Don’t shoot the shooter

I think we can have a look at, have a discussion about and even have some fun with what Eron Harris said Tuesday night, his message born out of the frustration of another loss and a five-point half under the stranglehold of a defense after an 18-point half under the bright lights of the Coliseum.

But the Mamba did say this:

“You’ve got Kobe. What do they do? They screen for Kobe,” Harris said. “I’m not saying I’m Kobe, but I feel like I had a good enough half to be an option in the second half.”

I like the part where he assured us he’s not Kobe … but I also liked the idea. He is this team’s Kevin Jones, Da’Sean Butler and Joe Alexander. He is from where the points come and he’s the guys his teammates have to go to when a 10-point lead over a ranked team is getting away at home or on the road.

The Kobe thing is going to jump off the page, of course, and there’s going to be a numb skull faction who thinks Harris was whiny and selfish and needs to be disciplined because he needs to keep that behind closed doors. Me? I don’t see a lot of difference between what he says in the video above, what he says in the Kobe quote or what he said later. —–>~ “Everyone’s going to try to take me out of the offense. That doesn’t mean I just don’t get the ball.”

He’s right. He’s not wrong to say it. I’ve always thought part of Harris’ frustrations last season came from wanting to say and do things, but also deferring to or hesitating due to his freshman status. He’s not going to do that again, and I think it’s fair to say that Bob Huggins has been condoning and encouraging this personality trait.

“When you are like Terry, sometimes being a great guy in sports is not a good thing,” he said. “You put too many things on yourself; you think too much; you care too much. The guys who are really great scorers, they’ll miss 10 and think they’re going to make the next 10 … and probably will. Terry is not that way.

“Eron is more that way than Terry is. Eron is a great guy, too, but he doesn’t have the conscience that Terry does.”

This is not to say Huggins wants one player blowing up his teammates, but, again, this is not that. And here’s why I think that way: Harris’ teammates completely agreed with him.

After the game, Kevin Noreen told me, “We have to have the mindset where if he’s got the hot hand, we’ve got to get him the ball somehow. I actually heard one of their assistant coaches say we didn’t share the ball enough. I think that’s a sign we didn’t find him when we needed to.”

Isolated opinion? Response to a specific question? Maybe, except it was part of a chorus.

22 Responses to “Don’t shoot the shooter”

  1. Mack says:

    Anyone who watched the game had to come away with the same opinion that Eron Harris is expressing. Harris was as on fire as anyone can be and he didn’t take that many shots. During the part of the game where Gonzaga took control, I recall Devin missing every shot he took, Gary Browne missing a shot, and Staten missing an off-balance three-pointer.

    Eron should be cautious… Drew Schifino was kicked off the team after he made the exact same comments. I’m sorry, Schifino was “voted off” the team even though none of the players ever recalled there being a vote.

  2. Bobby Heenan says:

    There’s a time and a place for Williams taking jumpers and Gary taking shots as well. If we’re going to be successful this year then opposing teams have to respect those shots and guard them – we saw last year what a disaster it was on offense when teams just sagged off of everyone and clogged the lane.

    However, Williams has got to recognize that those shots are there all shot clock long, and they’re going to give it to him at any time in the possession, so maybe try to get some touches for Harris or Henderson every other trip instead of shooting that wide open shot early in the shot clock.

    It’s hard to put a label on those shots from Browne and Williams that seemed to add up to our offensive demise. In a bubble, they aren’t really bad shots…but in the context of the whole game and the lack of touches for Eron, they’re not exactly good shots.

  3. smeer says:

    what happened to all the shooters? “multiple scoring threats”?

    a one-dimensional team is going to struggle

    Eron is fearless (and capable). Looks like Devon is fearless, but inconsistent. When is Henderson gonna come untracked? For the most part, Staten has not played well against the big boys. With the lane clogged, he’s basically a non-factor. If memory serves, i rarely see him penetrate and dish to the wing. in fact our O seems to rely on quick passing around the perimeter.

    Noreen tries. If anyone should be trying to pull a big away from the basket, Noreen is all time scoring leader in Minnesota and his WVU bio says “outside scoring threat. He needs to pull a Piitsnogle and camp on the perimeter. But foul trouble has fouled up his contributions.

    Dibo – still waiting for him to become the threat I saw on his juco highlight tape.

    the more I write, the more it seems these parts don’t fit together well. Inside guys who pose no outside threats who clog the lane for the one player who can penetrate and not enough perimeter shooters to open up the inside.

    honestly everything could change if Staten could find a consistent three point shot – so much would open up for everyone else (and for him)

    back to we need more than one scorer . . .

    and on D – without a consistent enforcer, shouldn’t we be a primarily zone team? and is it my imagination or do we get more stops and steals when playing zone?

    Nooren gets in foul trouble because he cannot play man to man – and we need to keep him on the court.

    But hey – that’s why Huggs gets millions and I comment on a Tier4 blog.

  4. jtmountaineer says:

    Staten had 17 against the Zags. Henderson had 15, the same total he had the two games before that. Looking too closely at the offense misses the point that we scored 76 points, 6 more than the total that used to win games for Huggins.

    The defense is not where it needs to be. Which isn’t to say it’s bad. It’s getting better and will continue to get better as freshmen play against men for the first times in their lives. The lack of internal size will always be a ceiling for this year’s team, but I’ve seen five players consistently hit shots from a number of places on the floor. The Brain is right on with respect to Devin and when/where he shoots. This team is at its best when it makes extra passes to get the best available shot, not the first available, and as much as I like Dibo’s potential, he has at times curtailed momentum with an overly quick trigger. His airball when we were up ten comes to mind.

