This team is fun on paper, but why does it look so bad? | Gopherhole

GopherOhana

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Al Nolen. and iirc correctly tubby's team lost 11 in a row when Al went down. Tubby didn't have a second PG and tried using Hoff as PG

this team has one PG, Cooper. 7th in D1 in avg assists per game.
 
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Gopherfan84

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Nolan being a Monson recruit ever furthers my point about Tubby's bad PG recruiting. Cobbs was here for only one year and looked terrible at PG. He did improve significantly at Cal, but he was also playing with some pretty good NBA talent there.
Cobbs and Royce White were two very good PG recruits. Honestly the two best we’ve had in 25 years. I know Royce is too tall and not traditional enough for you, but he was recruited with that intent and played point at ISU. Nolan was a good point guard. Just don’t think it was Tubbys biggest flaw and reason for demise here.
Tubby's last team and Pitino's first team both finished 8-10 in conference, and were 20-12 and 20-13 overall. The only difference between making the NCAA or the NIT was a different bubble. Pitino also didn't have Mbakwe or Rodney Williams, and yes little Dre made a huge difference making up for those two losses and not taking a step back in Pitino's first season.
Though tubbys teams were big and plodding. Now we like Mbakwe and Williams (Neither are plodding imo, but you used the term). Again, Dre had a nice first years. When we talk about Otz we don’t talk about his bubble and how they barely got in vs an NIT team? Thought you either make it or you don’t?
 

Gopherfan84

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Al Nolen. and iirc correctly tubby's team lost 11 in a row when Al went down. Tubby didn't have a second PG and tried using Hoff as PG
Joseph left the team too. That’s why, he lost both ball handlers that year.
 




Crappie

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Not calling Cobbs a point guard is rather crazy. He was a finalist for the Cousy award…. Funny thing about Nolan is Tubby didn’t recruit him. Monson did. Tubby also had Royce who was going to play point but we know how that all went.

We differ on what and the need for a “True PG” is and that’s fine. Little Dre did fine year one, but he fit the mold of high usage and inefficient which really showed his second year. Also are we crediting Little Dre for coming in and winning us the NIT? The team the year before with “no PG” made the NCAAs.
I’d take zakai zeigler over anyone on the current roster at pg.
 


Holy Man

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Right. So even experienced coaches can run into issues when completely rebuilding a team from the ground.
But with an actual resume that includes head coaching success, they are like to be given more slack. I’m with Ben but that doesn’t preclude me from asking questions about what is going on and observing shortcomings.
 

stocker08

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But with an actual resume that includes head coaching success, they are like to be given more slack. I’m with Ben but that doesn’t preclude me from asking questions about what is going on and observing shortcomings.

That's fine. I'm simply addressing the people who are trying to compare Johnson to other second year coaches. Why are some comparisons okay and others are not? Why should a guy with plenty of experience get a longer leash than someone who doesn't?
 



GopherWeatherGuy

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Cobbs and Royce White were two very good PG recruits. Honestly the two best we’ve had in 25 years. I know Royce is too tall and not traditional enough for you, but he was recruited with that intent and played point at ISU. Nolan was a good point guard. Just don’t think it was Tubbys biggest flaw and reason for demise here.

Though tubbys teams were big and plodding. Now we like Mbakwe and Williams (Neither are plodding imo, but you used the term). Again, Dre had a nice first years. When we talk about Otz we don’t talk about his bubble and how they barely got in vs an NIT team? Thought you either make it or you don’t?

Royce White wasn't a PG, he was a point forward who brought the ball up from time to time. He started with two other pretty good guards. He was basically a bigger and more talented version of Battle. Cobbs was mid tier 3* recruit who was terrible in one season here. Neither of them accomplished anything at MN and you're calling them the two best PG recruits in 25 years? PG was 100% the reason why Tubby never finished above .500 in the conference.

Otz was fortunate to make the tournament last season, and they made the most of it by going to the sweet 16. My point was that the Gophers had the same record in Tubby's last season and Pitino's first, despite losing Williams and Mbakwe, mainly because guard play improved. The Gophers may be worse this season than last because their guard play is worse.
 


