So I just got back from The Big Easy after a whirlwind 55 hour trip. I shouted C-A-R-D-S from the balconies of Bourbon street and cheered my Cards in the cavernous Superdome. All-in-all it was a great end to a great season. One that could easily be described as a rollercoaster. From the highs of the non-conference to the lows of conference losing streaks to an awesome March run, this season was a blast.
But, it was just a little too inconsistent for my liking. Even though I quickly got used to every posession being life-or-death all season long and seemingly every game being decided in the last 2 minutes, I hope that in the future, we can enjoy a little more consistency next season.
So... What do you think our guys need to do to be more consistent next year? How can we get more points on the board and not have to fret over 5 minute dry-spells every game?
I think there are 3 crucial players that have to develop a single skill over the summer to make us an unstoppable force next season.
1. Gorgui needs to get stronger. Remember when he showed up in the Bahamas looking all "Beach Gorgui" and we were all stunned at how he had transformed his body last summer. Well, why can't he do it again. I look at Thomas Robinson of KU and see the same kind of development possible for Gorgs. If he can pack on some more muscle, and get to around 250 lbs (btw there is no way he played at the 235-240 that he weighed in at the start of the season, probably more 225) he won't get pushed around by interior defenders. His post moves will be more devastating, and most importantly, his hands can get much stronger. He also needs to practice the high pick and roll for an alley opp all summer long. That is UK's most deadly weapon, the ability to have a lightning quick Marques Teague draw the bigger defender then throw a lob to the rolling Anthony Davis. Gorgs can learn this and Gorgs can destroy you.
2. Chane needs a consistent 10 foot jump shot. This kids was about as ready-made as a Big East Power forward could be as a freshman. He is tough, rebounds well in traffic, has a variety of interior moves, and has no fear on the basketball court. I love everything about Chane's game except 2 things. His penchant for missing seemingly easy dunks is the first thing. He often tries to hammer it home with such authority that the ball slips out of his hands and off the back rim (or occasionally he airballs it altogether). This can easily be corrected as the game will slow down for him as a sophomore and he won't be trying too hard. What he does need to work on is a reliable midrange game. With the driving ability of Siva, he can get open for the stepback baseline J all day long. If he can reliably hit that shot, his faceup game will be unstopable. If his man has to step out on his pump fake, he already has the ability to put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. The baseline jumper and the freethrow line jumper need to become part of his game. If he hits it with regularity I forsee his scoring average jumping into the 15ppg range.
3. Peyton must hit 33% of his 3 point shots next year. I don't care what Rick says about Peyton being a "Mo Cheeks" type point guard that doesn't need to shoot 3s to be effective. Peyton must be able to knock down the open 3 pointer in our offense. He needs to work on coming off the high screen and nailing the top of the key 3. Doing so will open up so many driving and passing lanes later in the game. Often Peyton's man will sag off of him and clog the lane to prevent his drives. Bringing the defender out will allow him to drive and create with much less traffic, plus it will give us 6-9 easy points a game. Peyton could easily score 15-18 points per game if he can hit 2-3 open 3s per game. With the amount of time that he has the ball in his hands, his inabilty to knock down 3s is what holds our scoring average down in the 60s.
There are plenty of other players that need to develop their games, particularly Wayne, Kevin Ware, and Angel, but they all played so sparingly they are almost wildcards coming into next season. I think we all know what we are going to get out of Russ, and really none of us know what we can get out of Hancock. We also know that we can't really count on any of the injured players so anything that we get from them will be a bonus. But when It comes down to it, if we can develop these 3 guys in these particular areas, I think next year is again going to be a banner year for us.
What do you think?