Better, worse, or the same as last year?

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Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Madmartigan » November 12th, 2020, 11:03 am

I am bullish on this team. I thought it could be a worthwhile discussion to evaluate what we lost, what we have coming back, and what we are bringing on new. I think with a healthy Queta the whole year and the size we have coming back we will be better by the end of the year. I think another tourney appearance and potential MW championship (both tourney and regular season) are reasonable.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by 2004AG » November 12th, 2020, 11:04 am

Moderately worse. We lose perhaps the best player in program history.


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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Real Life Aggie » November 12th, 2020, 11:19 am

2004AG wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 11:04 am
Moderately worse. We lose perhaps the best player in program history.
And he's been replaced by a bunch of freshman. I agree in that I don't think we'll be as good of a team this year. That having been said, I think Queta will dominate. We'll see how he looks this year, but I'm anticipating a lot out of him.

There's a good chance that Sam will get drafted and his stock has certainly risen recently, but since Queta's freshman year it's basically been a situation of "when?" will he go pro. I don't know that Queta will be able to match Sam in his ability to help the team/program win. Scoring aside, Sam just got Ws. But I think Queta has a higher skill-cap than Sam.

Assuming guards play out/develop as hoped and Queta stays for a senior season, I think that team would be better than last year's. No offense to Diogo and Abel and their contributions, but they're replaceable (even if they won't be as exuberant as Brito, lol). That team could be much better rounded, albeit lacking in one of the greatest Aggies of all time.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by nvspuds » November 12th, 2020, 11:37 am

Different..

Every season is different and every roster mix changes the puzzle. Wins and losses determine 'better or not' but even that has too many variables to guess now.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Yossarian » November 12th, 2020, 11:53 am

It is possible that Queta could play 3 more seasons at USU. Unlikely, but possible.

I think Brito's contribution on defense is what will be missed most. He was physically strong and athletic enough to defend guard/wing position. If one of the newcomers can match his defensive ability, we won't see a big dropoff there. I think most all of them are at least his equal in shooting ability.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by brownjeans » November 12th, 2020, 12:20 pm

We lost a great player, but our collective 3-point shooting was horrible. We should be a better shooting team this year, especially if Smith is willing to play our guys who can shoot the ball. We should win a few games because of better shooting.
What we're going to lack is a guy who can win the close game for us. The guy who can settle the team when things are going south. We'll probably lose a few games because we don't have that.
I bet we'll end up about the same - or a little better. We're the 2002 Athletics. We lost a star, but we're going to make up for it in the aggregate.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by brossp24 » November 12th, 2020, 12:43 pm

I would not be surprised by an equal or better finish this year. Sam's loss is huge, but we played last year significantly hampered by injuries to almost everybody, so with a little bit of health, seems like we could be poised for a strong performance.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by AGGIEinIOWA » November 12th, 2020, 12:46 pm

So comparing to last year is interesting. Regarding starting line-up, Queta/Bean/Miller are carryovers and should be improved over last year. Queta will be healthier, Bean has added to this game, and I expect Brock step up his shooting and overall game.

Then we likely replace Sam/Abel/Brito with Marco/Fonz/Bairstow. We get more size/length/strength with the new 3 and possibly boost in athleticism. Their length and athleticism could make us very tough on the defensive end if they play good team defense, like I expect we will. We have the rim protection needed but need to guard against the 3 well. What we will miss is the experience, maturity, and leadership of the former 3, and Sam's ability to put the team on his back when needed. I feel this years' trio is a slight overall step back and may not have the alpha male to replace Sam, but still a very good group overall.

Regarding the 7-10 players on the bench, I think we actually have more talent this year, though young, and some of them could very well become big contributors as the season progresses.

I think we have the potential to be equally as good as last year with a big IF depending on how quickly this team can establish an identity, gel, and settle into team roles. Some returning players will need to accept a new role this year. Fortunately most every team has to overcome this and I trust Coach Smith and his staff to do this as well as anyone. I think we will be different, but just as good this year as last ... and then build to a special year in store for 2021-22.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Aggie in Boise » November 12th, 2020, 12:48 pm

AGGIEinIOWA wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 12:46 pm
So comparing to last year is interesting. Regarding starting line-up, Queta/Bean/Miller are carryovers and should be improved over last year. Queta will be healthier, Bean has added to this game, and I expect Brock step up his shooting and overall game.

