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  • So what's our ceiling?

    Last year it was very high because of Evan. After we lost to Gonzaga I mentioned our defense cost us the game but a vast majority said it was our offense. It was hard for me to understand how anyone could see our defense that contested & blocked any shot near the rim all year was giving up layups to Gonzaga. Evan should have been a difference maker but wasn't. Sometimes you just tip the hat to the other team.

    Which brings me to our ceiling this year. I refrained from saying anything for quite awhile but my eyes tell me as constructed our ceiling is very low. Whoever posted on another board about our guard play beat me to the punch. I could have never gone into detail like he did but shit did he hit the nail on the head. Most people on this board see what our issues are and some have said who should be getting more minutes.

    As much as I love the grit of this team and the players we really can't beat the top teams in the country as constructed. Of course it's hard to know considering our best win was against a mid-major. That being said what really needs to happen for us to get to the next level?

    First off we got the most unappreciated player in the country in IM. He is a stud. He has improved so much it's scary. He has been as good as any PF in the country and I watch a lot of College Basketball. Second, while CG isn't what would be considered an NBA talent he brings his lunch pail every night. Third, DP does everything for this team. He's still a little inconsistent at times but he's been able to adjust his game accordingly. And then we have Boogie. I really have faith in Boogie and is the reason I think this team will go as he goes. The reason I think Boogie is so important is because his talent can make up the difference for the rest of the guard play. He just needs to accept the challenge. As we're halfway thru the season I would say Taj gave us better minutes than Boogie(It's close). But I really believe Boogie has another gear gear that hasn't been unleashed.

    So after the top 4, how can we get to our potential? I can tell you it is never happening with EA getting more than 10 minutes a game. He is a good stop gap, leader, or keeping things status quo. But he is not a good offensive player. If you want to tell me he is shooting 38% from 3 pt line on a limited sample and is a good shooter than you are not watching the game objectively.. Teams, especially Pac-12 teams are leaving Max & him wide open hoping they shoot If you really believe EA is good shooter than he must be better than Boogie who is shooting 33% from 3pt range. And defensively he does nothing that makes him stand out to take minutes from anyone else.

    Which brings me to Max. He does a lot of things well and warrants 20 minutes a game. He just needs to stop shooting the ball. 23% from 3pt range in year 3 is pretty much a no go. He is bringing our offensive efficiency numbers down because he can't shoot. Maybe I'm the only one because I have never seen it mentioned but his rotation on his shot is awful. It looks like a knuckle ball. Same as free throws. That's why he clangs so many off the rim. Surprised no one has worked with him on improving his rotation. but what the hell do I know.

    So what is our best chance to get back to the Elite 8 or beyond. First Boogie just needs to take over and be selfish if need be at times. Second, like others have posted Reese should be the guy that gets the most minutes behind the top 4. And I don't think it's close. I would go thru growing pains with Reese because his upside is tremendous. And I may in the minority, but I think Kobe is special. He should be getting more minutes. Of course we don't see what's going on in practice but from what I see in Kobe is he has that cool demeanor on the court and he just likes to make everyone better. Sort of an intangible that you can't coach. You either have it or you don't. But I do realize AE is loyal and sometimes to a fault. One thing I will say all the players play their ass off and USC should be proud of the guys representing the University and nothing would make me happier to see EA & Max take their games to next level.

  • #2
    Originally posted by swamdog View Post
    Last year it was very high because of Evan. After we lost to Gonzaga I mentioned our defense cost us the game but a vast majority said it was our offense. It was hard for me to understand how anyone could see our defense that contested & blocked any shot near the rim all year was giving up layups to Gonzaga. Evan should have been a difference maker but wasn't. Sometimes you just tip the hat to the other team.

    Which brings me to our ceiling this year. I refrained from saying anything for quite awhile but my eyes tell me as constructed our ceiling is very low. Whoever posted on another board about our guard play beat me to the punch. I could have never gone into detail like he did but shit did he hit the nail on the head. Most people on this board see what our issues are and some have said who should be getting more minutes.

    As much as I love the grit of this team and the players we really can't beat the top teams in the country as constructed. Of course it's hard to know considering our best win was against a mid-major. That being said what really needs to happen for us to get to the next level?

