The debacle in Pullman tonight called even more attention to this team's lack of cohesiveness and pride. It makes you really appreciate the days when take-charge guards like Blake Stepp, Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin established a sense of order on the court, passing when needed, scoring baskets when required.
Our current guards -- other than Steven Gray, who is still looking for a screen -- seem to be out of sync, unsure of
their place in the offense. Sitting Goodson in favor of Stockton is not helping either. Meech needs to be on the floor at least 30 minutes a game to establish some confidence and clarify his role as the team's go-to point guard.
WSU made the Zags look completely scattered tonight, forcing turnovers and establishing the tempo early on. GU was simply not valuing the ball. This team looks like it just showed up for a lazy afternoon scrimmage in July. Will someone remind them that this is the most critical part of the season?!?
Time for Coach Few to call in former workhorses like Casey Calvary, Richie Frahm and Cory Violette to address this team on topics like heart, consistency and teamwork. Who is diving on the floor? Who is taking the charge? When was the last time a player called out a teammate -- think about leaders like Adam Morrison or David Pendergraft -- for failing to give 100 percent?
The next time you watch Duke, notice how much the players talk. They are in a constant state of positive chatter. Coach K includes talk as one of his "three pillars" along with offense and defense and has talked about how it builds strength and solidarity on a team. The Zags are missing that.
One subtle situation late in the second half provided an indication of where this team is at in terms of spirit and collaboration-- Kelly Olynyk is at the line and misses his first free throw. As is typcial, Olynyk puts his hands out, expecting an encouraging low-five or two from his teammates...nothing.
Athletically, the 2010-11 roster ranks right up there with the best the program has ever seen -- from an effort standpoint, games like tonight conjure up phrases like "borderline NIT."
Where have you gone Matt Santangelo?