Men's Basketball - State of the Program

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Post by DoubleDipper on Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:45 pm

Coach Reveno on 3-29-13 wrote:Amazing impact of internet...patients think they are doctors, investors think they are stock guru's and everyone thinks they can coach.
I'm guessing few of us actually think we can coach better than our current head coach, but based upon the current state of the program and the comments on PilotNation, many think there is probably someone who can do better.

One common theme to the posted observations on PN is the majority are generally satisfied, even happy, with the assistant coaches and the recruiting.... some even suggesting one of the assistants move to the top spot.

I've mused on PN that TP will probably remain at UP as long as at least one of his sons is on the team.... but if the Pilots were to finish the current season with only 5 D1 wins with the current talented group of players who rarely play as a TEAM, who show no floor leadership, and who do not play with the passion their opponents do, should a change should come sooner than later?

I'm guessing TP has 2 years remaining on his contract; as I recall, Coach Holton departed with 3 years left on his.
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Post by Geezaldinho on Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:47 pm

Holton had a better record.


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Post by dholcombe on Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:49 pm

I'm wiling, but not excited, to let this play out through year 5 when Malcolm is scheduled to graduate. Porter and his assistants have liberally used the red shirt to hopefully get good long term results, but it means in the 3rd year he's got a lot of guys who are seeing either just their 1st or 2nd year of real court time and not practice time. So far the red shirt strategy doesn't seem to be working out.

I personally think Reveno should have utilized the red shirt more often and suspect he would have had better results if he did, but it's tough when you have a short bench because of injuries or make a couple recruiting mistakes to keep a guy on red shirt that could be your #7 or #8 substitute and push one of the guys you are playing down to #9 or so in your rotation.

I was worried when we hired Porter as a coach given his poor NBA coaching record, but excited about the willingness of the school to clearly step up in $ spent on the position and especially it appears on the assistants. It's too bad we couldn't have just upped the $ and got Reveno some good assistants/recruiters a couple years sooner, but I suspect that by the time the $ arrived it was a difficult sell to keep Reveno given his lack of success other after the middle couple years of his record.

As far as Porters contract...I'd like to see us not renew it UNTIL/IF he can win next year or the year after (if its a 5 year contract). I don't think it makes sense to buy him out. I'd rather see us keep the money it would cost to buy him out and use it to upgrade other areas of the program or to have more money to spend on a coach in year 6. With his sons in school and his financial situation probably being quite good it seems like Porter is unlikely to leave for another coaching job. The only reason to renew earlier (which is usually the case it seems) would be if you were worried about your coach leaving unexpectedly.

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Post by dholcombe on Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:53 pm

P.S. Reveno also needed an assistant that could draw up an inbounds play.

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Post by bullwinkle on Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:08 pm

Three things:
1.  I used to agree with the comments that a new coach needs three or four years to recruit their own players and institute their own system of practice and plays, but now I'm not so sure.  First off, we've seen a number of new coaches that have been pretty successful in their first couple years and I think about Rex Walters at USF either graduating or (more often) driving away good players year after year and always ending up with good teams. Second, we have a pretty talented roster of kids right now and a very talented group of coaches.  We should be better - no excuses.  
2.  I'm not sure Terry will stay two more years if things don't significantly improve.  I feel sorry for the whole family.  They adjusted their individual plans so father could coach his two sons.  This isn't the outcome they wanted or expected.  I don't know what any of them are feeling, but I think about it after nearly every loss (usually concludes my complaining).  Anyway, I just wonder if some graceful exit for Terry wouldn't be seen as a blessing by all of them.  
3.  And the beauty of number two is that Terry could repay his coaches for their help and loyalty by leaving early but supporting a plan for them to stay on through their contracts to see how they might do without him.  

Perhaps just wishful thinking.

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Post by NoPoNeighbor on Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:16 pm

DoubleDipper wrote:One common theme to the posted observations on PN is the majority are generally satisfied, even happy, with the assistant coaches and the recruiting.... some even suggesting one of the assistants move to the top spot.
Satisfaction/happiness with the assistant coaches has indeed been stated pretty frequently on this board. I've probably said as much myself. But after stepping back and reflecting on this for a moment, I am left wondering why that is the case.

