St. Olaf Exhibition - The Good, The "Okay," the Ugly (with a silver lining)

topos

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This game was more or less a tryout for bench minutes. Everyone on the team (except Purcell) played for about 25 minutes. Ta'Lon and Payne (along with Battle and Garcia) are shoo-in starters, and I think Carrington will start at the #2 for his IQ, size, and shooting ability alone.

THE GOOD, THE OK, THE UGLY

Ta'lon Cooper
was all three. This team will go as he goes. In the first half, he looked annoyed to be playing, the effort was minimal, especially on defense, and the team struggled. He came out in the second half playing harder, and the team took control. Towards the end of the game, it felt like he was the best player on the court, and he hit big shots.

The Good

JOJ
- Remember Sean Sutherlin? JOJ can fill that role immediately but with more size, athleticism, shooting ability, and upside. He was a man against boys and was the only player to make the noticeable hustle plays. He hasn't been talked about much as a potential contributor, but I think we will all be delighted with him as his Gopher career evolves.

Payne - He's physical, strong, showed touch, and is absolutely a Big Ten post. He turned the ball over a bit due to not being aware; he was double-teamed nearly every time and often would bring the ball down low where the pesky guards would rip it. There were a few offensive fouls, too. One was an absolute joke...There will be a learning curve come the Big 10 season, but rest assured, he will hold his own similar to Oturu's freshman year.

Henley - The first half was uneventful. I didn't realize, but he has two early fouls and didn't play much. He aggressively came out in the second half and had our first two buckets. Some thought he would be more of a post player upon arriving at the U. He's a guard through and through and played stretches at PG. He made some boneheaded plays (bad passes), but he's very comfortable with the basketball in his hands and lightning quick. The sky is the limit for this kid!

TT - He rebounded well against 6'6" post players and hit an open three (no, it was not a bank). His presence also altered a lot of shots. He looked a little more fluid, not awkward and uncoordinated, as last year. The verdict is still out, but he was our leading rebounder.

Ramberg - He started! I don't think that will be the case next Monday, but he holds his own and looks the part. He did some nice things, including jumping a passing lane for a layup (almost dunk).

The OK (Not "Bad," because I'm a Homer)

Betts
- I think he had the only dunk of the game! He had some nice one-on-one plays (nice euro step layup) but looked out of sorts for the most part. He hucked a few airballs and allowed a few driving baskets on D. He'll probably play some spot duty, similar to Thiam last year, if they don't redshirt him.

Samuels - I was hoping for more aggressive, confident play. He mostly blended in. He shot one three and nailed it. He played some backup PG minutes, and I think that will be more or less his role in the season. As the younger guys get more experienced, I think his role dwindles.

The Ugly

It will get dicey if Battle and Garcia miss any significant time in the Big 10 season. Their absence gave me a glimpse into how little margin of error this team has with injuries. They will need to be playing 35+ minutes per night to be competitive. While I am hopeful about some of these freshmen, none should be depended on for more than 15 minutes (except for Payne and Carrington, pending evaluation).

Silverlining

It seems like most gopher basketball teams of recent history fade into February and March. For the first time in a long time, this team could overachieve later in the season as young guys gain experience. The athleticism and upside are apparent. The biggest question is how quickly the staff can coach these guys and acclimate them to big ten basketball.
 
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Full Speed Ahead

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This game was more or less a tryout for bench minutes. Everyone on the team (except Purcell) played for about 25 minutes. Ta'Lon and Payne (along with Battle and Garcia) are shoo-in starters, and I think Carrington will start at the #2 for his IQ, size, and shooting ability alone.

THE GOOD, THE OK, THE UGLY

Ta'lon Cooper
was all three. This team will go as he goes. In the first half, he looked annoyed to be playing, the effort was minimal, especially on defense, and the team struggled. He came out in the second half playing harder, and the team took control. Towards the end of the game, it felt like he was the best player on the court, and he hit big shots.

The Good

JOJ
- Remember Sean Sutherlin? JOJ can fill that role immediately but with more size, athleticism, shooting ability, and upside. He was a man against boys and was the only player to make the noticeable hustle plays. He hasn't been talked about much as a potential contributor, but I think we will all be delighted with him as his Gopher career evolves.

