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Zips Basketball- Looking Back to 21-22/Looking Forward to 22-23


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21 minutes ago, Illini Zip said:

It surprises me how close these stat lines are to each other. This team is already closing in on the 2019-2020 gang which had such amazing team chemistry.

 

It surprised me, too. It could be argued this team actually underachieved with how they were playing at the end. Now, the team at the end wasn't the team we had for 75% of the season, but still. 2019-20 is still the best, most complete team we've ever had in my opinion. 2022-23 & 2023-24 have a huge chance to supplant them, though (although '19-'20 will always hold that special place in my heart).

 

If, IF, these guards are as advertised and can hit the ground running, we may have our solution(s). 

Edited by Let'sGoZips94
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6 hours ago, Blue & Gold said:

That's going back to before my time.  I wish I had been a Zips fan during the Huggins years, but I was too young and my dad never followed basketball.  

 

I also wish I could have seen Jacubick play; he's mentioned so often on the board.

 

 

Me too. I was not brought up in a basketball family, or a UofA family. It wasn't until I was a non-traditional (in every sense) student that I became a fan. Growing up the only college sports I was exposed to was Cowlumbus Football. 

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On 3/18/2022 at 6:48 PM, zippy5 said:

We'll agree to disagree. His greatest strengths aren't really forward skillsets imo, and I don't think his future will be as a PF at the next level, so I don't see him transitioning to more of a forward role here. Also, having a 2/3 man with his length is a huge problem in the MAC

I 100% agree the more athletic 6'5-6'8 guys you can have on the court, the better. The length would help a ton for the defense Groce wants to run.

 

I'm with you on categorizing Ali as a 3. Not only is he not big enough (in muscle mass) to be a 4, but he's not really a strong rebounder. A lot of games it was really Freeman getting us boards with little help from anyone else. Kwan and Xeyrius were both significantly better rebounder than Ali is. If you pair Freeman down low with another guy who can get 6-7 boards a night, we should win the battle on the glass the vast majority of the games, especially in MAC play. 

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I said it in another thread I feel we really need a stretch 4. Some here seem to think the same. We also need at least 1 other person to emerge as a legit scorer whether that be Tavari or someone else. Tribble needs to spend the entire offseason working on his 3 point shot. Being a guard that is no threat from deep really allows the opposing defense to play 5 on 4

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2 hours ago, kreed5120 said:

I 100% agree the more athletic 6'5-6'8 guys you can have on the court, the better. The length would help a ton for the defense Groce wants to run.

 

I'm with you on categorizing Ali as a 3. Not only is he not big enough (in muscle mass) to be a 4, but he's not really a strong rebounder. A lot of games it was really Freeman getting us boards with little help from anyone else. Kwan and Xeyrius were both significantly better rebounder than Ali is. If you pair Freeman down low with another guy who can get 6-7 boards a night, we should win the battle on the glass the vast majority of the games, especially in MAC play. 

 

Can never have enough athletic/talented 6'5"-6'8" guys. So many mismatches are created in that height range. 

 

2 hours ago, Blue & Gold said:

Apparently exit interviews have commenced. Lol

1. Wasn't Bryan a senior?

2. It's good to see he's earned his diploma. 

 

There was the inevitable 1. Scholarship is now open.

 

I actually forgot that he was still on the team and we would have 1 scholarship available. 

Edited by Let'sGoZips94
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3 hours ago, kreed5120 said:

I said it in another thread I feel we really need a stretch 4. Some here seem to think the same. We also need at least 1 other person to emerge as a legit scorer whether that be Tavari or someone else. Tribble needs to spend the entire offseason working on his 3 point shot. Being a guard that is no threat from deep really allows the opposing defense to play 5 on 4

Zips need a stretch 4 (i had to google that) like Jeremy Harris.

 

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50 minutes ago, NWAkron said:

Zips need a stretch 4 (i had to google that) like Jeremy Harris.

 

 

Jeremy Harris was a hybrid like Ali. He is actually smaller than Ali. But those are SF/Stretch 4 skills in your video.

 

Allow me to go to what I know. Illinois under Groce. Michael Finke,  #43 (6-10", 230 lbs.) was an awesome stretch 4. He could post up, drive, pass, pick and pop and drill it consistently from behind the arc.

