We're now five games into the season, and the game charts are beginning to make more sense. If you're not familiar with the methodology here, read this.
A couple things that have been jumping out how great the additions of Devon Bookert and Montay Brandon have been to the offense. And Bookert has been getting it done on defense as well. Which begs the question, what about Montay's defense? In the first game of the season the defense was awful when he was on the floor. And in the second game it was average. Which made me wonder if the first game had been out of his control, and he just happened to be on the floor when the other team was hot or at times when his teammates were letting him down.
But then in games 3, 4 and 5, the defense was once again significantly worse when he was on the floor.
So, while I've been reviewing film, I've been looking for answers. And the news is good and bad. It's bad, because the mistakes he's making are basics fundamental issues with team defense. The good news is those are easily correctable. It's just technique and understanding. The team went through the same curve when Ian Miller was a freshman, but then about halfway through his 2nd season everything clicked and now he's solid on defense.
Here's a play from the St. Joe's game. Take a look and see what you see.
It's just a little slip screen that Okaro White gets burned on, right? Well, sort of. Yes, White isn't helping himself, but if you go back to where the video pauses then you'll see that Montay isn't helping things either. In that situation he has to understand that his man won't follow the cutter on the bounce, so whenever a slip screen situation materializes the defender (Brandon) has to body into his man with his arms raised to put pressure on the pass. But he stays low and doesn't bother the passer at all.
And this is a classic freshman mistake. In high school good defenders are often players who lock their man down. But at this level it's not about keeping your man from scoring. It's about keeping the other team from scoring. And that requires unselfish, five-guys-as-one, defense.
Here's another play. Have a look.
Again, it's a basic mistake which costs the team points. When there's a perimeter screen there are rules put in place by the staff as to how to handle that screen. And since this screen involves Aaron Thomas (a guard) and Montay Brandon (a guard) the players are simply supposed to switch assignments on screens. In other words, Brandon was supposed to go with the shooter. If that's not clear, watch the video again. You can even hear Thomas yelling for Brandon to switch.
Alright, on to the chart. Through five games here are the player efficiencies.
With Bojanovsky and Bookert ahead of the players they back up, this is a situation worth monitoring. It might not come in the starting lineup - it might just be minutes. Or the change might not come at all. Ham did mention that he was interested in shortening the rotation, and the two names at the bottom seem like obvious candidates.