Payne - He's physical, strong, showed touch, and is absolutely a Big Ten post. He turned the ball over a bit due to not being aware; he was double-teamed nearly every time and often would bring the ball down low where the pesky guards would rip it. There were a few offensive fouls, too. One was an absolute joke...There will be a learning curve come the Big 10 season, but rest assured, he will hold his own similar to Oturu's freshman year.

Henley - The first half was uneventful. I didn't realize, but he has two early fouls and didn't play much. He aggressively came out in the second half and had our first two buckets. Some thought he would be more of a post player upon arriving at the U. He's a guard through and through and played stretches at PG. He made some boneheaded plays (bad passes), but he's very comfortable with the basketball in his hands and lightning quick. The sky is the limit for this kid!

TT - He rebounded well against 6'6" post players and hit an open three (no, it was not a bank). His presence also altered a lot of shots. He looked a little more fluid, not awkward and uncoordinated, as last year. The verdict is still out, but he was our leading rebounder.

Ramberg - He started! I don't think that will be the case next Monday, but he holds his own and looks the part. He did some nice things, including jumping a passing lane for a layup (almost dunk).

The OK (Not "Bad," because I'm a Homer)

Betts
- I think he had the only dunk of the game! He had some nice one-on-one plays (nice euro step layup) but looked out of sorts for the most part. He hucked a few airballs and allowed a few driving baskets on D. He'll probably play some spot duty, similar to Thiam last year, if they don't redshirt him.

Samuels - I was hoping for more aggressive, confident play. He mostly blended in. He shot one three and nailed it. He played some backup PG minutes, and I think that will be more or less his role in the season. As the younger guys get more experienced, I think his role dwindles.

The Ugly

It will get dicey if Battle and Garcia miss any significant time in the Big 10 season. Their absence gave me a glimpse into how little margin of error this team has with injuries. They will need to be playing 35+ minutes per night to be competitive. While I am hopeful about some of these freshmen, none should be depended on for more than 15 minutes (except for Payne and Carrington, pending evaluation).

Silverlining

It seems like most gopher basketball teams of recent history fade into February and March. For the first time in a long time, this team could overachieve later in the season as young guys gain experience. The atheism and upside are apparent. The biggest question is how quickly the staff can coach these guys and acclimate them to big ten basketball.
Thanks for the post - I wasn't able to watch the game - appreciate the update (y)
 



3399

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This game was more or less a tryout for bench minutes. Everyone on the team (except Purcell) played for about 25 minutes. Ta'Lon and Payne (along with Battle and Garcia) are shoo-in starters, and I think Carrington will start at the #2 for his IQ, size, and shooting ability alone.

THE GOOD, THE OK, THE UGLY

Ta'lon Cooper
was all three. This team will go as he goes. In the first half, he looked annoyed to be playing, the effort was minimal, especially on defense, and the team struggled. He came out in the second half playing harder, and the team took control. Towards the end of the game, it felt like he was the best player on the court, and he hit big shots.

The Good

JOJ
- Remember Sean Sutherlin? JOJ can fill that role immediately but with more size, athleticism, shooting ability, and upside. He was a man against boys and was the only player to make the noticeable hustle plays. He hasn't been talked about much as a potential contributor, but I think we will all be delighted with him as his Gopher career evolves.

Payne - He's physical, strong, showed touch, and is absolutely a Big Ten post. He turned the ball over a bit due to not being aware; he was double-teamed nearly every time and often would bring the ball down low where the pesky guards would rip it. There were a few offensive fouls, too. One was an absolute joke...There will be a learning curve come the Big 10 season, but rest assured, he will hold his own similar to Oturu's freshman year.

Henley - The first half was uneventful. I didn't realize, but he has two early fouls and didn't play much. He aggressively came out in the second half and had our first two buckets. Some thought he would be more of a post player upon arriving at the U. He's a guard through and through and played stretches at PG. He made some boneheaded plays (bad passes), but he's very comfortable with the basketball in his hands and lightning quick. The sky is the limit for this kid!

TT - He rebounded well against 6'6" post players and hit an open three (no, it was not a bank). His presence also altered a lot of shots. He looked a little more fluid, not awkward and uncoordinated, as last year. The verdict is still out, but he was our leading rebounder.

Ramberg - He started! I don't think that will be the case next Monday, but he holds his own and looks the part. He did some nice things, including jumping a passing lane for a layup (almost dunk).