  5. Mack says:

    His air ball was a wide open, balanced shot. I’d have no problem with him taking that shot even if there are 35 seconds still on the shot clock. He just missed it . . . by a lot.

  6. smeer says:

    JT – good points – we are scoring more. still I am unsettled on how we score – just doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing – lots of perimeter passing, not many easy baskets. hard to articulate – especially when teams clamp down.

    I thought perhaps we were finding it harder to score in the second half, but I did a quick look at the four losses and box scores and other than the Mizzou game where we were abysmal in the first half and then mounted a comeback when Mizzou called off the dogs, we have been remarkably consistent in our scoring by halves . . .

    VT 41-41
    Wisconsin 31-32
    Mizzou 22-49
    Gonzaga 39-37

    So Eron Harris didn’t get his in the second half but the team did.

    I didn’t check percentages by half and not sure it would tell us anything, but it just seems that at critical moments teams can get stops on us and we cannot reciprocate.

    Anyone with time on their hands – I think it would be worth exploring whether we get more stops by zoning and trapping (points per possession).

    Is there a site that compiles this stuff?

  7. I love you, Doug! says:

    I like the attitude. Seems healthily competitive, hard-edged. Huggy’s comment about Henderson, and guys like him, are spot-on. They’ll get a good win soon.

  8. Spatial Angel says:

    When Schifino was kicked off the team, the team improved immediately.

  9. Dann White says:

    Again I say, to win you must:
    Pass the ball – run your offense

  10. Dann White says:

    Sorry about the double clutch

    Again I say, to win you must:
    Pass the ball – run your offense
    Get rebounds on offense
    Make your free-throws

    Of course every young player wants to play the fast break; it just doesn’t work well for teams without a speed/size advantage.
    I still like this team, they are going to get there eventually.

  11. Mack says:

    Regarding the upcoming game with Marshall (I refuse to call the game by its moniker because I can’t ever remember the difference in “Capital” and “Capitol”), I have decided to buy a ticket and drive a fairly long distance to go to the game just so I don’t have to listen to Frank Giardina on television. BOO THIS MAN!

  12. Mack says:

    I know that no one is going to be sympathetic to Schifino… but the team went 10-10 the rest of the year without him and lost to all ranked teams. They were 8-4 with him (through the non-conference schedule and the first Big East game at Notre Dame) with a loss to the only ranked team they played but a win against Maryland.

    Hard to say they were “better” without him… but they were pretty comparable both with him and without him.

    I just thought it always seemed petty to kick him off the team midseason when it appeared that the main reason for doing so was simply that Beilein didn’t want him on the team any more. If that’s the case, then tell him that in the offseason (like Huggins seemed to do) so that it can work out for all involved. Again, no one in the world is going to be more sympathetic to Schifino than Beilein in that situation… but it’s always kept me from showering Beilein with love like a lot of others do.

  13. Rugger says:

    Huggs did kick Danny to the curb mid-year. Danny’s averaging 12.7 and 8.3 reb at Long Beach.

    I caught a case of giardina backpacking in Colorado earlier this year. Frankly, it was miserable.

  14. hoot says:

    Although I don’t consider myself a numbskull, I do have a small problem with
    Eron’s remarks. I’m not so sure this is really “his” team yet—he has had a hot hand in several games, but it looks like teams have gone beyond trying to take him out of the offense, some have actually done it. If he wants the ball more, I would suggest working a little harder to get it, within the confines of the offense.

  15. Mack says:

    Wait… Dan Jennings is the guy who left the team at halftime of a game, right?

  16. Rugger says:

    and a nice note as I understand it. I didn’t say he didn’t deserve it, just that Huggs has kicked a kid off mid-season whereas your post seemed to imply that he always waits until season’s end.

  17. Mack says:

    I think that leaving a team at halftime qualifies as “quitting” . . . but who cares.

    What did the note supposedly say? You can put edits in [brackets].

  18. Rugger says:

    I’ll concede that it was a quit thus apples and oranges. my bad.

    I don’t know what it said but I recall it was on the whiteboard for Huggs et al to see post game. Wonder if Mike knows what it said?

  19. Mack says:

    It probably said, “Dear Honorable Coach Robert Huggins and my esteemed colleagues, I have decided that my educational goals have led me toward a different path and therefore I am forced to participate for another group of sportsmen to play the sport of basketball. I hope that your passion for the game continues to burn bright and that you achieve a level of success the likes of which have never been seen. Your friend forever, Daniel Jennings.”

  20. Gordo says:

    I don’t have a problem w/ WHAT he said. One could and maybe should argue that it wasn’t the right place to make such comments. What his teammates think about what he said is more important than what fans/press think about it. None of us have the privilege of being in the locker room so its hard to say if he has the respect of his peers to put something like this out there.

  21. SheikYbuti says:

    Schifino, as I recall, was on an impressively long streak of games in which he scored in double digits. The streak ended short a bucket or so when Beilein decided to sit him for the last several minutes of the game. That tells me that Beilein was making a point, perhaps that Schifino was putting himself ahead of the team (a big no-no with Beilein). Schifino didn’t react well to the benching, and that was that. I would imagine the public episode was merely the icing on the cake, but we weren’t privy to much else.

  22. Mack says:

    I agree with Sheik’s recollection. My memory is that Schifino said something to the effect of, “If we’re having a tough time scoring, it makes no sense to me that I’m on the bench since I’m the best scorer on the team.” It was difficult to argue with, because that was a team that was, in fact, struggling to score in the game and Schifino was by far the best scorer on the team. I’m sure there were probably other issues, but Schifino never struck me as a troublemaker and I don’t recall there being any issues whatsoever with him prior to that game.