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The Starting Five


Old Titan
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ORU40, you are right on when you said, "We have a very physically gifted team with a lot of talent, I hope we develop the kind of mental toughness needed to be a lock down defensive team and truly buy into being a tough as nails defensive group." 

Defense never takes a game or a half or a minute off. Defense travels. Defense wins. I believe Coach Mills knows that and wants to win as much, maybe more, than his players. He must know that defense is going to get him where he wants to be. The players they have recruited most recently fit the kind of defense Mills tried to bring to ORU from Baylor. My guess is that we will see more zone, like we saw at the end of last year, because they now have the length and athleticism to be successful with it. With that said, they are also going to need to be much better on man to man because the sharpshooters from three (especially in the SL) will take advantage of a zone defense. Hopefully, he's got these guys moving their feet and boxing out. Two things that don't seem to be emphasized enough these days across the board.

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D...E...F..E...N...S...E!!!!......PLEASE!!!!!....just a little at least......🥺

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Since Mills has been at ORU, the defense has struggled.  We were having this same discussion back in February 2021, right before the Sweet 16 run.  In the NCAA tournament the defense seemed to finally come alive.  They were swarming the ball and forcing turnovers: 15 for Ohio State and 20 for Florida.  ORU is at its best defensively, when the Eagles can cause turnovers.  Just did not see that last year.  Will we see some of it this year?  Hopefully.

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There are few better feelings as a fan than rising in spontaneous joy when the opposing team is forced to call a timeout because a run of smothering defense has left them totally discombobulated.

When/if that happens this season at the Mabee Center, you will see me leading the standing ovation from Row 4, Section 104.

Season 9 Clapping GIF by RuPaul's Drag Race

 

 

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I've been very interested in the recent posts regarding our team defense and our team's offensive potential! and it got me thinking about Max's role in his final season and here are a couple questions for the group!

1. Would Max individually improve his professional value playing 38-40 minutes a game and focusing on his offense and being a top 5 national scorer again? "Let Max be Max", Or making a concerted effort to show other facets of his game like improved D and ball handling, passing, and overall guard skills?

2. Would the team be more successful- win/loss record, post season, recruiting, other player development, fan interest, etc... if Max played 38-40 minutes and was a top 5 scorer or if he played maybe 33-35 minutes a game and still got his shots, particularly in late game situations, but scored a little less and  focused more on his defense, passing, etc... and didn't have to maybe coast in some stretches because he knew he would need to carry the team offensively at the end of games?

 

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I would like to see Max play 35 or fewer minutes. Preserve his health and stamina for the duration of the season and crunch time.

There were multiple games last season where Max didn’t even really look to score until the second half. I think Max could still be a top five scorer and drop his minutes below 35. 

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I think the question was and still is, do we have anyone that can run the offense and score when Max is not in the game. I believe others will need to step up and prove  themselves worthy of those Max-less minutes before Mills is going to take him out of the game.  Hopefully the new blood is hungry and talented enough to step it up.

 

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5 hours ago, ORU40 said:

I've been very interested in the recent posts regarding our team defense and our team's offensive potential! and it got me thinking about Max's role in his final season and here are a couple questions for the group!

1. Would Max individually improve his professional value playing 38-40 minutes a game and focusing on his offense and being a top 5 national scorer again? "Let Max be Max", Or making a concerted effort to show other facets of his game like improved D and ball handling, passing, and overall guard skills?

2. Would the team be more successful- win/loss record, post season, recruiting, other player development, fan interest, etc... if Max played 38-40 minutes and was a top 5 scorer or if he played maybe 33-35 minutes a game and still got his shots, particularly in late game situations, but scored a little less and  focused more on his defense, passing, etc... and didn't have to maybe coast in some stretches because he knew he would need to carry the team offensively at the end of games?

 

Is it a bad thing to let McBride run the point and let Max be the shooting guard? I mean I think he was pretty worn out at times last year. And he can forcus more on his defense.

