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Everything posted by Billikan

  1. This is a very encouraging report. If our two new big fellows can hold their own at this point that will bode very well for the future. If Clarke is an excellent player who can contribute he will be a nice upgrade over Diener. If our juco center can replace KB that would be terrific. With Fish and Sloan anchoring a very tough defense we could have a nice season and with Brad on the recruiting trail we could have a very very nice team in 2 or 3 years. Thanks for the report.
  2. Nate--thanks for the report and the information. It is nice to see a reporter who has enough interest in the Bills to seek out "scoops" re our recruiting. This sounds like good news--a Brad style player who can shoot! If he is anything like Penney we will have an excellent player. I doubt he can defend like Penney but few in the country can. I love the fact that Brad and his staff have two local commitments already.
  3. Can you imagine how frustrated our coaches must be at the fact that one of our recruits does not have the tenacity or desire necessary to pass ONE course in JUCO! Just that fact alone may be a good reason why he is not going to be in a Billiken uniform. With the ability to concentrate on only one JUCO course full time and he can't pass there is no way he could handle upper division courses at SLU. Riduculous! With Polk on the way for next year and Fischer, Drejaj and Clarke on the team for this year I do not see this as a major problem. But does this cause us any problems because of the limitations of scholarships, etc. Does anyone think that Morris may have been affected in his attitude because of the signing of Polk? He must have known that in the coming year he would not be the "man" because of Fisher and Drejaj but I bet he thought--when he was recruited-- that he would be the point guard and team leader in his senior year. That was before Polk announced-- a local star, etc. Under normal circumstances I would think a guy like Morris would have the self confidence to believe that he would excell in any situation and he would force his coach to play him with his toughness and team play. Some time ago Coach Brad said that we would not be able to recruit jucos after next year because of the new rules. I would guess that our coaches have given up on that source for players. I sure hope that we have 6-8 high school players of quality that we are in tight with at this point in order to fill the remaining scholarships. We know that we will not get all of those we seek so we need a deep group to make sure that the players we get are of a caliber to compete in our league. I may be overstating it but I think this year's recruiting is extremely important to the team. A couple of really talented recruits--at least one a local player if possible- could make all the difference for next year and beyond!
  4. I agree 100% with the idea that if Polk is healthy he will be great for the Bills. We forget that he was an excellent defender, very quick and tough to play against. He can shoot the 3 and he is quick. If we could get Lisch it would be like having Nash and Van Exel--the two point guards who played so well for the Mavs. I think more and more teams will look to play two guards with point guard skills, particularly if one or both can shoot the 3. The pressure that this puts on the defense is significant and they give you defensive quickness that allows pressure up the court and the possibility of steals, etc.
  5. Make no mistake, this competition has a lot of excellent players who play hard and smart. The fact that Ian did so well against croatia--an excellent team is fantastic. Base upon this outing I wold suggest taht Ian may be our best big man by Feb. or March of next year after he gets his feet wet in the new system. If our new guards can defend and shoot the ball we could have a very nice team that will be fun to watch. KUDOS to the coaching staff--they seem to be able to find diamonds in the rough!
  6. The bottom line for Rich, who was a good friend of mine when he was at SLU, is that he is just like the rest of us--he is human with all of the strengths and weaknesses that are typical of a high achieving person! He performed a miracle in bringing the Billiken program back from the dead! He did a great job in recruiting in St. Louis in the days when national recruiting was in its infancy for most teams. He was a good but not great coach during games. His nemisis at Xavier--Pete Gillen- always seemed to pull the right strings to eliminate the Bills from NCAA contention. Rich came from a background that did not force him to deal with talented but moody players who needed special treatment. It was not a racial thing because he loved and thrived with Bonner and Gray-- because they were self motivated players who tried to get better every day. He was frustrated by Monroe Douglas because he did not have that same attitude but he did what he could to help him get better. In fact, Monroe was little better when he left while Gray and Bonner were much improved. In his last year Rich thought he had the potential to have a great team. I remember an early scrimmage where Melvin was dominating, skinner was cleaning the boards and everyone was shooting lights out! Rich was beaming and I thought it would be by far the best Billiken team of the modern era. But the team imploded. Why? the answer is complex--Rich made a terrible decision in recruiting to promise the hs all american freshman (and son of asst coach Lee Winfield) julian W. that he would start at point guard in order to enhance his value for an NBA career. Rich did not understand that Claggett was a star-- and most important--Rich was not able to deal with Melvin, Skinner and Irvin effectively-- he wanted them to be just like Bonner and Gray--highly motivated and working hard all of the time. They were more complicated and needed a different approach-- an approach that Rich could not bring himself to use because it would not require that each player to be self motivated and dedicated. They were more like a lot of modern day NBA players--talented but not dedicated to their craft and in need of "special treatment" in order for them to succeed in a team setting. Who do we blame? the answer is no one!! Rich was doing what he thought was right and he lost his job because of his intransigence. Melvin was a very young man who was hurt and bitter by the style of Grawer's coaching. Let's all remember how we were at age 18-- not all of us were intensely motivated and we would not all react well to a pushy coach. Let's let it go and wish all concerned well in their new endeavors. There is no reason to blast Grawer or Melvin at this point!!