Crappie

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Royce White wasn't a PG, he was a point forward who brought the ball up from time to time. He started with two other pretty good guards. He was basically a bigger and more talented version of Battle. Cobbs was mid tier 3* recruit who was terrible in one season here. Neither of them accomplished anything at MN and you're calling them the two best PG recruits in 25 years? PG was 100% the reason why Tubby never finished above .500 in the conference.

Otz was fortunate to make the tournament last season, and they made the most of it by going to the sweet 16. My point was that the Gophers had the same record in Tubby's last season and Pitino's first, despite losing Williams and Mbakwe, mainly because guard play improved. The Gophers may be worse this season than last because their guard play is worse.
Mn guard play can be rationalized all day ever day. It’s poor. A true guard that can penetrate and run an offense is desperately needed. One that makes the team better. I don’t see that currently.
 

Gopherfan84

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Royce White wasn't a PG, he was a point forward who brought the ball up from time to time. He started with two other pretty good guards. He was basically a bigger and more talented version of Battle. Cobbs was mid tier 3* recruit who was terrible in one season here. Neither of them accomplished anything at MN and you're calling them the two best PG recruits in 25 years? PG was 100% the reason why Tubby never finished above .500 in the conference.
Cobbs was a Cousy finalist. Yes we haven’t had a PG on that level. Just cause he was a mid 3 star recruit doesn’t take away how good he became. Royce was the best recruit we’ve had since Humphries if you want to use rankings. he ran point for ISU and was going to do so here. Just cause he was tall doesn’t mean he wasn’t one. He brought it up in HS too. So yes from a production and talent standpoint, they were the two best PG recruits we’ve had. It sucks we didn’t reap the rewards of it here. Some of that can be on Tubby, some of it was bad luck/bad choices. PG woes/bad luck can be attributed to Tubbys struggles, but he recruited the position well. PG play wasn’t our killer imo anyways, offensive system? Sure, not enough scoring on the wing? Yeah.
 



Gopherfan84

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Does his game differ from anyone on Mn roster? If yes, how?
Very scrappy on ball defender. Very quick, pretty much what everyone whines about Cooper not having, Zakai does. He gets a little out of control and is a little undersized, but he’s a nice player.
 

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Very scrappy on ball defender. Very quick, pretty much what everyone whines about Cooper not having, Zakai does. He gets a little out of control and is a little undersized, but he’s a nice player.
Would you take him over any Mn player that plays mostly guard?
Whining or fact?
 

leib0039

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Stat wise Cooper has been a good PG if you look at his 7.3 apg and ok 3.2 TO a game. I understand this is subjective but I just don't think he runs a team well. Now, you can certainly argue that poor shooting hurts him, and that's totally fair. But I have been disappointed in his play and Ben's offense thus far. I feel like with a true brute down low, 2 scoring wings and a good shooting SG this team should hum a little more on offense. I just don't feel cooper makes his teammates better. I could care less if they are a "point guard " or not, but we have no playmaker. Amir would be a MASSIVE upgrade to this team. And again some of this has to fall on Ben, he's putting guys in bad spots IMO
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Cobbs was a Cousy finalist. Yes we haven’t had a PG on that level. Just cause he was a mid 3 star recruit doesn’t take away how good he became. Royce was the best recruit we’ve had since Humphries if you want to use rankings. he ran point for ISU and was going to do so here. Just cause he was tall doesn’t mean he wasn’t one. He brought it up in HS too. So yes from a production and talent standpoint, they were the two best PG recruits we’ve had. It sucks we didn’t reap the rewards of it here. Some of that can be on Tubby, some of it was bad luck/bad choices. PG woes/bad luck can be attributed to Tubbys struggles, but he recruited the position well. PG play wasn’t our killer imo anyways, offensive system? Sure, not enough scoring on the wing? Yeah.

I enjoy our back and forth's because I typically find you knowledgeable, but you are not even close on this one. Royce White was not a PG, never played for MN, and was never defending Big 12 guards. Cobbs developed into a nice player after leaving here. So what? He accomplished nothing here. That's again my pont. Tubby was a complete failure at recruiting PGs and that's why he failed as a head coach here. We are heading down that path again.
 

golfing18now

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Wasn't Craig Smith one of the guys that the GH armchair coaches wanted?

To be fair, when it was clear that "Minnesota Connections" were a requirement to be considered and Brian Dutcher/Eric Musselman were off the table, that doesn't leave a wide range of options.
 

ecoperson

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Coach K started in an entirely different era over 40 years ago, that comparison is laughable.

