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Max in the new year


Keenan Henderson
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Here it is the new and improved Max Abmas awards for 21-22.  OT has been calling for it and others have wanted it.  Midcourt Max was just voted Preseason Summit League player of the year!

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Wonderful....that and $2.50 will buy you a small cup of coffee at Starbucks......actually might need $2.95.....:hc_mills:

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14 hours ago, ORUTerry said:

 

Context:  there are 25 players making up five teams on Dick Vitale's preseason All-America list.

There's only player from a low-to-mid-major school:  Max Abmas, Oral Roberts, 2nd Team.

Which means Max is, in Dickie V's mind, one of the top ten players in all of college basketball.

Season 5 Finger Guns GIF by Curb Your Enthusiasm

 

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Dickie V is senile as we all know but still this is quite a remarkable honor for a kid from ORU....its gonna bring a lot of attention to 7777 So. Lewis this season and let's hope the kid can live up to the hype....also his teammates will need to step up when opponents focus on Max. 👍

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Max will definitely have a target on his back this year… kind of like he had last season, but ratcheted up a few notches. Every team will put their best defender(s) on him and run defenses to counter him. As OT said, each opponent’s #1 goal will be to limit Max and have the rest of the team try to beat them. 
 

Not having Obanor on the floor will impact Max unless we come up with sufficient options to punish teams that ‘cheat’ to double him. The rest of his teammates need to perform.  Hopefully Max doesn’t force things and let’s the game come to him. He is a mature, intelligent player and will figure this out. 

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I remember as a kid watching Richard Fuqua's scoring average drop from 35 points per game his junior year to 24 points per game his senior campaign, as defenses made more of an effort to shut him down, and he deferred more to better talent around him, all against stiffer competition than the previous year.

While his stats that senior year may have led some to think he suffered a dip, Richard was arguably a better player his senior year (as his 2nd round pick by the Boston Celtics bore out).

The same could happen with Max this season:  he could possibly average fewer points a game, because he may play fewer minutes with someone as good as McBride available to rest him, and with fewer "either-Max-or-Kevin" plays, and more scoring-by-committee with the offensive growth of Thompson, Jurgens, Lacis, et al.

So, wouldn't mind at all a "lose the battle, win the war" scenario of Max not leading the nation in scoring (or, even not winning POY in March), with the team winning 20 games and earning a top seed in Sioux Falls.

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That is a good point OT about Max scoring less and finding his teammmates more in this upcoming season.  I would think that the NBA scouts know he can score and shoot the ball but want to see more of him running the offense and setting up his teammates.  So yeah we can probaly expect Max to be more of a standard point guard who averages more assists than last year (maybe five a game) and say 20 points a game.

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6 hours ago, ORUTerry said:

 Jeff Goodman’s 2021-22 College Basketball Preseason Awards

 https://watchstadium.com/jeff-goodmans-2021-22-college-basketball-preseason-awards-10-19-2021/

He selects Max as 2nd team All-American

Another 15-man squad where Max is the sole mid-major representative (unless you count Gonzaga as a mid-major, which I don’t:  it’s a mid-major school in a mid-major league, but as long as Mark Few is there, it’s a high-major program).

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Hey, does anyone have a subscription to The Athletic?  They've got a couple of intriguing stories up right now about Max staying at ORU instead of transferring, but beyond a couple of tantalizing paragraphs, both articles are hidden behind paywalls:

I dutifily tried subscribing to this website last year, but all they did was take my money and I still couldn't sign in, with no customer service number to call, so I cancelled.  Anyone else had better luck?

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3 hours ago, Old Titan said:

Hey, does anyone have a subscription to The Athletic?  They've got a couple of intriguing stories up right now about Max staying at ORU instead of transferring, but beyond a couple of tantalizing paragraphs, both articles are hidden behind paywalls:

I dutifily tried subscribing to this website last year, but all they did was take my money and I still couldn't sign in, with no customer service number to call, so I cancelled.  Anyone else had better luck?

