseas?
    • D1 schools are notorious for channeling players away from their desired major to a more basketball-practice friendly major )NCAA study in 2015 confirmed this). You want a school (whether D1, D2, or D3) that does not subscribe to this philosophy.
    • D1 schools will try to channel high school seniors to prep schools, while providing no commitment to recruit them after prep school. Most prep schools play a glorified AAU game and showcase their chosen players for D1, which is not aligned with developing the skills for the style of play overseas.
    • D1 coaches are under incredible pressure to win NOW and scholarships are only for 1 year. With the advent of the transfer portal, will coaches really recruit a player out of prep school, when they can get a Jr. D1 guy from the portal?
    I am not claiming that WLU is alone in being attractive to players with professional aspirations. However, I am only familiar with WLU and they have placed at least 14 players in the professional ranks.
    Attractive Aspects of Playing at WLU, based on 2021-2022 stats
    • You don’t have to start the game to get significant minutes.
      • Highest average minutes is 28 mins.
      • Eight (8) players average over 15 minutes
      • Since WLU averages over 79 possessions per game, which is 20-30% more than traditional half-court offenses, 15 minutes a game at WLU is equivalent to 18 to 19.5 minutes a game in a traditional offense, in terms of experience.
    • The style of play aligns better with non-USA professional leagues in terms of style of play. High ball screen, dribble drive dominant offenses are much more prevalent in the NBA. Unless one realistically has a shot at the NBA based on physical attributes, playing at a D1 or D2 school that emulates the NBA style is counter-productive.
    • The typical depth of WLU allows talented freshmen to redshirt, get acquainted with the unique style of play, while adjusting to the rigors of the college game and college life. Bolon, Yoakum and Dyer all red-shirted. However, injuries to upperclassmen or outstanding play in practice may earn early playing time, so it is not a hard and fast rule.
    • Players develop their complete game and basketball IQ, since they are allowed to make decisions in real time and do not rely heavily on set plays. They learn to recognize, quickly analyze, and then react to situations as they arise.
      • One player transferred to WLU and was known as a defensive stopper. He shot 29% from three at his former school. The first year at WLU he shot over 40% from three. This year he is averaging over 55% from three
      • Six players average over 40% from three.
      • Seven players average over 60% effective shooting %! Those are dominant inside post player numbers from players who are not post players.
      • Seven players average under 3 turnovers per 40 minutes.
      • Eleven players average over 3 assists per 40 minutes
      • Eleven players average over 17 points per 40 minutes
      • Six players average over 2 steals per 40 minutes
    In summary, players need to set realistic, achievable goals and select a school that can give them the opportunity to achieve those goals.

    Comment


    • I buy your argument, Columbus--it's a shame that more young people don't look at it that way.

      And while we're musing broadly about all subjects WLU basketball, here were my random musings from yesterday afternoon:

      I had a moment when I thought to myself: "Man, how good would this team be if Bolon had chosen to return!" But, then I pretty quickly followed that thought with a second thought: "But then we likely wouldn't be seeing the huge jump in development of the younger guys like Rasile & Sarson." There would be so many fewer minutes to spread to the Rasiles, Sarsons, Denbows, etc. if Bolon were back. And as much as Bolon was the heartbeat of this team when he was here, his absence has allowed Rasile/Sarson to grow, allowed Robinson/Butler to mature and become that heartbeat, allowed Cmont/Viktor a spot to transfer into and contribute mightily, etc. So the "what if" game is fun, but I think I'm actually happy with the reality--a reality in which Coach Howlett takes the guys he has and molds them into a unit.

      This is the same thing many of us were thinking when guys like Dave Dennis, Beau Justice, and Yahel Hill transferred out after their respective Freshman years. What if, what if, what if. But if some of those guys had stuck around, we may have been denied the sublime beauty of watching Luke Dyer become Luke Dyer over the course of 4+ years. And I, for one, am happy that we got to see Dyer do what only he could do for the duration of his time here.

