Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

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What do the Pilots need to do in order to contend for a WCC Title?

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Total Votes : 17

Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:38 pm

I've been thinking about this topic for days and last night's disaster has motivated me to post. The question is, are we built to contend within the next few years?

I've been thinking all year that we're young and the future is bright; now that we've had most of a season to think about it, is that really the case? I understand that projecting players into the future can be tough, even for those who do it professionally (see: Lin, Jeremy), but it's worth guessing at.

Personally, I don't think that we're set up to be bottom feeders but the fact of the matter is that the whole league is improving and I'm not sure that we're going to be clear cut favorites any time soon, either. What do you think?

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by shallwemaui10 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:26 pm

Rev has to go find a point as good as Campbell was. That guy is not on the roster. Carr won't be a point. Tim is a push it and create off the dribble guard, but doesn't run offense well. Also, Rev needs to get back to the 80 point pace we played when we beat SMary's last year. Right now it is unwatchable.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by up7587 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:38 pm

I started to vote for a PG. But the question was "contend for a title." I believe a solid PG combined with the current crop of players will allow the Pilots to be a solid middle group team, finishing anywhere from 3rd to 6th place in the conference for a few years, and win close to 20 games, as long as the schedule is reasonable. But to contend, i.e. beat SMC, GU and BYU, two or three more top recruits are needed.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by PilotNut on Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:04 pm

Had you asked this question early in the year, I would have been more likely to answer more favorably, but the play recently has me more concerned. There just seems to be something "not right" going on.

It is clear that we need a PG; a JC transfer a la TJ Campbell could have a huge impact next season, but if we get a freshman, it will take more time.

Having Riley Barker back down low will help tremendously, too... nothing against Van der Mars, but Barker was really coming along... and a combo of Barker and VdM could be very good.

This year's team was Nem's and Eric's to lead... and for whatever reasons, that just did not happen. Graduating them will change the dynamic of the team, and I would really like to see Kevin Bailey step up and lead this team next year.

Who knows what a little tweak can do... there were times this year where we seems just so darn close to breaking through and really playing well for extended periods... ask me again about 4 games into next season. Wink

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by ShipstadPilot11 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:32 pm

PilotNut wrote:I would really like to see Kevin Bailey step up and lead this team next year.
From what I've seen this year, I think Ryno is the future (current?) leader of the team. He seems like the guy who, regardless of whether he leads the team in scoring again (I hope he doesn't), will carry and lead the team on and off the court.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:07 pm

I wouldn't exactly put too much of our successes/failures on the shoulders of the guards at all. Obviously, we need good guard play to win and guys who don't turn the ball over, but, some of our most underrated players were the big men who left who were able to defend consistently. Those are the guys who gave us the stability to get the 20 win seasons...even last season after TJ was long gone...

We've got a ton plenty of potential to improve our perimeter defense with the length that we added with the young guys on the roster, and our perimeter shooting should improve with experience as well. I'm most concerned about our ability to play interior defense more consistently. Rev is and always has been a big man's coach...dating back to his days at Stanford, but, the guys on the interior are just simply not getting the job done this season. I can't help but wonder if we would be in better shape now if he'd given Ryan Nicholas more minutes last season...but, that's past history now.

My biggest concern though is not losing any of the talent from this class once this season ends. With experience, they can start to hold their own. But, we absolutely must improve our interior defense of the big men among other things. Some of the scappy guys are going to have to spend more time with the strength coach...just like the Summer before our first turnaround season under Rev so that they can bump and grind a bit more.


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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by upsailor on Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:39 pm

I feel tht we are getting pushed aroundby other teams big men too much. a couple of players ofplayers on the line of Cason and Tanner, also Nicholas are needed. Also we do not have a great deal of quickness and a lack of initial speed when thre is an opning.
The most important factor is our shooting and abbility toscore, 43 pts UGH.





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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by DoubleDipper on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:28 pm

up7587 wrote:I started to vote for a PG. But the question was "contend for a title." I believe a solid PG combined with the current crop of players will allow the Pilots to be a solid middle group team, finishing anywhere from 3rd to 6th place in the conference for a few years, and win close to 20 games, as long as the schedule is reasonable. But to contend, i.e. beat SMC, GU and BYU, two or three more top recruits are needed.
Too lazy to be original, this conclusion best matches mine if we are to contend!

However, we should all remember our team began to taper off toward the end of the season because we were TIRED!!! Our player’s bodies and stamina are not yet developed like many in the league, and the freshmen in particular are just not used to the rigors of studies, travel, and close to 30 games. Eventually the body, then the mind tends to give out, and it doesn't get better until a period of rest followed by conditioning, strengthening, and MATURITY. Look back at all our games, for the most part, every game this season began with us staying close, but then it got away towards the end because we didn't match-up physically.