    First off we got the most unappreciated player in the country in IM. He is a stud. He has improved so much it's scary. He has been as good as any PF in the country and I watch a lot of College Basketball. Second, while CG isn't what would be considered an NBA talent he brings his lunch pail every night. Third, DP does everything for this team. He's still a little inconsistent at times but he's been able to adjust his game accordingly. And then we have Boogie. I really have faith in Boogie and is the reason I think this team will go as he goes. The reason I think Boogie is so important is because his talent can make up the difference for the rest of the guard play. He just needs to accept the challenge. As we're halfway thru the season I would say Taj gave us better minutes than Boogie(It's close). But I really believe Boogie has another gear gear that hasn't been unleashed.

    So after the top 4, how can we get to our potential? I can tell you it is never happening with EA getting more than 10 minutes a game. He is a good stop gap, leader, or keeping things status quo. But he is not a good offensive player. If you want to tell me he is shooting 38% from 3 pt line on a limited sample and is a good shooter than you are not watching the game objectively.. Teams, especially Pac-12 teams are leaving Max & him wide open hoping they shoot If you really believe EA is good shooter than he must be better than Boogie who is shooting 33% from 3pt range. And defensively he does nothing that makes him stand out to take minutes from anyone else.

    Which brings me to Max. He does a lot of things well and warrants 20 minutes a game. He just needs to stop shooting the ball. 23% from 3pt range in year 3 is pretty much a no go. He is bringing our offensive efficiency numbers down because he can't shoot. Maybe I'm the only one because I have never seen it mentioned but his rotation on his shot is awful. It looks like a knuckle ball. Same as free throws. That's why he clangs so many off the rim. Surprised no one has worked with him on improving his rotation. but what the hell do I know.

    So what is our best chance to get back to the Elite 8 or beyond. First Boogie just needs to take over and be selfish if need be at times. Second, like others have posted Reese should be the guy that gets the most minutes behind the top 4. And I don't think it's close. I would go thru growing pains with Reese because his upside is tremendous. And I may in the minority, but I think Kobe is special. He should be getting more minutes. Of course we don't see what's going on in practice but from what I see in Kobe is he has that cool demeanor on the court and he just likes to make everyone better. Sort of an intangible that you can't coach. You either have it or you don't. But I do realize AE is loyal and sometimes to a fault. One thing I will say all the players play their ass off and USC should be proud of the guys representing the University and nothing would make me happier to see EA & Max take their games to next level.
    Good post. I think there are a couple factors that come into play that you did not mention.

    1. The overall acclimatization of the players -- in particular last year's transfers -- to the program is, I think, hugely responsible for our success. Last year, Evan's sheer talent could erase many of our mistakes by new guys or young guys, but this year there are fewer mistakes to be accounted for, which really is what makes this team better. We don't *need* Evan Mobley to be good this year. And this is because someone like Goodwin is now comfortable and understands his role. He has improved tremendously, as has Peterson. White is behind because of injury, but he will return to form before too long. And the experience of an Elite 8 run is invaluable to their mentality. This is why, just on the surface, this year's team is superior, even if they may not make it to the Elite 8 again because the tournament is always about who gets hot at the right time against the right teams, etc. And it never hurts to have a special player to make up for things if you have down games.

    2. I'm surprised that someone mentioned guard play as being an issue this year, because the guards this year are much, much better than last year. Everyone who came back is better, and then you add Boogie, who is a difference maker and dynamic. I think he's superior to Tajh overall because he brings length and athleticism to the defensive side of the ball that Tajh just didn't. And he plays tall among the trees, which Tajh couldn't do. He's not yet the ice cold clutch guy that Tajh was, but he also hasn't needed to be.

