the mv9/22/2017 10:48:14 AM
Let's talk basketball. MoJo and Crew seem well on their way to building this program back up. Next year already looks promising with two well regarded high school seniors having already verbaled, Marcus Littles hopefully to follow them, and two intriguing transfers waiting in the wings. The down side is that we will be losing our most complete player by far in Yuta, but they only get 4 years to play in college so what are you going to do?
The out of conference schedule in 2017-18 looks well-balanced to me. The A10 as a conference looks to project as a down year, perhaps a two team league (one auto qualifier and one at large bid) when all is said and done. GW will likely be a team in transition. We will be less experienced, more athletic, undersized, and probably less fundamentally sound (though it's way too early to firmly conclude this) than recent GW teams.
Rather than give predictions (which you're welcome to do), my question deals with how you would define success this season. Or put another way, what will it take for you to be happy with this upcoming season? Is the answer contingent upon a certain number of conference or overall wins? Would say a 9-22 type record where the team was competitive and came close in many contests do it for you? Will a team that simply shows improvement over the course of the season be enough regardless of the numbers of wins?
My sense of things is that so much of this is going to fall on MoJo. We all know that the two vitally important aspects of this profession are recruiting and coaching. The early indicators appear to be positive that MoJo can land some good talent. (but again, way too early to know. Before we get overly excited about players who have yet to suit up for a college game, remember that our top recruit this time last year was Kevin Marfo.) I am going to pay close attention to how MoJo handles various coaching situations, from use of timeouts to substitution patterns to changing defenses to drawing up in-bounds and late game plays. Much of my own happiness will boil down to whether MoJo continues to evolve as a head coach. Will his decisions and tactics have a greater impact in wins or a more detrimental impact in losses? Let's hope that having a year's experience under his belt will make a noticeable difference.
bobo9/22/2017 11:19:07 AM
Don't really call about time outs and inbound plays as I don't think they matter all that much. But teaching and executing offensive and defensive systems are important. Mojo is recruiting athletes and likely wants to press and run. How well do they do that? The defense sucked last year. How much does it improve? Do they cause turnovers? Do they score in transition? And what does GW do offensively when the fast break isn't there?
gw05099/22/2017 11:19:25 AM
"Much of my own happiness will boil down to whether MoJo continues to evolve as a head coach."
I think that's the thing. Obviously this is a pretty inexperienced team so grading on a slight curve is warranted. I have no problems with losing if it appears that we have some semblance of a strategy on offense/can adapt when that strategy is not working and get beat by a better team. Watching basketball, especially at this level, is not enjoyable when a team can't seem to get a play set up and is forced to just dribble until the shot clock runs down and hoist up a contested shot. That happened all too frequently last year. Will be interesting to see if MoJo implements a different strategy than last year when he was clearly using a lot of ML's plays.
I guess I posted my predicted W-L record in another thread but can't remember it now. I don't have a minimum # of wins, but I feel confident we will win more games than people think. I think MoJo can be the type of coach that makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
#1 test will be if MoJo can design inbounds plays. My god that was miserable to watch last year.
free quebec9/22/2017 12:11:09 PM
For me, it's qualitative rather than quantative: do we look like a team that is on the way up and will make an NCAA tourney in the next couple of years, or do we look like a team that has little to no hope of being an NCAA team under this coach?
If the answer is, it's just a lost year and we can't judge anything until new players come, that won't be a very satifying year. If the answer is, we're losing, but we show signs of being a competitive, dangerous team, that's something I can be happy with. And, of course, if we're actually beating good teams (not just beating up on the dregs of our OOC and A-10 schedule), then I'm ecstatic.
dmvpiranha9/22/2017 12:49:38 PM
Something I was very encouraged to see towards the end of the season was Mojo's ability to get the team to fight hard in the second half of several games when we were down early. Minus the letdown of the St. Joe's game in the second half, we usually played better as the game went on during conference play. Yeah there were the VCU games and a couple others where we were overmatched in terms of talent, but there weren't too many of those. The Fordham game is one that sticks out to me. We were down quite a bit early in the second half and when it looked like the team had reached a low point the team fought back and won a close one in the final seconds. The same can be said of the Richmond games. Despite how poorly we played at home against them in the first half, I think we still managed to cut it to five or something in the second. We also went down to the final possession against them in the conference tournament. Although we started hot from the field against Dayton (which is an understatement; we literally couldn't miss like the first ten minutes of the game) when the Flyers killed all the momentum we had in the second half Mojo found a way to right the ship and get the team to hold on. The St. Bonaventure game was also fairly well executed. I would like to see him continue to execute in the second half of games but get the team starting off stronger at the beginning. Part of that is calling timeouts before the other team's run gets out of hand.
To be honest though not only does the team have so many new players, the construction of the team is completely different from last year. The key this year is first being a better defensive team (aka the side of the ball where we have been somewhat deficient the past couple of years). Last year was the lowest yet in some time where we ranked below average nationally. Offense is a question mark as well. Where the scoring is going to come from is one question, but as I mentioned in another thread previously the potential lack of three point shooting (and free throw shooting to an extent) is more concerning. Can Steeves rediscover his shot? Will Yuta be more efficient from deep this year? Can Jair continue to build on his shooting improvement during conference play? Javier seems to be the most efficient of the freshmen from deep, but I'm not sure how many opportunities he'll have. Since the team is more athletic this year, I hope we create and convert on transition opportunities more and that starts with getting a stop defensively. In previous years, we had enough shooters to sometimes keep up with the other team in scoring but we may not have that ability this year with fewer shooters. I want to see us become a top 100 defensive team a couple of years from now. The offense will come. We've been more successful in games where we played better defense instead of trying to chase the other team. Defend better along the perimeter (against teams like Davidson) and guard penetration better (against teams like Richmond and VCU).