So yes, we need a PG and a couple more top-notch recruits to be a contender, but we will be a threat to all teams and win more games next year because we will be more mature. pirat

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by NoPoNeighbor on Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:14 am

After watching the entire WCC season, I don't think our freshmen (aside from perhaps Bailey) are as good as freshmen on other teams. Look at the freshmen making a huge impact for San Diego, St. Mary's, Gonzaga... Though UP's freshman class was highly touted, based on historical UP standards, the rest of the league is also getting better recruits. And, dare I say, better recruits than we are getting.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by DaTruRochin on Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:28 pm

As PN said, the big man issue is just a matter of getting Barker healthy... But without a PG to get them a ball in the low post consistently a big man is pretty helpless. The trifecta of Ryno, VDM and Barker could be very formidable... I'm going to hope Cason improves with a summer of conditioning as well.

Kevin is gonna be this teams primary source of offense, personally having him and Ryan as co-captains seems like a very wise move.

But as for next year, I optimistically marked the PG as the thing that could make us better, but realistically we are so far behind those top 3 it is gonna take at least another impact scorer, someone who can consistently stretch out the defense like Nem was supposed to, and really with the way our conference shoots the 3, the perimeter defense needs to improve. I think this team with some seasoning is upper-mid table, but a little more talent will be necessary to actually even think about dusting off the dancing shoes....

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:38 pm

I disagree that once Barker is healthy our big man situation will be fine. I still feel like he needs to bulk up a bit, and he hasnīt proven much in WCC league play as a starter yet. I agree that having a PG deliver the ball in the post is important, and we obviously need to be able improve our scoring. However, I am still more concerned about our ability and potential to defend in the post. The guys seem pretty far back in the learning curve there in many games.

Anyway, there are plenty of players with potential on the squad as long as no one transfers. This seems like a team that would do well with some good JC talent because we have inexperience all over the place... Right now, weīre just a team that shows flashes with no real signs of consistency.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by newpilotfan on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:07 pm

onetouchfutbol wrote:I disagree that once Barker is healthy our big man situation will be fine. I still feel like he needs to bulk up a bit, and he hasnīt proven much in WCC league play as a starter yet. I agree that having a PG deliver the ball in the post is important, and we obviously need to be able improve our scoring. However, I am still more concerned about our ability and potential to defend in the post. The guys seem pretty far back in the learning curve there in many games.

Anyway, there are plenty of players with potential on the squad as long as no one transfers. This seems like a team that would do well with some good JC talent because we have inexperience all over the place... Right now, weīre just a team that shows flashes with no real signs of consistency.


Is it just me or does it feel like the Pilots don't have any plays? It feels like they just get the ball and go. Bailey seems to be the guy charged with guarding the other team's best player. Then he's being asked to create everything off the dribble. The coaches seem lost out there sometimes.

I've only been following these guys this year so maybe I'm missing something. I'd apprecite any insight.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by PilotNut on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:22 pm

NoPoNeighbor wrote:After watching the entire WCC season, I don't think our freshmen (aside from perhaps Bailey) are as good as freshmen on other teams. Look at the freshmen making a huge impact for San Diego, St. Mary's, Gonzaga... Though UP's freshman class was highly touted, based on historical UP standards, the rest of the league is also getting better recruits. And, dare I say, better recruits than we are getting.

I think it is difficult to compare our freshmen with other teams' at this point... other teams' relatively fewer new comers are playing alongside seasoned upperclassmen, while we had to rely essentially completely on other inexperienced underclassmen... It's easier to make your young guys look better when you have juniors and seniors executing, making plays, etc.

We need to get out of this cycle of unbalanced classes, so we dont have back to back years of 1 or 2 seniors, or we are going to be up and then down every 4 years.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by up7587 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:50 pm

PilotNut wrote:We need to get out of this cycle of unbalanced classes, so we dont have back to back years of 1 or 2 seniors, or we are going to be up and then down every 4 years.
Agree. That is why I don't know if we can bring in a JC point guard. It would leave us very heavy in the junior and sophomore classes, and light in the senior and frosh classes. As is we only have one senior next year. We need to keep bringing in freshmen to avoid leaving us too young in three years.

Of course, the coaches may care more about getting better now, so that they are still here to deal with what happens in three years.


Last edited by up7587 on Sat Feb 25, 2012 7:52 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : last thought)

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by NoPoNeighbor on Sun Feb 26, 2012 12:18 am

DaTruRochin wrote:As PN said, the big man issue is just a matter of getting Barker healthy...

And earlier, someone said that Barker was "really coming along" before he was injured. Well... I didn't remember that being the case, so I looked at the stats. This season, Barker played in 7 games. He averaged 2 points, and never scored more that 4 in a game, despite averaging 15.3 minutes in those games. He averaged 3.7 rebounds.

Of course, there is value in having another big man to take some pressure off of the other guys and give some relief when someone is in foul trouble. But shouldn't we expect more than that? That's basically what John Bailey does when he is in there. So I won't say that Barker being healthy will be a sure-fire solution for our troubles on the inside.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by DaTruRochin on Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:19 am

NoPoNeighbor wrote: That's basically what John Bailey does when he is in there.