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Part of Max's benefit of being the ball handler is that the ball is always in his hands until he passes it off.  So, he doesn't have to worry about getting himself free to get the ball if he is bringing it up the floor.

Also, most defenders will meet Max at half court due to his shooting range.  This can leave a lot of real estate open around the top of the key and around the lane for give-and-go's and other set plays.  I don't know that we take advantage of these opportunities if we are looking to score.  The problem with scoring so often and so quickly is that we have to play defense. 🤣

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3 hours ago, jmg1984 said:

Is it a bad thing to let McBride run the point and let Max be the shooting guard?

On offense, no.

But defensively - yes. 

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There are always 3 guards at a minimum on the floor in a Coach Mills offense.  When Abmas and McBride are both on the floor, which is probably 25 minutes out of every 40 minute game, it is like having 2 point guards on the floor regardless of who brings it up the court.
 

I liked it when McBride was bringing the ball up the court “playing the point” because it allowed Max to just flow in the offense.  I suspect that McBride will play point when he is in the game and Max will play point when McBride is not in the game.  Either way, Max is often looking to set up other players if he can, and he averages a lot of assists per game as a result.

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TheEagleman is not sure he can wait 4 more months for some ORU basketball......plus at my age I am not guaranteed 4 more months.....😬😜:circle-logoi:

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10 hours ago, ORUJason said:

Either way, Max is often looking to set up other players if he can, and he averages a lot of assists per game as a result.

This is what I was getting at, Max played in 30 games last year and the stats show 110 assists which is 3.66 per game and 70 TO's 2.66 per game, which aren't great numbers with our schedule. I think he would benefit from slightly reduced minutes to play with increased intensity and more importantly increased efficiency!

Max is a great player, but I think playing 33-35 minutes per game instead of 38-40 would help him individually and help the team particularly as the season wears on when we may very well need him to go 40 minutes in games that matter like the conference tourney and he's not worn down; or worse yet injured, from playing big minutes in games we win by 20!   

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So you think Max came back as a reigning 2-time All American and is going to co-sign playing less minutes in his final year than he did in his two previous years? Interesting take… not sure ORU would be able to get any player to choose to come back to school in the future if they see that happen. “Say no to the NBA and say no to the transfer portal so you can come back and play less!” 😂😂

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27 minutes ago, GoldenEagleFan said:

So you think Max came back as a reigning 2-time All American and is going to co-sign playing less minutes in his final year than he did in his two previous years? Interesting take… not sure ORU would be able to get any player to choose to come back to school in the future if they see that happen. “Say no to the NBA and say no to the transfer portal so you can come back and play less!” 😂😂

Minute management is very popular, especially at the highest levels of the game. I seriously doubt Max would have any problem with a minute restriction. He may even welcome it - his biggest fear at this point should be heading into next year's draft with a nagging injury. Staying productive AND healthy are both equally important at this point. 

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9 minutes ago, GoldenEagleFan said:

So you think Max came back as a reigning 2-time All American and is going to co-sign playing less minutes in his final year than he did in his two previous years? Interesting take… not sure ORU would be able to get any player to choose to come back to school in the future if they see that happen. “Say no to the NBA and say no to the transfer portal so you can come back and play less!” 😂😂

Yes I do! Max didn't say no to the NBA, the NBA told him he would not be drafted because he has areas of his game he needs to improve, like defense and ball handling. If the NBA was only about shooting Max would have been a 1st round draft pick either of the last 2 years.

I absolutely think Max would be agreeable to slightly less minutes if it meant it allowed him to improve in the area's he knows  he needs to based on the NBA feedback he's gotten the last 2 off seasons. And if those slightly reduced minutes help keep him healthy and better able to help/carry the team in the post season to a better outcome then last year I'm sure he would see the benefit of that, he's a smart kid. How many kids are going to come back if they were to see(god forbid) a 2 time All-American get injured late in a 25 point blow out against an NAIA team when he's only still on the court to pad his scoring stats. I also don't think he came back to lose in the Summit semi's by 20, because he's played 38-40 minutes a game with a lingering injury, had been beat up all season and was probably pretty well worn down.

