Tuesday's night loss to Maryland is a difficult one to absorb. On one hand, you saw the potential this 2016 Hoyas team possesses. On the other, it's an incredibly frustrating loss - squandering a 7 point lead with less than 5 minutes to go - on the road against the 3rd ranked team in the country.
JTIII: Give him credit, he had the team ready. I enjoyed his deployment of the 2-3 zone and his token pressure early on. This defense needs things mixed up - the returning players haven't proven they can simply man up in the half court with consistent success. A problem I have is when we've seen that 1-2-2 press, it almost always is to start the game and generally only lasts to the first media timeout. Keep going with it- Copeland at the point of it with Peak hawking defenders can have success. I don't want to see it buried, more of it! Dan Dakich made a good point (for a change) in saying the press isn't always to force a turnover or even take time off the possession - it can simply be a tool to energize your group. Offensively, it's much of the same - someone with a better trained eye may be able to pick up on a new wrinkle or two - but nothing substantial, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. He should benefit from having 5 offensive threats on the floor almost at all times (White return pending). Out of timeouts it was a bit of a struggle and it's felt that way for a while now. Where this loss hurts most, is III seems to have a handful of games where his guys are totally locked in - this was one of them and it ended up a loss. It's not time to panic yet. 2007 started 4-3. 2015 started 5-3. This group is talented and hasn't had it's full arsenal yet (get better, Paul) - but the wins have to come soon. Friday preferably.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera: DSR is who he is. Makes shots and takes care of the ball. Even with Peak taking the Trimble assignment, DSR found himself in foul trouble. Along with every teammate not named Peak, DSR just has to do a better job of sliding his feet and keeping hands off. At this point, he's a senior and not becoming more athletic - you have to hope there are enough games where Peak can take on the primary ball handler and DSR can avoid foul trouble.
LJ Peak: Peak was impressive and emerging as the defensive ace of the team. His teammates are doing him no favors, though. It's impossible to stay totally attached to every ball screen but Peak offers the most resistance - if his bigs can start to hold up better behind the ball screens his defense will be accentuated. Trimble ended up with 24 but only shot 4-11. Offensively, Peak still didn't make one from beyond the line but did get two long jumpers to fall. LJ is not a natural fit in the Princeton hybrid - and is best getting the ball on the move and in transition. Lastly, credit to LJ for even taking over the PG role for several minutes late - a role he isn't suited for - but he handled the ball well enough to keep things afloat. Even with DSR on the floor early, LJ pushed the ball and used a drag screen for Hayes for early offense:
This is a standard look from Georgetown but LJ turns the screen into a hard drive to this basket instead of drifting into a 3 point attempt. More (early) action with LJ on the move should help him out on the offensive end.
Isaac Copeland: Copeland played a solid overall game. Hit a few shots and even totaled 5 assists. It's hard to tell if Copeland is in line for the jump many are hoping for - but like Peak, a little extra spice on offense - getting him on the move- would help. Copeland appears to be in fantastic shape and has gone 42 and 39 minutes to start the year.
Marcus Derrickson: We have ourselves a basketball player. Derrickson is a brute and there is more to his game than a sweet looking outside shot. Defensively he held up fine against Carter and offensively put Carter in situations he didn't want to be in. You can see here Derrickson's shooting should open up driving lanes for the guards - Carter would normally be in the paint but has to be a step or two out. Derrickson spacing the floor should prove to be one of the more valuable aspects of the offense this season.
To have a true 4 man that can step out and do this at the college level is such a weapon:
That even resulted in Carter biting on a ball fake from 25 feet later on:
Derrickson also picked his spots to break off the pattern offense and take the ball to the rim. One drive came up empty, another a turnover and the other drew a foul, but the confidence to put the ball on the floor and go make a play is a welcome sight. Derrickson showed his willing to block out on the defensive boards as well and the foul he was called on for doing so in the 2nd half might have been the worst of the night.