The OK (Not "Bad," because I'm a Homer)

Betts
- I think he had the only dunk of the game! He had some nice one-on-one plays (nice euro step layup) but looked out of sorts for the most part. He hucked a few airballs and allowed a few driving baskets on D. He'll probably play some spot duty, similar to Thiam last year, if they don't redshirt him.

Samuels - I was hoping for more aggressive, confident play. He mostly blended in. He shot one three and nailed it. He played some backup PG minutes, and I think that will be more or less his role in the season. As the younger guys get more experienced, I think his role dwindles.

The Ugly

It will get dicey if Battle and Garcia miss any significant time in the Big 10 season. Their absence gave me a glimpse into how little margin of error this team has with injuries. They will need to be playing 35+ minutes per night to be competitive. While I am hopeful about some of these freshmen, none should be depended on for more than 15 minutes (except for Payne and Carrington, pending evaluation).

Silverlining

It seems like most gopher basketball teams of recent history fade into February and March. For the first time in a long time, this team could overachieve later in the season as young guys gain experience. The atheism and upside are apparent. The biggest question is how quickly the staff can coach these guys and acclimate them to big ten basketball.
St. Olaf, quite frankly, was the better team for much of the game. They executed, hit shots, and were unfazed. Koz was very kind. Down 8 with plenty of time, he let some guys get in down the bench. Good for him for giving guys the opportunity to get on the floor. But they could have easily made it competitive at the end had he stuck with his main players.
 

gophereric30

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St. Olaf, quite frankly, was the better team for much of the game. They executed, hit shots, and were unfazed. Koz was very kind. Down 8 with plenty of time, he let some guys get in down the bench. Good for him for giving guys the opportunity to get on the floor. But they could have easily made it competitive at the end had he stuck with his main players.
Outstanding! So what does this mean other than absolutely nothing? So if minnesota decided or had best 2 players available what would your observation be? Besides nobody caring what happened in this game minnesota showed they didn't care either.
 

BleedGopher

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This game was more or less a tryout for bench minutes. Everyone on the team (except Purcell) played for about 25 minutes. Ta'Lon and Payne (along with Battle and Garcia) are shoo-in starters, and I think Carrington will start at the #2 for his IQ, size, and shooting ability alone.

THE GOOD, THE OK, THE UGLY

Ta'lon Cooper
was all three. This team will go as he goes. In the first half, he looked annoyed to be playing, the effort was minimal, especially on defense, and the team struggled. He came out in the second half playing harder, and the team took control. Towards the end of the game, it felt like he was the best player on the court, and he hit big shots.

The Good

JOJ
- Remember Sean Sutherlin? JOJ can fill that role immediately but with more size, athleticism, shooting ability, and upside. He was a man against boys and was the only player to make the noticeable hustle plays. He hasn't been talked about much as a potential contributor, but I think we will all be delighted with him as his Gopher career evolves.

Payne - He's physical, strong, showed touch, and is absolutely a Big Ten post. He turned the ball over a bit due to not being aware; he was double-teamed nearly every time and often would bring the ball down low where the pesky guards would rip it. There were a few offensive fouls, too. One was an absolute joke...There will be a learning curve come the Big 10 season, but rest assured, he will hold his own similar to Oturu's freshman year.

Henley - The first half was uneventful. I didn't realize, but he has two early fouls and didn't play much. He aggressively came out in the second half and had our first two buckets. Some thought he would be more of a post player upon arriving at the U. He's a guard through and through and played stretches at PG. He made some boneheaded plays (bad passes), but he's very comfortable with the basketball in his hands and lightning quick. The sky is the limit for this kid!

TT - He rebounded well against 6'6" post players and hit an open three (no, it was not a bank). His presence also altered a lot of shots. He looked a little more fluid, not awkward and uncoordinated, as last year. The verdict is still out, but he was our leading rebounder.

Ramberg - He started! I don't think that will be the case next Monday, but he holds his own and looks the part. He did some nice things, including jumping a passing lane for a layup (almost dunk).

The OK (Not "Bad," because I'm a Homer)

Betts
- I think he had the only dunk of the game! He had some nice one-on-one plays (nice euro step layup) but looked out of sorts for the most part. He hucked a few airballs and allowed a few driving baskets on D. He'll probably play some spot duty, similar to Thiam last year, if they don't redshirt him.