I definitely think a lot of players will notice if the teams best player came back and accepted a slightly different role, improved his NBA or overseas stock by rounding out his entire game rather than just being a one dimensional shooter and the team improved and won 20 games and got back to the big dance. There's a lot more to the game then playing as many minutes as possible  just for volume shooting!

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4 hours ago, Old Titan said:

Max strikes me as one of those kinds of guys… 

 

No argument here. I definitely believe Max puts himself over the team. But like what was said earlier, the NBA said no to Max, Max didn’t say no to the NBA. 
 

I guess the question is, does Max believe playing less minutes than he did the previous two seasons (in which he put up GREAT numbers and earned back-to-back All American selections) will improve his stock or cause there to be more questions from the front offices. 
 

I agree with everything that has been said. I think ORU as a team benefits from Max playing ~32 mins per game. I just don’t know what kind of sell that will be to Max and his agents/inner circle. 

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17 minutes ago, GoldenEagleFan said:

agree with everything that has been said. I think ORU as a team benefits from Max playing ~32 mins per game. I just don’t know what kind of sell that will be to Max and his agents/inner circle.

I don’t think it’s a huge sell. Crunch time minutes are the most important and Max will definitely make his imprint there.

A 100% Max for 35 minutes per game is better than a 75% Max for 40.

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1 hour ago, GoldenEagleFan said:

I just don’t know what kind of sell that will be to Max and his agents/inner circle. 

I'm sorry, but that really shouldn't matter one bit to coaches at a low-to-mid-major program.

This isn't Kentucky or (currently) Memphis, where that kind of crap permeates (infests?) their decision-making.

Max could have transfered to that kind of program in a heartbeat if that's what really matters to him, but he didn't.

And he has to know that by staying at ORU, he's also signing on for whatever the coaching staff has in mind for him.

...to a point, of course! 🤣

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39 minutes ago, Old Titan said:

Max could have transfered to that kind of program in a heartbeat if that's what really matters to him, but he didn't.

Probably because he knew if he came back he would play all 40 mins like he did the previous two years and not risk playing less! 🤣🤣

Ok ok I concede, I think we all agree I just sometimes play devils advocate. 

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Max is a smart guy, and if he can be convinced that the team's success and his own production will be equal to or greater than in past seasons by playing only 33-36 minutes, then I think he will be ALL over it.  And, with what appears (on paper, at least) to be a deeper bench, I believe he will have opportunity to take a breather while being confident that the guys on the floor will hold their own until his return.  

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One piece of the starting lineup we have not discussed much is Big Maple (Lufile).  He was up and down last year, after battling back from an injury and his mother's unfortunate passing.  There are not many guys in college basketball with his strength and leaping ability around the basket.  At the end of the day, Big Maple is about the only beast inside that ORU has (Connor and DJ are basically stretch fours). 

Lufile is the leading returning rebounder in the Summit League, having averaged 7 a game (fourth best in the league for 21-22).  Not to mention being one of the best offensive rebounders in the college game.

When ORU has been at its best then the Eagles had a nice 1-2 scoring punch: Green and Tutt and Max and K.O.  We saw flashes of it last year when Max and Lufile made a nice inside/outside combination.  Is Lufile ready to step into that role on a more consistent basis?

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I don't think Lufile is ready to be the second part of a 1-2 punch as Keenan referenced. I think that second element will need to be someone else. BUUUT, Lufile is definitely the guy that no one can forget about under and around the rim. That should make it easier for one of the forwards to get great looks because opponents' defense will always need to have a body (or two) around Lufile. The options for scoring should be many this year.

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