The offseason is officially over, which means after eight long months it’s finally time to watch live basketball. What better way to break into the season than to read about a blogger overthinking defenses, depth charts and coaching styles.
Before you get too excited, let me remind you that this is an inter-squad scrimmage. Schemes will likely be very vanilla, and we most certainly won’t see the starting five on the same team. With that being said, there is a good deal we can learn about the 2016-17 squad Saturday.
Four Things To Watch For
Ehsan’s Coaching Demeanor
Coach Ehsan has said on a couple different occasions over the offseason that he’ll bring a different energy than Haase from the bench.That isn’t to say Haase’s court side manner was deficient by any means. In this case different should be a positive.
Ehsan is a Gary Williams product, and the former Maryland coach was never shy to show his emotion during games, or before for that matter. I pray that coach comes up with his own signature move like Coach Williams epic fist pump.
Do I think he’ll be a ticking time bomb like his conference peer Tim Floyd?
What I’d expect is a significantly more emotional presence than what Haase brought, and I’d wager that Ehsan will spend more time with his coat off than on during games.
Teams often take on the personality of their coach and vice versa. I believe both Ehsan and his team will be feisty, hungry and poised.
Defensive Style Change
Ehsan really wants to take advantage of his roster depth and experience this year. He has said they’ll press a good deal more, which I think suits the make up of this team perfectly.
HAHA and Chris move exceptionally well for their size. Both can handle switching to smaller forwards and guards when needed, which is a luxury in college basketball.
Dirk has NBA level length, and Nick led the team in steals last year with 52. Nick has really developed into a sneaky good defender.
Behind the four mentioned, you have at least five more guys you can plug in and hardly miss a beat. This team has been built to maintain a high level of play deep into the roster, and I expect we will see that.
Get psyched because we’re going to see Ehsan and staff implement a myriad of defensive schemes this season.
I have very high expectations for both Javien Williams and Nate Darling. Javien appears to be a Dirk Williams clone, and Nate comes from a prestigious pedigree having played at Dematha Catholic and the Canadian U17 national team.
I’d lean more to Javien seeing the most playing time of the two given his broader skill set. However, I wouldn’t count out Nate working his way into the rotation if the staff feels his threat from the perimeter is ready to see game action.
Depth Chart Predictors
Norton, Lee, Cokley and Dirk will almost certainly be day one starters. How Ehsan and staff plug in the rest of the pieces is really irrelevant given the way UAB dispersed minutes last season. I expect to see a fluid starting five throughout the season.
One thing to watch is how Baxter fits in with the emergence of Dirk Williams, and Deion Lavender becoming eligible. Hak has been a starter for nearly every game the past two seasons. Will that change this season?