AAC M5: 10.23.13 Edition

Posted by mlemaire on October 23rd, 2013


  1. In today’s episode of “As The Chane Turns”, suspended Louisville forward Chane Behanan is now bumping into reporters at random Starbucks’ and telling them he is “positive” he will earn his roster spot back. This is rapidly becoming the least interesting college basketball story of the month and hopefully is on its last legs. Behanan is suspended for reasons that nobody will ask about because nobody will answer the question on the record. This isn’t very uncommon in collegiate sports and while the length of the suspension will likely be determined by Behanan’s ability to stay out of trouble for two measly months, odds are, he is back on the team in time for the Cardinals’ conference schedule. Everybody got that covered? Good. Behanan has spoken, now I think we can all let order his chai latte in peace.
  2. One player from the AAC made Gary Parrish’s list of 10 players with big shoes to fill and the player should be obvious to people who watched college basketball last season. Luke Hancock, Russ Smith, and Chane Behanan all had their moments on the way to the National Championship last season, but senior point guard Peyton Siva was the heart and soul of that team, not to mention the team’s best on-ball defender and offensive catalyst. The Cardinals have two really talented options to replace Siva in Chris Jones and Terry Rozier (not to mention Kevin Ware). But Jones seemed to be the more developed point guard and he will get first crack at the starting job. It will be near impossible to impact the game in as many ways as Siva did last season, but Jones is a cocksure competitor with plenty of offensive upside and defensive toughness, so don’t expect too much of a drop-off.
  3. Since we are on the topic of lists, the Bob Cousy Award watch list was released yesterday morning and four of the 45 players listed play for teams in the AAC. No one should be surprised to see Shabazz Napier on the list and no one should be surprised if he ends up a finalist for the actual award when that list is released. Chris Jones from Louisville also made the list without having played even a minute of college basketball which is a tribute to his ability and the wonderful situation he finds himself in entering the season. It wouldn’t be surprising if he ends up being in contention for the actual award when all is said and done. The foursome is rounded out by Memphis guards Joe Jackson and Michael Dixon. It is hardly a stretch to consider both of them lead guards, but if we were to guess at lineup configurations once the season started, we would expect that Dixon and Jackson would spend a lot of time on the floor together with Dixon playing off the ball in those situations. That isn’t to say that Dixon doesn’t deserve a spot on the watch list, it would just be surprising to see both of these players continue to be considered for the award once their roles become more established.
  4. Occasionally you have to break a team down to build them back up again. Or in Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan‘s case, you have to build the team back up because they spent the last three dodging flying basketballs being thrown by their head coach. Yes, there have been issues with Jordan’s supposed graduation, but early indications say that Rutgers has hired the exact right coach to bring the team back from whatever you want to call the offseason. Jordan is an experienced head coach with credentials to be a really good college coach, and most importantly, he isn’t the yeller and screamer that former coach Mike Rice was. Some might read what some of the players had to say during the team’s Media Day and wonder whether they are being a bit overly dramatic, but most should be sympathetic to the fact that these kids faced intense media scrutiny and a constant stream of uncomfortable questions that little to do with basketball all because the university put someone like Rice in charge of its basketball program. It should be hard not to root for Rutgers this season.
  5. The NCAA was picked on plenty today after handing down its not-so strict punishment on the Miami Hurricanes football and basketball programs, but let us add to the fire and briefly touch on the fact that UConn forward Kentan Facey still doesn’t know if he will be eligible to play this season. Facey is hardly the only college basketball player with this problem right now, but why the NCAA feels the need to drag its feet until the last minute is a total mystery. Apparently, the organization is considering whether Facey should count under its delayed enrollment rule and sit out multiple years plus a redshirt season, or whether they will allow him to play immediately but with only three years of eligibility. All of this because Facey graduated from high school in Jamaica before moving to New York where he graduated from high school again. We aren’t even saying the NCAA is wrong in questioning Facey’s eligibility, we are just saying that the program and the player deserve an answer in a timely fashion, and there is no reason why they aren’t getting one.
Share this story

Behind the Numbers: Considering Point Guard “Purity”

Posted by KCarpenter on November 10th, 2011

Kellen Carpenter is an ACC microsite staffer and an RTC columnist. Each week, BTN will take an in-depth look at some interesting aspect of college basketball’s statistical arcana.

The phrase “pure point guard” is loaded. It implies that there is a Platonic notion of point guard which all mortal players can only aspire to. We are just fools in a cave looking at a shadow on the wall, but that is all we have when the purest conception of the point guard is beyond our field of vision. I can only assume that this unknowable figure looks something like Bob Cousy. It also implies that outside of “pure point” play, there exists a realm of impure play where the division of basketball labor isn’t as orthodox as it is inside Plato’s basketball cave.

This is What a Pure Point Looks Like

In a point guard, “purity” is code for being a pass-first lead guard. To the traditional school of thought, the roles on a basketball team are strictly regimented: The point guard passes, the shooting guard shoots, but not as much as either forward. The center, near-immobile but Mikan-like in his hunger for loose balls has a single task: rebound the basketball and get it to the point guard. Of course, this idea of the traditional division of labor in basketball hasn’t really held since the days of Mikan himself. Modern basketball, by which I mean basketball since the mid-sixties, has embraced the hybridization of positions. Basketball has for years acknowledged the idea that team roles are mutable and that positions are flexible.  While few have embraced the full-on positional revolution explicated by Bethlehem Shoals and the NBA-heads of the dearly-departed Free Darko, most of us have made peace with the idea that it’s okay for point guards to score occasionally. Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette were the break-out stars of the past college basketball season and both undoubtedly play point guard in a thoroughly impure way. If those guys aren’t pure then shouldn’t we all hope to be dirty?

In all seriousness, the concept of the purity of the lead guard is a silly concept to dwell on. Still, like all sports cliches, the idea persists because it’s a convenient way to sum up the play of pass-first point guards, who somehow pay homage to a golden era of basketball which is more than ancient history. Still the idea of the pass-first point guard is an intriguing one in this era of high-scoring combo guards. Like the crocodile, the pass-first guard is a relic of a by-gone epoch, a living fossil and a reminder of the dinosaurs who ruled the earth during that time. Is the crocodile a better predator than the tiger? This isn’t a debate that I’m interested in. The pass-first point guard, by mere value of their odd, antiquarian style is a unique species worth studying.

Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story