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Random basketball thoughts

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1. Brian Lillis had a great game last night. Couple steals, 4-4 shooting including a reverse dunk. If he can work on his perimeter game, he'll be a very good player in this conference.

2. You wonder how Brown manages Zoellner. How do you help Zoellner understand how critical his performance is for the teams success without making him more frustrated than I'm sure he is. How many games does Brown try to pound it down low to Zoellner to start the game when he cannot convert?

3. I think the team really misses Iati's perimeter play. At the beginning of the year several players were making the 3's, but since conference play started it has really tapered off. Jamar is driving to the hole, would be great to have Iati on the perimeter for the pass and three point attempt.

4. Someone has to step up and hit the 10 to 12 foot shots. Listening to the games, it almost sounds like 3's and Jamar and Jordan going to the basket. Someone needs to find a short jump shot so that others are involved with the offense.

5. UMBC is a bad loss. Yes it was on the road and the kids were tired, but they were outrebounded by a team that only played there big man 23 minutes and had 17 turnovers against a team that doesn't really press.

6. UA must get to the free throw line. I think the free throws compensate for their struggles from the 3 point line. This was the first game that UA had fewer free throws than their opponent since the Boston University game. In fact, in games where the opposition had more free throws, UA is 1 and 4 (loss to UMBC, Wagner, Boston University and Lehigh while beating Sacred Heart). Jamar gets most of the free throw attempts because he drives so frequently. I think that Zoellner and Levi need to be more aggressive and get to the line. Even if their free throw percentage is not as high as Jordan and Jamar, that will force the other team into the bonus and double bonus a lot sooner. UA only had 5 free throw attempts in the second half last night - they had 18 in the first half.

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I think your post is really correct and hits the nail on the head.


Jon Iati is missed greatly his threat of shooting created space for Jamar and Lou.


Brian Lillis is still cutting his teeth but he brings energy and toughness.


Kirsten has to start converting, he has missed 3 or 4 easy ones each game. I believe by the end of the year he will be getting 12 and 7 or 8 boards and that will help greatly.


Brent Wilson has to start finding ways to get us a couple of hoops inside the Arc and must start hitting a little more consistently outside the Arc. I really think the Iowa connection are both going to be reall solid AE players.


UMBC is a bad loss but we still have to push forward we must take care of them when they visit Albany. We are not going to beat many teams when Levi, Kirsten, Lou and "Q" all have below par games on the same night.

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I didn't hear all the guys' UMBC game, as I was listening to it with a small ear piece radio in the RACC during the women's game, but I was wondering why everyone was saying Kirsten had such a poor performance last night. His numbers in both points and rebounds were above his season average for him at 9 and 8 respectively.

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GODANESGO - Regarding Kirsten:


He just hasn't taken advantage of the opportunities he's had.


1. Too many blown opportunities - he missed a dunk and traveled on another. He does similar each game.


2. Too many turnovers for a guy who doesn't touch the ball that often.


3. Right now we get nothing 2/3 of the time he get the ball down low.


4. Remember we lost by a close 5 to UMBC, and our other losses in AE play have been by 3.


We don't need greatness from "Der Big Man" we need some efficiency.


I still believe Kirsten will make or break our season and I believe he will make it. He's a work in progress .


He's one or two shots falling a game, and 2 rebounds a game from giving us that dimension we need to take the pressure off Jamar and Lucious. These improvements probably would make us 5-7ppg better as a team, maybe more.

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Agree that the big man is inconsistent, but his presence in the middle is invaluable regardless. Also see the void created with Iati's absence. However, I'm much more concerned with the "disappearance" of Levi and Q. These two will make or break us the rest of the way. Both are keys to controlling the boards and making those shots inside the arc. They've both shown over the last few years that they can play against anybody. Time to get back in there.

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I think the disappearances of Levi and Q are to some extent related to Jamar trying to get the ball to Zoellner.


For the last few games, I think the pattern has been to try to feed the ball to Zoellner to start the game and he struggles; the result is that you are 5 or 7 minutes into the game with maybe 5 points or are trailing. When that happens, it seems like Jamar (or Jordan) tries to take over and drive to the basket for some easy shots or he gets fouled. It seems like the second half starts the same way. I don't have the specific stats, but it seems like UA has less around 5 points after five minutes consistently.


I say all of this to say that the focus of the offense seems to be feeding Zoellner or letting Jamar and Jordan penetrate. I don't know that Levi and Q have plays called for them that much. I think this is where Brown needs to make a decision - if Zoellner begins to convert or is able to kick the ball out consistently then Levi gets perimeter shots, Q gets shots from the Zoellner passes, the team is winning and everyone is happy - like most of the Binghamton game. When this doesn't work, Jamar and Lucious take over and try to carry the team.


I think there is a big difference between having a post presence and having an offensive threat in the post. Does Brown go back to having a post presence and not try so hard to feed the ball to Zoellner?

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To early to give up, but...


The ball goes in and doesn't come back out. If he can increase to 40+% (including turnovers) I'd be happy. It does seem the look for him every time for certain stretches.


Please don't read it as knocking him there are just a few 7'1" guys that can make quick moves and decisions, and Kirsten is not there at this time. Once in a while a catch and a quick pass back would help. The other difficulty is he is having a tough time catching the ball on the move (off of Jamars penetration). That would get him another 4-6 a night.


That said, I love a 7'1" center clogging the middle and grabbing rebounds. If he can improve gradually this team will only get better.

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reeder and McFan


I am not misreading or disagreeing with either of you.


In fact I think it's great that as hungry as we fans are for more wins we are all very supportive of our players and the coaches.


Slight improvements from Kirsten will make him almost an automatic double double. I am hoping that the Danes peak in February and carry it into the AE Tourney.


Sooner would be OK too!!

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After watching every mediocre post player in the conference have a career day in scoring against us the last few years I'm glad to see Zoellner in there. I don't know how many times I've seen a guy catch the ball down low this year in decent postion (when he would have scored easily last year) see Zoellner and kick it back out again. He intimidates alot of shots, one of the UMBC players stated it in the paper the other day and their center Feeley, had half his usual scoring average in that game. Possibly just a coincidence but I'll credit Zoellner.


His offense is a work in progress. The times I've seen him be effective is when they come out of a timeout and pound it down to him a couple of times in a row. It seems like early in the game the opposing defenses are prepared for him but get away from that later in the game. He'll come around but even if he doesn't I'll take 8 or 9 points and half a dozen rebounds for now.

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