Former San Francisco PG Cody Doolin lands at UNLV

Leave a comment

In what has been an inconsistent season for UNLV, there’s been one particularly glaring weakness: a lack of consistency at the point guard position. Junior Deville Smith, sophomore Daquan Cook and freshman Kendall Smith have all played the position, but none have provided the consistent play Dave Rice needs at the position. And with the amount of talent expected to be at Rice’s disposal next season, this is an area that needs to be addressed.

UNLV may have done that, with it being reported by Rebel-Net.com that former San Francisco PG Cody Doolin has committed to join the program for the 2014-15 season.

Doolin left San Francisco just four games into his senior season, with San Francisco AD Scott Sidwell eventually revealing that an altercation in practice led to the point guard’s decision to leave the program. Prior to his departure Doolin was averaging 13.0 points and 7.0 assists per game, and in his three-plus seasons at San Francisco Doolin started all 103 games in which he played.

Doolin left San Francisco ranked second on the school’s all-time assists list and third in steals, and in each of this three full seasons Doolin ranked in the top ten in the WCC in assist-to-turnover ratio. As a team UNLV ranks fifth in the Mountain West in turnover percentage and sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio, but more important than those numbers is the need for a player who can bring together their talented parts.

In addition to the returnees, with Carlos Lopez-Sosa and Kevin Olekaibe being the lone seniors, UNLV adds one of the nation’s best recruiting classes with Rashad Vaughn, Goodluck Okonoboh and Dwayne Morgan all being highly regarded players. If Doolin can be the facilitator he was at San Francisco, the Runnin’ Rebels will have the opportunity to make good on their potential.

The question that remains to be answered is when Doolin would be eligible to play, based upon the fact that he played in four games this season. According to Rebel-Net.com’s report he and UNLV will request an immediate eligibility waiver, with the hope being that he’ll be eligible to play immediately.

Michigan State playing zone? It’s possible

Tom Izzo
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Throughout Tom Izzo’s tenure at Michigan State the team’s half-court man-to-man defense has been a staple, and the Spartans have generally proven difficult to have a high rate of offensive success against. The reliance on that defense is why Izzo’s conversations earlier this summer about using some token full-court pressure due to the shortening of the shot clock caught some people off-guard.

According to the Detroit Free Press there’s another wrinkle the Spartans may use, and it’s likely that this wrinkle will show up more often than the full-court press. During Friday’s opening practice the Spartans worked on a 2-3 zone, and Izzo wants his assistants to make sure the team works on the defense consistently throughout the season.

That’s also why zone in general isn’t going to get heavy play at MSU, but having it as a tool could be beneficial — especially in games with touch fouls on the perimeter called in droves.

“I told (my assistant coaches): ‘You hold me accountable to working on it every day some’ … I have a tendency to drift off on that, and I don’t want to drift off on it,” Izzo said of the 2-3 zone. “But we will be, rest assured, a 90-some percent man-to-man team still and hopefully take some of those principles to zone.”

As noted in the story one of the risks in using pressure is allowing quality shots, which is why it’s unlikely that Michigan State will go to it. But even with Izzo vowing that his team will work on the zone, that doesn’t mean they’ll be playing it as often as Syracuse does.

Man-to-man has been Michigan State’s staple and it will continue to be. But it doesn’t hurt to look for other ways to keep opponents from getting the looks they want, especially if teams have five fewer seconds to find those shots.

Virginia used 3-on-3 to adjust to new shot clock

Malcolm Brogdon
Associated Press
Leave a comment

When the college basketball rules committee made the decision to trim the shot clock down to 30 second from 35, one reason for the switch was the desire to improve offensive production. With offensive numbers at their lowest point in years, proponents of the move see the shot clock change as a necessary move if scoring is to improve.

Whether or not that winds up being the case will be seen throughout the upcoming season, but teams are still having to make adjustments during the preseason.

Virginia, which has played at a snail’s pace (and with great success, mind you) in recent years, made some adjustments to their summer work in anticipation of playing with a 30-second shot clock. One adjustment was more games of 3-on-3 with a 15-second shot clock, which forced all involved to be more decisive in their offensive decision-making.

While the pack-line defense will always be a staple of Tony Bennett’s teams, the feeling in Charlottesville is that they’ve got the offensive firepower needed to both play faster and be more efficient offensively than they were in 2014-15 (29th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency per Ken Pomeroy). One of the players who will lead the way is senior guard Malcolm Brogdon, who led the team in scoring and was a first team All-ACC selection, and he discussed the team’s outlook with Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

And even though Anderson’s highlight-reel shot blocking was the thing that frequently fueled fast-breaks for U.Va. last season, Brogdon and [Anthony] Gill said they expect this year’s team to actually push the tempo even more.

“I think we’re going to be a team that gets out and runs more,” Brogdon said. “I think we’ll have three guards on the floor, most of the time, will be able to handle the ball as a point guard and get out in transition. I think we’ll play a lot faster.”

Brogdon and Gill are two of the team’s three returning starters with point guard London Perrantes being the other, and the Cavaliers also return most of their reserves from last year’s rotation. That experience will help them on both ends of the floor as they prepare for a run at a third straight ACC regular season title. And in theory it also allows them to extend themselves a bit more offensively than they did a season ago.