      So my random musing for the day was to shut down all the "what ifs" and just enjoy the ride. I love that Coach Howlett and his staff always find a way to coach up the guys they have, and it's a lot of fun as a fan to see the Dyers/Sarsons/Rasiles/etc. grow into huge contributors right before our very eyes.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Scrub View Post
        I buy your argument, Columbus--it's a shame that more young people don't look at it that way.

        And while we're musing broadly about all subjects WLU basketball, here were my random musings from yesterday afternoon:

        I had a moment when I thought to myself: "Man, how good would this team be if Bolon had chosen to return!" But, then I pretty quickly followed that thought with a second thought: "But then we likely wouldn't be seeing the huge jump in development of the younger guys like Rasile & Sarson." There would be so many fewer minutes to spread to the Rasiles, Sarsons, Denbows, etc. if Bolon were back. And as much as Bolon was the heartbeat of this team when he was here, his absence has allowed Rasile/Sarson to grow, allowed Robinson/Butler to mature and become that heartbeat, allowed Cmont/Viktor a spot to transfer into and contribute mightily, etc. So the "what if" game is fun, but I think I'm actually happy with the reality--a reality in which Coach Howlett takes the guys he has and molds them into a unit.

        This is the same thing many of us were thinking when guys like Dave Dennis, Beau Justice, and Yahel Hill transferred out after their respective Freshman years. What if, what if, what if. But if some of those guys had stuck around, we may have been denied the sublime beauty of watching Luke Dyer become Luke Dyer over the course of 4+ years. And I, for one, am happy that we got to see Dyer do what only he could do for the duration of his time here.

        So my random musing for the day was to shut down all the "what ifs" and just enjoy the ride. I love that Coach Howlett and his staff always find a way to coach up the guys they have, and it's a lot of fun as a fan to see the Dyers/Sarsons/Rasiles/etc. grow into huge contributors right before our very eyes.
        Great points. Like you, I have thought, " what if bolon and dyer had stayed and yoakum were not injured?" We might be 15 deep with 3 platoons!

        Coach Howlett has a great talent for selecting and developing players who fit the system and can grow over the course of the season to fill in the gaps left by the departed stars.

        Like you, it has been great to see great athletes grow their understanding of the team aspects of the game and become more complete players.

        Many players are blossoming in terms of their skills and confidence. I see the potential for some of the younger players to become dominant by their junior year.


        We just seem to reload, even after losing outstanding players, while still playing unselfishly.



        Comment


        • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post

          Great points. Like you, I have thought, " what if bolon and dyer had stayed and yoakum were not injured?" We might be 15 deep with 3 platoons!

          Coach Howlett has a great talent for selecting and developing players who fit the system and can grow over the course of the season to fill in the gaps left by the departed stars.

          Like you, it has been great to see great athletes grow their understanding of the team aspects of the game and become more complete players.

          Many players are blossoming in terms of their skills and confidence. I see the potential for some of the younger players to become dominant by their junior year.


          We just seem to reload, even after losing outstanding players, while still playing unselfishly.


          Often overlooked is Ben the recruiter. Every year it seems we have a "prize bull" in our recruiting class AND two bulls that Placed and Showed! WLU's bench is getting VERY crowded with top flight players to the point that true Freshmen have to be almost All-Conference quality to see the floor!!

          The down side is these players are used to being the lead dog on their HS team. Also, there is a risk that some of these talented players may seek other opportunities if they don't get the minutes they think they deserve.