 

 

Edited by Illini Zip
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10 hours ago, Illini Zip said:

Kobi Mitchell:

 

 

What is the point of this post?  This kid had huge numbers at a very small school, but it does not look like he played this season.  Was he red shirted? transferred?  Do the b-ball experts on this site expect him to get playing time next year?  I am intrigued and interested.  

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7 minutes ago, bigjim said:

What is the point of this post?  This kid had huge numbers at a very small school, but it does not look like he played this season.  Was he red shirted? transferred?  Do the b-ball experts on this site expect him to get playing time next year?  I am intrigued and interested.  

Redshirted

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8 minutes ago, bigjim said:

What is the point of this post?  This kid had huge numbers at a very small school, but it does not look like he played this season.  Was he red shirted? transferred?  Do the b-ball experts on this site expect him to get playing time next year?  I am intrigued and interested.  

@Illini Zip simply posted that so we'd get a better idea of what may be waiting in the wings next year. I think the redshirt season was probably very good for Kobe, because, while he lit it up in HS, his competition was rather low caliber.  A year under Groce to understand what D-1 defensive intensity looks like and understand the scheme and I think Kobe will really be able to help us next year.  He may be the best 3-point shooter on the team next year.  He also played football in HS, so hopefully he's got some hard-nose to him (even though he was a QB; Idk if he played D or not).

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4 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

@Illini Zip simply posted that so we'd get a better idea of what may be waiting in the wings next year. I think the redshirt season was probably very good for Kobe, because, while he lit it up in HS, his competition was rather low caliber.  A year under Groce to understand what D-1 defensive intensity looks like and understand the scheme and I think Kobe will really be able to help us next year.  He may be the best 3-point shooter on the team next year.  He also played football in HS, so hopefully he's got some hard-nose to him (even though he was a QB; Idk if he played D or not).

Thanks for the excellent explanation.  I really appreciate it.  I hope he does great next year.  However, Harrison Central is a very small school in Cadiz, and they play very small schools.  I would not project his future effectiveness based on his high school competition.  However, I wish him greatness.  

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16 hours ago, Blue & Gold said:

Apparently exit interviews have commenced. Lol

1. Wasn't Bryan a senior?

2. It's good to see he's earned his diploma. 

Being a graduate helps him play immediately since he would have had to wait a year since this would be his second transfer.  I do not see him going to a bigger program.  Tough to explain how your team went on an 8 game winning streak and played their best basketball of the season after you left the program when you had some sort of disagreement with the coach.

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In the age of the transfer portal, there are coaches who do well with it and coaches who do poorly. We've been pretty fortunate to have a coach and a program who seem to do pretty well with it. Assuming that the core of Ali, X, Freeman, Tribble, Dawson stick together, we will have one of the older and more experienced teams in the MAC and in the country. I don't have comparable numbers and can't seem to find a list anywhere, but looking at all of those guys' career numbers, I'm pretty impressed.

 

X, assuming he is returning (God forbid any of these guys don't) has played in 123 games in his career, starting in 58, playing 25 minutes per game

 

Ali has made 66 starts in 88 career games, playing 23 minutes per game. He started 11 games for the 2020 championship team, and has gotten significantly better each year he's been here

 

Freeman has made 54 starts in 64 career games, averaging 23 minutes. He started every game of this past season, has a 68.8% FG% for his career, and is a two-time All-MAC performer. Was a big scout teamer for the 2020 team as well

 

Tribble has made 32 starts in 85 career games, averaging 20 minutes a game. Another member of the 2020 championship team going into his 4th season at Akron. Shot 70% at the free throw line this past season, coming up big in the Buffalo QF game.

 

Dawson has made 10 starts in 74 career games. He was also a member of the 2020 championship team, and shot 36% from three last season, becoming a fairly reliable shooter. 

 

The college basketball landscape has teams turning over the rosters significantly year-to-year. While X is still newer to the program, he's an example of an old and experienced guy bringing a lot of value to a program, and you could definitely see that as the season went on. While Dawson and Tribble haven't been top-tier contributors, they've been a part of Akron basketball for a very long time in today's standards, and that holds a ton of value as well. 

