X Factors

spider23

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We have a lot of spots up for grabs and playing time this coming season - more so than any other season I can recall in quite some time.

I think we kind of have a good idea what to expect from the following: Burton (if he is back), Grace, Goose, Quinn (despite being new to us).

This is how I rate the other players in regards to being X factors that could propel us to another NCAA appearance, or conversely slip into the middle of the A10.

1) Dji - Former Wake commit, skilled and quick for his 6'5 size. We have seen glimpses of the potential the first two years, but between the injury bug, quick hook, and playing behind 5th year seniors not a large sample size. If he can carve out a role playing 20-25 minutes (shooting 35% from 3, good D, and creating shots - I don't care what position) that will be a really good sign for our success.
2) Nelson - we have all been anticipating this guy for quite some time now, next in line as elite PG, seemingly in the mold of Kevin Anderson. Hoping that playing against all timer GIlly in practice for a year has helped him, and helps stave off some of the rust from red shirting. If he is who we think he is, the ceiling for this team is pretty darn high.
3) Bigelow - Based on sman's review of the game tape (i only watched a few minutes), his rep as a shooter out of h.s., and his last season pre injury 3pt numbers - he could have a big role. Good size for a shooter, sounds like he can play D and rebound. As someone mentioned, I could see him next to Burton - making for a very dangerous forward combination. With his size, if he is a high 30's 3 pt shooter, it will be hard to keep him off the court - and that will translate to good things for the Spiders.
4) Roche - Watching his highlights, in addition to being a good shooter, he looks like a "scorer" and is ready to shoot walking off the bus. Will he adapt and be 20-30 minute guy this season, or will he be zone buster off the bench, scrapping for minutes with all the others?
5) Crab - Not sure what to expect. Watching his H.S. and Tulane highlights, Crabtree looked like he could be a big time player, combining deep shooting with athleticism and slashing to the hoop. A few injuries later it seems that he is still trying to round back into form and regain explosiveness. I love his demeanor and ability to step into high pressure situations cold off the bench. Good mental game. Again, another X factor if another off season allows him to regain a step and add another gear. Hoping that is the case.

No idea if I should have any expectations for Noyes, Dread, Randolph, or Walz to battle the above for time?

The good thing is that Mooney did his job this offseason, did not rest on his laurels and go full re-set mode waiting on the young guys. Of the X factors, we don't need all to be great, but will need a couple to be very good performers for us.
 

SpiderDad75

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We have a lot of spots up for grabs and playing time this coming season - more so than any other season I can recall in quite some time.

I think we kind of have a good idea what to expect from the following: Burton (if he is back), Grace, Goose, Quinn (despite being new to us).

This is how I rate the other players in regards to being X factors that could propel us to another NCAA appearance, or conversely slip into the middle of the A10.

1) Dji - Former Wake commit, skilled and quick for his 6'5 size. We have seen glimpses of the potential the first two years, but between the injury bug, quick hook, and playing behind 5th year seniors not a large sample size. If he can carve out a role playing 20-25 minutes (shooting 35% from 3, good D, and creating shots - I don't care what position) that will be a really good sign for our success.
2) Nelson - we have all been anticipating this guy for quite some time now, next in line as elite PG, seemingly in the mold of Kevin Anderson. Hoping that playing against all timer GIlly in practice for a year has helped him, and helps stave off some of the rust from red shirting. If he is who we think he is, the ceiling for this team is pretty darn high.
3) Bigelow - Based on sman's review of the game tape (i only watched a few minutes), his rep as a shooter out of h.s., and his last season pre injury 3pt numbers - he could have a big role. Good size for a shooter, sounds like he can play D and rebound. As someone mentioned, I could see him next to Burton - making for a very dangerous forward combination. With his size, if he is a high 30's 3 pt shooter, it will be hard to keep him off the court - and that will translate to good things for the Spiders.
4) Roche - Watching his highlights, in addition to being a good shooter, he looks like a "scorer" and is ready to shoot walking off the bus. Will he adapt and be 20-30 minute guy this season, or will he be zone buster off the bench, scrapping for minutes with all the others?
5) Crab - Not sure what to expect. Watching his H.S. and Tulane highlights, Crabtree looked like he could be a big time player, combining deep shooting with athleticism and slashing to the hoop. A few injuries later it seems that he is still trying to round back into form and regain explosiveness. I love his demeanor and ability to step into high pressure situations cold off the bench. Good mental game. Again, another X factor if another off season allows him to regain a step and add another gear. Hoping that is the case.

