We lose the winningest senior class in program history, but a lot of talent returns to propel the program forward to a new decade under Mike Brey. Obviously Luke Harangody's contributions will be missed. Though his style this season left a lot to be desired, no one should underestimate the effect of losing a 20 point, 10 rebound guy. There will be a large leadership gap with Tory Jackson graduating and the program will need a new point guard for the first time in four years. Walk-on Tim Andree always worked his butt off in practice for almost no reward. Non-scholarship players put in all the time and effort and receive no credit. Thanks, Tim. Jonathan Peoples... nevermind.
Eric Atkins looks to start at the point as a freshman next season. He is a very talented guard from the Baltimore area. Given four-stars by Rivals (more than Tory Jackson as a high school senior), he seems to be as ready as anyone to take over his first year. Ben Hansbrough will be back and time will tell if he will match Atkins' style better than Jackson's. Though I do like to bash Peoples a lot, his experience as a backup guard who can play both positions will be missed. Look for Joey Brooks to get minutes off the bench at the 2 and for Hansbrough to slide over and play point from time to time. Freshman Alex Dragicevich or Jerian Grant may also see very limited action off the bench.
Scott Martin is the big question mark next season. He could play any frontcourt position or even shooting guard when the Irish go big. Think of him as a left-handed Abro. I think his role will start off as the sixth man off the bench, but should any of the starters falter he will be ready to fill in. Tim Abromaitis will return to play on the wing. Hopefully he can figure out whatever was dogging him at the end of the year to get back to his early season form. Adding Martin to the rotation may reduce Abro's minutes and keep him from getting dead legs down the stretch. Carleton Scott should get first crack at the 4 after he played so well at the end of the season. If he can develop better ball-handling skills to go with his athleticism and decent stroke, I see him as a potential breakout star. Ty Nash may be the weakest starter amongst the forwards, but his physical play and improving post game will be much needed. Jack Cooley will get time off the bench and could compete for a starting spot. Mike Broghammer and redshirt Tom Knight will most likely ride the pine all year.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
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Mike Brey: "Fight and scratch to the top eight. If you can get into that territory, you have a chance to steal it and get a bid," he said.
That should not be the goal. That's like being a student and aiming for a C and hoping that you get lucky and get a B from time to time. A leader needs to believe that the program can be more, not that it needs to just get really lucky. Brey's attitude is unacceptable and needs to go.
I hate John Calipari and his comparables, but does he aim to be the top half of the SEC or even just the best in the SEC? His goals are what any coach's should be - to win it all and nothing less. The tradition excuse is ridiculous - create a tradition and stop hiding behind excuses for your own mediocrity.
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