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Old 09-25-2014, 01:19 PM   #1
doubledribble
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Default Thoughts on the basketball program

Hi guys. I've only been posting here for a short period, but I noticed that there is not much chatter about the basketball team in terms of happenings on the team and recruiting. There are a few people here that seem to really be interested in basketball and frequently post. This post is not directed at anyone but more of a generalization of my thoughts about the basketball program and the expectations of fans.

As we enter into the third season under Frank Martin, fans are expecting a big turnaround this season overall. I have seen a lot of folks talk about 20 wins or making the NIT or even NCAA Tournament. This may not be a realistic expectation at this point in the Frank Martin era, and there is no reason to be frustrated or worried about whether or not Frank can get it done even if we have another down season.

The problems persist in the paint. We have had some bad luck with landing post players and getting them into school. That said, Frank is addressing this situation. Had Thompson made it in, this would not be as big of an issue. Silva is a huge pick up for Frank and the team. He will bring an immediate defensive and athletic presence to the team, which is something we sorely miss in the post currently. Our situation on the wing is great however. Before I address that, I want to talk about what Frank looks for when recruiting.

Frank knows to turn around this program, he's going to have to go after 3 and 4 star type of guys and land the occasional "star" player (Dozier, Thornwell, Woods) because we simply are not going to out-recruit the premier basketball schools for players most of the time. That said he's looking for his recruits to be strong on the defensive side of the ball, with more upside on the offensive side of things. Silva is a great defender. Blanton is a great defender. Sheppard was a good defender. The coaching staff emphasizes strong defense, and they only want guys that fit that bill.

That's why you're not seeing them put the full court press on Tevin Mack. In fact, Mack is third on their board behind Dozier and Jacob Evans. This sounds absurd because he's an in state kid that scores, but it's not when you look at Dozier and Evans and see that they have the same offensive capabilities (both big guys that can handle the ball and score like Mack) and are better on defense. We have basically put our eggs in the Dozier basket for the moment, but with Evans picking in the spring, if we miss on Dozier, we will still have a shot at Evans (most think if we want him he's ours). Also depending on how things shake out with post players, we may decide to take Evans even if Dozier commits. There currently is not a scenario where Mack is a part of the plans to accept if Dozier commits.

In the post we are still looking at Rozelle Nix (he'll be on campus this weekend). He's a 7' Goliath of a JUCO prospect who is currently in the best shape of his life. He's getting a lot of looks from other Division 1 schools including Missouri, PITT, and Purdue. He's a guy that's said he's not going to decide until the spring. That gives time for James Thompson's legal issues to get resolved. If he is found not guilty, it wouldn't be shocking to see the staff get back into the picture with him. He's another athletic post prospect that blocks shots and rebounds well. However, the coaches aren't going to take just any post player. It's important that the player fits the criteria the coaches are looking for.

Currently the team's roster looks like this:

TeMarcus Blanton 6-5 G
Michael Carrera 6'5 F
L-Chat 6-11 C
Henry 6-9 F/C (he's up to about 230 pounds now)
Ty Johnson 6-3 G
Kacinas 6-7 F
McKie 6-4 G
Notice 6-2 G
Shamiek Sheppard 6-6 F (Out for the season with a torn ACL)
Steele 6-5 G
Stroman 6-2 G
Theus 6-6 F
Thornwell 6-5 G

Blanton and Stroman are the new guys that should find playing time. Blanton lit it up during the Pro-Am and people raved about his defense. Sheppard is also new, but he'll sit out this season due to injury. It's a shame because he is a prep guy like Notice and looked like he could contribute early. Again, he's a good defender.

The guys that seem to have taken huge steps forward are McKie and Notice. Those guys played well at the Pro-Am, and will look to be bigger contributors this season. Henry has put on some weight and should be better prepared for the rigors of the SEC season. L-Chat and Kacinas stayed on campus all summer, which is huge for the team. They should be poised for better seasons.

One last thing I wanted to point out was that the coaching staff is going to allow L-Chat and Kacinas to shoot 3's. Last season they were not given the green light to shoot. Martin has reversed his decision to do this. These European guys can shoot it from 3 and it should help to space the floor. It could benefit guys like Thornwell and especially Carrera who have a knack for finding and rebounding the ball.

