Some Thoughts

Georgetown’s offense is offensive. A couple of solutions: A) Mikael Hopkins role is reduced in the offense by JTIII. B) Mikael Hopkins recognizes his own struggles and reduces his own role on the offense. C) Nate Lubick becomes the 5 man. Hopkins is functioning as the hub of the Princeton Offense at a usage rate of 29%. This is drastically high for what should be the 5th option in the starting lineup. Georgetown teams of past have had their highest usage rates allocated to the Center spot but it can’t be that way this year. Hopkins is not Jeff Green (’05), Roy Hibbert (’06-’08), Greg Monroe (’09-’10) or even Henry Sims (’12). His ability is most similar to Julian Vaughn. In 2010-2011, Julian Vaughn deferred to Chris Wright and Austin Freeman as they led the team in usage rate and Vaughn posted a 22% mark. That’s where this needs to head with Otto Porter and Greg Whittington carrying the load. If Hopkins can not scale back or be put in a more acceptable role with the ability he does possess – the offensive struggles will remain all season. Running your offense through someone who holds the lowest FG%, FT%, EFG%, Assist to TO rate, and efficiency per possession is a disaster waiting to happen come Big East play.

Did you see Anthony Bennett play last night? If not, go watch a replay on ESPN3. I haven’t seen any player physically impose their will on a game like that this season. Bennett also has skills to go along with his Larry Johnson-like frame as he more comfortable playing facing up right now and does it extremely well. His post defense has a long way to go (seriously, if Mike Montgomery is running plays to post Robert Thurman – it needs work), but Bennett is now averaging 19.5 and 8.2 in only 28 minutes a game. His PER now checks in at 20.8, about two points higher than the next freshman (Nerlens Noel, 18.7) and good for 8th nationally.

On UNLV, we’ll see how long Moser is out but the real issue has to be how far they can go with Anthony Marshall as a full time PG. He’s a pretty damn good basketball player who defends and makes plays with his athleticism but on the ball for 35 minutes? It’s just rough at times for UNLV, particularly if Bryce Dejean-Jones and Katin Reinhardt aren’t making shots. (Lucky for UNLV, Jones was last night).

I don’t think anyone had team other than UNLV or San Diego State picked to win the MWC this year. But, here is New Mexico sitting at 10-0 while playing a solid non conference schedule with perhaps the best trio of guards in the league.

Allen Crabbe is one of the tougher covers in CBB running off screens. It’s too bad the idiotic ‘elbow rule’ put him on the bench for half of the first half last night. Perhaps a different outcome if he was out there when UNLV made their run.

It’s hard not to like Arizona. You just wish that one or two of their FR bigs could be put in a time machine to make them SO’s right now. I have no idea if they’re ready to take on Florida this Saturday, but come March this team really could be strong. They have all the parts – probably short of a great shooter – and go 8 strong in the rotation. There was nothing pretty about their win at Clemson, but Clemson guards really well and Littlejohn is not an easy place to play. Arizona withstood a run and then shut the door late.

UCLA . Well, I’d be stunned if Howland is back next season. They are too slow to guard anyone and Shabazz looks 1-2 months away from what we expected to see just from a physical stand point.

There’s not many players I’d rather watch on defense than Fuquan Edwin. And there aren’t many other teams that can blow that Seton Hall game like Wake Forest did.

Amazing that USC was laying points to Illinois on a neutral floor 3 weeks ago, isn’t it? Brandon Paul has to be in the thick of any POY discussions right now. My thought this year is that if you have good guards and possess any skill – you can find success this season. Illinois might be the best example of it so far.

Wisconsin does not have the guard play to do anything this year despite what KenPom might pump out. Bo Ryan is yet to trust George Marshall for whatever reason and Traevon Jackson is brutal. Speaking of brutal, Trent Lockett has to get in gear at some point for Marquette, right? I had his impact overrated coming into the Marquette program but so far his only impact is a negative one on the floor.

Is it possible that 5 years from now Ben McLemore could be the best of the 2011 St. Louis area trio of BJ Young, Brad Beal and himself?

Syracuse isn’t losing for a while. They’ve yet to play someone who matches up well with them and will not until Temple (who likely doesn’t have the talent level in MSG to win). The BE slate kicks off with vs Rutgers, @ USF, @ Providence and vs Villanova until their trip to Louisville on 1/19. Don’t be surprised if they’re unbeaten going into it.

Deonte Burton needs some help. His 29 was good enough to win @ Washington but Burton is only flanked by a one dimensional Malik Story and nobody else of substance. It’s too bad.

Michigan and Duke are hitting on all cylinders right now. Again, if you have skill this season – you will find success. I just wonder where they stand as more teams progress throughout the year and into March. Very high floors with both of these teams, though.

Want to know what Mitch Buonaguro did at Fairfield after inheriting a great team left to him that went 24-7 with in his first season? 15-16, 8-20, 7-21, 10-19, 8-20. Siena thought it would be a good idea to leave what Fran McCaffery built to him. They’ll be lucky to win 8 or 9 games this season.

Speaking of McCaffery, Iowa will have a chance to put themselves on the bubble this year and had a great win vs Iowa State on Friday. Next year? All meaningful rotation players will return and so will a spot in the Top 25 for the Hawkeyes.

Again, not ready to say Chris Obekpa is a better shot blocker than Nerlens but it’s getting more difficult. 11 more for Obekpa on Saturday.

Ole Miss reminds me of Craig Esherick’s Georgetown teams. They look the part in the layup line but don’t provide much skill or the ability to close out games once they play good competition.

I was wrong about Manhattan and Niagara this year, but feel good about Canisius making a big leap. They may even find themselves winning the MAAC. Off to a 2-0 start in the league and bringing talent like Alshwan Hymes and Freddy Asprilla off the bench, a luxury other MAAC teams do not have.

Dominic Artis and Jahii Carson are both controlling their teams in ways I wasn’t sure they could of in the Pac 12 during their early FR campaigns. Kudos to them.

It’s a weak slate of hoops this week. My one recommendation would be to check out St. Joes on Tuesday night if you missed them in Brooklyn. Ronald Roberts and CJ Aiken fly around the rim like few others.

Just for fun:

My Top 10 (quality of play more than anything):

1. Florida
2. Duke
3. Indiana
4. Syracuse
5. Michigan
6. Louisville
7. Arizona
8. Kansas
9. Cincinnati
10. Illinois

My Top 5 Freshman (Quality of play + talent + importance to team):

1. Anthony Bennett
2. Nerlens Noel
3. Ben McLemore
4. Marcus Smart
5. Glenn Robinson III

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