No idea if I should have any expectations for Noyes, Dread, Randolph, or Walz to battle the above for time?

The good thing is that Mooney did his job this offseason, did not rest on his laurels and go full re-set mode waiting on the young guys. Of the X factors, we don't need all to be great, but will need a couple to be very good performers for us.
Solid
 
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plydogg

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That write up made me really surprised for the upcoming season. Feel like these guys are going to be fun to watch develop

edit: I said surprised but meant excited
 
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PhillySpider

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I see five guys who we absolutely know will be getting good minutes (Nelson, Goose, Burton, Grace and Quinn). Doesn't mean these 5 start, just that these 5 are all but guaranteed decent minutes.

After that, I think Roche and Bigelow figure to get minutes as well. Just not as certain since they haven't been here yet. (Quinn is in above group because of lack of viable options - - if one of these two here dont pan out, we have guys who can step up). That makes 7. These guys could get more minutes than some above, but also less.

And after that is a group that probably includes DJii, Crabtree and maybe Randolph and Dread. At best, two of these emerge into the rotation and the minutes won't be great. More likely one is a 10-12 minute guy and the others dont get to do too much. The exception here will be if Nelson isn't all that and we need 20 minutes of PG play from DJii. I don't see Walz even in this group based on the games I have seen him play in HS. He wasn't A10 ready based on what I saw as a senior. Will need time develop and be in the system. The 5 in our system has a lot of responsibility and just don't see him being ready and given that, Mooney wont play him.

If I had to guess, I'd say Grace does not start, but gets 20ish minutes backing up 4 and 5! Quinn is the five. Burton nominally plays the 4 and Bigelow the 3 ( or switch 'em around or just say forwards or whatever you like). Key to me is Burton's defensive assignment. We need Bigelow to take the tough defensive assignment each night and run with it! Nelson and Roach play 1 and 2. Goose reverts to 6th man and spells guys at a lot of spots. After that I don't see a lot of bench minutes being doled out except, as previously stated, DJii gets any minutes that it turns out Nelson can't handle (which seems unlikely).

I'd love to see some minutes with DJii at PG, Goose at 2, Bigelow at three and burton at 4. Think we could have a decent defense with that group. Long and athletic at the 1-3 spots which is not something we have had a look at and I think Burton will be less exploitable covering the bigger less athletic of the other teams forwards (notice I didnt say their 4 man).
 
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I see five guys who we absolutely know will be getting good minutes (Nelson, Goose, Burton, Grace and Quinn). Doesn't mean these 5 start, just that these 5 are all but guaranteed decent minutes.

After that, I think Roche and Bigelow figure to get minutes as well. Just not as certain since they haven't been here yet. (Quinn is in above group because of lack of viable options - - if one of these two here dont pan out, we have guys who can step up). That makes 7. These guys could get more minutes than some above, but also less.

And after that is a group that probably includes DJii, Crabtree and maybe Randolph and Dread. At best, two of these emerge into the rotation and the minutes won't be great. More likely one is a 10-12 minute guy and the others dont get to do too much. The exception here will be if Nelson isn't all that and we need 20 minutes of PG play from DJii. I don't see Walz even in this group based on the games I have seen him play in HS. He wasn't A10 ready based on what I saw as a senior. Will need time develop and be in the system. The 5 in our system has a lot of responsibility and just don't see him being ready and given that, Mooney wont play him.

If I had to guess, I'd say Grace does not start, but gets 20ish minutes backing up 4 and 5! Quinn is the five. Burton nominally plays the 4 and Bigelow the 3 ( or switch 'em around or just say forwards or whatever you like). Key to me is Burton's defensive assignment. We need Bigelow to take the tough defensive assignment each night and run with it! Nelson and Roach play 1 and 2. Goose reverts to 6th man and spells guys at a lot of spots. After that I don't see a lot of bench minutes being doled out except, as previously stated, DJii gets any minutes that it turns out Nelson can't handle (which seems unlikely).

