Thursday, January 26, 2006

"I Feel Your Pain"

That COULD be a quote from Oklahoma State's Eddie Sutton. Does this situation sound somewhat familiar?

- a team that went to the Final Four two years ago
- lost 7 seniors from last year's squad
- lost 85.6% of their points from last season
- lost 87.6% of their rebounds from last season
- the Head Coach has the youngest team in his coaching history
- starting 3 freshman
- struggling to win games.

What's the old saying - "youth is wasted on the young". Well, there is something to the fact that guys have to learn how to play Div I, ACC caliber hoops. There is something to the fact that players have to learn to be leaders and develop a team chemistry on the floor. There is something to the fact that team play matters more than individual play, so when you put a bunch of guys who were "the man" in high school, they have to learn what it means to play a role.

Read this article, and you'll realize that what this team is going through should be expected - even if we didn't want it to happen. Some Quotes:

"When you start three freshmen in this league, you're asking for problems. You watch them grow and mature, and it's fun. But it takes time."

"You get spoiled having the team we had the last couple of seasons," Sean Sutton said. "He's enjoyed these players, but they've tested his patience. He gets frustrated by the mistakes and having to repeat himself over and over."

The only starter who was on campus last year is guard JamesOn Curry. But he's just a sophomore and struggling to make the transition from the fourth scoring option to the first — a painful process, as evidenced by his misadventures at the end of regulation and in overtime against the senior-laden Buffaloes.

Curry rushed a three-point try with seven seconds left in regulation. At the end of overtime, he opted to throw an ill-advised pass to unsuspecting freshman guard Terrel Harris on the wing rather than take the ball to the basket.

The errant pass was one of three "no-excuse turnovers that were costly" to the Cowboys down the stretch, Sean Sutton said.

And it's what happens when a lineup is bloated with newcomers. These Cowboys are ridiculously athletic and certainly not without skill — some national services ranked them the top class in the country. But they still are the heart of a roster glaringly lacking in even a smattering of veteran stability, especially with junior David Monds and sophomore Marcus Dove battling injuries.

Read that last paragraph again and just accept that the performance curve is going to be like a kid learning to drive - lots of quick stops and starts, a lot of jerking and jolting and it ain't gonna be smooth. But everyone once in awhile we're going to see a little "Mario Andretti" in this group.

I'll root for this team with fire and passion no matter how many games they win or lose. This is a great bunch of players and more importantly people. This team may have weaknesses, but they've got character.