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OPINION: Aggies can turn season around

From the Winning Team

staff writer

Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 14:01

 

I about called Mike Williams on Monday.

The Aggie trainer who revived Danny Berger has probably been in hot demand this week. After fans learned the injured fates of stars Preston Medlin and Kyisean Reed, I’m guessing many needed to be shocked back to life.

But don’t go bury your I.D. card and start dreaming of next year, fans. We’ve got a wild road to go this year still.

“The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win,” Michael Lewis wrote in “Moneyball.” “The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired.”

“Moneyball” details the escapades of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. Beane’s obsession with statistics was an orthodox style that allowed him to find production from peculiar places while building a winner.

This is exactly what Stew Morrill needs right now.

So let’s take a look at the numbers. Medlin and Reed were averaging 28.4 points per game, roughly 41% of the team’s total. Rebounds? 28%. Blocks? 50%. The duo were by far the team leaders in minutes, averaging playing 33 of the game’s 40.

Out of the eight players left on the injury-ravaged team, where does the 41% get made up? We’ll break it down in points per game, letting the others numbers come.

The obvious focal point now becomes Jarred Shaw. Shaw already is the team’s leading rebounder and is second in points per game, but his load must now be heavier. The offense will begin to run around him more, a la Al Jefferson of the Utah Jazz. After a strong start to the season, Shaw has had some disappearing acts during stretches. Now’s the time to show his potential: We’ll need at least four more points a game with consistency.

Next are the wings. While we’re not sure what beards Spencer Butterfield and Marvin Jean are capable of, their play has been quietly solid. All they need is to crank up the volume and play with confidence. Both have proven they can shoot, and both are sneaky defenders. Here’s to Butterfield becoming a leader and increasing by three points, while Jean breaks through and moves up by six.

Marcel Davis and TeNale Roland are in an interesting position at the point. Both will be playing more as Roland splits time at the wing, thus necessitating more time for Davis on the court. Both have had flashes of brilliance, but can’t just be role players any more. The whole team is a role player. Davis proved he can score with 21 against Western Oregon: We’ll bump him and Roland up three each.

Then come the bigs. Ben Clifford will be seeing a lot more time, as will Jordan Stone as he slides to the power forward position. Though the Reed dunks might be a stretch, their height can still be an advantage. The threesome has averaged a mere seven points to this point as they’ve made room for the other bigs. Clifford especially is capable of bigger numbers. We’ll see him move up four points, while Matt Lopez and Stone must manage the 5.4 left to cover Medlin and Reed’s scoring absence.

Granted this is just theory, but the points have to come from somewhere. With eight players, there isn’t much alternative room to choose from. And with the newfound status of underdogs, this could be a closing stretch to remember.

Heck, if Stew really needs players, I know a scrawny sportswriter named Mark that’s willing.

 

– Mark is an obsessive Aggie fan that moonlights as an almost unbiased Statesman writer. He is majoring in business administration and preparing for medical school. Comment at m.hop@aggiemail.usu.edu or his blog, www.spectrumagic.blogspot.com.

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