    3. I still think the ongoing criticism of Anderson is over the top. It's just not correct to slough off 38% from 3 point range as "limited sample" when he averaged the same total as a freshman and as a sophomore. He has shot 115 3 pointers in his career and has made 44 of them. It's a big enough sample to conclude that this is who he is: a 38% 3PT shooter. As for the rest of his game, while he has major limitations, there's no doubt that he has improved over last year: His turnovers are down considerably and he has a knack for making veteran, timely plays. No one else on the roster sacrifices his body like he does to take charges or to muscle for balls in traffic. It's hard to argue that he should be getting more minutes, but I think 10 minutes per game is too little, also. Perhaps 15 is the right spot. Sometimes he brings something to the table depending on the matchup and it's up to Enfield to determine when that is. Whatever the criticism of Anderson, he is a winner, who will notch more wins as a PG in his first 3 years than any PG in USC history. He is also a team captain and sometimes there is more to a team than just numbers and stats. I think Enfield realizes this and whatever he's doing right now is working.

    4. I agree that Reese has tremendous upside and he's a potentially elite defender down the road (his steal efficiency is excellent, for instance). To me, he's about where Max was last year, just beginning to scratch the surface of his talent. That being said, he's only now getting the confidence to take part in the offense. Perhaps this 9 point outing will be what he needs to stop thinking too much about what he's doing and to just play.

    5. I disagree somewhat about Max. He needs to shoot the ball, just not as much from 3 point land ratio-wise. Overall, he's shooting 46%, which is respectable, but he's shooting 63% on 2 pointers. And I actually like his stroke and wouldn't be surprised if his 3 point numbers eventually improve. Enfield must agree, because he continues to get the green light. There are plenty of examples that I can think of where a guy with natural shooting ability started out slowly from 3 point land only to revert to a level more in line with his abilities later. Case in point: Isaiah Mobley. His 3 point% his first two years was in the Max range, until he started getting hot and getting his confidence late last year and ever since then it's like he's shooting balls into the ocean. So, Max should keep at it, but just hold it in check more. Shoot 2 threes per game instead of 3, or only chuck it up when the game is in hand. Thankfully, he brings a lot of other things to the table.

    6. I agree with your last points. The key to us going to the Elite 8 and beyond is going to depend on Boogie getting hot, and we will need Waters and probably Isaiah White to emerge (or re-emerge). The good things is, right now, all indicators point to almost the entire rotation improving as the season goes along, especially when you consider where someone like Morgan is now compared to where he was, and how arguably the 9th guy in the rotation (Waters) is able to contribute a big 9 points in a key game.

    This is an enjoyable team to watch because it is far more even keeled compared to teams from recent years. While there have been some spotty stretches here and there, and maybe a couple bad halves, we have yet to see a true dog performance from this team, which we could always count on previous teams to do from time to time, even with Evan and Onyeka and others. So while our ceiling isn't as high as last year's team, our floor is much higher due to the consistency and maturity level up and down the roster. This team plays really good defense, rebounds at a high level, blocks shots and shoots well. We have only one weakness: Free throws, but if you believe that reversion to the mean is a real thing, that should be improving in the games to come (we are about at 70% the last three games, for instance). And since we are bound to have an increasing volume of free throws as teams decide to foul more (i.e. the last two games we have shot 59 FTs), we should be ok as long as we maintain a 68-70% rate. It may be better to go 18 of 27 (.666) from the FT line than 8 of 10 (.800) so long as our defense responds.


    Comment


    • #3
      Chevez has been a real revelation this season and deserves his captaincy. He has turned into a valuable cog for our team. Mobley did not have a great game against OSU, but has been showing he is our best overall player as he plays his way into the NBA Draft.

      Max needs to knock down the open 3's! He manages to get a lot of open looks from outside the arc and could help us so much by knocking some of those down.

      Ethan needs to get the team into their offense quicker. He takes too long and takes time off the clock, when we should be working the ball around and getting the best shot, not just a shot to beat the clock.

      I think Reese is going to be big for us as the first guard off the bench and we need to give him more minutes.

      Overall, I think the team is good and getting better. We just need to hit our stride and peak at the right time to make a run at a conference championship and the Pac-12 Tournament. We have what it takes to exceed the results of last year's team, just because we have been there before.

      Fight on SC!

      Comment


      • #4
        Some excellent posts. I am looking for us to finish third or higher in conference play and make a decent showing in the Pac12 Tournament in order to get a decent seed at the big dance. From there, it is a matter of the luck of the draw with match-ups with opponents and not having a "bad" night simultaneously by two or more of our key players. Reaching the Elite Eight or higher is a combination of talent, luck, consistency, playing to potential, and Match-ups." Making the Sweet Sixteen or higher is an accomplishment.