If by "fill in" you mean be a walking terrible decision/turnover machine then yes, absolutely! Barkers stats might not be that impressive, but a lot of that has to do with the lack of a PG able to get him the ball in a position where he can actually score. Improve the distribution (whether that be at the PG position or through someone like K Bailey) and I think you will see a pretty significant statistical jump. Plus it should also be noted that ifyour team is reduced to a lot of jump shots, rebounding for a center glued in the paint isn't going to be nearly as prevalent.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by onetouchfutbol on Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:36 am

I think itīs still a little bit too early to say that Barker can be a steady defender down low. It might be a bit of a reach, but, in my opinion in hindsight losing Kramer Knutson due to graduation might have affected this teamīs performance even more than losing Stohl. Maybe the guys who did the dirty work like Knutson were just as big of program changers as TJ Campbell.

I guess itīs all one team though. If the guards do a better job of holding onto the ball without turning it over, the big men will probably play more physical ball too instead of being demoralized by turnovers. We might need some JV players or transfers to bring this thing all together. I donīt really like our leadership on the floor this year.

In any case, Rev has a tough task ahead. Heīs got to try to keep guys from transferring like the CA recruits (Bailey and Cason) who probably witnessed our victory over UCLA when they were in high school. Heīs got to keep the team believing that the program is on the rise despite this season.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by wrv on Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:40 am

The coaches, who have seen a fair amount of player performance, appear to be focused on bringing in another guard. Perhaps they are naive in not consulting those with different opinions here, but I nonetheless would side with the coaches perception of need. I don't think I am wrong on that, but maybe.

Of course, I am also biased. I have concluded that we need better guard play and that our bigs are pretty good and reliable. I think VDM and Ryan and Bailey, who can play either big guard or small forward, are players around whom you can build a winning team.

But our guards are consistently outperformed and at times appear to be defensive liabilities, let alone that we now do not have a consistent ability to put in the three ball, something we may need to take the pressure off our deficient bigs.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by Geezaldinho on Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:11 am

Each week before games, different coaches come in and do a short talk and Q/A during the Pilot Club pregame. Each week, We ask the same questions.

Q) is Barker going to redshirt ?
A)he's mending, we will see in a couple weeks - including as of Thursday)

Q) Are you going to use the last scholarship you have, or Use it?
A) Depends. We need to be concerned about balancing out the recruiting classes, but we would use it for the right guy.


Q) what kind of player are you looking for?
A1) best athlete - maybe a shooter.
A2) guard - shooter or point. We have big men for the next several years. We are graduating two guards this year and one next year. That doesn't mean we wouldn't take the right big guy.
A3) leaning towards guards, but the right guy. Might go to JC for the right guy.

All of the coaches then went on to say there are several prospects they would be happy to get.



Last edited by PurpleGeezer on Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:21 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by DoubleDipper on Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:16 am

onetouchfutbol wrote:In any case, Rev has a tough task ahead. Heīs got to try to keep guys from transferring like the CA recruits (Bailey and Cason) who probably witnessed our victory over UCLA when they were in high school. Heīs got to keep the team believing that the program is on the rise despite this season.
And another CA guy is Korey Thieleke. He's a speedster with no fear, but does he stay at UP and have a breakout year or go somewhere he can play? He's a very good student, well liked by his peers, and may have found a "family" at UP (last I spoke with him, he has no contact with his parents, having been raised by his grandparents).

What about CA guy Tim Douglas? I don't see him leaving because he's such a great kid focused on his biology studies and looking towards medical school. He may be less focused on sports than some, but I think he's priorities are in order.

Californian Derrick Rodger? He's staying, but he'd better get some shot making tutoring in the offseason. He's NEVER been a shooter at any level, but was expected to develop into a defensive specialist while improving his shooting; it just hasn't happened (although he did make a 3-pointer from half court against LMU Laughing ). A number of people questioned Rev's recruitment of Derrick; I would love to see Derrick prove them wrong!

Walk-on California guy Taylor Mossman has been a excellent teammate on the practice court and is regarded as a full member of the team due to his efforts there. But, how long can he spend the long, grueling hours of practice without the reward of playing? Most walk-ons who don't earn a scholarship leave the team after two years.

So, that leaves us with Californian's Dorian and KB. Of the two, Dorian is the most likely to leave, but I don't expect it unless we have coaching changes. Both are great kids who have bought-in to the system and KB in particular feels he can be the leader of good things to come.

Let's face, young people's decisions are influenced by the darndest things, so anything could happen to any player or recruit. Today they are physically and mentally drained after a disappointing season. It's definitely a test of their "chemistry" and of the coaching staff to keep them together and focused going into the WCC tournament and next season.

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Re: Do We Have a WCC Contender in the Making?

Post by up7587 on Sun Feb 26, 2012 3:00 pm

Hopefully, no other teams will "recruit" them with promises of tournament bids or pro development. I will never cheer for Rick Majerius. It has been weird watching Rob Jones at SMC, when he began at USD.

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