I'd love to see some minutes with DJii at PG, Goose at 2, Bigelow at three and burton at 4. Think we could have a decent defense with that group. Long and athletic at the 1-3 spots which is not something we have had a look at and I think Burton will be less exploitable covering the bigger less athletic of the other teams forwards (notice I didnt say their 4 man).
I can’t believe I’m still reading this stuff.
You guys can quote me and mark it down: Matt Grace will be a starter in November. It is a certainty.
 

LongTimeSpiderFan

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I can’t believe I’m still reading this stuff.
You guys can quote me and mark it down: Matt Grace will be a starter in November. It is a certainty.
Yes. I am beginning to think that Grace returning may have been the reason Bryce Golden went elsewhere. I think Bryce announced soon after Grace said he was staying. And I think he's staying cuz he knows he get every opportunity to start at 4 alongside Quinn to allow Burton to play his natural 3...
Has anyone else thought the timing of those announcements a little too coincidental especially considering we couldn't figure out what was taking either of them so long to declare? Either if MFG was staying and where Bryce was going?
 

PhillySpider

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Its possible Grace starts in November. But in my view there are two problems that will prevent that from lasting very long. One is that a front line of grace, Quinn and Burton won't be able to defend (especially on the perimeter) very well at all. 2nd is that Grace is going to need to be the back-up 5 and while its certainly possible to that while still starting at the 4, I don't see that as optimal either. he will get 20+ minutes either way, but don't love that lineup and don't think Moon will either after he sees the defense! And a few good games hasn't turned Grace into some guaranteed starter in my mind. All of the other guys i have mentioned in my Top 7 have accomplished more at the collegiate level than Grace - - - so I am just not buying him as a guaranteed starter.
 

SpiderGuy

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Yes. I am beginning to think that Grace returning may have been the reason Bryce Golden went elsewhere. I think Bryce announced soon after Grace said he was staying. And I think he's staying cuz he knows he get every opportunity to start at 4 alongside Quinn to allow Burton to play his natural 3...
Has anyone else thought the timing of those announcements a little too coincidental especially considering we couldn't figure out what was taking either of them so long to declare? Either if MFG was staying and where Bryce was going?
I dunno. I see your theory, but I can’t buy into it. I think if we would have gotten Bryce he would have started. He brings a dimension that adds power and a different skill set than Grace. They are different type of players. But then there is the Mooney Loyalty Factor which can’t be dismissed. So who knows.
 

SFspidur

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LOL...why would spiderman need to prove why not? He was just asking for the rationale behind the claim of certainty.
 
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spider23

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I do have pretty big concerns on defense in a lineup with Quinn and Grace playing heavy minutes together. As noted above, Burton was not great on the defensive side, but he has the tools and should have the motivation to show out on that side this season. I thought Grace showed some nice improvement on the defensive end, but has some limitations in strength/athleticism dept. Quinn does not look super quick per the limited tape I have seen. I do think a Bigelow/Burton forward tandem will be required at times. I do also like the possibility of Dji playing on the wing with either Bigelow or Burton at the power forward at times.
 

spiderman

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Can you prove why not!
of course not. don't take it like I'm bashing Matt. he's in my rotation. but I like him coming in fresh for Quinn at Quinn's 1st break. not sliding over after he's already had a 6 minute run and is about ready for a break himself.

if Walz is ready day 1 to back up Quinn, then Matt could start ... if he shows he's a better option than Bigelow which is certainly no sure thing.
 

SpiderDad75

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I do have pretty big concerns on defense in a lineup with Quinn and Grace playing heavy minutes together. As noted above, Burton was not great on the defensive side, but he has the tools and should have the motivation to show out on that side this season. I thought Grace showed some nice improvement on the defensive end, but has some limitations in strength/athleticism dept. Quinn does not look super quick per the limited tape I have seen. I do think a Bigelow/Burton forward tandem will be required at times. I do also like the possibility of Dji playing on the wing with either Bigelow or Burton at the power forward at times.
good points about defense and def is a legit concern...I can say that as it stands unless there are injuries Dji will be competing primarily for PG minutes. Him and Nelson as mentioned before, I believe will be splitting minutes. He, of course can always be used in other spots. Things can always change but that is what he is preparing for this summer. So maybe PhillySpider shouldn't pencil Dji out so quickly 😀. Guys get back at it today...🕷️🏀
 
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Its possible Grace starts in November. But in my view there are two problems that will prevent that from lasting very long. One is that a front line of grace, Quinn and Burton won't be able to defend (especially on the perimeter) very well at all. 2nd is that Grace is going to need to be the back-up 5 and while its certainly possible to that while still starting at the 4, I don't see that as optimal either. he will get 20+ minutes either way, but don't love that lineup and don't think Moon will either after he sees the defense! And a few good games hasn't turned Grace into some guaranteed starter in my mind. All of the other guys i have mentioned in my Top 7 have accomplished more at the collegiate level than Grace - - - so I am just not buying him as a guaranteed starter.

