Sigi and other points

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Sigi and other points

Postby turkeyman » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:57 pm

It has been suggested on Cim's new blog, by MaineJeff, I believe, that UMaine wbb will be better next year after Sigi has graduated. That is not the blasphemy it appears at first.

Perhaps Maine' s best team in the automatic-bid era was the team that beat Stanford in the NCAAs in 1999, the year after Cindy graduated. Amy Vachon, a pure point, ran the team on the floor with Kristen McCormick as designated shooter. The offense was organized around Jamie Cassidy, and with the twin towers of Cassidy and Martina Tinklova and with Kelly Bowman on the wing, this was a very good team. Sure, we all missed Cindy. But 1998-'99 was the only Maine team and the first ever AE team to win in the NCAAs.

MJ may be on to something. Great players often stand out above their teammates in many ways, and they get the lion's share of the attention. But great players need a strong team with them if they are to fulfill their potential. Cindy had a strong team with her and left a strong team behind her. It delivered.

As a junior, Sigi had a smart and experienced team around her. And the team was organized around Liz Wood, which kept a lot of pressure off Sigi. Liz led the team both by example and by voice. Her first three years, Sigi had Sophie Weckstrom at point, which freed Sigi to be a dynamo at the two. As a senior, the role of leader fell to Sigi with nine players around her who had never worn a Maine uniform in a game. That and the injury may have put too much pressure on Sigi. Her numbers were down, except in the classroom, and the injury may not account for all the decrease.

The team will be a lot different without Sigi. If it is better, as most of us expect, that is no fault of Sigi's. She played out of position almost all year, imho.

Zonid has noted that Coach Barron has called Tanesha Sutton a true point guard. She started at point this year with Sigi at the two. That didn't last long, and T wound up at the three and four and even (in the AE tournament and perhaps other times) at the five. (Liz Wood played all five positions in at least one game her freshman year, but to have put her at point, which she surely could have played, might have lessened her overall value as a defender, stealer, rebounder, shooter.) MJ is correct that T needs to work on control, to play within herself as Kim Corbitt (perhaps Maine's best ever pure point guard) did. T often makes her final decision too soon, by a mini-second or two, and sometimes plunges into defenders who are already set up to take a charge. Or tries to go through a hole that closed a nano-second ago. With her performance this year -- she led in shooting percentage at 47 percent after shooting 30 percent at Duquesne -- at several positions, it may be that she should stay at the three and sometimes go into the high post, as she did very effectively in the first Albany game this year. Putting her at point might waste some of her other skills.

Julie Brosseau filled in well for Sigi at point during Sigi's injury. She handles the ball well and is developing a dribble-drive that will force defenders to back off when she is outside the three-point line lest she take them to the cleaners. Her defense is good, and most kids' defense under Barron improves each year, so we can look for that, too. It may be that Julie's best value is not at the point but at the two and as a backup point.

Look for another possibility. Naira Caceras. The Canary Islander has played point on Spain's national U18 team. She has great length at 6-0, which should mean she can see the floor well. She has very long strides, which make up a bit for less than blazing speed. Did you ever see her grab a defensive rebound and not take the ball up court by herself? She seems to love having the ball in her hands, and even for a pure point who seldom calls her own number, that is a positive. I don't know why her playing time went down after mid-season, but she sometimes appeared to be out of position and she seemed not to be in mid-season condition by mid-season. She does need to work on positioning, and if she is a natural point then she played out of position most of the year. Maine's offense is pretty complicated. I have heard people say the European style is you bring the ball up and someone shoots it. That's an oversimplification, to be sure, but it may be a reason some of the freshmen appeared to have difficulty mastering the offense. Strength and conditioning may be on Naira's summer agenda, too.

Maddy McVicar is a trouper and she performed well in limited minutes. We know she can handle the ball, we know she has good court vision. She has quick hands but is not lightning fast afoot, though some of the other guards may be less swift-footed. She got some good opportunities under Coach Vachon, and I would love to see her get significant PT as backup point. With some seasoning, she might be able to step in for an injured point, too. No one can question her work ethic.