I'm a member. Message me.

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No one in men’s college basketball scored more points on a per-game basis than Max Abmas did a year ago. Maybe only a handful of performers captured imaginations in the NCAA Tournament bubble in the way Oral Roberts’ diminutive deadeye did. He was a dust devil from Tulsa that made its way to Indianapolis, small and strong, lasting just long enough to cause appreciable damage. And now it is October, and Abmas is still playing college basketball, and still for Oral Roberts, and he is taking a class in Discrete Mathematics and trying to describe exactly what in the world that is.

“That’s a great question,” Abmas says, his pondering coming through loud and clear over a cell phone connection. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s a different form of math than what you’re used to.”

Actually, it’s all quite different, this equation of unexpected values that somehow adds up. Graph theory and countable sets are confounding in their own universe, just as an elite scorer electing to spend another season in the Summit League is a mind-boggler in the modern college hoops realm. After nearly 25 points a game, after a run to the Sweet 16, Max Abmas eschewed paychecks and possible roster spots in more esteemed leagues in favor of another season trying to exist somehow both in the spotlight and on the fringe — a member of The Athletic’s preseason All-America squad as well as a faithful regular at Blue Coast Juicy Seafood out by the Woodland Hills Mall.

A calculation weird to some, perhaps even most, but understandable to those who studied the variables. “I just thought Max is so strategic, he’s going to think this through,” Oral Roberts coach Paul Mills says. “This isn’t, let me go get a contract and be in the NBA to say I’m in the NBA. It’s, how do I make sure I get the most out of this, when I’m given this opportunity? The question wasn’t, is he an NBA player? The question is, when is he an NBA player? I was just so confident he understood the bigger picture.”

It’s not yet a clear one — The Athletic’s latest mock draft has Abmas slotted as a late second-round choice, which is no one’s definition of a sure thing — but then that’s why someone who rated in the 96th percentile nationally with 1.137 points per possession, per Synergy Sports, is back where he started. Abmas disembarked from a flight home to Dallas on July 7, after a workout for the Philadelphia 76ers that was his third in as many days and the last he’d do. Feedback indicating a hesitancy about his frame (he measured 5-11 ¾” in shoes and just 161.8 pounds at the predraft combine) and a desire to see more varied and quicker decision-making outweighed his scoring aptitude. A guy who drilled 42.7 percent on 3s last season also uncharacteristically struggled with his shot during the combine, going 3-of-18 from the floor and 1-of-11 behind the arc in two prospect-filled scrimmages. So back to school he’d go. “It was just about being all-in on that, getting better, not really looking back at the whole draft process,” Abmas says. “It was being all-in on the decision I made.”

But it wasn’t a blind bet. Mills and Co. had to make it worth his time.

The primary sell to Abmas was having more good players around him, to make the plays necessary for his future. Kevin Obanor, Abmas’ main running mate last season, transferred to Texas Tech after averaging 18.7 points and 9.6 rebounds for the Golden Eagles last season. But two power-conference backcourt transfers (Isaac McBride from Vanderbilt and Trey Phipps from Oklahoma) would provide a point guard viable targets for playmaking opportunities. A rim-running big returning from a year off (6-7, 295-pound Elijah Lufile) would allow Abmas to develop more NBA-like pick-and-roll reads that the 2020-21 personnel and scheme didn’t. “He’s a top-of-the-square athlete,” Mills says of Lufile. “We’ve got a pick-and-pop guy with DeShang Weaver. And then we’ve got an acceleration guy in Elijah Lufele. So you have to make reads based upon your personnel. He never had to do that a year ago. We didn’t have anybody who could go put pressure on the rim. We just had guys who could pop. Throwing these different pieces at him, with who he’s required to play with, I think that all helps.”

