Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Paradise Jam: Final thoughts

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands - Some wrap-up thoughts from Paradise Jam as we wait for our late afternoon flight back to Charlotte:

  • Winthrop appears to be in good hands with first-year Randy Peele. The Eagles lost their coach, some talented seniors and one player died in a traffic accident in the offseason -- any of which could have thrown this program for a loop -- but they impressed many here with their tenacity and composure. Winthrop looked spent in the championship game against Baylor, but heading back to Rock Hill 3-1 with a win over an ACC team is a strong start to the season.
  • It's way too early to make a call on the Charlotte 49ers. They are not as good yet as some thought after starting 2-0, but neither are they as bad as many think after losing the fourth-place game to Monmouth. There is no question the quality of the players and the defense is much improved over last season. The offense still has a long way to go.
  • It was never going to be easy to judge Charlotte while one of its starters - Pepperdine transfer Michael Gerrity - sits out the first eight games. With eight new players and a whole compliment not available until second semester, patience will be key. If in January this team still looks the way it did against Monmouth, then it will be time to hit the panic button. I'll say one thing for this team, though, win or lose there is never a dull moment.
  • One trademark common to both Winthrop and Charlotte so far this season -- generally classy actions on court by their respective players. During game introductions this year, Charlotte players go and greet the referees. Winthrop does too, but I don't know if they've done that before. Also in six tournament games between them, I don't recall a single instance of a player from either team complaining unnecessarily about bad officiating. In one standout moment Sunday, after Charlotte's Charlie Coley got hit with a technical for hanging on the rim, he let the ball roll out of bounds and off the court. It wasn't required, but Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz asked Coley to retrieve it and give it back to the referees, which he did. There will always be bad calls in games. A young team's ability to play through them is a key ingredient to staying on track.
That's all for now. Winthrop has little time to relax, returning to action on Sunday at home to face Missouri State. Charlotte gets nine days to prepare for Wake Forest on Nov. 29 at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, its second of four games against ACC teams this season.


Anonymous said...

Not sure I agree with your assesment.....losing to Monmouth and a weak GT proves that this team is not very good. I've always supported Lutz, but I think it's time to make a change. I do not believe Charlotte will ever make a true run in the dance under Lutz. If fielding a team that occassionally makes the tournament only to lose in the first round, then he's OK.

Jon said...

I am somewhere in the middle between you and the unknown person above me. I feel that relying in juco transfers is what kills a team. They have impacts sure, Cam Stephens and Curtis Nash were great while they were here. Charlotte has 8 new players this year and we won't see what kind of team they are until we get to conference play. That is the part that is killing us, good teams have great players for 1 or 2 years and the role players have experience and composure. Charlotte keeps their great players, Eddie, Curtis, Leemire, Jobey (went to high school with him, had to shout him out), and DeMarco all stayed for four years but guys like Charlie Coley who are great at what they do will never have the experience other juniors have. I would love to pick up at least one game v. ACC, if not two, but we will get better. We just have to get better at a rate faster than everyone else... every single year too! If Bobby wants to be successful, he needs to get 4 year player in all roster spots... and Michael Beasley would have helped.

Anonymous said...

Until Bobby and his staff learn to coach a post player is always gonna be the same semi-successful story. No big time post recruit will come here because he is a perimeter oriented coach, and they know he always will be. The success we've had since he's been here is because of outstanding efforts from players like Diego, Curt, Eddie, Jobey and Rodney.
I love Charlie and Lamont and wich they'd been here 2 years already.....but the Juco nonsense has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

It was nice to have more Winthrop coverage in the Observer. If this keeps up, I might reinstate my subscription! Hope your editors will consider more attention to the region's most reliable NCAA contender this season and in the future.

Anonymous said...

Lutz has got to do better than this. That Georgia Tech team is not very good and Monmouth is horendous. Regardless of who was missing from our line-up you cannot lose to a 1 win Monmouth team. This has got to be Lutz's last year if Charlotte ever want's to have a successful and well respected program. There has got to be a better coach out there our program.