Thursday, May 31, 2012

Coach Orr gives Summer Briefing

If you surf on over to, you will find a video, in two segments, that features Coach Orr talking about the state of the basketball program.

It is strictly an in-house thing, there are no external members of the media present.  Still, I thought it was interesting.  I know that there is a lot of concern in the nation about the state of our men's basketball program and that concern has started to focus on Coach Orr...nonetheless, he is the Coach, and the best thing for our program would be for him to lead the program to success.

It isn't that I don't share those concerns, as I wrote here.  You cannot hide from the results, and the results are not great.

Anyway, I watched the segments and here is what Coach had to say.

First, on the plus side, both Scott Thomas and Dee Brown graduated.  I am always pleased to see the guys get their degrees.  I believe that if we keep a player for four or five years, there's no excuse for them not graduating, so good for them.

Our third senior, Torian Oglesby is expected to graduate in August.

All 3 are trying to play next year.  Thomas and Brown have been to camps to try and get a contract.

Then Coach Orr talked about how is coming back.  While we lost 2 starters, we have 3 coming back.

Coming back: starters

  • Calhoun--2nd team All-MAC, leading scorer on team.
  • Crawford--most improved player.  Coach noted he was 2nd in MAC in assists.  (My note:  Crawford is certainly the subject of a lot of debate right now. I will have a post next week where we try to get some facts into the discussion.).
  • Cam Black--Was in better shape, worked hard.  "One of the best defensive players in the league."  Looking for a big jump.

Coming back:  reserves

  • Kraus--missed during his injury.  Missed his toughness and defense.
  • Erger--A great teammate.  Put him in for any situation.  "A coach on the floor."
  • Sealey--lots of praise for his athleticism.  Energy.  Torian-style energy.  Break out season expected.

  • Henderson--A 2.  Second most athletic player on team.  Can score the ball.  Finisher on the break.  Looking here to take up the outside scoring lost in Thomas and Brown.
  • Orr--can score.  Can get to the free throw line.

Need these guys to score from the team to win.

My note:  that is 100% TRUE.  We saw what CMU did to BG--locking down on Calhoun and forcing BG to win from the outside.  That was hard enough with Thomas and Brown.  Without them, it becomes a very scary in, it could be an issue game in and game out.  Which means that Henderson, Orr and Sealey need to be able to pick up that slack.  We have not really seen that out of any of them in their limited playing time.  Not saying they can't or won't, just that we haven't seen it.).

There are also some younger players...

Most fans are thinking about Jehvon Clarke.  Coach said he had some "moments."  Talented, mostly PG and a little off the ball.  Home run hitter, needs to work on singles and doubles.  (My note:  most fans have focused on the great moves he made, so Coach is saying he has to manage the offense better every possession.).

Desmond Rorie--Redshirted.  Needs to get into great basketball shape.  "Oozing potential."

Antonio Ferrell--walk on.  Made the team better in practice.  Made a big improvement.  Could play.


Richaun Holmes (So).---one year of JUCO ball is all he has played and he's only 18.  Great potential.  "Oozing talent."  (Apparently, the keyword for this briefing was "oozing."   He's 6'8" and athletic.  Leading shot blockers in JUCO.  Averaged 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6 blocks.  First team JUCO all-american. (In fairness, JUCO Division II).  Can play 4 or 5.  Can guard 4 or 5.  Needs to build up his body.

Spencer Parker--6'7".  Can play 2 to 4 and played 1 sometimes in prep school. Good in transition and with the ball.  Big praise for his ability.  Can guard at 2 and still be a rebounding force.

A note:  if this is true and Parker can indeed play 2 at his size and athleticism, then he becomes a major match up issue for any team in the MAC.

A last note on players:  if I have a concern about the Orr era it is that I don't think our players have developed as much as I would hope.  They seem, in general, to have sort of flat careers.  Two years ago, even though we had only lost one guy, it was clear that we weren't going to succeed unless some players took big jumps,and they didn't and we didn't.  This year, the same is true.  Henderson, Orr, Sealey, Black, Crawford--they all need to move their games up for us to compete in the MAC.

We have one scholarship available.  We have some flexibility.  Looking at HS players who fell through the cracks or are late qualifiers.  Looking at JUCO and 4-year transfers.  Looking at a "little bit of everything." This would be a great chance (in my view) to get a transfer in.  Next year's team has 4 seniors, and some strength starting the year after that would be really good.

In terms of scheduling, BG is playing in the pre-season NIT.  Playing in the UM Pod.  Two games.  Goal:  Madison Square Garden.  This is a real tournament, unlike CBE.  We could in theory win, which we could not have done in the CBE.

Coach's strategy is "taking this one game at a time."  I just wish he hadn't given this away to the opposition.

More scheduling:

Home games
MSU before Christmas.
Youngstown State
Wright State
"Teams with a local flavor" which is a nice bit of spin.

Play @USF
Temple.  (12/31)

Looking to add one or two more games.

Finally, he notes that year after next, the MAC is going to an 18 game MAC schedule.  My perspective is that this is a good thing.  It is a tacit admission that we are a one bid league, but it takes us away from the very difficult task of finding interesting non-conference games and instead extends the best part of the season, which is the MAC season.

Coach noted there will be some scheduling issues with rotations, and that there will not be a clear EAST-WEST-EAST phasing to the schedule like there is now.

That's the guts of what he had to say.  Full interviews are on  I would so like to see the program step out of the middle of the MAC and become truly competitive.

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