I pity the fool that has to guard Carrera.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

One of the main problems I see this year will be our size. We only have 3 guys over 6'7. I also wonder if we'll improve our FT% and 3PT shooting.
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Old 09-25-2014, 01:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

Doubledribble, Thanks for your post and your opinions. If the team can stay healthy, and that is a big IF because Sheppard and Steele have already been injured, I think this season will be the best in several years, and easily the best under Martin. We only have 3 guys that are 6-7 or taller. We absolutely cannot afford an injury to any of them. To maximize our team, we also cannot afford injuries to Johnson, Notice, or Thornwell. An injury to one of them would hurt badly, especially since we do not have Sheppard. I think Stroman and Blanton are going to be good, but I don't like having to depend heavily on freshmen. We need our veterans to play.

I think letting our post guys shoot from outside is a good move. It should help them score more, and also open up some opportunities to drive the ball for our guards and small forwards. We need lots of FT opportunities.

As for recruiting, I am glad to have Silva. We need another post player, and we need Dozier. If Sheppard redshirts, he will be in the freshman class next year too. I'm excited!!!
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Old 09-25-2014, 02:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

Enjoyed the read doubledribble, thank you for the post! Excited to watch Thornwell and Johnson on the court at the same time and believe we have the makings of a very gutsy, tough team that will surprise many folks withhard work and team work. We have 3 posts who shoot the ball extremely well in Kacinas, LChat and Carrerra, this should open the lane for slashers like Thornwell, Johnson, Notice and Blanton.
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Old 09-25-2014, 03:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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Originally Posted by Ahmad View Post
One of the main problems I see this year will be our size. We only have 3 guys over 6'7. I also wonder if we'll improve our FT% and 3PT shooting.
Duke only has 3 guys over 6'7" (Of course 2 are true centers, but still)

We still have zero rim protection. I mean zero. That's going to kill us against UK and UF.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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Originally Posted by Ahmad View Post
One of the main problems I see this year will be our size. We only have 3 guys over 6'7. I also wonder if we'll improve our FT% and 3PT shooting.
Although the absence of Brenton Williams will surely be felt, I think you're going to see a better defensive team this season. I also think that returning Ty Johnson is going to make us more dangerous. Having the Europeans shoot from 3 is going to open up the lane a lot more also.
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Old 09-25-2014, 05:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

I like our team other than the inside game. We will get killed by most bigger teams inside. To make matters even worse inside is the fact Henry can't guard anyone without fouling. This leave only Chat inside when this happens.

Chat can shoot the 3 and should have been given permission to do this these past two seasons. Our bigs shooting 3s can really open up scoring for others if we can make a decent % of them/

We have to have MUCH BETTER inside players. This is a major disappointment after three recruiting classes. I thought Martin was a better recruiter than he has shown so far, especially with all his high school and AAU contacts.

I think we will do well when we play the shorter teams but not well at all when we face the big front courts.

Last edited by Spur20001; 09-25-2014 at 05:46 PM. Reason: player name
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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Originally Posted by Spur20001 View Post
I like our team other than the inside game. We will get killed by most bigger teams inside. To make matters even worse inside is the fact Henry can't guard anyone without fouling. This leave only Chat inside when this happens.

Chat can shoot the 3 and should have been given permission to do this these past two seasons. Our bigs shooting 3s can really open up scoring for others if we can make a decent % of them/

We have to have MUCH BETTER inside players. This is a major disappointment after three recruiting classes. I thought Martin was a better recruiter than he has shown so far, especially with all his high school and AAU contacts.

I think we will do well when we play the shorter teams but not well at all when we face the big front courts.
You obviously never paid attention to Martin's classes at Kansas State. He's never been a guy that's gotten nothing but 5 * players. He's always developed guys and coached them up. It's unrealistic to think he's going to do that here, and if you think that, then you're going to be left with nothing but disappointment. If you expect us to hire any coach that can do that right off the bat, then you're delusional. It's just not going to happen.