          Comment


          • Observations West Liberty vs Glenville State 2/9/22

            Glenville Strategy
            • Although GSC typically plays the WLU style, for this game they departed from this approach
            • They used the approach used by WV State a couple a years ago, which relies on having at least 1 dominant 1-on-1 player (like Abram for WV State). In this case, the dominant player was John Williams. In this strategy, they generally take a deliberate offensive pace, until about 12 seconds left in the shot clock. Then they try to put it in William’s hands to try to create something or draw a foul. Many times, Williams was hunting for a foul on nearly out-of-control drives.
            • When they broke the press, they did not attack the rim, as in previous meetings.
            • They also had several deadly three-point shooters and shoot a good 36% from three as a team.
            • They also wanted to limit turnovers.
            • They also wanted to limit WLU offensive rebounds.
            All in all, Glenville did a good job in executing their strategy, especially in the first half.
            • Only 4 turnovers
            • Held WLU to 2 offensive rebounds
            • WLU was not rebounding well
            • WLU was shooting only 54.5% FT, missing front end of 1-and-1s, which is like a turnover.
            • With 4 minutes left in first half, GSC led 33-32
            • WLU led 43-36 at the half
            West Liberty was not rebounding well and they were missing the front end of one and ones in the first half.
            So, what happened to GSC for them to lose by 32?
            IMHO:
            • Basically, they just wore GSC out physically and mentally,
            • The signs of fatigue started to set in with about 4 minutes to play in the first half and WLU started to build a lead.
            • In the second half, WLU increased the pressure tremendously from the start and increased the pace. GSC was losing their legs and were slow in getting back.
            • WLU was sharing the ball and moving without the ball extremely well.
            • GSC shooting declined and they had 8 turnovers, of which 4 were steals by WLU
            • Within 2.5 minutes, the 7-point half time lead had ballooned to 17, with WLU on a 12-2 run.
            • With this deficit, GSC cannot hold the ball to slow the pace.
            • WLU hit the offensive glass hard, getting 11 offensive rebounds in the second half (compared to a paltry2 in the first half)
            For the game:
            • WLU had 7 players shoot 50% or more from three.
            • Shooting: 57.7% FG 47.1% 3FG, 63.2% FT (ugh),
            • Effective shooting % was 63.4%, 2pt FG shooting % was 61.1%
            • Points per possession was amazing 1.38 to 0.99 for GSC.
            Team West Liberty Glenville Advantage to:
            Date 2/9/2022 2/9/2022
            Score 102-70 102-70 WLU
            w/l W
            FG 41 25 WLU
            FGA 71 58 WLU
            FG Pct 58% 43% WLU
            3FG 8 8 =
            3 FGA 17 22 GSC
            3 FG PCT 47% 36% WLU
            FT 12 12 =
            FTA 19 27 GSC
            FT PCT 63% 44% WLU
            Off Reb 13 11 WLU
            Def Reb 29 23 WLU
            Tot Reb 42 34 WLU
            PF 19 20 =
            Assist 19 10 WLU
            TO 8 12 WLU
            Blk 5 2 WLU
            Stl 7 4 WLU
            Pts 102 70 WLU
            Avg Pts Per Game 99 78 WLU
            Steals per Forced TO 58% 33% WLU
            Assist to TO Ratio 2.38 0.83 WLU
            Assist per FG 46% 40% WLU
            Points Per FGA 1.44 1.21 WLU
            Points Per Possession 1.38 0.99 WLU
            Num Possessions 74 71 =
            OppDefReb 23 29 WLU
            Off Reb Effic 36% 28% WLU
            Forced TO 12 12 =
            Game num 23 23 =
            Two Pt FG % 61.1% 47.2% WLU
            Effective Shooting % 63.38% 50.00% WLU
            Last edited by Columbuseer; 02-12-2022, 01:56 PM. Reason: corrected half time score

            Comment


            • I, too, thought it was strange to see GSC pulling the ball out rather than trying to run and gun. And you're right--it worked . . . for a while.

              WLU's rebounding was atrocious in the first half of that game. Adrian Scarbrough picked up 5 offensive boards (for 10 easy point-blank-range points). But you'll notice that Marlon Moore's minutes went up big time in the second half to neutralize Scarbrough on the boards.

              All in all it was a weird looking performance for Glenville--a major departure from their norms. (And to be fair, their starting point guard, Edwards, was in a walking boot at the game, so that probably affects what you want to do as well).