 

Mid-Major Madness did a nice piece on Richmond's "Last Dance" with an old team full of seniors

 

Also, when you look at Buffalo and Groce's OU teams, they were the same, old, experienced teams that were there for a lot of winning. OU had Cooper, Kellogg, Baltic. Buffalo had Massinburg, Perkins, Graves, Harris, Jordan, Carruthers. I am not guaranteeing a sweet 16 run, a 30-win season, or an appearance in the NCAA tournament for that matter. It should go without saying, but old and experienced teams that have been together for a long time have much more potential to do some amazing things. Let's hope this group can do the same. Strike while the iron is hot.

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2 hours ago, 1981 grad said:

Being a graduate helps him play immediately since he would have had to wait a year since this would be his second transfer.  I do not see him going to a bigger program.  Tough to explain how your team went on an 8 game winning streak and played their best basketball of the season after you left the program when you had some sort of disagreement with the coach.

I'm confident that there's a community college near Kansas City, Missouri that can use a guy that shoots 36% from the field.

 

He seemed like a nice kid when I heard him in a post-game interview.  Who knows what goes on in the head of a 23 year old kid who's lost his ability to do what he does best.  I want to be angry in that he appears to have bailed on the team but who knows what else may be going on in his life.  Hopefully, it works out was well for him as it did the Zips.

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7 minutes ago, zippy5 said:

Forever a Zip

 

 

 

 

 

It's a shame the quote was cut off. 

 

"I will always be a Zip at heart... Just not on defense."

 

Kidding.

 

Is this trying to save face a bit with the next program? Or is this sincere? His Twitter pic is a Getty Images pic of him from his St. John's days. Trying to show coaches he was good enough for a Big East school at one point? Odd.

Edited by Let'sGoZips94
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On 3/18/2022 at 3:37 PM, LZIp said:

There are two aspects that stick out to me this offseason:

1) Do we utilize the transfer portal, and if so how? Messing with the 8 man rotation is a gamble. In addition, how much more room can we realistically have in the rotation, 1 player? You'd hope Kalle, one of the redshirt freshman, or one of the incoming freshman could fill whatever need(s) you think you have going into next season. Not to mention everyone on the team should continue to at least make incremental improvements.

 

2) How can we best position ourselves to get an at-large bid so that the entire season and chance to build on success doesn't come down to 3 days in Cleveland? The Cayman Island Classic is a good start, but you probably want 1 or 2 additional chances against average or better P5 programs and 1 or 2 chances against better mid-major programs. Losses to those types won't hurt near as much as a loss to App St, and wins are selling points for at-larges. Win some of those challenging games, perform like you need to in conference play, and you might have a chance if you slip up in Cleveland.

 

Toledo and Kent should continue to be tough and I would expect Ohio to compete with Sears, Boals, and whatever additions they bring. I'd think Buffalo is looking a decent drop off with Segu, Mballa, and Williams gone I believe.

Our prior head coach used to use a 10-11 man rotation. I think it’s harder to keep continuity that way but it also develops a deeper bench if there is foul trouble and allows the legs to be fresher in tournament settings. Of course it didn’t seem to hurt this year with just 8

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A few thoughts about the Zips core moving forward into 2022-23...Admittedly, I have not read the entire thread so apologies if someone already said something similar!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Zips down the stretch in the MAC and NCAA tourney and thought they played well as a unit (especially defensively), but realistically I think that X, Ali, and Freeman are the only players I would put down in ink as starters for next season. X and Freeman looked the part against UCLA. Even as the lead slipped away, I was thinking how great it was that X got the experience against a player like Tyger Campbell (likewise w/ Freeman and Jaquez!). Don't get me wrong, Dawson and Tribble are key pieces but could contribute from the bench just as well most nights. 

 

I always root for Ali Ali, but I never really bought into his pro potential. ESPN+ and CBSSN commentators would use his potential as a talking point, but those are just media notes and not really based on scouting or the eye test imo. I don't think we need Ali to average over 15 ppg to make a deep tourney run in the coming years. I would like to see his 2PT field goal % go up and his assists as well next season. I.e. I think we need more efficiency out of Ali and not necessarily a lot more production. If that happens, Freeman improves even more, and we can find a lights out wing player (either the incoming guards or a transfer), the Zips will be a tough out next season. 

 

Parting Shot:

I was surprised to see a post like that from Trimble as I imagined he left on bad terms. I guess it's possible that he got the yips in terms of his outside shooting and totally lost confidence?  Honestly, he doesn't really have DI athleticism, so if his shot went bye bye that's a done deal. Hopefully, he finds his stroke and ends his college career somewhere on a high note. 

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