Hope.

It’s a wonderful thing and it’s all I have had since the beginning of the Tinkle era. But when their is hope in sports, their are questions. And I have had, and continue to have, numerous questions since Tinkle has taken over the basketball program.

Year one of Tinkle was a thrill. He (and GP2) somehow willed a team that had no business playing in the Pac-12 to a winning record. The team bought into Tinkle’s defense and executed a very smart coaching strategy (slow the game and limit offensive possessions). That team had to play Olaf and Jarmal 20 – 30 minutes a night. And every question can be answered by that.

Year 2. Our best ever recruiting class, a senior GP2, and Jarmal relinquished to only playing 14 minutes a game, led us to a NCAA tournament. Many of the following questions can be answered by playing freshmen and that Olaf/Jarmal were still active contributors.

Year 3. Everyone blames injuries for the 5-win season. Valid, but if you can get ’14-’15 team to win games, you can get this team to win more than 5 games. When times are hard, coaching will show. Questions in year 1 and 2, carry over year 3 and are beginning to show the real identity of this coaching staff.

Year 4. Off to an 8-4 start that could easily be 11-1 or 4-8 depending on the way you look at it (SOS is currently 310th). It’s a team that at the start of the season had FIVE 4-star talents starting. It’s a team that has the length and athleticism to defend and rebound with the best yet has the 187th DRtg, are 262nd in opponents 3P%, and are 248th in TRB with opponents at 35th. There offensive numbers aren’t much better besides being top 30 in 2P%. They are 319th in 3P%, 172nd in assists, and 100th in ORtg.

Defense and rebounding are a matter of coaching and will power! This team appears to be lacking both. If you watch closely, no one on defense, besides Big G, finds a man to put a body on. Many other times our bigs are too far under the basket to ever have a chance at the rebound. On defense, far too many times we play great D for 23 seconds of the shot clock, to only give up an easy look.

There are many questions and I am sure more will come to mind when I post this but see below for them.

What the heck do they do at practice?

This is an overarching question that can be teased out further below. Do they work on ball handling, not jumping for passes, defensive rotation, how to seal a man off for a rebound, etc? Because I do not see any of that in games.

Why does Tinkle insist on yelling and coaching every single possession?

Recently I saw a video of our new football defensive coordinator saying, “Practices are for coaches and games are for players.” I have heard this, or variations of it, many times from coaches. If during a game you must coach fundamentals or the game plan, you have failed in practice. Tinkle appears to be insistent on coaching during the game, yelling directly where players need to go, and calling out every single offensive possession. Not only is it annoying to watch, it instils in players that he does not trust them and causes them to second guess.

What is Tinkle’s offensive identity?

At least with Craig I knew what his offensive identity was, even if it looked nothing like the Princeton offensives I known. With Tinkle, I not know what he wants to achieve. And more specifically, the only play that comes to mind that I have liked, was a two man pick and roll with the bottom guy rolling off the top guy for a three. Tres has had success on that play. More specific questions below.

Why do we do not play in-out?

We have multiple guys that could do this, yet it never seems a priority. It’s unfathomable the number of times I have seen a big establish position and a guard not reward him. Currently Drew is shooting 68% but we still do not do this?

Why do we never run a high low action against a zone?

If you have ever watched a game with me, you have heard me rail on Tinkle’s zone offense for 4 years. We have the perfect antidote to a 2-3 zone in Tres but we never put him there. We will put twin towers in and still not run a high low action against the zone. What is this all about? Other questions regarding zone offense, why no use of the short corner? Why are they insistent on ball screens being done?

Why do we have zero inbounds plays?

If I had a dime for every time we inbounded the ball into the back court, I could buy courtside season tickets.

Why do we never put a man in the middle of the court when breaking a press?

Self-explanatory.

What happened to our zone defense?

The first years Tinkle was here, we played a variety of zone defenses and rarely were in man. The reasoning, we did not have the athletes nor depth to play man. But now we don’t go to it often enough. I believe it could be very effective with our lack of post depth and our length on the outside.

Why do we rarely, if ever, press?

Tinkle talked about depth and the goal of more transition buckets, but we never run a press.

Do they watch film?

I am dumbfounded at the number of times we have played right into our opponent’s strengths. A great example is in the Eastern Kentucky game. They had a guy that had not attempted a shot inside the 3pt line all season and we give up two 3pts right away? WHAT?!

Why have we not recruited a point guard?

It is obvious we have no real point guard on this team. Even with Jaqouri, we lacked a consistent ball handler and leader. Yet our 2018 recruiting class is 3 guys over 6’10”? According to 24/7, we didn’t even offer a PG. What is that all about? Also, should I trust their evaluations of PGs? I mean Ronnie is not a Power 5 D1 PG?

After the next couple of games, listen to post conference. Does Tinkle make excuses? Does he begin to temper expectations? More often than not that is what I hear and I could tolerate the first couple of years. But year 4? Everything is yours. You own it all. No more excuses. You show what you are made of.

I am still unsure if Tinkle is the man to lead us into the next level. He has yet to show us a fundamentally sound team. He has not shown us that he believes he can win here. Now is the time to prove you deserve this position.

Featured image from the Pac-12 Network

 

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