              Comment


              • Today makes me very nervous. WLU has a serous mental block against playing WLU-style basketball in Christie/Cox Court at Athens. They always seem to get away from themselves when they set foot in that building for some reason. They have to come out quickly and take Concord out of the game early.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Scrub View Post
                  Today makes me very nervous. WLU has a serous mental block against playing WLU-style basketball in Christie/Cox Court at Athens. They always seem to get away from themselves when they set foot in that building for some reason. They have to come out quickly and take Concord out of the game early.
                  I share your concern. Fairmont barely defeated them recently. When they last beat us, coach May worked all week focusing on keeping us off the offensive glass.
                  imho we have to win out, win the tourney and iup has to lose for us to host the regional. So a lot is riding on this game.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Scrub View Post
                    I, too, thought it was strange to see GSC pulling the ball out rather than trying to run and gun. And you're right--it worked . . . for a while.

                    WLU's rebounding was atrocious in the first half of that game. Adrian Scarbrough picked up 5 offensive boards (for 10 easy point-blank-range points). But you'll notice that Marlon Moore's minutes went up big time in the second half to neutralize Scarbrough on the boards.

                    All in all it was a weird looking performance for Glenville--a major departure from their norms. (And to be fair, their starting point guard, Edwards, was in a walking boot at the game, so that probably affects what you want to do as well).
                    During pre game introductions, gsc players never left their huddle to shake hands with refs or coach Howlett.
                    Never have seen that before. What a bush league, dumb jock-like coaching move. Reflected badly on school. If I were AD or President, my message would be "That will NEVER happen again!"

                    That action deserved a major thumping, which they got in their 32 point loss! lol!

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post

                      During pre game introductions, gsc players never left their huddle to shake hands with refs or coach Howlett.
                      Never have seen that before. What a bush league, dumb jock-like coaching move. Reflected badly on school. If I were AD or President, my message would be "That will NEVER happen again!"

                      That action deserved a major thumping, which they got in their 32 point loss! lol!
                      I did notice that. That had to put Assistant Coach Brandon Smith in a bad position. He certainly has no beef with WLU (as far as I can tell)--it's his alma mater. But here was Caldwell coaching his guys not to shake hands. A bad look for sure. And good for WLU's guys for not buying into the head games right out of the gate.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post
                        .
                        imho we have to win out, win the tourney and iup has to lose for us to host the regional. So a lot is riding on this game.
                        This. One more loss of any kind (@ Concord, @ Fairmont, in the MEC tourney) and they better have their bags already packed for Indiana. WLU needs to win out and hope like heck that UPJ shows up the PSAC West finale or that IUP meets a tough matchup in the PSAC tourney (like the Mercyhurst situation from a few years ago) if they want to host this thing.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Columbuseer View Post

                          I share your concern. Fairmont barely defeated them recently. When they last beat us, coach May worked all week focusing on keeping us off the offensive glass.
                          For all of his sideline antics--which the IUP posters got a kick out of when Concord visited the KCAC earlier in the season--May always finds a way to draw up something that breaks WLU's normal rhythm. It'll be on WLU's players not to take the bait and to "dance with who brung 'em," so to speak.

                          Comment


                          • Observations on West Liberty at Concord - Won 107-86 2/12/22

                            Concord Strategy:
                            • Minimize turnovers by using three shorter guards, sacrificing rebounding for ball security.
                            • Keep WLU offensive rebounds to a minimum
                            • Attack the rim when they have numerical advantage and a clear opening or kick out for open three in transition
                            • Avoid difficult, rushed, off-balance shots in transition

