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    • #186252

      Ute Fan

      Why has Mike Saunders Jr. NOT been playing this year?? Kid is having a pretty solid game tonight vd fUCLA.

    • #186254

      Ute Fan

      It was alleged that he got into a verbal altercation with one of the assistant coach earlier in the year and he lack of playing time was a punishment. Nothing was every confirmed of denied about that.

      He struggles mightily on D and is very often out of position and doesn’t know where to be.

      He plays a little out of control sometimes but at least he’s trying to make something happen out there.

      • #186272

        Ute Fan

        Barring attitude issues, I have felt all season there is no reason he shouldn’t be getting 5min a game and if he’s going well more.

        I like Rollie and Marco just fine but IMO you can’t honestly tell me they’re so dominant that they deserve to play almost every minute of every game. That rant has been my only complaint of coach Smith, he is making me not enjoy those 2 as much as I normally would, by overplaying them.

        Between Keita and Ben, either one should be getting a little more time so Marco can rest 3 to 4 minutes more and same for Saunders he could get 3 to 5 minutes so Rollie can rest a bit. Besides getting those younger guys more run to develop it could also help Rollie and Marco be more effective in their minutes

    • #186255

      Ute Fan

      With the injuries that we have, I expect him to play Pre minutes until we get them back, and then probably see him about 5-10 minutes a game. He’s got potential, just gotta train it

      • #186256

        Ute Fan

        That being said, he played a heck of a game tonight and we see what he can become

    • #186257

      Ute Fan

      The kid can ball, but he is not a baller.

      When he made mistakes his head would drop or hands would raise up. Even if they were minor.

      Marco had to push into position on defense.

      He can create his own shot which is something the team lacks. But seemed to have little court awareness. I am sure that he was trying to prove his worth or get some highlights for the portal.

    • #186263

      Ute Fan

      Every made bucket by Saunders made Craig Smith look worse and worse. Earlier this week, Craig said Saunders wasn’t playing because “he just needs to play better”. It seems now that either that was BS coachspeak and Craig is covering for something, or 25 points just isn’t good enough for a PG.

      Yeah, Saunders looked lost on defense, but guess what? That’s what happens when you haven’t gotten any minutes with the team all season! As he gets more minutes, the positional understanding of how to play defense will come. Not to mention that they were playing one of the most potent offenses in the country. And honestly, if he’s chipping in 25 a night, I’m willing to be a little more forgiving with the defensive side of the ball.

      Yeah, any time a guy who hasn’t played all year because “he’s not good enough” comes in and drops 25 on the #4 team in the country, there’s no way to rationalize it except egg on the coach’s face.

      • #186266

        Ute Fan

        I would think that if he (reportedly) yelled at a coach, he might sit for a game and not most of a season.  But in any case he made a huge difference last night and helped us stay in the game.


        Proud of our overall effort last night, especially given 2 starters were out.  Hoping we can win another game or two before the tourney in Vegas.


    • #186274

      Ute Fan

      As a complete guess… I have heard both coach K previously and coach Smith talk on and on about defense first with rebounding and ball handling on par with taking good shots. With that I have really like the way we have been playing defense. I brought up coach K because last night reminded me how Plummer did not get minutes until late in the year and became instant offense. I don’t fault coach at all with the idea of playing defense gets you onto the court. Next, we lose our two best outside shooter/wing players and we found ourselves lacking shooting confidence. What I saw last night was our defense took a step back with switches and assignments leaving us with what felt like as many big mistakes as once took a dozen games to see earlier in the year. I also saw Saunders very determined offensive game that was as startling as when Plummer stepped up. I expect that it helped that UCLA did not have a scouting report on him but I think like Plummer it may not matter.

      I saw Saunders very focused and trying hard on defense and I think he understands that part of his game is where he needs to improve. UCLA is a team that will make you pay for mistakes much better than most other teams. Holt also had an unexpected game but without so much scoring. I was very delighted by both. It will be interesting to see how coach uses them as Madsen and Worster come back. No doubt, Saunders defense will improve with more minutes as well as ball handling in traffic. Add to this Exact had his first start and played well. Next up we get to see our new stuff against USC Saturday to see what get a step better.

      As for coach, I can see how he possibly got here and I expect there could be more we don’t know so I don’t fault him. Now we may see how he blends Saunders strengths into a balanced offense and defense. The excitement can be we just got better as a team.

    • #186294

      Ute Fan

      Coaches get blind spots
      Last year it was Jenkins

      Saunders d looked fine last night

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