Then we likely replace Sam/Abel/Brito with Marco/Fonz/Bairstow. We get more size/length/strength with the new 3 and possibly boost in athleticism. Their length and athleticism could make us very tough on the defensive end if they play good team defense, like I expect we will. We have the rim protection needed but need to guard against the 3 well. What we will miss is the experience, maturity, and leadership of the former 3, and Sam's ability to put the team on his back when needed. I feel this years' trio is a slight overall step back and may not have the alpha male to replace Sam, but still a very good group overall.

Regarding the 7-10 players on the bench, I think we actually have more talent this year, though young, and some of them could very well become big contributors as the season progresses.

I think we have the potential to be equally as good as last year with a big IF depending on how quickly this team can establish an identity, gel, and settle into team roles. Some return players will need to accept a new role this year. Fortunately most every team has to overcome this and I trust Coach Smith and his staff to do this as well as anyone. I think we will be different, but just as good this year as last... and then build to a special year in store for 2021-22.
Agreed! Very well said.


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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Real Life Aggie » November 12th, 2020, 2:19 pm

Yossarian wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 11:53 am
It is possible that Queta could play 3 more seasons at USU. Unlikely, but possible.

I think Brito's contribution on defense is what will be missed most. He was physically strong and athletic enough to defend guard/wing position. If one of the newcomers can match his defensive ability, we won't see a big dropoff there. I think most all of them are at least his equal in shooting ability.
100% there. I know a lot of people on the boards (and at the games) gave Brito a lot of crap, but there were a number of key moments when he made a hustle defensive play beyond even his normally very active defense. The groan I held in when Miller was guarding a key scorer was the exact opposite when it was Brito. His offensive was okay... clutch in some important games, but inconsistent.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Yossarian » November 12th, 2020, 2:51 pm

The strength of last year's team (aside from Merrill being able to score seemingly whenever he wanted to, when healthy) was defense and rebounding. The Aggies were not exceptionally athletic last year, but their lenght - especially in the 1-3-1 defense) caused a lot of problems for opponents. This year they should be nearly as long, but with the athleticism of Anthony, Worcester, et al added in the mix.

The rebounding duo of Queta and Bean is still in tact and I don't expect a big drop-off there. The rebounding may be what keeps them in games or wins games for them. If shots from the outside aren't falling, offensive rebounds and put-backs may be the salvation. Overall, this team could very well be better than last year's version of Aggie basketball. Just need someone(s) to step up offensively. Queta will touch the ball in at least 75% of the offensive possessions in which he is on the court.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by I am an Aggie Man » November 12th, 2020, 4:54 pm

Inconsistency will be a theme this season. The raw talent on this team is much higher than last year but experience and some skill is lacking. I think that experience/skill really helped last year in the MW Tourney but a lack of it could end the season early and/or result in more losses than expected. The young/new guys will put it all together for one game but lay an egg the next.

I think this is a 20-win team at minimum (or same winning level since by possibly playing fewer games they might just miss out on surpassing 20) because of Queta/Bean/Anderson, but whether or not the team hits an upper limit depends on everyone else.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by SLB » November 12th, 2020, 5:32 pm

I feel really good since we are currently undefeated.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by pilotaggie » November 12th, 2020, 10:22 pm

brownjeans wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 12:20 pm
We lost a great player, but our collective 3-point shooting was horrible. We should be a better shooting team this year, especially if Smith is willing to play our guys who can shoot the ball. We should win a few games because of better shooting.
What we're going to lack is a guy who can win the close game for us. The guy who can settle the team when things are going south. We'll probably lose a few games because we don't have that.
I bet we'll end up about the same - or a little better. We're the 2002 Athletics. We lost a star, but we're going to make up for it in the aggregate.
This exactly! We should also get some better looks from outside with a healthy Queta down low.

How does our PG situation look? I haven't really looked at basketball since this Covid thing happened.


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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Real Life Aggie » November 12th, 2020, 11:25 pm

pilotaggie wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 10:22 pm
brownjeans wrote:
November 12th, 2020, 12:20 pm
We lost a great player, but our collective 3-point shooting was horrible. We should be a better shooting team this year, especially if Smith is willing to play our guys who can shoot the ball. We should win a few games because of better shooting.
What we're going to lack is a guy who can win the close game for us. The guy who can settle the team when things are going south. We'll probably lose a few games because we don't have that.
I bet we'll end up about the same - or a little better. We're the 2002 Athletics. We lost a star, but we're going to make up for it in the aggregate.
This exactly! We should also get some better looks from outside with a healthy Queta down low.

