Saturday, February 14, 2009

'Dogs hoops just can't finish it

If the Fresno State men's basketball team had a lead in the final moments of a game and the opponents all walked off the court, the Bulldogs might still find a way to lose. For some reason, this team just cannot finish -- which has led to quite a bit of reflection on my part.

Let's pretend for a moment that I have multiple personalities (but that both were rational, of course). Now, if I were to have a conversation with myself about the topic, it would go a little something like this:

Me: Why does this team keep making so many mistakes in crunch time?
Me: Well, the youth excuse can only take you so far. The 'Dogs are full of inexperienced players in key roles in Paul George, Bryce Cartwright and Mychal Ladd, but they've all logged crazy minutes this season and can't claim to be strangers to the college game anymore. They should have adjusted enough by now to know how to handle pressure situations down the stretch. Didn't they learn by example from blowing what should have been an easy win at home over San Jose State, losing nail-biters against Utah State twice and at Nevada and blowing a huge opportunity hosting UNLV?

Me: Why is Cartwright so impressive at times and so mitake-prone in crucial times?
Me: He's young, but making mistakes such as throwing the ball away after an in-bound pass when intead of dribbling the ball upcourt like a point guard is supposed to, he tried to toss it 20 feet to a exactly the type of thing that has fans wondering if he's going to keep improving and be a fixture at point for the next three years, or if the 'Dogs need to recruit someone to start in front of him? And get this, after the errant turnover, Cartwright fouls the shooter down low and let's him make the basket -- one or the other please!

Me: Are you serious with all those 3s dwon the stretch Seay?
Me: Tell me about it. Instead of running the clock down and taking their time on each possession, the 'Dogs took quick shots (including multiple 3s by Seay) and missed pretty much all of them. When you're up by 6 points with less than 2 minutes left, and you've been controlling the game, there is no excuse not to win.

Me: So who's to blame? The youth?
Me: That's the go-to excuse these days, but at some point you've got to wonder if the coaches are doing their jobs? I don't mean to suggest Steve Cleveland isn't a good coach, but we're seeing the same mental mistakes and carelessness over and over now. Maybe the coaching staff needs to take a more proactive approach next time Fresno State has a late lead? You can't tell me a timeout up by 6 to tell the guys to stay calm, don't rush it and make every possession count wouldn't have been beneficial. Maybe the coaches did do this? If that's the case, then you've got to discipline the players who ignored that advice.

OK, I feel a little bit better now after talking myself through this Valentine's heartbreaker, well, except for the fact that the 'Dogs might be on their way to their worst record since the Ron Adams era in 1989-90. But let's hope that blog never has to be written...

1 comment:

  1. Especially sad when the Dogs lost to the Aggies who were short handed; the coach suspended the first and second player off the bench, their no. 2 point and no. 2 power forward.

    Ah youth...


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