Obviously, Henry had his problems last year. What guy weighing 215 pounds going up against guys outweighing him by 20 to 30 sometimes 40+ pounds isn't, especially as a freshman? He has put on 15 pounds this summer. Getting down on Henry for his performance as a freshman isn't fair to him. Most guys take 2 to 3 seasons to really come into their own. It takes a special player to make an immediate and ultra-beneficial impact. I fail to see how complaining about Henry, but not the tendency for Thornwell and Notice to turn the ball over makes you feel better. The propensity for turnovers from Thornwell, Notice, and Kacinas concern me more than Henry trying to be physical and hold his own. No reasonable person thought Henry would be a big time player his first year. It's unreasonable for you to harp on his abilities without even seeing how he's developed in the offseason.

Martin has never really liked the idea of his post players camping out at the top of the key shooting threes. He likes hard nosed basketball with the bigs down low cleaning up the glass. Forgive him for trying what's worked for him in his coaching career. He's going to try giving them the green light this season, hopefully it will have an impact.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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Originally Posted by HeadCockFan View Post
Duke only has 3 guys over 6'7" (Of course 2 are true centers, but still)

We still have zero rim protection. I mean zero. That's going to kill us against UK and UF.
Help is on the way.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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Although the absence of Brenton Williams will surely be felt, I think you're going to see a better defensive team this season. I also think that returning Ty Johnson is going to make us more dangerous. Having the Europeans shoot from 3 is going to open up the lane a lot more also.
I thought Ty was coming into a zone until he had the foot injury. I hope our perimeter D improves, so we won't have to go zone all game.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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Enjoyed the read doubledribble, thank you for the post! Excited to watch Thornwell and Johnson on the court at the same time and believe we have the makings of a very gutsy, tough team that will surprise many folks withhard work and team work. We have 3 posts who shoot the ball extremely well in Kacinas, LChat and Carrerra, this should open the lane for slashers like Thornwell, Johnson, Notice and Blanton.
I am excited to see what we can do with a bench that goes about 10 deep. I don't expect Blanton and Stroman to set the world on fire, but I think they can give us some good minutes. If McKie gets it together, we'll have a very solid rotation at 1-3.

I'm very excited to see the team with Johnson, Notice, Thornwell on the floor together this year, though.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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I thought Ty was coming into a zone until he had the foot injury. I hope our perimeter D improves, so we won't have to go zone all game.
The zone was what worked for us last season, but Martin prefers to man up. With the lack of bodies in the post, I'd be shocked if we didn't play a good bit of zone defense. I'm definitely excited about this team and the future of the program.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

The team finished strong last year, but we lost a lot of games we should have won.

The team gave the impression that they hardly practiced and it seemed to me like Martin didn't know what he was doing. Then I realized the players were most of the problem as the season wore on.

So I decided it was best to take a step back and hit the reset button for this season.

The team stayed with it until the end of most of the games they lost, but they didn't seem to care whether they won or lost. I know that's not true, but there were no emotional leaders like Ellington to fire them up.

We were missing the intangibles of leadership and discipline last year. There were no JT Surrats on the team that held the team accountable last season. We will be in trouble again this year if no emotional leaders emerge.

Both the football and basketball teams had poor starts to the season, but the leaders on the football team stepped up and have saved the season so far.

It's a perfect example of the internal leadership that is missing on the basketball team until someone steps up this season.

Someone on the team itself has to give a damn when the team starts to backslide.

They have a clean slate with me. We'll just have to wait and see what happens this season and go from there.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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You obviously never paid attention to Martin's classes at Kansas State. He's never been a guy that's gotten nothing but 5 * players. He's always developed guys and coached them up. It's unrealistic to think he's going to do that here, and if you think that, then you're going to be left with nothing but disappointment. If you expect us to hire any coach that can do that right off the bat, then you're delusional. It's just not going to happen.