Do we have any actual proof that the current assistant coaches are better than past assistants (e.g. under Reveno)? Or are they just slightly more successful (thus far) and recruiting slightly higher-rated players? When I ask for proof that they are good assistants, I'm not interested in where they've coached before; their resumes are clearly more impressive than those of Reveno's assistants. What I am looking for is any proof of their coaching prowess in terms of on-court success for the current Pilots.

Do we see much individual improvement for the players? Do we see the offense or defense getting more efficient? Do we see smarter/more effective offensive sets and defensive schemes? Do we see any on-court proof that the players and team are improving as a result of the coaching? Or are we just seeing more athletic players coming to the Bluff, and equating that recruiting success with "good coaching"?

The point-of-view that seems to be implied by those who say we have good assistants but a bad head coach is that Porter is actively preventing the assistants from having a positive influence on the individual players and the team; if the assistants were left to their own devices the team would improve, but Porter somehow prevents the assistants from doing their jobs. What evidence do we have to support that argument? I have seen none.

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Post by NoPoNeighbor on Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:28 pm

This has been bugging me all season, but I haven't seen a logical place to share it prior to this thread (and it still seems tangential here, but oh well).

When I watch the Pilots on a half-court offensive set, the first half of the shot clock is almost always taken up by seemingly-pointless passing, cutting and screening done out top and on the perimeter. Guys pass over to the wing, someone sets a screen, another pass back out top, a three-man weave out top, a cutter along the baseline... but the ball never progresses any closer to the basket! Lots of wasted energy and completely pointless cuts, screens and passes -- each of which is an opportunity for a turnover.

Then recently we've got an offensive set where Tryon or Akwuba is out past the top of the key handling the ball and dribbling (and often resulting in a turnover)! And then the big guy maks a handoff to a guard, who stops and waits for the big man to go back on the block before continuing with the pointless perimeter dribbling.

On Thursday night against USD, pay attention to this as you watch our half-court offense. How many possessions does the ball never make it inside the arc or any closer to the hoop than the free throw line? How many passes, cuts and screens are executed that, after they have been concluded, have provided zero advantage to the offensive possession compared to if everyone had just stood still? How many of those offensive maneuvers seem to have been done simply for the sake of "running offense," and not because they moved the ball any closer to a good scoring opportunity?

It's as if the offensive was designed to look like a basketball offense, with all the component parts playing out, but without any of them being employed toward the ultimate goal of what a basketball offense should be trying to do: move the ball closer to the basket for a good shot!

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Post by PilotNut on Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:21 am

bullwinkle wrote:Three things:
1.  I used to agree with the comments that a new coach needs three or four years to recruit their own players and institute their own system of practice and plays, but now I'm not so sure.  First off, we've seen a number of new coaches that have been pretty successful in their first couple years and I think about Rex Walters at USF either graduating or (more often) driving away good players year after year and always ending up with good teams. Second, we have a pretty talented roster of kids right now and a very talented group of coaches.  We should be better - no excuses.  
2.  I'm not sure Terry will stay two more years if things don't significantly improve.  I feel sorry for the whole family.  They adjusted their individual plans so father could coach his two sons.  This isn't the outcome they wanted or expected.  I don't know what any of them are feeling, but I think about it after nearly every loss (usually concludes my complaining).  Anyway, I just wonder if some graceful exit for Terry wouldn't be seen as a blessing by all of them.  
3.  And the beauty of number two is that Terry could repay his coaches for their help and loyalty by leaving early but supporting a plan for them to stay on through their contracts to see how they might do without him.  

Perhaps just wishful thinking.

I agree with you.  In recent years, player transfers have sped up the ability of programs to rebuild programs.  Look at the other WCC programs that changed coaches when we did--they have used transfers to add maturity and experience to their rosters, all of which have resulted in greater success than us.  For whatever reason, Porter did not go this route... was it a conscious decision not to or were they just not able to land impact junior/senior/grad transfers?

You bring up a point in #2 that I have been pondering... if given an opportunity for a graceful exit, does he take it?  If we end up with only 5 or so D-I wins (against weak D-I opponents), does he resign?  He doesn't need the job/stress and this is tarnishing his image.  His sons would obviously be a huge factor, but Franklin will be eligible to grad transfer, and Malcolm could stay or transfer with 2 years or eligibility...

