As has been the case for many games this season, this was surely a disappointing ending. Although there were a significant number of improvements to amass between this season and last it's safe to assume that many of us held higher expectations. While some would debate that there was little to no improvement, we need to consider the following:
1. We played a significantly more difficult schedule this season. By consensus opinion, this was considered one of, if not the most difficult schedule the Mens Basketball program has undertaken.
2. With this in mind, we managed to improve our Win-Loss totals in both our overall and confrence resumes by 3 games each.
4. Furthermore, this was done with what was still regarded as one of the youngest teams in the country, mainly supplied with sophmores and freshmen.
5. Coaching: our staff put up a schedule that was exciting and challenging that has set the table for the future. Not only did we improve our win column totals as indicated above but also increased our road wins by a couple and remained competitve in each road loss. This was a major step up from the previous season.
Now while I point out the pros there are obviously some cons:
1. As Coach Haskins often stated, "give me a point guard first". This point couldn't have been more obvious this season. While Jacques Streeter is a skilled ball handler and distributor, he lacked one thing that became more apparent as the season progressed with the lack of scoring talent around him. That one thing? The ability to create his own shot. If you look back to our past successful campaigns, they all had one glaring thing in common - a Point Guard who could not only dish the ball, but make their own shot when needed and take the game on his back. Make no mistake, while Jacques has carved his name in the impressive UTEP anals of point guards with over 500 assists, at times we needed that "go to guy". That special someone who could carry the team offensively to keep us in games and provide that little spark to give the rest of the team time to get back in it a la Randy Culpepper.
2. Although CJ Cooper had begun to illustrate this type of prowess, unfortunately it was late in the season.
3. Twymond? For a Parade All American with his size and athletic ability to rarely see the court is completely perplexing?! Obviously there's more to this than is publicly known, but for all intents and purposes on this specific season, this can only be considered a complete bust.
4. J-Bo - progression or regression? I have not compared his season numbers, but on paper I wouldn't be surprised if his totals had improved from the previous. This said, as a 3 year starter with his athletsicsm, height and offesnive abilities, he should have been a conference first teamer this season. His inability to commit the time and effort needed to put on the needed size and strength to become a dominant force at the center position and remain competetive against the larger/stronger trees in the paint is disappointing.
5. While it's important to point out our Coaching successes, it's equally fair to point out their misgivings. While I wouldn't presume to believe that I know more about Divison I Mens Basketball than Coach Tim Floyd and company, I will say that it's incumbent on the coaching staff to have their team mentally and situationally prepared for every game time position. At times we witnessed what appeared to be some complete inadequecies in preparation during pivotal moments in games from Free Throw inconsistencies; to the inability in breaking full court pressure or traps; to the reluctance of players taking an open shot opting more for the extra pass and usually a lower percentage attempt, etc... This all falls on the coaching staff.
All in all, while disappointing given our expectations for this season, there are an equal number of items to glean with encouragement going into the next given the experience our current team has garnered, and the talent we have coming in.