                            For all of the first half and about 5 minutes, the strategy worked (with the exception of offensive rebounding), with the help of WLU missing some open shots and multiple offensive put-back rebounds. WLU led 45-41 at halftime.
                            WLU Blackout
                            At 16:32 of second half, WLU led by 2, 54-52, when the second platoon entered the game with tremendous energy. That is when the wheels came off for Concord.
                            • The cumulative effect of the WLU pace and the Concord players sprinting in transition when they broke the press over the last 24 minutes was taking its toll, mentally and physically.
                            • Now a fresh group of WLU attackers enter the game.
                            • In 63 seconds, the second platoon reeled off a 9-0 run, using steals, deep threes and layups for a 63-52 lead.
                            • When their shift ended at 13:22, after 3 minutes and 10 seconds of chaotic pressure, WLU had a 68—54 lead.
                            • The first platoon reenters the game to face a softened-up Concord team that was exhausted. They extended the lead to 19 points with 9:29 left in the game.
                            • The lead went up and down between 13 and 18 points, with the largest lead reached at 3:29 left in the game at 23 points. Then WLU got their younger players in the game for valuable experience.
                            IMHO Keys to WLU Victory
                            • Play of second platoon. The Concord analyst (Steve Cox, winningest basketball coach in Concord history) marveled at how there appears to be no difference in the second platoon and the first platoon. The players seemed interchangeable. He attributed it to the number of minutes that they get throughout the season due to the platooning. He marveled at how there is no garbage time at the end of the game – they continue to play the same and share the ball.
                            • Sharing the ball
                            • Defensive rebounding – held Concord to 1 offensive rebound.
                            • Crashing the offensive glass – they got 13 offensive rebounds, although many of them were on a couple of possessions.
                            • WLU got 9 steals out of 15 forced turnovers
                            • In a foul-marred contest, WLU hit 83% of their 35 FTs.
                            • WLU only committed 9 turnovers and had an assist to turnover ratio of 2.00. Also, they scored more points off turnovers than did Concord.
                            Summary
                            This game demonstrated that WLU can win in a variety of ways, using 10 players who share the ball; three-point shooting inside scoring, foul shooting, turnovers, offensive rebounding, steals, etc. An opponent may be able to compete in some areas for some of the game, but rarely for an entire game, due to the fatigue from the WLU pressure.
                            Team West Liberty at Concord Advantage to:
                            Date 2/12/2022 2/12/2022
                            Score 107-86 WLU
                            w/l W WLU
                            FG 34 26 WLU
                            FGA 73 56 WLU
                            FG Pct 47% 46% WLU
                            3FG 10 7 WLU
                            3 FGA 29 19 WLU
                            3 FG PCT 34% 37% CU
                            FT 29 27 WLU
                            FTA 35 38 WLU
                            FT PCT 83% 71% WLU
                            Off Reb 13 1 WLU
                            Def Reb 26 26 =
                            Tot Reb 39 27 WLU
                            PF 26 25 =
                            Assist 18 14 WLU
                            Turnovers 9 15 WLU
                            Blk 2 2 =
                            Steals 10 3 WLU
                            Pts 107 86 WLU
                            Avg Pts Per Game 99.4 78.3 WLU
                            Steals per Forced Turnover 67% 33% WLU
                            Assist to Turnover Ratio 2.00 0.93 WLU
                            Assist per FG 53% 54% =
                            Points Per FGA 1.47 1.54 CU
                            Points Per Possession 1.27 0.99 WLU
                            Num Possessions 84 87 =
                            Opponent Defensive Rebounds 26 26 =
                            Offensive Rebound Efficiency 33% 4% WLU
                            Forced Turnovers 15 9 WLU
                            Game num 27 27 =
                            Two Pt FG % 54.5% 51.4% WLU
                            Effective Shooting % 53.42% 52.68% WLU

                            Comment


                            • Nova SE at #1 and WL at #2, pretty cool

                              https://twitter.com/ncaadii/status/1...593673219?s=21

                              Comment


                              • Patrick Robinson III and Bryce Butler have made the Bevo Francis Award top 50 watch list for best small college basketball player, spanning d2, d3, and naia. Congrats Patrick and Bryce!

                                https://hilltoppersports.com/news/20...cis-award.aspx

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