On #3: Aren't assistant coach contracts typically single-year, not multi-year?  Obviously, TP could negotiate something for them and/or for his son(s) if he were to step aside.

Did anyone listen to the Coach's radio show tonight?  I thought it was peculiar last week when Porter was only on for the first half hour, and then Scott Leykam took over... It would be painful to talk about these last 2 games for an hour.


Last edited by PilotNut on Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:48 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

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Post by bullwinkle on Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:36 am

NoPo,
Wanted to respond to your two posts.  
First, I agree there is no hard evidence that our assistants would be great coaches.  What we have is a lot of circumstantial supposition.  Cantu, Johnson, and Geving all have great credentials and impressive records.  Together, with Terry, they have upped the caliber of our recruits.  Ultimately though, Terry sets the tenor, philosophy, and plans for the team.  That hasn't worked out so far.   I have a hard time thinking we'd be in the same position if one of the assistants (all with at least a couple decades of college ball experience) were in the lead.
To your second point about what we're doing with our half court offense, my wife and I have the same conversation after nearly every game.  Completely concur.

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Post by dholcombe on Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:04 pm

Regarding offense: When we held the opposition to 39 points and won my main takeaway from the game was....we're not gonna win a lot because our offense still seemed poor in that game. And I didn't think our defense was going to be holding many teams to 40 or less as that takes a lot of energy and focus, something which the team has shown at times, but not consistently.

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Post by DoubleDipper on Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:23 pm

Hmm, this from Will Maupin, who's spent some time in Portland and writes for Mid-Major Madness on SB Nation, and who seems to sum up the state of the program this way:
The least efficient offense, most turnover prone offense, worst offensive rebounding team and worst free-throw shooting team in conference play? The Portland Pilots.

Is it better on the defensive end? Kind of. Portland’s not the least efficient defensive team in the WCC. They’re the second-least efficient defensive team.
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Post by Dean Murdoch on Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:31 pm

dholcombe wrote:P.S. Reveno also needed an assistant that could draw up an inbounds play.

Hire whoever drew up this play, immediately!

https://twitter.com/espn/status/1084207205136715776
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Post by StudentPilot on Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:29 pm

wrv wrote:I wonder as to the fate of the team come season and school year end. I hope that Shaver remains. I hope the assistants stay, but I am concerned.
I'm still volunteering/working in Puerto Rico, but am now spending some time in NOPO hanging with UP buddies and catching some men's and women's basketball.  I don't get to see video of UP basketball in PR, and only occasionally look at PN, so I was surprised the men's team was doing so poorly.  Evil or Very Mad

Talking with a couple of Shaver's teammates today I learned he plans to transfer in May.  Apparently he quit the team during Winter Break, but was talked into returning for the spring semester to finish out the school year on scholarship before moving on.

The teammates also speculated that a lot of guys, including about 80% of the starting lineup will be gone in May. It was hard to pin point one reason for everyone leaving, but obviously the poor results have dragged down team morale.  I'm not going to name other names as it wouldn't be fair to the players, but as Marcus was so up front about his decision to leave....

One gripe I heard was the lack of player development on the part of the coaches.  It is hard to judge such things without observing first hand, but apparently there is a lot of practicing, but as in the NBA, the development aspect was done in the preseason and it's "now just getting ready for the next game."
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Post by PilotNut on Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:16 pm

pale

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Post by dholcombe on Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:38 pm

StudentPilot wrote:
wrv wrote:I wonder as to the fate of the team come season and school year end. I hope that Shaver remains. I hope the assistants stay, but I am concerned.
I'm still volunteering/working in Puerto Rico, but am now spending some time in NOPO hanging with UP buddies and catching some men's and women's basketball.  I don't get to see video of UP basketball in PR, and only occasionally look at PN, so I was surprised the men's team was doing so poorly.  Evil or Very Mad

Talking with a couple of Shaver's teammates today I learned he plans to transfer in May.  Apparently he quit the team during Winter Break, but was talked into returning for the spring semester to finish out the school year on scholarship before moving on.

The teammates also speculated that a lot of guys, including about 80% of the starting lineup will be gone in May. It was hard to pin point one reason for everyone leaving, but obviously the poor results have dragged down team morale.  I'm not going to name other names as it wouldn't be fair to the players, but as Marcus was so up front about his decision to leave....

