Friday, April 05, 2019

The Coming Year in BG MBB

Let's look ahead to what we have for the next year.

A couple things.  First, as noted in my state of the program post, Coach Huger will be back.  The Blade has reported that there are discussions around an extension for him.  One thing I forgot to note when I extolled the success of the WMU program is that perhaps as much as anything they also had stability at the top.  They were succeeding and not looking to get Hawkins out every time something didn't go well.  I believe that BG would be well-served with similar stability in the program.

I would support Coach getting a reasonable extension.  My thought is two is OK.  Anymore probably isn't a good idea.

So, what does next year look like?  First, of course, is the caveat that you have to wait and see who's still around November comes.  I have no knowledge of anyone looking to leave, but in a world where there are hundreds of transfers each year, the idea can't be ignored.  I know of no one leaving now and that's what we are basing this on.

BG lost 3 significant contributors off the team this year:  Wiggins, Lillard and Uju.  That's your 3rd and 4th leading scorers, your best rebounder and an important role player.   In the large scheme of things, that's not a crippling graduation loss, but in BG's case there is one issue, which is that Wiggins and Uju were really BG's only post players.  Replacing them will represent a challenge to the team in keeping its momentum moving forward.

BG has two current players on the roster who could be post players but have not seen much time.  Taylor Mattos, who will be a SO, played 67 minutes on the year and Joniya Gadson, who will be a Junior, played only 107 minutes over two years.  Not to say that either of these players can't play in the post, but we have yet to see them shoulder that burden in game play.  They may have shown it in practice, but we haven't seen it in a game.

All 3 of BG's incoming freshmen appear to be good players (more in a second) but none is a post player.

Which brings us to the most common complaint I hear about Coach Huger from Falcon fans...that he hasn't used all his scholarships.

BG played last year with one open scholarship and still have one open for next year.  For some, this is a pretty big issue.  You'd like to think you have an opportunity to bring in post players who could help right away--either Grad transfers or JUCO players.  It does seem to be the way the sport is going.  Certainly hasn't hurt Buffalo.

FWIW, while I haven't lost my mind on the issue, I do think that now that the program has some success and would be attractive to a player coming in, we really should be about the business of filling those slots, especially as there is an apparent hole in the roster at a pretty important position.

The two freshmen coming had very strong senior years in HS.

One of them is Davin Ziegler.   He's a 6'2 SG from Cleveland Benedictine.  He comes from a basketball family...his uncle is Ernie Ziegler, former UCLA assistant, and CMU Head Coach, and Trey Zeigler is his cousin and it goes deeper than that.  He won the Clark Kellogg award for boy's basketball player of the year in the Cleveland area and he finished all-state first team, Division II.

Zeigler scored 20.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game during the regular season.

The other FR coming in is Chandler Turner of Renaissance HS in Detroit.  He was named Mr. PSL (Public school league) this winter.  Also, he finished in the final 4 for Mr. Basketball in Michigan.  He was first-team all-state this year as well.

He's a 6'6" 2/3 who had offers from Kent, CSU, UB, NIU, Milwaukee, and IUPUI.

As a senior, he scored 24.7 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 7.3 APG and 41% 3FG shooting.

The last one committed yesterday.  That's Trey Diggs.  More on him here.

Adding all that up, you look to have Frye, Turner and Fields off the starting team.  Plowden really seemed to come on late, so you have him as a starter.  And then you have the open slot in the post.  Lillard was highly productive coming off the bench, but I'd like to think that Turner and possibly Diggs can fill his slot pretty nicely.  You've got Laster back, along with Marlon Sierra.  And then Mattos and Gadson and Kulakovics, which is all guys you don't know what you have.  You'd certainly think the Diggs can bring some points off the bench and I think Zeigler can contribute as well supporting Frye,

Which I hope adds up to some nice depth for BG, which was a strength this year.  I'd assume under this scenario that Mattos starts in the post.  I will say this:  BG did a great job bringing Wiggins along and maybe they have been doing the same thing with Marros.

Again, on a team that I think you have to feel pretty good about, the question mark is in the post.

I can't wait to see it start. The challenge is to string these years together and I'd love to see Coach Huger do that and get the program where it needs to be, year after year.

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