Bradley Hayes: This is a revelation. What Hayes is doing on the offensive end is not smoke and mirrors. This is real. His post game has him featuring jump hooks over both shoulders, a nifty up and under and even instinctively taking advantage of an overplay. Hayes also has shown a knack early on of establishing good position on the block or in the paint - he may pick a 3 second call here shortly but that's a good thing, he is finding his way into the paint. I was skeptical after the Eastern Washington game that Hayes lucked his way into put-back points just by being the tallest guy on the floor. What he is showing now is something that the team can count on all season long.
Really, look at this move:
Where there is concern is on the other end. Hayes tends to make himself smaller than his 7' frame should account for. The coaching staff will have to help him - Hayes has displayed a poor understand and feel for angles and his defense guarding ball screens is flat out abysmal. I would like to see the staff drop Hayes further down on screens. It would have been tough to concede 15-18 foot jump-shots to Trimble but the alternative resulted in a ton of free throws and by the end of it all, wide open looks from 3 by Layman and Nickens.
I'd prefer Hayes about 3-5 feet lower here - the corner Trimble ended up getting isn't there if so. The frustrating thing here is you want Trimble going baseline, it should be shut off fairly easy but Hayes is up to far to recover.
Here Hayes really encounters a problem: He has to step out to make sure Trimble can't get an open look at 3, but by doing so he gives up a lane that resulted in Maryland swinging the ball for a basket.
Hayes does not have the foot speed to keep a ball handler in front and he kept finding himself in the position to attempt to do so. The staff has their work cut out to fix this issue. I would think they'll be looking to allow any two point jump shots from the handler or anything from the roll man - but constantly allowing the ball handler to get into the paint has to stop.
In real time:
Tre Campbell: Not sure what the deal is with Tre physically after not appearing in the 2nd half but the early returns weren't positive. Campbell still appears to be lost defensively. Campbell gets screened far too easily and falls out of position frequently, and it is a killer against guards where you can't go under screens (and Maryland has them). Campbell at times gets burned so badly it might even be worth sending him under every screen just not to debilitate the entire team defense. That said, hoping Tre is ready to go this weekend - his offensive pop hasn't been seen yet but we know it's there.
Tre just has a hard time fighting around screens:
Key thing is 'fight', he has to do it and sometimes fails to:
Jessie Govan: I've had a basketball crush on Govan for a while, but I have to admit, this make take a little time. Thankfully, Hayes play makes his far less worrisome. Govan really struggled in guarding the post as well as ball-screens and 5 fouls quickly followed. A positive is that Govan, like Hayes, establishes nice post position on offense. In time, I think you will see him finishing plays with baskets - not travels or getting his shot blocked. In my mind I had Govan being a 25 minute player and Hayes plugging in for 10-15, it appears to be the opposite. Post defense is a secondary concern for the front-line on defense (after ball screens) but they will get a large dose of the former vs Wisconsin. Strides need to be made - Govan, Hayes and Derrickson offer plenty heft to man up on the block but technique is suffering.
Reggie Cameron, Kaleb Johnson, Riyan Williams: Paul White's injury is not a significant blow until JTIII has to dig a little deeper on the bench. Even with Isaac Copeland playing 39 minutes - the trio of Cameron, Johnson and Williams all saw more game action than one would anticipate before the year. And there's no way around it, all three were negatives. Cameron stepped in to two open 3 point looks and missed both while generally just being to slow afoot to play acceptable defense. Kaleb Johnson appeared frightened on offense (hard to fault the freshman) and held up just okay on defense. But I do like the look of the rangy 6'7 Johnson at the top of the zone. Williams tried to steal a breather for the team but immediately whiffed on a defensive assignment that led to a UMD three. 26 total minutes for the three and 0 points, 0 assists and 2 turnovers.
Trey Mourning: I enjoyed the Trey cameo. While his 3pt attempt may have been ill-advised and all most can recall about his appearance - I was pleasantly surprised. It's such a small sample size but Trey moves around confidently and defensively he knows where to be. I'm not sure how Trey finds his minutes, he's simply not as talented as those ahead of him - but JTIII should feel comfortable throwing him in there if needed. I thought this was the team's best possession of post defense all night until Campbell doubled (which didn't appear to be needed).