How does our PG situation look? I haven't really looked at basketball since this Covid thing happened.
Image
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by tysteve20 » November 13th, 2020, 7:20 am

I think it might take some time to gel together on the court, but the team will hit their stride at the right time late season and into the tourney.


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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Yossarian » November 13th, 2020, 10:14 am

tysteve20 wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 7:20 am
I think it might take some time to gel together on the court, but the team will hit their stride at the right time late season and into the tourney.


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This approach pretty much guarantees they have to win the conference tournament to play in the NCAA tournament (if they have one).



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by brian5562 » November 13th, 2020, 11:01 am

I think Anthony is going to have a big impact and overall the team will be better. It may take some early season hits but in the long run they will be better.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by OKAggie » November 13th, 2020, 11:15 am

Yossarian wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 10:14 am
tysteve20 wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 7:20 am
I think it might take some time to gel together on the court, but the team will hit their stride at the right time late season and into the tourney.


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This approach pretty much guarantees they have to win the conference tournament to play in the NCAA tournament (if they have one).
Not unlike last year. My lasting memory of the 19-20 season was the euphoria at the end of the run through the MWCT (the first time in my long Aggie life to attend the tourney). So it's easy to forget the terrible run after the 13-2 start to the season, when we then lost three out of four in a variety of ugly styles. I don't know which was worse -- getting pummeled by a very mediocre Air Force team, or blowing a 16-point lead with four minutes in the Greatest Four Minutes in Boise Basketball History.

Great teams, even legendary ones, go through challenging stretches in a long season. You just have to hit your stride early enough. We have an unusual roster this year that features both a lot of veteran leadership and a lot of newcomers. It will be fun to see how Craig and the staff blend all those newbs with the vets, and how long it takes them to hit their stride against what has shaped up to be a very challenging OOC schedule.


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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by AggiePT » November 13th, 2020, 11:21 am

I think we will have a lot of growing pains. I expect a lackluster, and often frustrating, first month or two of the season. Coming off the MWCT, our expectations are through the roof. It is a new year. Lots of new faces to get playing time. Every team on our schedule will be out to get us... even more than last year.

But the beauty of it is that Coach Smith has proven to us all that he helps his teams peak at the right time. I expect another great team near the end of the season that will be very hard to beat in the MWCT.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by nvspuds » November 13th, 2020, 11:52 am

Last year's MW had 3 superb closers in Merrill, Flynn and Harris....Stephens was very good as well..

Who takes the shots you gotta make down the stretch? Who makes free throw after free throw to ice a game..?

It could be Queta but it is generally a wing or PG that is the late game assassin.

The other guys have to trust him to make those shots or make that great pass to win the game.

Maybe, you have a guy who will emerge and fill that role.

From the outside it is very hard to see who that might be...
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by treesap32 » November 13th, 2020, 12:16 pm

nvspuds wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 11:52 am
Last year's MW had 3 superb closers in Merrill, Flynn and Harris....Stephens was very good as well..

Who takes the shots you gotta make down the stretch? Who makes free throw after free throw to ice a game..?

It could be Queta but it is generally a wing or PG that is the late game assassin.

The other guys have to trust him to make those shots or make that great pass to win the game.

Maybe, you have a guy who will emerge and fill that role.

From the outside it is very hard to see who that might be...
I'm hoping Anthony takes on that role. Anderson was pretty clutch for us in a few games last year as well...



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by OKAggie » November 13th, 2020, 12:18 pm

nvspuds wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 11:52 am
Last year's MW had 3 superb closers in Merrill, Flynn and Harris....Stephens was very good as well..

Who takes the shots you gotta make down the stretch? Who makes free throw after free throw to ice a game..?

It could be Queta but it is generally a wing or PG that is the late game assassin.

The other guys have to trust him to make those shots or make that great pass to win the game.

Maybe, you have a guy who will emerge and fill that role.

From the outside it is very hard to see who that might be...
Also from the inside. But if I had to rank our candidates for the "closer" role as you've described it I'd say (1) Anderson (2) Queta (3) Anthony (4) Bairstow. Bean and Miller also have strengths -- Miller will be our best free throw shooter, I'd bet, but maybe not likely to be the go-to guy in the last two minutes. Not sure about any of our 17 (going from memory) newcomers.