  7. Modern recruiting is so different than the old days that it is almost irrelevant to even talk about coaches like Grawer. Rich was a very nice guy with a lot of energy but in those days he had no program to speak of yet he did get a lot of help that is not available now. I was very active in the recruiting of Gray and Douglas and I know that many other people in St. Louis were as well. I wrote them letters every week and met with them several times, and they were "covered up" by many many Bills fans and friends of Rich. There were no payments or improprieties but almost all of what was done would be "illegal" under NCAA rules today where "boosters" technically cannot have any contacts with recruits. HOwever, those constant local contacts by a broad base of people -- where the national recruiting scene was nothing like it is today-- gave Grawer a huge leg up. then we got Bonner--who was much better in college than he ever was at Vashon-although he was murder at the back of their full court press- and we were off to the races. If the university had not been so stupid we would have had Upchurch with that group and we would have made the NCCAs at least twice rather than two trips to the finals of the NIT. The real question is--where will the new generation of Billiken stars come from? The answer is probably more difficult today with the national and international recruiting. I hope that Polk recovers fully from his injuries because if he does he has the potential to be a star and he is a local kid which should help our local recruiting. I think both of our foreign players have a chance to develop into stars with this team--something (stars from Israel and Greece) I would have never believed possible even 5 years ago. Kids like Drejaj, who fit the mold of the coach and will leave it all on the floor every game--they will be major contributors with this coach. If Drejaj can shoot the ball consistantly from the 3--he showed flashes last year--then he has the chance to become a star. It has become apparant that many teams will play two "lead" guards at the same time--guards that in the past would have been classified as point guards. I would love to get at least 1-2 potential stars locally each year but I question whether that is possible with the intensified national recruiting. I have never seen Shaw play but from what I hear I think he would be a great addtion to the Bills because he fits so perfectly into the mold of our coach--tough, hard nosed hustler. It does not bother me that the big names are not recruiting him hard. He is a local kid with guts and determination--just like Chris Sloan who has become a big part of our team.
  8. I would suggest that the people complaining about the 4 "cupcakes" might consider the following: 1. Over the years almost every good team has 3 or 4 "cupcakes" on the schedule, particularly if the team in not composed of experienced players. 2. Although RPI is important I would suggest that confidence and a positive attitude are even more important. If we start out and win a few games and a positive attitude develops then that is a good thing. Reality will set in when Arizona comes to town but winning a few games early will be a big boost. After a month no one pays any attention to the schedule anyway. All that will be reported, particularly by the local press, will be "the Bills record is now 7-3", etc. 3. Most important, the Bills have almost an entirely new team in terms of playing time on the floor. Only Sloan and Fisher have heavy experience. We have at least 3 new guards --Bryant, Morris, Clarke and three or four new big men--Fredricks, V, JJ, and the 7 footer--not including McClain who will need to be evaluated in game situations( or redshirted).The coach will be experimenting with rotations and matchups. The team will need to become acclimated to the new surroundings and their new teammates. As a former coach I can tell you that it is musch easier to coach and motivate new players, and experiment with various lineups, if you are not playing the very best teams early in the season. Furthermore, winning is always good, no mater who you are playing provided that the coaching staff keeps the team intense and focused. This staff will meet that challenge IMO. 4. Every coach and AD set up a schedule based upon the team they have. Remember the schedule for Larry'a second year--when he left for the NBA--Spoon thought with the addition of Love that we were going to have a great team and he scheduled accordingly. we than proceeded to get killed because Larry was gone. this year's team will not be great but it has the potential to be good. the schedule is appropriate for the quality of this team. We will be playing plenty of very good and several outstanding teams. I, for one, will be at every home game cheering for the Bills, regardless of the opponents.