One of my big problems with Johnson is that he absolutely has made excuses. Last year he recruited a last place team because he 'didn't have any tape to show recruits'. He doesn't want to fill all the scholarships or recruit over other players because 'he can't keep everyone happy'. Those are two horrible excuses that he has used.

I would be far more patient if the Gophers were losing but had a well constructed roster, were playing good offense, or defense, or showing something that gives me hope for the future. I don't see any of that right now and it doesn't look to get much better next season because of their guard recruiting.

We are back to the Tubby rosters of plodding length with weak guards. Except we now have less talent, and don't play defense anywhere close to where those teams did.
My whole point is that all comparisons are laughable... and pointless. Each situation is different. There is absolutely NO telling what any other coach would do at MN. There is no telling what Johnson would be doing had he been hired at Directional State.

Johnson never used those phrases as excuses. An excuse would be "I couldn't recruit better players because I 'didn't have any tape to show recruits'." Johnson never excused on the court performance due to this. The second quote you provided is merely expressing his philosophy. It had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with wins/losses.

We are stuck with this team this year. There are NO opportunities to add any decent players. We have played 6 games! You can either be miserable the rest of the season or jump ship now. Your call!
 

Gopherfan84

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Would you take him over any Mn player that plays mostly guard?
Whining or fact?
I don’t differentiate between guards and wings so I would take him over Cooper, Henley, Ramburg, Purcell, and Samuels. Toss up on Carrington and No to Battle. What does that have to do with whining or fact? Dudes a good player and visited here. Then TN came in late and got him.
 


ecoperson

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Yes the freshman have talent, but I think the only one with star potential is Payne. The others just may be rotation players. And if Payne blows up, or Evans or Christie come in and blow up, they may only be here a year or two. They could either leave to the NBA or to another program throwing a bunch of NIL money at them. The days of slow builds with 4 year players went out the window during the Clem era.
Now you are worried about some players being so good that they leave early? You are the sort that will win the lottery but then complain about the taxes!
 

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I don’t differentiate between guards and wings so I would take him over Cooper, Henley, Ramburg, Purcell, and Samuels. Toss up on Carrington and No to Battle. What does that have to do with whining or fact? Dudes a good player and visited here. Then TN came in late and got him.
I think zz would be a huge upgrade in making the team better offensively. He’s the type of guard I like at one position.
 

ecoperson

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ecoperson -- you are definitely one of the more positive posters on this board as it pertains to Gopher basketball. I respect your opinions and wish I had your patience.

But it is important to note the criticism at the time of the hire was not directed at Ben Johnson. It was solely directed at the administration. College coaches at schools like Minnesota are generally given a longer leash than pro coaches, for example. A bad hire can push the mediocrity snowball further down the hill and make it harder to climb the mountain, particularly at a school with such a mediocre recent history. The AD only gets so many opportunities to change that course. The fact that we didn't hire somebody with at least some track record is what disappointed me.

Ben Johnson isn't necessarily a bad hire. For the very same reasons I cited above, he deserves the patience you are calling for particularly as it pertains to getting the right players here. But he will face the same criticism as any other coach when it comes to the fluidity of his offense, tenacity of his defense, game strategy, etc. I don't think that should be off limits.
Thanks for the kind words. Let me be the first to say that I was as stunned and disappointed as anyone when Johnson was hired. I would have loved to have hired someone with a track record of success elsewhere. But Coyle and the administration made the decision so we have to live with it.

Most importantly, the powers that be made the decision almost a year and a half ago now so I am frustrated that so many fans are still playing the 'what if' game about other coaches. After the initial dissappointment, one has to make the decision to row with the team in the boat or get out so the remaining fans are not carrying dead weight.

I have no problem critiquing the coaching staff. Johnson and company will be judged by wins and losses just like any other coach. Just like any other coach, he deserves more than 1 season and change before we judge him to be a dud.
 

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Your memory is correct. Here’s how the four second-year coaches rank through games played November 25, 2022. I’m tracking their overall record and record vs. Power 6 opponents.

