I am that annoying Buckeye fan (without all the corny Michigan jokes) that rides with the Bucks through thick and thin. The Basketball Buckeyes have been on my bad side this season despite being ranked in the top ten. Without Jared Sullinger things are a lot different in Columbus. Things were a lot easier when hiding behind someone who averaged 17.0 ppg to go along with 10.0 rebounds. The numbers have been replaced, but the level of basketball IQ, and intangibles have not been replaced. There are not as many open shots, and there is not that reliable beast that you know if you give them the ball it would likely be a foul or two points. I know that they probably won’t happen, but I have a few suggestions to improve the play of the Bucks (Listed below)
Start Amir Williams- I know that E. Ravenel is probably a good kid, but he is a senior that will not give anything to the program for years to come. Williams is a legit big on the defensive end with room to grow on all levels of basketball. How can a player improve if he receives spotty minutes?
Limit the freedom of Lenzelle Smith Jr – At times Smith Jr. thinks he is Evan Turner or Daequan Cook, but it needs to stop. In games against Kansas and Duke, Smith was often seen chucking many off-balanced three pointers. Smith is really a role player that should come off the bench in my opinion, but hey what do I know.
Play Laquinton Ross and Deshaun – Thomas together I know there is only one basketball on the court, but when you have two talented offensive weapons it is important to play them together. Thomas has been double teamed a lot this year, and I would rather see him kick it out to LaQuinton Ross rather than ummmm Lenzelle Smith Jr.
Unleash Shannon Scott - Shannon Scott has improved leaps and bounds since his first year as a Buckeye. Matta has played two point guards before with Mike Conley and Jamar Butler so it would be worth a try. Yes Scott and Craft have a similar skill set, but it would be exciting to see the havoc created on the defensive end.
Keep Deshaun Thomas 15 ft and below- At times D. Thomas thinks that he is better than what he is. Thomas does not have the ball handling skills to take his man off of the dribble so he is often stuck shooting a questionable jump shot. Thomas can score with the best of them, but he is even more dangerous when plays inside/outside. Seeing Thomas on the perimeter for majority of the game is painful only because his bad shots often lead to fast breaks for opposing teams.
Last but not least….Change the starting lineup to
This lineup loses a little defense, but gains a bit more on offense. With Smith coming off of the bench he can play free with the second group and not disrupt to much of the offensive flow as he has been prone to do so this season. Sam Thompson can fill in for Thomas or Ross, and has the ability to guard three positions. His consistency is not there yet, but we know the talent is. The lone senior Evan Ravenel will always be useful, because he has five fouls to give, and he is a hard-working player. Ravenel’s high motor would be beneficial in a bench role rather than him sustaining that level of play with starters minutes. This team is not reminiscent of any of Jim O’Brien’s or Randy Ayers late teams by no means. With a few minor tweaks I think that the Bucks can be more than okay. Go Bucks!