Samuels - I was hoping for more aggressive, confident play. He mostly blended in. He shot one three and nailed it. He played some backup PG minutes, and I think that will be more or less his role in the season. As the younger guys get more experienced, I think his role dwindles.

The Ugly

It will get dicey if Battle and Garcia miss any significant time in the Big 10 season. Their absence gave me a glimpse into how little margin of error this team has with injuries. They will need to be playing 35+ minutes per night to be competitive. While I am hopeful about some of these freshmen, none should be depended on for more than 15 minutes (except for Payne and Carrington, pending evaluation).

Silverlining

It seems like most gopher basketball teams of recent history fade into February and March. For the first time in a long time, this team could overachieve later in the season as young guys gain experience. The atheism and upside are apparent. The biggest question is how quickly the staff can coach these guys and acclimate them to big ten basketball.

Great analysis, much appreciated.

Go topos!!
 

3399

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Outstanding! So what does this mean other than absolutely nothing? So if minnesota decided or had best 2 players available what would your observation be? Besides nobody caring what happened in this game minnesota showed they didn't care either.
Whoaaa, settle down. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving St. Olaf some credit for how they performed. They are a D3 school that walked into a Big Ten arena and played really well. I think everybody knew the circumstances with players not playing. And don't tell me nobody cared. I was sitting right by the Minnesota bench and I could hear some of what Thorson was telling the players. I can tell you for a fact he cared. He had some, shall we say, coaching suggestions for the team. They were not pretty conversations.
 




BTChamp

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The Freshmen are obviously really talented. They'll have plenty of Freshman moments this year but they don't look out of place for a B1G team.
Didn't see the game, just the highlights. I think the same. They look smooth and I am excited to see them grow and make the building blocks of a legitimate D1 team for the future. Not just hoping for lighting in a bottle to make the tournament, but year after year of tournaments, sweet 16s, etc.

Go Coach Ben!!!!
 

A-Town Owl

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St. Olaf, quite frankly, was the better team for much of the game. They executed, hit shots, and were unfazed. Koz was very kind. Down 8 with plenty of time, he let some guys get in down the bench. Good for him for giving guys the opportunity to get on the floor. But they could have easily made it competitive at the end had he stuck with his main players.

I think I agree with your last sentence, but would say they were the better team for 'some' of the game, but not most of it. St. Olaf played confidently and well, so definitely give them credit. But, we could've just posted Pharrel up every possession if we wanted to; they didn't have any answer to him really. His TOs were dumb, but he was getting double and triple teamed and the two offensive fouls were BS. We gave Betts a fair amount of minutes as well, when I think its clear he still needs some work, and he could be a HS Senior. So, while they didn't play their main players at the end, but we were mixing in everyone too. Would it have been nice to win by 30, yes, but it was fine. Henley is faster than I thought he would be, and PP is a monster.
 

3399

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I think I agree with your last sentence, but would say they were the better team for 'some' of the game, but not most of it. St. Olaf played confidently and well, so definitely give them credit. But, we could've just posted Pharrel up every possession if we wanted to; they didn't have any answer to him really. His TOs were dumb, but he was getting double and triple teamed and the two offensive fouls were BS. We gave Betts a fair amount of minutes as well, when I think its clear he still needs some work, and he could be a HS Senior. So, while they didn't play their main players at the end, but we were mixing in everyone too. Would it have been nice to win by 30, yes, but it was fine. Henley is faster than I thought he would be, and PP is a monster.
Completely agree
 



fan of Ray Williams

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I think I agree with your last sentence, but would say they were the better team for 'some' of the game, but not most of it. St. Olaf played confidently and well, so definitely give them credit. But, we could've just posted Pharrel up every possession if we wanted to; they didn't have any answer to him really. His TOs were dumb, but he was getting double and triple teamed and the two offensive fouls were BS. We gave Betts a fair amount of minutes as well, when I think its clear he still needs some work, and he could be a HS Senior. So, while they didn't play their main players at the end, but we were mixing in everyone too. Would it have been nice to win by 30, yes, but it was fine. Henley is faster than I thought he would be, and PP is a monster.
Payne and Henley both a little quicker than I had suspected. JOJ impressed at times. Need to get the three that were out healthy.
 