  9. If this team develops a personality early, one that displays toughness, defensive intensity and some effective, if not spectacular scoring, I think that there will be more interest in Billiken basketball than we have seen in several years. One of the keys will be getting off to a good start! Despite the miracle heroics of Perry, the fansastic coaching by Brad, and the great defensive efforts by the whole team as the season progressed, last years season was permanently damaged by the losses in our first 2 games at home. This year we need the miracle to happen early. Wow, does this coaching staff have its work cut out for them! Most of our key players will have played very limited or no minutes in a Billiken uniform. Sloan and Fischer, as the old hands, will have to continue to play fantastic defense and they will need to be solid leaders and calming influences on all of the young players. Drejaj really came on at the end of the year but he is still very new to the program. IO did not have many quality minutes until the very end of the season. That leaves us with Bryant, Morris, Clarke, Fredricks, the Greek fellow, JJ and, if healthy, McClain--all new and for us to be successful at least 3 of them must be significant contributors. The uncertainty created by all of the young and new players will keep all of us from being too sanguine about our beloved Billikens! I, for one, cannot wait to see them all in practice in October!
  10. I spoke with a senior person at Albereci who told me that the current target is to complete the arena is to have it built in time for the 2005 season. He seemed confident that they would meet that timetable so it seems to me that the project is a "go"!
  11. It is encouraging to hear that Fredricks scored well against Kenny Brown because Kenny is one of the best post defenders that the Bills have ever had. If he continues to develop his ofensive skills I think he would really be a help to our team next year. I think we can all see why the coach was talking about a possible redshirt year for Bryce. As we all know, it often takes longer for a seven footer to develop. With our Greek/Israel combination we might have two quick and talented big men who can score and run the court. If you add the toughness and tenacity of Sloan and the inside bulk of fredricks we might have a nice indside game next year with a lot of potential for the future. Kudos to the coaching staff!
  12. Warrick will be one of the finest players in the country next year now that Anthony left for the big show. He is an incredible athlete and a feirce competitor. It is absolutely ridiculous to set him up as the standard of play for our new big men. They can be damn fine players who contribute and grow and mature and yet never be the player that Warrick will be this year. I disagree strongly with the comparison with Heinrich. No one ever said he was "skilled" in anything when he was recruited. He was big and rawboned and he put on enough muscle to be a real force in the middle on the defensive end if he could stay out of foul trouble. He could not make a layup for 3 years. I have not seen the new guys but everything we have heard from all sources says that they have some skills and footwork. Heinrich was an utter disaster until his senior year. I would be shocked if at least one or two of these young men do not contribute this year and by next year, after they have become acclimated to the system and the tougher competition I would be shocked if they aren't all better offensive players than Heinrich ever was.
  13. With all due respect, if he had not been hyped before I think your comments raise the bar significantly--a poor man's Wade of a more dedicated Edwin--that would be an outstanding player! I hope you and the others are right about this guy. We have not had a really effective high flier 2/3 who could shoot from outside effectively in a long time. Love and Jeffers could at times fill that bill but Love was affected by his injury and was never the player he might have been and Jeffers was very inconsistant in his shooting. It will be fun to watch these new guys in practice!!
  14. I see from the ESPN website that they say that Louisville, Memphis and Cinn. are rated 5, 6 and 7 nationally in this year's recruiting class and that DePaul is in the top 15. this is great for conf USA-- if it stays together. As to the Bills recruiting, I think this is the most interesting and unpredictable class we have had in many years. coach brad has shown his ability to find diamonds in the rough--i.e Drejaj and Ohannon-- on short notice. I find his comment about the 2 freshman big men to be very instructive. He emphasizes that they can run and have some skills. We have not had a tall center with skills for at least 20 years. Heinrich, as a senior, was a tough defender and rebounder but he was not skilled by anyone's description. Kenny Brown was a wonderful defender but he had no real skills on the offensive end. If even one of these guys develops into a skilled low post player it would be a huge lift to this team over the next 4 years. My guess is that Fredricks will man the post most of the time next year and he sounds more like Heinrich--not a bad thing if he is tough and can rebound and defend--just limited on the offensive end. Morris sounds like a perfect man to run the motion offense but he will fight for time with Fisher and Drejaj. He will need to show he can defend-- a must for Coach Brad. Clarke could be a great find--or the addition of another overhyped swing man. I hope 3star is right about him. I love the fact that we are getting Polk even though I think it is a high risk use of a scholarship because of his knee problems. If he can come back and play like he did as a sophomore--with some seasoning--we will have a very nice player. The fact that he is local and from vashon is also a plus. A wuestion for those of you who have seen Shaw play--How does he compare to Chris Sloan? He sounds a lot like chris in his first 2 years at SLU before he starting shooting the 3ball. He also sounds like the kind of personality who would be a perfect fit for coah Brad. In my opinion, every team needs a player like Sloan who will leave his guts on the floor every night! Shaw coming in as Chris is leaving might be a perfect situation because you probably cannot afford to have two of this type of player.
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