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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by nvspuds » November 13th, 2020, 12:22 pm

I would think Anderson is likely..He was inconsistent last season but he has the goods if he can improve upon that..Having the ball in your hands at the end of the game has not been something he has been called upon to do before..Maybe Anthony will be the guy..



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by treesap32 » November 13th, 2020, 12:25 pm

nvspuds wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 12:22 pm
I would think Anderson is likely..He was inconsistent last season but he has the goods if he can improve upon that..Having the ball in your hands at the end of the game has not been something he has been called upon to do before..Maybe Anthony will be the guy..
This argument may be moot.

I don't think we'll see hero ball at all this year in the clutch down the stretch. It will likely be: Run a play to hopefully get an easy shot, regardless of who takes that shot. I mean, they may have Anderson as option 1, Anthony as option 2, Bean as 3... and see what comes of it.

The hero ball that we saw in the MW Tournament was an abnormality for Smith coached teams. He only did it because Sam had proven over and over again in that tournament that he could score at will creating for himself, and Sam told him to let him to do it. No more Sam, no more hero ball.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Mr. Sneelock » November 13th, 2020, 12:25 pm

I think Queta will make a huge jump this year, as long as he can stay healthy.


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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by nvspuds » November 13th, 2020, 12:36 pm

I don't see it as hero ball at all..I see it as the guy a team needs who can make the tough shots when it matters most..

I see it as a guy who can protect the ball and make free throws to close out a game..

The closer role is not at all limited to the last shot..It is a guy that can make the shot that kills a rally going against you..It is a guy who draws a double team and finds the open guy.

It's a guy who gets a steal when you really need one..It's a guy who can still play tough D with 4 fouls..

The ultimate glue guy..
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Real Life Aggie » November 13th, 2020, 12:51 pm

nvspuds wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 12:36 pm
I don't see it as hero ball at all..I see it as the guy a team needs who can make the tough shots when it matters most..

I see it as a guy who can protect the ball and make free throws to close out a game..

The closer role is not at all limited to the last shot..It is a guy that can make the shot that kills a rally going against you..It is a guy who draws a double team and finds the open guy.

It's a guy who gets a steal when you really need one..It's a guy who can still play tough D with 4 fouls..

The ultimate glue guy..
You say glue guy, which seems pretty clear that you're alluding to Justin Bean. It's not a bad point, and one that we might be ignoring. I'm guilty of this, and thinking back to other conversations on this board, I think we have generally been looking for someone to fill Sam's shoes in Sam's way.

It looks like sap also pushed against that kind of thinking a few comments up.

I guess here's a discussion: does Justin Bean become the next Spencer Nelson/Nate Harris? Does he transform from our team's ultimate glue guy to our team's driving force?



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by treesap32 » November 13th, 2020, 1:04 pm

Real Life Aggie wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 12:51 pm
nvspuds wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 12:36 pm
I don't see it as hero ball at all..I see it as the guy a team needs who can make the tough shots when it matters most..

I see it as a guy who can protect the ball and make free throws to close out a game..

The closer role is not at all limited to the last shot..It is a guy that can make the shot that kills a rally going against you..It is a guy who draws a double team and finds the open guy.

It's a guy who gets a steal when you really need one..It's a guy who can still play tough D with 4 fouls..

The ultimate glue guy..
You say glue guy, which seems pretty clear that you're alluding to Justin Bean. It's not a bad point, and one that we might be ignoring. I'm guilty of this, and thinking back to other conversations on this board, I think we have generally been looking for someone to fill Sam's shoes in Sam's way.

It looks like sap also pushed against that kind of thinking a few comments up.

I guess here's a discussion: does Justin Bean become the next Spencer Nelson/Nate Harris? Does he transform from our team's ultimate glue guy to our team's driving force?
He's a different player than them, but he does have some of the same qualities. He's got Spencer's tenacity and love of the game. They were both vocal on the court and great leaders. Harris was much quieter, but was an efficient scorer like Bean. Harris and Nelson had more polished offensive games. Harris was deadly in the post and Nelson's offensive game was a bit more varied.

As far as "glue guys" go I don't think you could get much better than Justin Bean though.

