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EMU 81, Earlham 55 exhibition

October 30, 2011

Well, that was fun, eh?

I’m not talking about the score, I’m talking about the effort we saw from the team. It wasn’t always pretty, particularly at the offensive end, but there was an energy present, particularly for the first 10-15 minutes (until EMU was up a good 20 points) that all-too-often was missing last year.

As expected the team generally defended with a full-court press that collapsed into a 2-3 zone.

EMU's 2-3 zone

Aside from the blurry pictures (sorry, I’m out of practice at taking basketball photos…they’ll get better) the following photos show the press working exactly as designed.

The press starts on a throw-in. Preferably right after your team scores, but knocking it out of bounds works too.

Teams facing a press have two basic choices, dribble or try to throw over it. Here, Earlham chose the latter...

...which led to a turnover and what should have been easy points for the Eagles.

“Should have been easy points for the Eagles” is the phrase that best-describes my biggest concern. Although some of them were hitting well, others just put up brick after brick.

Chart! Chart! Chart!

EMU game stats v Earlham
Name Min 2PT % 3PT % FT % Reb Asst Blk Stl
Sims 18 0-3 0% 0-2 0% 0-0 1 3 1 1
Harper 21 5-8 63% 0-0 5-5 100% 2 2 0 3
Thompson 23 2-2 100% 3-6 50% 0-1 0% 1 1 0 1
Chandler 6 0-1 0% 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0
Green 25 4-7 57% 2-3 67% 3-4 75% 6 3 0 2
Dailey 19 0-0 2-2 100% 1-2 50% 7 0 0 1
Harris 33 4-9 44% 0-0 1-2 50% 8 3 1 1
Lampley 18 2-3 67% 1-1 100% 0-0 1 7 0 1
Balkema 25 6-10 60% 0-0 1-3 33% 4 1 0 1
Janton 12 0-0 0-0 0-0 4 0 0 1

What’s it mean?

Well, of course there are some caveats. One game is a fairly small sample size, particularly one non-competitive game in which the coach is obviously trying out different lineups to see what works well. But there are several clear concerns. Sims was 0-5 for the game in 18 minutes played, Chandler was 0-1 in six minutes with no other stats (e.g. assists) to compensate. Dailey only took two shots in 19 minutes, though his rebounding was nice. In 12 minutes, Janton never took a shot or registered an assist. Balkema’s shooting was also not as good as one might hope for from a starting center.

Harper played much of the game at point guard, with Lampley starting and Chandler also taking turns running things. Lampley was effective, Chandler not so much, but that difference is to be expected when you compare a senior who started most of last year to a freshman walk-on. I think Chandler has some potential, but strikes me as someone who needs to hit the weight room hard and add at least 7 to 10 pounds; he’s the same height as Lampley but 15 pounds lighter (and it looks like more of a difference than that). Speaking of whom…

Chandler bringing the ball up the court.

I really wish a had a picture of Chandler and Lampley side-by-side to get a good visual comparison.

Given the available players this year, Harper seems like he might fit best as a swingman or even a straight-up small forward, but in the long term (the two seasons after this) he’ll probably be more needed as a point guard, so he may stay there in the interest of development.

In terms of potential lineups, what makes sense to me is to play Lampley (backed up by shifting Harper or briefly subbing in Chandler) at point guard, Thompson, Green, and Dailey as shooting guards, Harper at small forward, Harris at power forward, and Balkema (backed up by Janton) at center. Janton is fairly gangly for a center (6’10” tall and 230 pounds — Balkema is the same height but more than 50 pounds heavier) and might fit better as a forward, but I don’t see him learning a new position now, as a senior. Strickland did not play, so I still don’t know anything about his story or where he might fit.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Kenneth Barna permalink
    October 31, 2011 8:35 am

    Dear cmadler,
    I hope this year doesn’t end up like a Ramsey season. (record wise) Until the transfers get into the line-up, it seems like Eastern will have a few good players, but nothing to make this a break-out season. (I don’t mean challenge for the MAC title, by that statement) I mean maybe be a .500 ball club. They, also have a very challenging schedule to boot. We’ll just have to wait and see how things turn out.

  2. aaron permalink
    October 31, 2011 9:33 am

    great writeup. i cant wait to see this press and zone in action. it’s tough to implement a drastically defensive system like this, so im gonna be patient this year, but murphy seems promising.

    • October 31, 2011 9:57 am

      Realistically, I’m expecting a shaky defense through the non-conference schedule, solidifying somewhere around the time they hit MAC play. From what I’ve seen it usually seems to take about a half-season to really get a new defensive system in place.

  3. Bobby Wicks permalink
    October 31, 2011 10:44 am

    This is going to be a rough season. However, Austin Harper is worth watching. I think he’s going to be a really good player and next year, watch us contend for the title.

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