Sunday, January 20, 2008

Great Players Make Great Coaches- Or Do They

I posted the title to this entry before doing any research. I have had many friends over many years who have said that great players make great coaches. I've had other friends who have said great coaches build great players and great teams. We will never reconcile those two camps, but I wondered how that might apply to the present Alabama regime.

I am neither a recruiting guru nor even an enthusiast. What is left of my life is way too short to spend worrying about whether some 17-20 year old kid wants to play ball for my old school. These numbers will be based solely on Google searches. So here goes:

Richard Hendrix - He came out of high school with a Six Star Rivals ranking and was deemed the ninth best player in the nation and the sixth best player at his position.

Mykal Riley - No Rivals Ranking

Mikhail Torrance - 31st best point guard in the nation. Ranked the 143 best player in the Rivals 150 with no Rivals Star rating.

Justin Tubbs - Does not play enough to count but he had no Rivals Ranking as a Junior.

Brandon Hollinger - 6A Allstate Player , no Rivals rating

Rico Pickett - 12th best point guard and Rivals 71st best player

Alonzo Gee - 10th best shooting guard and 33rd best player in the country (as a junior?)

Senario Hillman - 9th best shooting guard and 40th best player in the nation based on his sophomore year results. Scout had him as the 10th best shooting guard his senior year. He doesn't see the floor, presumably because he can't buy a basket. His defense certainly is not any worse than Riley's.

Demetrius Jemison - 148th best player in the nation and 31st best power forward. No stars.

Justin Knox and Yamene Coleman were ranked the same or slightly better than Jemison.

Only three players on this year's team were ranked in the top 50 nationally in their respective senior years: Hendrix, Gee and Hillman. Hillman barely sees the court. Why is that the case when we so obviously need a consistent outside threat? Hendrix matured substantially after his first year, especially under Tom Asbury's tutelage. Gee still is just as likely to dribble the ball off his own foot as he is to score 20 plus points in a game. My conclusions? School is still out on Pickett. Hendrix has improved. Gee does not show any signs of any substantial impact of coaching on him. He does have more moments of focus than he used to but he remains too inconsistent to be deemed a particularly well coached player.

Jemison showed streaks of excellence last season. He frequently seemed well coached, boxed out, defended fairly well, and scored a few points. He has not been nearly as consistent this season, but I am not really sure why that is. Conclusion: His absence of improvement does not reflect any exceptional coaching results.

Coleman can contribute eventually if he receives proper coaching. Ditto for Knox. Neither is in a position to make a major contribution right now. School is still out on both of these players' development.

Which of the remaining guards shows evidence of substantial improvement due to the way he has been coached? I saw a fair amount of both Hollinger and Torrance during their high school careers. I'd say they both are about on par with where they were in high school, except that each is less reliable now when shooting out side the arc.

I'm not sure we have enough information to draw any real conclusions, but we have at least three exceptional players on this team. One almost never see the court and the other is talented but unreliable. I've also yet to see consistent over achievement by any of the remaining players.

My tentative conclusion at this point is that we will not be a great team until we are full of great players, and even that remains in question absent a floor general like Ron Steele or Antoine Pettway.

Perhaps we can revisit this after other readers link and post more information because my searches certainly were an inexact science.


bobbyjack said...

Great coachesss makesss greater playersss.

Example- Jim Calhoun at UConn. He usually gets great players to go there (how he gets them is another topic for another day) and coaches them up to NBA status. Ben Howland at UCLA (and previously at Pitt) also got some great players and enhanced their skills.

I too have no use for recruiting... I don't care about them until they put the Crimson on.

Anonymous said...

We know for a fact Hillman is a great player. His statistics speak for themselves. I think with Hillman running point and give him the opportunity to play the game of basketball for more than 3 minutes at a time this Alabama team would see a different outcome. He is a leader and a scorer given the opportunity. I also can tell this team does not play together, it is as if they are playing for individual glory and that is not the foundation of a winning basketball team.