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        • #5
          The big keys are Boggie and Drew.
          If they can be more consistent the ceiling is high.
          Boggie has talent but up to this year not coached well
          Mobley is working his way up to being drafted.
          Reese and the other young players have much potential
          and need to be used more.
          For what was supposed to be a rebuilding year is turning out to
          be much more.

          Comment


          • #6
            If everything goes right, we are tough to beat. By that I mean, 10 or less TO, 3pt shooting at 35% or so, and FT shooting at 70%. We know our defense will keep us competitive, but I don’t think we’ve seen a complete game offensively in quite some time.

            I agree on guard play being an issue. We still lack a PG that can truly run and control the offense and keep a defense honest with their own scoring ability. It’s not that our guard situation is terrible by any means, as both EA and boogie are capable of doing their jobs as the lead guard quite well…it’s that either have done it consistently this season.

            EA is an excellent 3pt shooter when he’s set. Teams will let him dribble around and take pull 3s all day. His efficiency rating is quite low though. Agree with the post that says he’s too slow in the half court offense which leads to a bad shot near the end of the shot clock for whomever is holding the ball last.

            Boogie is dynamic, but also inconsistent. Isiah Mobley averages the same amount of assists per game and he had a stretch of 4 games scoring less than 10 points. The last two games have been 4-11 and 5-13 shooting for him. Oregon State and Stanford dared to let him beat them to focus on isiah Mobley and it worked once and nearly worked again.


            Comment


            • #7
              RDW all day, everyday. What a smooth, silky shot he has on his jumper and on free throws. Need to get him minutes, much more minutes as the season goes along which will boost his confidence.
              IW brings so many intangibles when he's on the floor. Toughness and grit and no backing down ever. If he reverts to last year's form and begins to hit 3s and make buckets inside, we are tough to beat 💪 This team is so fun to watch and in my opinion we step up our game against stiffer competition. I wonder whose gonna have a break out game tonight?

              FTFO
              Beat the Ducks
              ❤💛✌🏀

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree with the original poster. Very good assessment of the team and the oplayers.

                Goodwin and Mobley, A drastic improvement from the last year.

                I still think Eddy was better than Boogie. Eddy was our go to guy with Evan. Boogie has not shown that yet.

                There were reports of Max shooting better for 3 pts. We hoped he was. Alas, Max’s accumulated statistics for 3 pt is currently 0.211. He needs to shoot less for 3 pts. With so many misses, it is like turn overs.

                Ethan may have improved in some aspects with the back problem taken care of. But as a point guard, his production is not like PAC 12 point guard should be. He misses so many lay ups.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There are people on this board than have forgotten more about the finer points of BB than I will ever know, but I would like to see more RDW!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Agree about Reese Dixon Waters, he does have a nice jumper.

                    What I find is weird is the fact that both Ethan Anderson and Isaiah White don't have a jump shot. And I don't mean they aren't good at shooting their jumper, I literally mean they don't have a jump shot. Both take 3 pointers that are set shots. Ethan does have a floater. Otherwise both Isaiah W and EA have to score by taking the ball to the rim. Neither ever stop and take a mid-range jumper, even when they are wide open in the middle of the key.

                    The thing with Boogie is that he has all the tools you want in a guard - athleticism and skills - but he is so inconsistent.
                    Last edited by wes4usc; 01-15-2022, 12:36 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Terrific thread with a lot of great discussion. I don't have too much to add that hasn't been discussed already, but I will say that our ceiling is higher now than I thought it would be preseason for one reason - Chevez Goodwin's remarkable improvement.

                      Isaiah Mobley has taken the leap most of us expected. Boogie has been a slightly less effective version of Tahj. Drew has been Drew with significantly better defense. Morgan has been the 3rd big we needed. Max is a better player than last year.

                      Even with all that, without Goodwins huge leap we wouldn't be close to where we are after losing maybe the best player in program history.

                      We probably lack the high end talent to make a serious run at a natty, but we are absolutely a top 15 team and therefore very much in the mix for a Sweet 16 appearance and, with the right matchups, maybe even more.

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