Obviously, Henry had his problems last year. What guy weighing 215 pounds going up against guys outweighing him by 20 to 30 sometimes 40+ pounds isn't, especially as a freshman? He has put on 15 pounds this summer. Getting down on Henry for his performance as a freshman isn't fair to him. Most guys take 2 to 3 seasons to really come into their own. It takes a special player to make an immediate and ultra-beneficial impact. I fail to see how complaining about Henry, but not the tendency for Thornwell and Notice to turn the ball over makes you feel better. The propensity for turnovers from Thornwell, Notice, and Kacinas concern me more than Henry trying to be physical and hold his own. No reasonable person thought Henry would be a big time player his first year. It's unreasonable for you to harp on his abilities without even seeing how he's developed in the offseason.

Martin has never really liked the idea of his post players camping out at the top of the key shooting threes. He likes hard nosed basketball with the bigs down low cleaning up the glass. Forgive him for trying what's worked for him in his coaching career. He's going to try giving them the green light this season, hopefully it will have an impact.
He is a very good coach but that is not entirely true, his first class at k state had 2 5*'s and one 4*, one of them being Beasley(the #1 player in the class of 2007) the other being Walker, they both left the next year but not before Martin got a contract extension. He later had a few 4*,s and one 5*, the 5* Wally Judge did not do much though but the 4*'s McGruder and Sutton along with Pullen were the back bone of his team.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:35 PM   #15
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The zone was what worked for us last season, but Martin prefers to man up. With the lack of bodies in the post, I'd be shocked if we didn't play a good bit of zone defense. I'm definitely excited about this team and the future of the program.
I have no problem with mixing up the two. I think that's when we started making strides.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

Inverting the offense like that could really work for guys like Thornwell and Carrera. Need Chat and Kacinas to hit enough perimeter shots to make the opponent bigs come out to guard them, also...they have to be able to make that entry pass without turning it over.
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Old 09-25-2014, 06:43 PM   #17
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Inverting the offense like that could really work for guys like Thornwell and Carrera. Need Chat and Kacinas to hit enough perimeter shots to make the opponent bigs come out to guard them, also...they have to be able to make that entry pass without turning it over.
I think that's something we definitely need to clean up.
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Old 09-25-2014, 07:11 PM   #18
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

I am not really worried about 3's. It was the easy baskets close to the rim that we shit the bed on so many times last year. Gotta be able to put those down!!


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Old 09-25-2014, 08:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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He is a very good coach but that is not entirely true, his first class at k state had 2 5*'s and one 4*, one of them being Beasley(the #1 player in the class of 2007) the other being Walker, they both left the next year but not before Martin got a contract extension. He later had a few 4*,s and one 5*, the 5* Wally Judge did not do much though but the 4*'s McGruder and Sutton along with Pullen were the back bone of his team.
His first class was put together by Bob Huggins. It doesn't count.

Like I said, he recruits 3 to 4* players and a star hear and there when he's able like Thornwell, Dozier, Woods...

Not seeing how you disagree other than the fact that Huggins recruited that first class.
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Old 09-25-2014, 08:03 PM   #20
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Default Re: Thoughts on the basketball program

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The team finished strong last year, but we lost a lot of games we should have won.

The team gave the impression that they hardly practiced and it seemed to me like Martin didn't know what he was doing. Then I realized the players were most of the problem as the season wore on.

So I decided it was best to take a step back and hit the reset button for this season.

The team stayed with it until the end of most of the games they lost, but they didn't seem to care whether they won or lost. I know that's not true, but there were no emotional leaders like Ellington to fire them up.

We were missing the intangibles of leadership and discipline last year. There were no JT Surrats on the team that held the team accountable last season. We will be in trouble again this year if no emotional leaders emerge.

Both the football and basketball teams had poor starts to the season, but the leaders on the football team stepped up and have saved the season so far.

It's a perfect example of the internal leadership that is missing on the basketball team until someone steps up this season.

Someone on the team itself has to give a damn when the team starts to backslide.

They have a clean slate with me. We'll just have to wait and see what happens this season and go from there.
On a team full of freshmen and sophomores, you're not gonna find too many true leaders right off the bat. I'm glad you admitted that you know what you wrote isn't true, because it couldn't be farther from the truth concerning work ethic and caring about winning and losing. Thornwell took that season very hard.
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