it would be easy to analyze last night's heart breaking loss. Missed free throws and a lack of a second good ball handler made the difference even with the Bows out-shooting the Dons and holding two of their best three offensive players to poor nights. But what i want to do is congratulate this team for a season that none of us could have ever imagined'
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that i am not afraid to voice my opinions. During the season, i sometimes wrote critically about a player, or a coaching decision, a player defection, and the like. so i dont think anyone can legitimately characterize me as a " homer"
Having said that, what a fantastic body of work for this year's team. They were picked by the WAC coaches and media to finish last in the Conference. They had not won more than 15 games in several years. They lost the heart and soul of the team when Hiram went out with an injury. Yet they put together a 19 win season, a 5th place finish in the Conference, and went to the post-season. But for poor free throw shooting in the Tournament game against San Jose and last night, and four games where they just could not make a last second stop, they could have been the number 1 turn around team in the Country.
Credit all of the players and the coaches. You saw what a healthy Bill Amis and an eligible Zane Johnson would have meant to last year's team by how much they contributed to this year's team. And the addition of Miah, Trevor, and Vander provides a solid group of returning players who contributed so much to this year's edition.
Dont get me wrong. The Bows are not yet ready to punch their ticket to the Big Dance. They have lots of puka's that need to be filled, the most critical, in my view, at the point guard and two guard positions. Miah will again miss the entire early season, and even with him the team needs another solid ball handler or two. Bill Amis will not be easily replaced, but another year of experience should prove very beneficial to Vander, who needs to be more confident with his options when he receives the ball in the paint, and Trevor, who needs to develop a serviceable outside shot. And much more will be expected from a very inconsistent Joston Thomas who needs to play within himself and fiqure out his strength is in the paint , not 17 to 22 feet from the hoop. Bo Barnes needs to become consistent with his outside shot, and Miles has 6 months to improve his ability to run an offense.
The 6500 fans who were at the game last night went home disappointed, but like me, they have to be counting the days until Oct 15 when the next edition of UH Basketball will start practice. Uh basketball is back, and in a big way, and there is no reason not to expect big things from next year's team. Sorry Gib for the pressure, but i know you wouldn't want it any other way.
The blog will continue thru the rest of the NCAA Tournament and i will back tomorrow with some thoughts on this weekend's results ( once i get over the Pitt l;oss).