Thursday, January 27, 2011

Has Christian Lost the Team?

With just under 15 minutes remaining in last night's MWC Apocalypse match between ninth ranked BYU and fourth ranked San Diego State, the score was tied at 44 and BYU was slowly turning the tables in their favor in what was a back and forth game to that point. Naturally for the Cougars, Jimmer Fredette had 29 of those points. Only two other BYU players had scored the entire game. And one of those players had 2 points. For the majority of the second half, Jimmer was outscoring the entire SDSU team's second half output by himself. BYU ended up pulling the upset by a score of 71-58, led by Fredette's eventual 43 points on a GAUDY 24 attempts - the rest of the team had 32 by comparison - and now sit alone at the top of the MWC standings. I would still argue that the Aztecs are the best team in the conference - they were clearly gassed from the altitude and went on an 8 plus minute field goalless streak in the second half which allowed the Cougars to pull away - and I have a feeling the tables will turn next month when the two teams meet up in the Whale's Vagina. But while watching Fredette ply his trade and continue his one man rampage in Provo, I could really only think of one thing:

How the hell did Ronnie Moss hold this guy to 21 points?

Cut to the Frogs game where, ironically, Moss was nowhere to be seen, having not traveled with the team due to "undisclosed personal reasons." Now, I'm no clairvoyant, but whenever a player doesn't even travel with the team due to an "undisclosed personal reason," either he's the topic of the classic Ween cut, "You Fucked Up," or he has "creative differences" with the direction the team is going and chooses not to be involved at all. Given what I witnessed last night, it looks like he made the correct call.

Let me just say this, I went to and, briefly, played for a high school team that never had a winning year in any year that I was there. And as high school teams are notorious for having players just trying to "get theirs," you can imagine what extreme that was taken to when we were losing all of our games and our coach had no control over what was going on on the floor. And when I watched the Frogs game last night, it was pretty much like watching my high school team all over again, but with more tattoos.

To paraphrase Rhett Butler and say that frankly we just didn't give a damn in last night's 71-46 "effort" isn't even scratching the surface. In the second half, I'm not even sure we ran one offensive set as I saw three straight trips down the court where we simply dribbled inside the arc, half assedly set up a pick, and launched an off balance, leaning 20 footer that had no PRAYER of going in unless Hank Thorns was involved. Speaking of Thorns, I think he pretty much has Stockholm Syndrome at this point because that's the only explanation I can think of why a good basketball player would still be around, even taking into consideration he's already transferred once. I'm not sure what the coaching staff sold him two years ago when he transferred from Virginia Tech, but oh my god what are you doing here, guy??? And he wasn't even THAT good last night! 11 points on SEVENTEEN shots is pretty doggone awful, but he was still the leading scorer, and the leading assister with 9. And that line easily qualifies him as the player of the game for the Frogs if there even is such a thing, especially considering we only had 12 assists total on the night. That number should tell you all you need to know about how much we were playing together last night. You could play NBA Live on easy mode solely as LeBron against the Memphis Grizzlies and dish out more assists than that.

For the game, the Frogs shot 33%, 22% from the outside, and FIFTY SEVEN PERCENT from the free throw line. As a benchmark comparison, Shaquille O'Neal, the worst free throw shooter in the history of the league or thereabouts, has a career mark of 52.7%. Let that sink in. TCU has never been a good free throw shooting team for reasons that are beyond me, so I'm not penning that solely on Christian because it was true during the Dark Ages of Daughterty. And making all of our free throws last night would not have even dented the final score. But you know what would have? Not shooting 33% from the floor and 22% from three! That's just terrible and doesn't happen if you have a well executed game plan. And you can't execute a game plan without your best player.

Given what happened last night, I have no doubt that we still would've lost the game even had Moss played. Maybe we would've kept it within 20-15 points, but to suggest that we would've beaten New Mexico is absolutely ludicrous. They aren't that good, but a "not that good" MWC team is still leaps and bounds better than what we're running out each night. And I honestly have no idea why Moss didn't travel; I'm completely jumping to conclusions due to the "undisclosed" part of the reasoning because, if there was a death in the family or an illness or something along those lines, that kind of information is typically disclosed, even for a college athlete. But if he's going the way of Sammy Yeager - and I honestly have no reason to think that he is - that speaks volumes about what's going on in Fort Worth right now when you consider he was the first recruit Christian brought to campus.

Christian really does give a good effort out there. He's fiery, he's passionate and he clearly wants to win. But, as one of our commenters pointed out in another post this week, he's never had to rebuild a program. He did wonders at Kent State, but he inherited his position at what was already a strong program under Stan Heath. But, maybe TCU should've seen the writing on the wall based on Heath's body of work at the University of Arkansas, the job he took over which catapulted Christian into the drivers seat at Kent? I understand the caveats of attracting prime candidates to Fort Worth, of which there are many. And I realize that, after the "hot shot assistant" route failed miserably with Daugherty, the up and coming mid-tier coach was the next best option, and Christian seemed like a home run hire at the time. He said all the right things and was a breath of fresh air coming on the heels of Daugherty, who was one of the most jaded and naive coaches to ever taint the profession. But in hindsight? Christian's expectations and proclamations were the same and just as unrealistic - to win and to win immediately. He just said it with passion and enthusiasm, rather than whining and not accepting that he wasn't in Kansas anymore. But the sad truth is, the program is just as dormant as it was under Neil, and to be honest, perhaps even more so. Daugherty was terrible, but he at least had winning records, and Christian is looking hard at his third straight as head man. I understand he needs proper time to rebuild, and I have no expectations of TCU ever becoming a true basketball powerhouse, but if in three years we're not even challenging the middle of a top heavy basketball conference, how much time should we be willing to give him?

You always hate to turn your back on a person who genuinely wants what is best for the program and who you know wants to win more than anything. But judging from the selfishness of the players last night, and from their glassy eyed, entirely morose expressions in the huddle, it might be time.

To recycle some old material - I might be wrong, but I doubt it.


shortnkerley's said...

One thing is for sure, he's definitely lost the fans, or what was left of them. The product they put out there is more unwatchable than a 2A high school girls playoff game. At least when the Big East comes to town we can see some bad asses treat us like the Washington Generals and make it entertaining.

Start fresh, get some high profile coach (as high profile as we can attract), possibly controversial in here, and let's see if we can put together a decent squad for the first time in a long time. It's time to blow this thing up. We haven't had a watchable team since 2004.

Spit Purple said...

Judging by CDC's comments in the second part of his interview with the Skiff I don't think we'll be parting with Christian in the near future.

Sir Wesley Willis said...

Nah he'll be here for a while longer, and maybe that's not the worst thing because I highly doubt qualified coaches are lining up outside of CDC's office for interviews, even with the Big East on the horizon.