One gripe I heard was the lack of player development on the part of the coaches.  It is hard to judge such things without observing first hand, but apparently there is a lot of practicing, but as in the NBA, the development aspect was done in the preseason and it's "now just getting ready for the next game."
That's bad news. Confirms some suspicions though.

It's a feedback loop at this point probably. Poor chemistry leads to losing leads to worse chemistry leads to guys wanting to quit leads to bad chemistry because they don't really want to be around....

What cause it? Who knows. Could be guys just don't get along. It happens. Could be negativity from the top. Could be weird coaches sons on the team chemistry, sometimes that works great sometimes it causes issues. And it's possible everybodys just got the bad chemistry feels and can't pinpoint why even to themselves. That can happen too. I was telling the guy who sits next to me that when a team is getting worse instead of better and not playing as a team there is probably something going on in the locker room beyond the court. I've seen EVEN MORE individual attempts at heroics and lack of passing lately than earlier in the season and there's no longer the energy on defense that used to show up for 20 minutes or so a game.


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Post by up7587 on Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:45 pm

Men's Basketball - State of the Program Dumpst10
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Post by bullwinkle on Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:34 am

The only way to put this fire out is for the Athletic Director to get involved ASAP.

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Post by Dean Murdoch on Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:51 am

By the way, is Josh Phillips hurt? Or was his redshirt year just burned indiscriminately so he could play 5 minutes in the Upstate blowout?
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Post by up7587 on Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:06 am

Dean Murdoch wrote:By the way, is Josh Phillips hurt? Or was his redshirt year just burned indiscriminately so he could play 5 minutes in the Upstate blowout?

Exactly what I've been thinking. Why not play some bench guys, since the guys they are playing are not getting it done. How much worse could it be?

Anybody know why Hogland's minutes have dropped, and were zero on Thursday?
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Post by PilotNut on Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:18 am

up7587 wrote:
Dean Murdoch wrote:By the way, is Josh Phillips hurt? Or was his redshirt year just burned indiscriminately so he could play 5 minutes in the Upstate blowout?

Exactly what I've been thinking.  Why not play some bench guys, since the guys they are playing are not getting it done. How much worse could it be?  

Anybody know why Hogland's minutes have dropped, and were zero on Thursday?

I agree with both of you... the Phillips question is a head scratcher or very frustrating if he is just benched. It was mentioned to me when he did play that it was never certain that he would redshirt... so let the guy play if he's healthy...

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Post by wrv on Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:22 am

Like to see Fahrensohn play some minutes. He can shoot. We need outside shooting.

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Post by NoPoNeighbor on Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:41 am

Starting lineup:
Shaver
Hallinan
Fahrensohn
Diabate
Hogland

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Post by dholcombe on Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:13 pm

I was also thinking I would like to see Hallinan start if the other guys are gonna phone it in.

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Post by DoubleDipper on Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:57 pm

dholcombe wrote:I was also thinking I would like to see Hallinan start if the other guys are gonna phone it in.
I made my preference to have Xavier in the game ahead of Malcolm known, but did not receive a reaction other than a reminder that Xavier is a walk-on.

Josh Philipps is healthy and eager to play, but it does appear his 5 minutes or so against Upstate could be the extent of his UP basketball career if he sticks around.

It was surprising Hugh did not play against USD....many think he's the best of the post players.

Regarding Crisshawn, it's pretty obvious his three years off from basketball has been a setback, I'm just hoping he decides to return to the team after graduating in May.  He could be a team leader on and off the court.

Taki is actually an all-around good player, not just a shooter, but until he gets some consistent court time, we won't see it.

Seems to me TP ought to ask each player if they are returning to UP next season, if they say, "Yes," then play them now, and ask the others to be good teammates and help out as scout team members and mentors.

All we can ask at this point is to be competitive.....
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Post by bullwinkle on Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:03 pm

I like everything you've said DD, except the second to the last paragraph. That would be pretty much like TP saying, "I know we promised to develop you as a player here - and I know we promised you that we'd get better every year - and that we promised you that we'd soon be a winning basketball team, but in spite of breaking all those promises, we'd really appreciate it if you'd give up your opportunity to prove what you can do for the school you attend next (that might actually deliver those things we promised) and let others play instead."

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