1. TJ Otzelberger (Iowa State)
Overall: 27-13, 67.5%
Power 6: 16-13, 55.2%

2. Micah Shrewsberry (Penn State)
Overall: 20-18, 52.6%
Power 6: 11-17, 39.3%

3. Ben Johnson (Minnesota)
Overall: 17-19, 47.2%
Power 6: 6-18, 25%

4. Craig Smith (Utah)
Overall: 15-22, 40.5%
Power 6: 6-20, 23.1%

I’ll plan on updating this on GH every so often during the season.
Good work.

Wins and losses are the ultimate stat, period. This thread has a lot of talk about the talents of individuals, but wins and losses are team stats. Underneath the Ws and Ls are team offensive and defensive efficiency stats. You have to be good to great at least one end of the court to win games - it's not debatable.

So, I looked at these 4 teams on t-rank for 2020-21 (the year of the previous coach), 2021-22, and so far this year. Usual caveats about it being too early this year to be confident in the stats. Offensive rank is the first number and defensive is the second - think of every 35 teams as 10 percentiles (i.e., 35th is better than 90% of teams)

Iowa State:
2021 - 199, 141
2022 - 184, 5
2023 - 83, 13

Utah:
2021 - 27, 86
2022 - 92, 178
2023 - 140, 64

Penn St.:
2021 - 37, 62 (8th & 12th in the B1G)
2022 - 144, 66 (14th & 6th in the B1G)
2023 - 52, 57 (9th & 9th in the B1G)

Minnesota:
2021 - 88, 60 (12th & 11th in the B1G)
2022 - 98, 142 (12th & 13th in the B1G)
2023 - 220, 144 (14th & 14th in the B1G)

Clearly, Otzelberger chose defense to be good at.

Utah is a mixed bag.

PSU wasn't terrible with Chambers, but suffered due to a depth of other good teams in the B1G - i.e., when 37th best in the country is 8th in your conference, that's a good conference. They appear to have upgraded their O this year so far.

Minnesota - what exactly are you trying to be good at?
 

Gopherfan84

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I enjoy our back and forth's because I typically find you knowledgeable, but you are not even close on this one. Royce White was not a PG, never played for MN, and was never defending Big 12 guards. Cobbs developed into a nice player after leaving here. So what? He accomplished nothing here. That's again my pont. Tubby was a complete failure at recruiting PGs and that's why he failed as a head coach here. We are heading down that path again.
Royce brought the ball up and initiated ISUs offense pretty much anytime he was in the game. If that isn’t a point guard then I don’t know what you call one. He did it at Hopkins and was recruited to do so at MN. I had in’s with the Pulley guys back then. I know what Royce was told when he was committing here.
I just struggle to say PG play and recruitment of them was the issue when we had 4 years of Nolan and brought in the level of guys we did. Im even being nice and not counting Joseph as a PG cause I know he doesn’t fit your definition of it. That was a lot of talent at that position. Again it is sad we didn’t get to reap the rewards of all of most of it, but still had 4/6 years with Nolan who I thought was pretty darn good.
 

stocker08

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To be fair, when it was clear that "Minnesota Connections" were a requirement to be considered and Brian Dutcher/Eric Musselman were off the table, that doesn't leave a wide range of options.

So?
 

Roland Brooks

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I’ve seen Carrington and Holloman multiple times. I’m going off of more than one game. Holloman has tools sure, but he has warts that need to be worked out too. He would’ve gotten taken to the woodshed by DePaul and UNLVs guards too. So I fail to see it as a game changer this year.
Holloman can handle ball pressure and run an offense in his sleep. Very good defender. He didn’t get worked by Bama or Oregon. God love Cal Baptist and UNLV but they ain’t taking Holloman to the woodshed.😂 His wart is him three point shot…
 


GopherOhana

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Stat wise Cooper has been a good PG if you look at his 7.3 apg and ok 3.2 TO a game. I understand this is subjective but I just don't think he runs a team well. Now, you can certainly argue that poor shooting hurts him, and that's totally fair.
cooper:
shot 41% last year at morehead state and 42% overall this year. 60% from 3 this year. His poor shooting is on free throws, 48%
Also leads the team in steals and getting almost 5 rebounds per game (4.8, same stat Willis had last year)

i think we're getting what we thought, a pass first pg. guessing cooper will look more serviceable when Battle's shooting returns to norm. Battle is at 28% overall and 21% on 3s
 




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