Demetri Goodson's sophomore season was expected to be an up and down affair. Taking over for Jeremy Pargo on a team that was losing basically half the roster to graduation/NBA Draft was an extremely tall order for the point guard from Spring, Texas. While most fans carried a special place in their heart's for Meech after he sank a running layup as time wound down to send the Zags into the Sweet Sixteen, few really knew the type of guard he was. When the 2009-10 season began, hopes were sky high for Meech. His defensive reputation was already established and many were very excited to see what he could bring offensively.
Needless to say, and there is little reason to belabor his productivity last season, but things did not go exactly as planned for Meech last season. For a majority of the year, he was a pedestrian on offense. Most of the time, it was his sole responsibility to bring the ball up the court, break any pressure, and hand the ball off to Matt Bouldin to start the offense. It was clear that the staff didn't have a whole lot of confidence in him to run the point and that clearly took it's toll on Meech who really did not show much confidence as an offensive threat. Drives into the lane often resulted in turnovers or misguided attempts, and things did have a tendency to snowball pretty quickly on the second year guard.
Regardless of how bad the stats looked for Meech, I never thought he deserved half the blame he was shouldered with. And, as we look to next season, I truly do expect to see a different player...in a much different role.
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Like I said in the opening, Meech's struggles last year are VERY well documented to the point where I feel every thread eventually winds up in a point guard discussion. With that being said, I'd rather not go through a game by game breakdown of everything Demetri.
For all intents and purposes, last year Demetri was asked to break the press, bring the ball up, and get out of the way. Virtually every set play on offense began with Meech sending a quick pass to Matt or Steven and then bailing out of the play. For this reason, I am so hesitant to call his position on the court last year that of a "point guard". This season, however, Demetri is going to be relied on as a key distributor. For as much as I like Steven and think he can be a better offensive threat than a Matt Bouldin, he doesn't come close to having Matt's innate sense of passing and finding the open man. Because of this, I expect most of the offense to start with Meech.
With all of Gonzaga's talent on the offensive side and with what could be an incredible front court, Demetri's job might not be too hard most of the time. The one thing Gonzaga boasts a ton of are players that love to run the court. Elias Harris, Kelly Olynyk, Sam Dower, and even Rob Sacre are players that all do better when their is a little pace to the offense and things are moving quickly rather than idling in a set offense. With Meech's quickness and physical ability, running this type of offense should be fairly simple but he will have to make some marked improvements. Last season, too many times he drove aimlessly only to leave his feet and realize he had no options around him. He never appeared to be on the same page as the rest of his teammates and that simply can't happen this season. I truly hope the staff has ran thousands of drills where Meech drives the lane and is forced to get that repetition down so he can understand where his teammate are at all times.
While I believe that Meech's biggest stride must be made in the assist/turnover ratio; there is also a need for improvement as an outside shooter. If you are looking for Meech to become one of Gonzaga's best three point shooters, you obviously haven't seen a GU game in the past two seasons. What is important, however, is that he does establish an outside game in as much that he is able to hit the wide open outside shot. Not only will this do worlds for his ability to be a versatile scorer, but it will spread the floor out and give the talented frontcourt more room to work. I still do believe that a majority of Meech's points will come in transition and in the paint, but a semi-consistent jump shot is something he will need to stay on the court.
There is no doubting that most Gonzaga fans will have Meech under a big microscope. With junior college guard Marquise Carter now in the fold, many believe he is the answer. Personally, I can't wait to see what Meech brings to the table. Like last season, it will not be a bed of roses but his defensive intensity and overall hustle plays make him fun to watch. If he can play with more control on offense and develop confidence in his outside jumper, there truly will be no ceiling for Meech.