GophersInIowa

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I wasn't able to watch the game but can't take much from these exhibitions. Besides several key players sitting out, It's likely Johnson was trying different sets/plays and probably weren't making a lot of adjustments you'd see in regular games. I doubt they had any specific gameplan against St Olaf.
 


Allshade

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St. Olaf, quite frankly, was the better team for much of the game. They executed, hit shots, and were unfazed. Koz was very kind. Down 8 with plenty of time, he let some guys get in down the bench. Good for him for giving guys the opportunity to get on the floor. But they could have easily made it competitive at the end had he stuck with his main players.
This morning I was told we were down 15 at one point. Is that accurate?
 



Bayfieldgopher

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Nice job topos.

Going into this season I was concerned about this squads ability to be a good D team. I watched tapes of Garcia get totally destroyed by Purdue's Williams last season in the paint and had concern about Coopers lack of physical ability to be a good BIG defender. Samuel is undersized and chunky and thus my same concern. We all saw TT struggle last year on D and Battle was OK but expect them both to be better defenders. Then Fox and Ihnen got dinged. Plus the newbies who are all inexperienced and need to get stronger.

Last year we were weak against the dribble drive. We did not defend that very well against the Ole's even though it appeared most drives were with their strong hand. Cooper was one, especially the first half. TT looked flat footed on the perimeter. These were D3 players not strong and quick BIG ball-handlers. Even though we had huge size advantage, we only had 3 blocks, one by Samuels, but TT did alter a few shots. We did have a rebound advantage but we didn't seem to have a strong board presence. PP had just 4 boards. No one stood out on D but I like OJ's hustle and grit.

All the newbies showed some athleticism and potential. I really liked Ola-Joseph. We all expect Battle and Garcia will make us stronger, especially scoring, on the boards and rim D. Just their presence will help the others. I'm anxious to see our D once we get healthy. IMO. Ola-Joseph was a surprise and hope he shows more of the same Monday. Same with Henley. Anxious to see what Carrington brings.
 
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Spottedmuskie

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Did we play zone much? If this defense was a bad as everyone is saying, maybe we will see a lot of zone like others had witnessed at the open practice.
 

Bayfieldgopher

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Did we play zone much? If this defense was a bad as everyone is saying, maybe we will see a lot of zone like others had witnessed at the open practice.
None.

I think this could be primarily a zone team but guess we will use M/M out of gate.
 


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Some of the things I liked
Treyton only collecting 1 foul in 24 minutes of action and gathering 9 rebounds
JOJ being aggressive with 9 FG attempts (Someone mentioned a Sutherlin with more talent and size)
Henley 5 of 6 on FT's and 2 steals
Cooper with 5 assists
Looking forward to Monday and hoping to be able to see Carrington and Garcia out there.
 

topos

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LOL, I see the OP has edited the post so it now says "athleticism."
I took it as a Freudian slip. 😅
It also proves I read the entire OP.
Yes, I misspelled "athleticism" (apparently badly), and Grammarly assumed it should be corrected to "atheism," and it went unnoticed.

It's fascinating to me:

1. You care
2. You're still talking about it

I can assure you that the players' religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are not eating away at my subconscious.

How did you feel about the other 706 words in the post? Do you agree with my player assessments?
 

leib0039

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Thanks for the recaps!

I havent seen any of the game but i did notice RJ with a few "man this team can be nasty on defense!" followed by the gopher account "ahh this team has NOT been good on defense" found that kind of comical.
 

short ornery norwegian

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just on the highlights, JOJ is stronger than I realized.

overall it appears the Gophers are generally more athletic than last year - and that is with three of the best athletes not playing.

TT does seem a little smoother and more in the flow of the game.

Payne and Henley both have a lot of upside.

and I think Ramberg can give them some minutes without embarrassing himself.
 


MennoSota

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Yes, I misspelled "athleticism" (apparently badly), and Grammarly assumed it should be corrected to "atheism," and it went unnoticed.

It's fascinating to me:

1. You care
2. You're still talking about it

I can assure you that the players' religious beliefs (or lack thereof) are not eating away at my subconscious.

How did you feel about the other 706 words in the post? Do you agree with my player assessments?
Yes, I care deeply about what you posted. More deeply than I can state. 😏
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Still can’t believe this was a constant argument at one point

Henley being a post was never an argument. Henley being a guard long term is still up for debate. It'll be interesting to see how he progresses against better competition.
 




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