If Philly says its going to happen, but the house against it happening.
 

VT4700

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of course not. don't take it like I'm bashing Matt. he's in my rotation. but I like him coming in fresh for Quinn at Quinn's 1st break. not sliding over after he's already had a 6 minute run and is about ready for a break himself.

if Walz is ready day 1 to back up Quinn, then Matt could start ... if he shows he's a better option than Bigelow which is certainly no sure thing.
The rotation could work with both Quinn and Grace starting just as good as it could if Grace is coming off the bench. That is how rotations work. One could get a rest, and then come in for the other guy to give him his rest. If Bigelow or someone else beats him out, sure, Matt doesn't have to start, but if he is our best option to start, you don't bring him off the bench just to help with breaks for Quinn. Bottom line is it really might not matter who starts because there will be plenty of times Quinn and Grace play together regardless, and we have enough quality depth where guys coming off the bench could get just as many or even more minutes than starters.
 
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97spiderfan

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Let us remember the tale of Nick Sherod. The shoe in starter at the 2 last year by almost everyone because of his seniority and shooting ability. And then the season started and we saw that Sherod was just a shell of himself (Mooney should have saw this in preseason practice, but alas, Mooney). And then we had Wilson start at the 2 for half of the season and than Goose for the second half of the season. By the end of the year, the first 2 starters at the 2, one was buried so deep on the bench that everyone knew he was going to portal as the soon as the season ended and the other played a truly bit role in our run.

My point in the tale is that what we know now, is what we know now. Grace seems like he has a good shot at starting at the 4, because we know Matt Grace. We haven't seen Bigelow yet, so he is an unknown. Maybe Burton plays the 4 because we have log jam of guys at the 2 and 3. And just because Grace starts in the beginning of the year it is no foregone conclusion that he will remain as such. Or maybe Grace starts, excels and holds that position all year.

Of course it is interesting to prognosticate, I will just say I don't know who is going or who I think should start because I haven't seen so many of our players and how they play together to make such a determination. And neither has anyone else.
 
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UR Fan 2

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Our defense could be historically good this year if Dji is a true 1 and Goose starts at the 2. Imagine trying to shoot 3 pointers with that kind of length on the perimeter. You cant take them to the hoop as a guard either...unless your guard is 6'6"....
 

spiderman

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The rotation could work with both Quinn and Grace starting just as good as it could if Grace is coming off the bench. That is how rotations work. One could get a rest, and then come in for the other guy to give him his rest. If Bigelow or someone else beats him out, sure, Matt doesn't have to start, but if he is our best option to start, you don't bring him off the bench just to help with breaks for Quinn. Bottom line is it really might not matter who starts because there will be plenty of times Quinn and Grace play together regardless, and we have enough quality depth where guys coming off the bench could get just as many or even more minutes than starters.
of course if Matt's the best option then you somehow play him 25 mpg.
Grace is the known commodity. we've watched him for 4 years. he's improved but his total package (scoring, rebounding and defense) doesn't wow me as much as it clearly does some of you. I'm assuming Quinn is the better 5. and I'm hoping Bigelow is a better option at the big forward spot in all facets of the game. or I hope the combo of Burton with another smaller forward like Crabtree is a better combo than Grace and Burton. I'd prefer based on what we've seen from Grace so far that he backup the 5 and get some time backing up the 4. I have no idea what you've been watching that makes Grace a lock to start.
 