Off the floor, Abmas picked up a couple new jobs. The first was as a film student, diving into the intricacies of Chris Paul and Trae Young and even Steve Nash/Amare Stoudemire film to pick up nuances he could apply. The second gig was eating. This was full-time. Six meals comprising 3,500 to 4,000 calories a day, if Abmas could stomach it, along with the occasional protein shakes. “It’s almost like you eat until you feel like you’re going to throw up,” Abmas says, but it was all in the name of putting on good weight he could carry effectively.

He’s up to 173.1 pounds at last check, per Ashtin Meerpohl, Oral Roberts’ director of sports performance. “There were only three players in the entire NBA that were listed under 170 pounds last season,” Meerpohl says. “Max and I sat down and discussed a plan on how to get him where he needed to be.” En route to the heftier frame, Abmas also improved his bench press by 15 pounds, his squat by 20 pounds and his trapbar deadlift by 30 pounds, Meerpohl said. Theoretically, Abmas is a better finisher for all of it — his 1.194 PPP in around-the-rim scenarios rated in the 61st percentile last season, per Synergy — but perhaps even more critically a better defender. “Having that strength to resist definitely has come from that,” Abmas says.

In fact, Mills’ unabashed appraisal of his team’s potential — “I don’t even think we’re a little bit better; I think we’re drastically better,” he says — is based on defensive capability partly enhanced by a heftier Max Abmas. Oral Roberts finished 219th in adjusted defensive efficiency last season, per KenPom.com. Mills believes the size, experience and interchangeability of his other guards and wings will change that, but the potential for Abmas to be even slightly more of a disruptor adds a layer. “His level of physicality has caused him to quote-unquote ‘chest’ the ball at a much higher level, at a higher pickup point, than he ever would have before,” Mills says. “Most players are just going to stick a hand out and put you at arm’s length and try to stay in front of you. And not really try to use physicality. You see him using a lot more physicality with his chest, because he’s so much more confident in his body and his ability to take hits.”

Still, a pursuit of NBA-centric improvement can occur in many places other than the south side of Tulsa, at other programs with greater visibility. More than 1,600 players put their names in the transfer portal following the 2020-21 season, including more than a few who dipped their toes into the draft pool. Abmas was not one of them. Assuredly, a great many power conference schools would have created spots for one of the country’s most propulsive scorers, and this is how Mills measures his level of concern for that dynamic last summer: “Like, literally zero.”

He notes, as he surely did to Abmas, that one mid-to-high transfer was picked in the last 11 NBA Drafts: former Rice player Trey Murphy, who moved on to Virginia and went No. 17 overall in July. This factoid plus Abmas’ existing comfort level meant the topic evidently never got broached. “The second they got on me (in recruiting) they were on me hard,” he says. “They really wanted me to come up here and make an impact on the program. (Transferring) wasn’t really a consideration. I knew Coach Mills was working, getting different pieces into the program now to help win. It was a pretty easy decision (with) the belief I have in him, the relationship I have with all the coaches, and just really believing we can win.”

That, as those in mathematics might call it, is an open problem.

The Golden Eagles should be good. But they were good a year ago, too, and they finished fourth in the Summit League during the regular season, with a run to the conference tournament title required to sneak into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 15 seed. Oral Roberts will live a life on the postseason margin, no matter how good its point guard is. So that’s what Max Abmas is coming back to. A reloaded roster and a scheme designed for him to succeed at this level and impress everyone at the next, and no guarantees with any of it. Time, then, for the guy with all the big numbers to solve for Ws.

(Photo: Jack Dempsey / NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

 
 
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Adding that much weight that quickly just makes me a bit nervous. Body transformations like that often end in injury or frustration as the athlete can't play the same style of game they grew up playing. I'm sure the training staff is doing a great job. 

8 minutes ago, darrenj said:

Saw a deal with The Athletic a couple of weeks ago and signed up for $9 for the 1rst year! Well worth it. 

Is there a lot of college ball content? I might have to do it. I can afford $.75/month!

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Good to hear that Coach Mills seems to think that Lufile is ready to help out this year.  Maybe ORU will have him dive to the rim for some dunks/easy lay ups off of Max's drives.  As we say time will tell.

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