Some of you have criticized me for pointing out that "our two Achilles heels this year have been free throws and rebounds", while many others have concurred and shared my frustration. I have been amazed that (1) more fans couldn't see this, and (2) that some were so viscerally vocal in their condemnation. This was then and now, simply an honest evaluation of the teams weaknesses and what they needed to focus on to be even more successful. It doesn't mean that I don't love this team and respect their terrific attitude and work ethic. Hell, if I didn't love them and want to see them succeed, I wouldn't give a damn what their weaknesses were.
So, for those of you who led the criticism, consider the first paragraph of Coach Pitino's post game comments:
"Well, I was real proud of our team this year. This is as tough a loss as I've had in coaching, and I've been coaching a long time, after tonight maybe too long. I feel terrible for our guys because they were just a wonderful group to coach.
There's two things that have been our Achilles' heel the whole year. The three-point shot at the end of the game is one thing, we knew they were going to take a three. We lost some games this year because of two main reasons. One is rebounding, because we play our hearts out. And to play that hard and to give up the second shot, especially on the foul line, hurts.
The second thing was free throw shooting. We could have won the game tonight, iced it, certainly, but we didn't."
The entire statement can be found at:
On the brighter side however, a little research late last night (still to pissed to sleep) revealed that the high school free throws numbers for our guys were - Siva (83.4), Justice (82.3), Kuric (88.0), Marra (70.0), and Chris Smith at Manhattan (77.8). Thus proves they can do it and I'll bet 2012 will see a big improvement there. Also, I noticed that Chane Behanan at 6'6", 250 lbs looks eerily like Wes Unseld, our best rebounder ever! That and with Buckles and Swopshire back to go with Dieng and SVT, and the addition of Blackshear, Nunez and Price, we appear to be in excellent position to fix BOTH of this past years deficiencies. Add to that a year of experience for lots of guys that wouldn' have gotten it without all the injuries (Justice, SVT, Dieng, both Smiths, and Marra) and I think we are poised to shock the world!
2012 is our year baby! Bank on it!