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LongTimeSpiderFan

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of course if Matt's the best option then you somehow play him 25 mpg.
Grace is the known commodity. we've watched him for 4 years. he's improved but his total package (scoring, rebounding and defense) doesn't wow me as much as it clearly does some of you. I'm assuming Quinn is the better 5. and I'm hoping Bigelow is a better option at the big forward spot in all facets of the game. or I hope the combo of Burton with another smaller forward like Crabtree is a better combo than Grace and Burton. I'd prefer based on what we've seen from Grace so far that he backup the 5 and get some time backing up the 4. I have no idea what you've been watching that makes Grace a lock to start.
I agree with you here...my logic on Grace starting is just a supposed conversation I have created in my head between MFG, CM and Bryce where CM laid out his game plan for Grace and presented to him and Bryce...and he told them to make a decision about what they're going to do for the upcoming year. Strictly conjecture based on the timing of things. Grace is more like Ollie from Hoosiers... The kid who wins a big game who was forced into playing time cuz there was no one else on the bench.
 

VT4700

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of course if Matt's the best option then you somehow play him 25 mpg.
Grace is the known commodity. we've watched him for 4 years. he's improved but his total package (scoring, rebounding and defense) doesn't wow me as much as it clearly does some of you. I'm assuming Quinn is the better 5. and I'm hoping Bigelow is a better option at the big forward spot in all facets of the game. or I hope the combo of Burton with another smaller forward like Crabtree is a better combo than Grace and Burton. I'd prefer based on what we've seen from Grace so far that he backup the 5 and get some time backing up the 4. I have no idea what you've been watching that makes Grace a lock to start.
I don't think I said Grace is a lock to start. In the post you just responded to I said if Bigelow or someone else beats Grace out, he doesn't have to start. But, I have been very impressed with Grace, and I have said I think he will start because he is a very good basketball player. You are worried about his averages, but he has never had the minutes because he was behind Grant and Nate. He brings talent, size, experience, and he can shoot the 3. Not sure why it would be such a shock to you if he starts.
 

SpiderDad75

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Our defense could be historically good this year if Dji is a true 1 and Goose starts at the 2. Imagine trying to shoot 3 pointers with that kind of length on the perimeter. You cant take them to the hoop as a guard either...unless your guard is 6'6"....
I think we will def see that this year. Defensively its a win for us...the question remains will these two score enough for their role? I'm going to say yes but within their "role" In conf I don't think there are to many big guards that I can recall esp at the point, but some that know a little more on here would know better.
 

VT4700

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I agree with you here...my logic on Grace starting is just a supposed conversation I have created in my head between MFG, CM and Bryce where CM laid out his game plan for Grace and presented to him and Bryce...and he told them to make a decision about what they're going to do for the upcoming year. Strictly conjecture based on the timing of things. Grace is more like Ollie from Hoosiers... The kid who wins a big game who was forced into playing time cuz there was no one else on the bench.
Seriously? Can you share what you think the conversation went like? This is too funny.
 

SFspidur

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There's no evidence we ever spoke to Bryce, so I don't know where any of that stuff is coming from. He didn't want to commit here the first time, and he gave no indication of interest the second time. Nothing wrong with that.
 

SpiderDad75

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There's no evidence we ever spoke to Bryce, so I don't know where any of that stuff is coming from. He didn't want to commit here the first time, and he gave no indication of interest the second time. Nothing wrong with that.
Bingo
 

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I think Grace will get a lot of run at the 5 if we play smaller quicker teams. If we play a team that goes 5 out or anything close to it Quinn might be too goofy to keep out there
 

VT4700

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There's no evidence we ever spoke to Bryce, so I don't know where any of that stuff is coming from. He didn't want to commit here the first time, and he gave no indication of interest the second time. Nothing wrong with that.
Exactly. If I am Bryce, I'm not sure I want to follow a big brother who just scored 2,200+ points and got 1,000+ rebounds. I maybe want to do my own thing without being compared.
 
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brooklyn brownstone

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So with the idiotic comments made by McCaffery in the other thread, I rewatched some of the ncaa win and rin doing so, was surprised by the lineups Moon suddenly threw out there against Iowa. There was decently extended run for Gilly + Burton/Cayo/Grace/Golden. By far the biggest lineup we'd seen in years. And it worked! And it played physically, as you'd expect. Length to contest on the perimeter and clutter up interior passing lanes. Size to rebound (at least somewhat.)