And yes, I don't think we'll see a replacement for the type of player Sam was. We're going to see a different team effort, and I think we have the POTENTIAL to be even better if everyone can buy in and contribute. I personally don't think we'll be quite as this season as we were last season, but I've seen teams take a step up after losing their superstars before. It wouldn't surprise me that much.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by nvspuds » November 13th, 2020, 1:05 pm

Bean could well be the guy..That is not to say that you can't play team ball. I just think every team needs a guy you can look to when the chips are down..The guy you know will make the big play when you absolutely have to have it.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by treesap32 » November 13th, 2020, 1:06 pm

nvspuds wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 1:05 pm
Bean could well be the guy..That is not to say that you can't play team ball. I just think every team needs a guy you can look to when the chips are down..The guy you know will make the big play when you absolutely have to have it.
It definitely is a great benefit to have that guy. We had it with Sam the last few years for sure. I could see Bean as the vocal leader on this team. I could see us going to Anderson or Anthony (from what I've heard) for scoring in a pinch, and I could see us trying to in bound to Miller to ice the game from the FT line.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Aggie in Boise » November 13th, 2020, 1:20 pm

Real Life Aggie wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 12:51 pm
nvspuds wrote:
November 13th, 2020, 12:36 pm
I don't see it as hero ball at all..I see it as the guy a team needs who can make the tough shots when it matters most..

I see it as a guy who can protect the ball and make free throws to close out a game..

The closer role is not at all limited to the last shot..It is a guy that can make the shot that kills a rally going against you..It is a guy who draws a double team and finds the open guy.

It's a guy who gets a steal when you really need one..It's a guy who can still play tough D with 4 fouls..

The ultimate glue guy..
You say glue guy, which seems pretty clear that you're alluding to Justin Bean. It's not a bad point, and one that we might be ignoring. I'm guilty of this, and thinking back to other conversations on this board, I think we have generally been looking for someone to fill Sam's shoes in Sam's way.

It looks like sap also pushed against that kind of thinking a few comments up.

I guess here's a discussion: does Justin Bean become the next Spencer Nelson/Nate Harris? Does he transform from our team's ultimate glue guy to our team's driving force?
He is way more athletic (bigger, faster, stronger, jumps higher) than either of those two were. I don't think Nate or Spencer put up the type of numbers as Sophomores as Bean did. When it's all said and done I think Bean easily surpasses them. IMO he has also played against much tougher competition than either of those two did as well.


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AggiePT
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by AggiePT » November 13th, 2020, 2:18 pm

I like this discussion. One of my favorites I have seen in a while on here.

I honestly think that finding any one person on our roster this year that can do what Sam did the last couple years is very unlikely. Sam had an NBA caliber skill set and the killer instinct/confidence. I have watched a lot of college ball over the years, and the list of player that can consistently take over and hit the clutch shots down the stretch is very short. I think we will see this year that Smith will have to give the opportunities at the end of the game to whoever has the hot hand in game being played. Maybe I am wrong, and I hope I am. But I don't think we will see anything like Sam again. Legendary.

That being said, someone will need to step into the leadership role to keep the team grounded when momentum swings away from us this year. The cream always rises to the top.



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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by RigAggie » November 13th, 2020, 2:33 pm

Great posts so far. This reminds me somewhat of 2 years ago when we were first introduced to a new head coach taking over for Duryea. we knew a lot of the players, but not the coach. Now we know the coach and some of the players. Some of the things I like returning are:
1. Justin Bean. After Merrill, he was my favorite Aggie last year. Tough, hard nose and a gift for being in the right place at the right time.
2. Queta. I'm hopeful that having a year of practice and improvement under his belt will show a giant progression from last year. Even if he approaches his rookie year potential, I will be happy.
3. Smith. I still can't believe that he is still our coach. I thought he would be poached after his first year. Each year we get with this coach is a gift.
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Re: Better, worse, or the same as last year?

Post by Bank Shot » November 13th, 2020, 4:30 pm

Great topic! Losing Sam the Dagger is impossible to replace, and Spuds brings up some great points about the question we have as to a go to guy. I think we can have an equal record or better than last year, simply because we lost some games last year we had no business losing. I'm hoping Queta can be dominating but he can only do that on the floor. His tendencies to pick up cheap fouls is the one thing he really needs to stay disciplined about. It seems he doesn't get the benefit of the doubt on a lot of calls. We've survived his absence and injuries in the past but a lot of that survival was due to having Sam as our glue.



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