I'm figuring that Blanca Millan will stay right where she is. She should be all-conference next year if she builds on her freshman season.

Isabel Hernandez Pepe is the other holdover guard. She has seen limited minutes, and her natural position seems to be the two, not the one. She is a good shooter and clearly likes to shoot. I don't look for her to be a candidate for point next year, but, hey, I'm the guy who said T would play point and Sigi would play the two. So, whaddo I know?

And, Kelly Fogarty, rated the best shooter in Massachusetts, will come to Maine in the fall. Everyone figures her for a two and not a contender for point. That seems likely, but, as they say in New York, "Ya never know, ya know?

"Sigi, terrific ball player that she is, terrific to watch as she excites the crowd, terrific student that she is, leaves a lot of good players behind. Just as Cindy did. Just as Heather Ernest did. We may see the culmination of her year as "team mother" in the three years to come.

Bob Neal
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Re: Sigi and other points

Postby bcbc55 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:51 pm

Bob: Great evaluative, informative, accurate and interesting post.

I agree Sigi is really a point wing, but she is also an excellent point guard when needed as she has demonstrated in her four years at UMaine. Tough enough to play in D-1 let alone play out of position.

Excellent evaluative post on the individual players who are returning. Very thorough job of their strengths and weakness.

UMaine's offense was Not that complicated. In fact, I don't know what it really was, it certainly wasn't to get the ball inside and then for open 3's as they didn't go inside that much. It looked like the players were allowed to determine who shoots from where and when in other wirds it was an uncomplicated free lance offense. Not ny where near enough screens to Sigi when she had the ball for rolls by the bigs when they set the screen or a fake screen roll and loop back for the open 3 for the shooter when they screendd for Sigi.

I can understand why they didn't use the post players that much because the international bigs do not have good post up skills and do not shoot power layups.

They do not demonstrate the skills to seal their defender properly, how to show where they want the ball and how to signal when they want the ball. When they get the ball they do not use the stop and power layup when having the ball in the power alley (block to block across to each other to the hoop) instead they have a big tendency to rush their shits like they are worried about being called for 3 seconds or that their shot will be blocked, thus resulting to too many rushed on the move floating shots which take them right of the offensive rebounding position to get their on misses. Another big sign of this is how many old fashion 3 point plays did the bigs get this season. Mostly just 2 shot fouls when in the act of shooting, no 3's.

Very surprised and disappointed that the international bigs with a year at Maine do not have these post up skills and until they do they will never develop to their full potential and will not give Maine a good inside-outside game to force teams to double down to double team a player on the block.

Sutton has the best post up moves and has a good power layup which was illustrated on how well she followed her misses from the power ally as she did the post up skill correctly to bad she wasn't 6 feet plus. Maybe she should be the post up-Power layup playing assistant coach

The point guard could be done by committee with the returning players different point guard skills.

Tryouts in the pre-season, pre-season games and non-conference games extremely important to see who will be the best point guard. I have always liked tall point guards as they can see over traps and get the ball inside (if the bigs learn to shoot power layups).

So Caceres would be my first choice and then Brosseau as a wing and backup point guard.

That leaves incoming frosh Flaherty, Sutton, Brooseau and Millan at the wings and the bigs, Wadling, Sole, Keleva, Johnson and Stojsavljievic which would give them a well-balance attack IF, AND THAT IS A BIG HUGE IF, the post players develop the needed skills mentioned already.

Just my opinion based on develop effective post players over the years.

Your great, motivating post got me fired up to respond to what I think is the biggest weakest of the teams offensive skills.