So hopefully Moon can and will mix it up more this year too - Quinn+Grace+Bigelow+Burton+PG fits a similar mold and I'd love to see a bit of that a couple minutes per game. Not starting bc I think Goose is a lock to start and Roche and Bigelow are a great combo off the bench.

I like that Dji and Jason are different size PGs and we can mix and match or play together based on opponent and what's working. Moon is not afraid to play 2 primary ballhandlers in stretches, we know that from KA/Ced and Ced/KA2 years. Especially against teams like VCU where you need to secure the ball nonstop vs a press.

A factor in the PG play for me is who can NOT turn the ball over while being effective on offense. Moon hates turnovers, we know this beyond a doubt, so being able to execute and not detract via turnovers could be a determining factor - I could see the Moon quick hook for either PG if they turn it over a couple times bc there is another option waiting.
 

SpiderDad75

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So with the idiotic comments made by McCaffery in the other thread, I rewatched some of the ncaa win and rin doing so, was surprised by the lineups Moon suddenly threw out there against Iowa. There was decently extended run for Gilly + Burton/Cayo/Grace/Golden. By far the biggest lineup we'd seen in years. And it worked! And it played physically, as you'd expect. Length to contest on the perimeter and clutter up interior passing lanes. Size to rebound (at least somewhat.)

So hopefully Moon can and will mix it up more this year too - Quinn+Grace+Bigelow+Burton+PG fits a similar mold and I'd love to see a bit of that a couple minutes per game. Not starting bc I think Goose is a lock to start and Roche and Bigelow are a great combo off the bench.

I like that Dji and Jason are different size PGs and we can mix and match or play together based on opponent and what's working. Moon is not afraid to play 2 primary ballhandlers in stretches, we know that from KA/Ced and Ced/KA2 years. Especially against teams like VCU where you need to secure the ball nonstop vs a press.

A factor in the PG play for me is who can NOT turn the ball over while being effective on offense. Moon hates turnovers, we know this beyond a doubt, so being able to execute and not detract via turnovers could be a determining factor - I could see the Moon quick hook for either PG if they turn it over a couple times bc there is another option waiting.
Agree and IF both take care of the ball...its a big win for us.
 

spiderman

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I think Grace will get a lot of run at the 5 if we play smaller quicker teams. If we play a team that goes 5 out or anything close to it Quinn might be too goofy to keep out there
if we play a small quick 5 out team I'm feeding Quinn on the block all day. go to work or pass out of the double. that's the ideal situation for him.
 

CarolinaSpider

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Look what CM should be exited about is he now has more options on what kind of defense he wants to run. Like during the NIT he used a smaller lineup with full court press. This team has the length and quickness to run that. He can even, god forbid, throw a zone with big man in middle of zone with length on outside preventing 3 pt shots. My hope is that we have more scoring options on offense and are multi dimensional.
 

urmite

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Carolina, now you have me wondering. What would be the best personnel for a 1-3-1 zone?
 
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Let us remember the tale of Nick Sherod. The shoe in starter at the 2 last year by almost everyone because of his seniority and shooting ability. And then the season started and we saw that Sherod was just a shell of himself (Mooney should have saw this in preseason practice, but alas, Mooney). And then we had Wilson start at the 2 for half of the season and than Goose for the second half of the season. By the end of the year, the first 2 starters at the 2, one was buried so deep on the bench that everyone knew he was going to portal as the soon as the season ended and the other played a truly bit role in our run.

My point in the tale is that what we know now, is what we know now. Grace seems like he has a good shot at starting at the 4, because we know Matt Grace. We haven't seen Bigelow yet, so he is an unknown. Maybe Burton plays the 4 because we have log jam of guys at the 2 and 3. And just because Grace starts in the beginning of the year it is no foregone conclusion that he will remain as such. Or maybe Grace starts, excels and holds that position all year.

Of course it is interesting to prognosticate, I will just say I don't know who is going or who I think should start because I haven't seen so many of our players and how they play together to make such a determination. And neither has anyone else.
Hold up. I agree that Grace may not be the stater after a few games; what I’m guaranteeing is he gets the start in the beginning.
 

spiderman

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Jun 7, 2001
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Hold up. I agree that Grace may not be the stater after a few games; what I’m guaranteeing is he gets the start in the beginning.
so that answers my earlier question I guess. you don't necessarily think he's the best option. you just think Mooney will reward him for coming back. is that correct?
 

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