Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Look at the Future

With this season's recruiting class in, I'll take a peek at lineups down the road. While obviously this is subject to change, it may be interesting to see how the team will stack up in the future.

Starters are listed first, with reserves in the rotation also being mentioned (I'll use the eight-man rotation as a rule of thumb for the inclusion of backups).

2008-09-

PG- Jackson- JR (Peoples- JR)
SG- McAlarney- SR
SF- Ayers- SR
PF- Hillesland- SR (Nash- SO)
C- Harangody- JR (Zeller- SR)

This season's lineup is talented and experienced, but not deep. With three senior starters, the team will be forced to fill the experience gap in 2009 with a number of players who will not see sizable minutes this year. Transfers Hansbrough, Martin, and rising redshirt sophomores Abromaitis and Scott should make an impact.

2009-10-

PG- Jackson- SR (Peoples- SR)
SG- Hansbrough- RS JR
SF- Scott- RS SO (Abromaitis- RS SO)
PF- Nash- JR (Martin- RS SO)
C- Harangody- SR

The biggest question mark for next year's team is the return of Harangody. If Luke stays for his senior year, the squad should continue to be a solid team. Jackson gives experience at the point, but is the only other definite starter. From 2-4, as many as six players will fight for playing time. Hansbrough, a transfer from Mississippi State, has the most experience at shooting guard and should fill the role of three point specialist well. He is also a very good defender and will team up well with Jackson. Peoples has grown some and could compete for that starting spot, but will probably keep his job as first guard off the bench.

The forward positions are the most volatile. Scott's athleticism and ability to stretch the defense should fit in well. He will play the role of Russell Carter at the 3, though Tim Abromaitis might contend with his shooting ability as a cross between Ryan Ayers and Zach Hillesland. Ty Nash is the expected starter at power forward having earned a slot in the rotation this season, though Scott Martin will give him a serious run. Martin or one of the incoming freshmen could take Haragody's starting spot if the big man goes pro.

2010-11-

PG- Hansbrough- RS SR
SG- Scott- RS JR (Brooks SO)
SF- Abromaitis- RS JR
PF- Nash- SR (Martin- RS JR)
C- Cooley- SO (Knight- SO)

This is getting a little tougher to project. Hansbrough at the point might be a stretch, but he is the most qualified player currently on scholarship. If the Irish add a good enough point guard to the 2010 recruiting class (Ray McCallum anyone?), we might have a freshman starting. With Hansbrough at the 1, Scott slides to shooting guard creating room for Abromaitis. Abro and Scott can play both wing positions, so the shooting guard/small forward distinction is unimportant. Joey Brooks steps into the rotation as a capable backup at four positions.

Nash and Martin keep their PF tandem. Both could start if Nash demonstrates the ability play strong enough post defense against Big East centers. Until then, I'll project that a beefed-up Jack Cooley will win the job with Tom Knight backing him up. If some combination of Nash/Martin/Cooley can hold down the 4-5, I'll be happy.

2011-12-

PG- ________
SG- Scott- RS SR (Brooks- JR)
SF- Abromaitis- RS SR
PF- Martin- RS SR (Broghammer- JR)
C- Cooley- JR (Knight- JR)

The point guard spot that was a stretch in 2010 becomes a problem in 2011. If Hansbrough does play point guard in his last season with the Irish, a big hole will be left at the top. Best case scenario is for a talented true point guard to enter the scene in 2010 and take over full time by now. Joey Brooks can play point in a pinch, but is not a natural fit. He will continue to back up Scott, Abro, and Martin, provided each stays five years. Also behind Martin is Mike Broghammer, another big man recruit in the current class. Cooley and Knight play the same roles as the previous year.

The team is pretty well constructed for the future, though clear hole exists for a future point guard. Coach Brey has indicated that filling that position will be priority #1 in the next recruiting class. One possibility for 2010-11 could be Tom Kopko, a talented walk-on who will be the only true point guard on the roster. Most likely Kopko's ceiling is a Peoples-like backup spot.

It will be nice to see how guys like Scott, Abromaitis, and Nash progress. Each will play an important role in seasons to come. Additionally, Hansbrough and Martin will be expected to step into the rotation right away. All five should become solid starters and if one or two reaches the level of McAlarney or Harangody, this program should be solid for quite a while into the future.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really think Kopko should be considered as a viable option to start in 2011-2011. He is a capable handler who can run the offense smoothly while knocking down shots with range and accuracy. Is that not all we need from a PG in 2010-2011? I think so, i would go with SR Kopko before a frosh.

Golden Monkey said...

Take this one to the bank... Martin will start next year!

lucid said...

If Luke has as good a season this year as last, I think it's safe to assume he's gone. I think next year we're looking at Jackson, Hansbrough, Martin, Scott and Nash with Peoples, Abro and Cooley spelling them. Brooks and Broghammer could compete for some minutes. I think Knight will be redshirted.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Kopko is never really considered in the mix. Why not?

BlackandGreen said...

He's a walk-on and does not receive anything other than mop-up minutes. I hope Coach Brey does take a good look at him for at least a rotation spot. He seems to have some good talent and a high basketball IQ.

Anonymous said...

Kopko will never get an honest look until these current players leave. Right now, he's just a talented practice guy for a top 10 team. Hopefully he's learning a lot these first two years in the hope of being a strong rotation contender for the next 2 seasons because i hear that hansbrough is not that talented of a ballhandler but is a great scorer. I would just have Kopko feed him all season long from the point guard position. He can do that, protect the ball and hit the open shot.

CRAZYirish said...

I'm hearing Kopko is medically redshirting this year. So if that is the case then he will be eligible in the 2011-2012 season? Makes things a little more interesting for the talented walk-on's chances of getting into the rotation one day.