You are still a NINE............................TEEN
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Re: Sigi and other points

Postby zonid » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:16 pm

I believe Bill Simmons terms what Bob is describing as the Ewing Effect, and it has a lot of examples to back it up. Of course, as I have stated before, the freshman class will simply be better with a year under their belts and that should more than account for Sigi's departure. Sigi played better at the 2 during her sophomore and junior years but she also wasn't the primary focus of the defense like she was this year. Either way, she is one of the best to put on a Maine uniform and was an absolute joy to watch. Simply awesome.

Caceres was supposed to be the best of the freshman class coming in but flatlined at some point during the year. I think there is still a lot from here that we haven't seen yet. She does have a tendency to make things overly complicated when they don't need to be when driving to the hoop, dribbling between her legs unnecessarily, etc. If she finds her shot she'll be a force in the AE.

There is no clear answer for who will play point on next year's team. The roster is set in the post between Sole, Wadling, Kelava, Stoj, Johnson, and Caceres if need be. I would not be surprised to see the last scholarship used on a true point from overseas. Perhaps there is a transfer out there that could fill the need as well. Regardless, Barron and co. have an established track record and will have the answer.
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Re: Sigi and other points

Postby bcbc55 » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:08 pm

zonid wrote:I believe Bill Simmons terms what Bob is describing as the Ewing Effect, and it has a lot of examples to back it up. Of course, as I have stated before, the freshman class will simply be better with a year under their belts and that should more than account for Sigi's departure. Sigi played better at the 2 during her sophomore and junior years but she also wasn't the primary focus of the defense like she was this year. Either way, she is one of the best to put on a Maine uniform and was an absolute joy to watch. Simply awesome.

Caceres was supposed to be the best of the freshman class coming in but flatlined at some point during the year. I think there is still a lot from here that we haven't seen yet. She does have a tendency to make things overly complicated when they don't need to be when driving to the hoop, dribbling between her legs unnecessarily, etc. If she finds her shot she'll be a force in the AE.

There is no clear answer for who will play point on next year's team. The roster is set in the post between Sole, Wadling, Kelava, Stoj, Johnson, and Caceres if need be. I would not be surprised to see the last scholarship used on a true point from overseas. Perhaps there is a transfer out there that could fill the need as well. Regardless, Barron and co. have an established track record and will have the answer.


Z: That point guard transfer would have to be a JUCO transfer to be eligible for next season.

The last scholarship should be for a point guard, as you stated from overseas but if none available try to find one that has had a year of prep point after high school.

Point was a problem this year as it forced Sigi out of position where she was less effective and it could well be the achillees heel for next years team also.
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Re: Sigi and other points

Postby turkeyman » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:29 pm

Zonid, can't agree more with you on Sigi's value. That's why it is difficult to write that the Ewing Theory may apply here. Yet, we have evidence even in Maine of its applicability.

Barron said a couple of years ago that UMaine was going to blur some of the traditional distinctions, that it might not be a team with a point (one), a shooter (two), a wing (three) and so on. That remains a possibility with this group. Almost any of this group of guards can bring the ball up and call plays. The distinctions among them will be such things as ability to find the open man, defense, rebounding, free-throw shooting, minimizing turnovers, etc. Maine did have some games either in 2015-16 or in 2014-15 when one player would play point for a couple of possessions, then another would act as point, etc., even with no changes on the floor in personnel. That seemed to me a sign of Barron's mixing up some of the traditional roles.

Sorry that I overlooked what you wrote about the freshmen all getting better. I had made note of that and had intended to post an agreement, but I already write too long, so I didn't get to it. But, you are correct. If these
kids come back next year with the same level of improvement that the class of '16 showed between freshman and sophomore years, they will be very good.

We know that Coach Amy has taken or planned a trip to England and Finland. Maybe she'll find what she's looking for over there. Even if she doesn't, I expect any of two or three of the current guards could become a good point.

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Re: Sigi and other points

Postby driveandive » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:48 pm

There are tons of examples of men's and women's teams at all levels with a dominant player graduating and the remaining players taking the team further the next year. It seems a lot of players are able to step up their game when they know they no longer have the go to player from the previous season.
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