The final thing is the other fundamentals. We were very good rebounding the ball and creating second opportunities for the offense. Hope that will continue. Want to see more effective passing as well. Too many times passing along the perimeter and then hoisting up a shot at the end of the shot clock (or careless passes underneath when there was no open pass). Hopefully we up the tempo more as we progress defensively and not have to run the clock down to five before realizing that a shot has to be taken.
I am hoping for a season where our win total is in the double digits (I think that's a reasonable expectation). I don't think our team is as bad as some in the past and I'm pretty high on the incoming freshman class (although I'm trying to temper expectations since this is their first year). I am also buying Arnaldo's breakout year given his performance during Kenner as long as he can stay out of foul trouble which is key given a lack of frontcourt depth again. A .500 season would be amazing, but probably a little unrealistic. Wins over Hampton, Howard, Rider, Morgan State, New Hampshire, and maybe Harvard at home would be six OOC. Maybe we can even steal one more home win over a good team. In the A10, hoping to beat Fordham, UMass, and Duquesne and split against both Richmond and George Mason. Maybe six wins in conference play isn't too much to ask giving us a total of 12. Expectations will be much higher in 2018-2019.
bobo9/22/2017 12:55:14 PM
509: you said you think Mojo ca be "the type of coach that makes the whole better than the sum of its parts". Is that simply a hope or do you have evidence of that at GW?
gw05099/22/2017 1:16:54 PM
Just my opinion.
I have been very impressed with how he interacts with players and alumni alike, and how he seems to get the players to buy into his enthuasiasm. Way too early for specific evidence, especially since it's only his first full year under the helm, but I think he has the ability to get a lot out of his players.
nj colonial9/22/2017 1:51:11 PM
I am all in for this team and MoJo - but GW should keep alum Joe Dooley on speed dial.
xac9/22/2017 2:04:56 PM
To me, Bo Zeigler is the x-factor. TC can't be replaced, but if BZ stays healthy, he has the potential to be more productive than Colin Smith at both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. Take a look at these two dunks...
Majeo Jack has a pretty athletic move, but notice where he leaves the floor ( a few feet from the basket). Now look at Bo. We have not had a guy that can go that far horizontally as long as I can remember. Yes, it's only one dunk, but it speaks to his athleticism. He'a also got experience, which the freshman are lacking. If our combination of new guards can make up for the scoring we lost (in Roland, Sina, and Hart), that would be a plus, because I'm pretty sure their defense is going to be a lot better. Yuta being the man is great, but replacing the overall productivity of TC will still be the hardest thing to make up for. Depending on how folks play/develop, GW could be anywhere from bad to decent, but I do think ultimately, they are an upward trend.
the mv9/22/2017 2:47:56 PM
Any thoughts on Hajj and Carm remaining on the staff? Just an incredibly unusual story of two more experienced coaches bypassed for the head coaching position, and then perhaps somewhat remarkably remaining on the staff not only last year when the changes took place too late for either to join another school, but this season as well. Is the water all under the bridge by now? Was MoJo mandated to keep them since they were each under contract, or did he have the freedom to make changes if this is what he wanted? Did either or both want out but could not find anything comparable or better?
Story or non-story?
squid9/22/2017 2:59:35 PM
I'm excited to see the young guys in person, and to watch them grow. Otherwise it's all gravy.
gwmaven9/22/2017 3:06:01 PM
If we don't have any players making dumb mistakes like a foul on running the baseline in a must win game, I would be fine with the season. #GOSSISBOSS
gwb9/22/2017 10:11:08 PM
gwb9/22/2017 10:12:26 PM
Bo has the potential to be very good. He looks like he is pretty skilled to go along with that athleticism. Check out the video above
long suffering fan9/22/2017 10:40:37 PM
I think we are looking at a down year (meaning 20 plus loss season), but I will give Mojo a pass on this year's team since he was saddled in his recruiting efforts because he did not lose his "interim" label until after the end of last season. Once that tag was removed, it seems that the recruiting is much better for next year, based upon the apparentl quality of the recruits we are getting commitments from and who are giving us a look. Unfortunately (sorry Free), I think this is a lost year, as we seem to have had a lackluster recruiting year being added to a very so-so group of returning players. I think that the transfers out were a deal breaker for us in terms of being competitive. What I will be looking for is if we (1) have a system in place and (2) if Mojo can coach that system. Last season, it seemed that Mojo played Tyler, Yuta, Sina and whomever was hot the game before.
the dude9/22/2017 11:38:03 PM
1 week ago Mojo signed another player wrapping up most of his 2018 class and has a very talented transer, sit 1 play 2 on the way for 2018 as well. 1 week 1 year ago on this date, ML had no 2017 class. No transfers for this season either(17/18) Hard to do when your are being investigated for player treatment. It was far more than having an interim tag, the players for this class, should have been signed last spring, summer, early fall when ML was the Coach. # signed? ZERO. Mojo was interim Coach, yes, but he got the HC after most of the recruiting had wrapped.
Just as this Spring Summer Fall Mojo has signed his 2018 class already as have our rivals as have most College teams, as have most GW players from past teams. The time to sign a class is in the prior Spring Summer Fall, not the 2 months before the players arrive on campus, which was what Mojo was forced to do, since ML had signed no one.
bigfan9/23/2017 12:24:37 AM
Dude: Can you refresh a hazy memory?
Where were Mojo and Hajj and Carm working as recruiters when ML had all these recruiting misses that you so passionately describe?
bobo9/23/2017 1:18:48 AM
It will be helpfull when ESPN has their Scouting Reports on the 2018 class players. I'm not as good as some on this site in evaluating players based on youtube videos and also like to see an outside observer's persective on a player. This is what ESPN has on the 2018 class so <bottom>