Mid-Term Grades

This image alone says volumes about our OOC (TU)

I drafted this before the Wagner game shook my optimism a bit, but I stand by these rating. The pre-season has been a decided success and if anything, the Wagner game should provide valuable experience and give us time to make adjustments to how UNH and other defensive minded teams in the America East will play us.

Offense
Protecting the ball: C-

We turn over the ball the second highest rate in the league, 22.1% of the time, but that’s actually considerably better than our 24.7% that was among the worst in the nation last year. Tim Ambrose has improved in this area and Logan almost never turns the ball over, but the big question is whether Black can elevate his play during the conference schedule. His turnover rate is far too high and it hasn’t been corresponding to assists either.
3-point shooting: B+
The Danes have taken and made the most 3 pointers in the conference, but at only 4th in percentage. This team can consistently knock down threes 1-4, and it’s been a huge weapon. The well has run a bit dry for Logan Aronhalt lately, but overall, this team is making shots.

2-point shooting: A-

This, like most things for the Danes this year, starts with Tim Ambrose. His ability to get shots around the basket has been tremendous- he’s hitting 55% of his 2-pt FG, plenty of which are layup and patented short bank shot. Black has been equally good inside the arc, and Logan has also drawn his fair share. Not to be overlooked, Blake Metcalf is shooting 57% percent inside, despite missing quite a bunnies. One drag has been John Puk- the big fella’s lack of strength has contributed to an inability to finish on the inside, making his offensive numbers near invisible.

Getting to the line: D

The single biggest improvement that U A can make is at the free throw line- Timmy has done his work getting to the line, but we’re going to need more from Black and Aronhalt (especially when his shot isn’t falling). The Danes get to the line so rarely, they aren’t comfortable when they get there- UA is among the 20 worst FT shooting teams in the country.

Offensive Rebounding: A-

The Danes are getting the job done on the offensive glass, they are second best in the AE in offensive rebounding. The efforts are spearheaded by offensive rebound extraordinaire Blake Metcalf (74th in country) but Luke Devlin and the backcourt has chipped in as well. A notably absentee is John Puk, who has not provided much on the defensive class.

Defense

Forcing Turnovers: F

Not much of a story here, this team just doesn’t force very many turnovers.. aside from Tim Ambrose’s beautiful length of the floor “pick 6” to tie the game against CCSU.

3-pt defense: B

After getting worked again and again from the three point line last season, the Danes have been surprisingly solid guarding the line. Yes, superior opponents like Iona and Xavier put on shooting clinics, but that was moreso because they were able to break down our defenders and get stand-alone jump shots. Hopefully the rule, our opponents shooting poorly from three, not the exception carries over into conference play.

Keeping opponents off the line: A+

The Great Danes are 35th in the nation in preventing team from getting to the line- and even more devastating when they reach the line! Our ferocious home crowd and other voodoo methods have made us in the top 10 in forcing opponents to miss at the FT line.

Defensive Rebounding: D

Our offensive rebounding has been good, but our opponents offensive rebounding has been better. Ambrose has done very well for a guard, while Puk and Devlin have been decent, but they’ve also disappeared for stretches. Metcalf needs to improve his impact on the defensive glass.

Overall:

Backcourt: A

Ambrose, Aronhalt and Black are the best guard trio in the America East. The three headed monster has brought stability to this team that hasn’t been there in years- not to mention how enjoyable they are to watch. All three can hit from outside and Ambrose has harnessed his inner wrecking ball, so life is very good when even two of these three are on.

Frontcourt: C+

John Puk has been a huge surprise defensively, the injury-battling young man has been a force on the inside and have proved to be among the best in the America East in blocked shots. On the offensive end, his post moves take too long to develop and usual involve him falling away. Luke Devlin has shown toughness inside and flashes of offensive potential from the outside, but there has been no consistency. Metcalf’s work on the glass has often made him the best offensive option and he’s quite often been the beneficiary of assists inside from Ambrose and Black.

Coaching: B+

Coach Will Brown has taken the criticism from the past couple years and used it to churn out a game plan that shows growth as a coach. This team has pushed the tempo, he’s shortened the bench and selectively used the press, the offense has been producing more open shots, and he’s pushed the right buttons for Timmy Ambrose.

Bench: D

The reason I cannot take the leap and give Will Brown an A is because of the bench. I love him tightening the rotation, but wonder if he’s over-corrected or if he just does not have the personnel to find bench production. The silver-lining of Mike Black’s injury was supposed to be a chance to develop our depth at point guard… but instead it just exposed the fact that there is no backcourt depth. Jacob Iati terrifies me when he’s on the floor; he has plenty of heart but he doesn’t have the physical tools to stay in front of any D1guard or initiate the offense. There’s potential for the 6’5 Ralph Watts to develop into a tall point guard, but for now his lethargic plodding down the court is not the answer. Brown seems to be slowly giving Derrek Tartt some burn because the Great Danes are desperate to an athletic defender off the bench after the departure of Russell Moore. As for the frontcourt, I tend to think of Blake Metcalf as starter 5A, especially because of Puk’s injury, but there haven’t been much depth issues down low. Billy Allen and Jake Lindfors have been serviceable at times, but only called upon if needed.

Bottom Line: B

U Albany is a good offensive team that is fairly porous on the defensive end. Hold your breath on every potential injury, because there is no help on the bench. The OOC after the return of Black has been decidedly a success and enough to remain cautiously optimistic as we look to the regular season.

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~ by TheMidRangeGame on December 31, 2010.

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