REALLY? Am I alone in my complete lack of confidence?
Maybe I'm just totally frustrated at the loss of one of my favorite past-times as a fan who has over 14,000 posts to this site and a weblog devoted to the LADY VOLSLooking back at just some of the pictures I took and posted over the years makes me nostalgic for what once was and is no more. Back on Nov 18 2007 Texas came to TBA and we celebrated with a through thrashing of Texas
Tennessee was up 64 to 41 with 15 min left to play in a blowout with where it rained 3 point shots from the perimeter. Final score 92 to 67 with 9 of 18 made 3 point shots.
|TEXAS AT TENNESSEE ON BANNER DAY 2007|
A BANNER DAY IN TENNESSEE
link to LADY VOL excellence and tradition
|Banners will fade with time - A sad reminder of who we were.|
It was not that long ago that I spent countless hours making the case during MAYAGATE that there was no comparison between Pat's program and the travesty the was concocted by cheaters in New England who used Doris Burke and ESPN as a recruiting tool and put top recruits (Carolyn Doty) in the head coaches office with Sue Bird and Diana T and a Wendy's cheeseburger. link
In those days the Lady Vols schedule put the XXXXX team to shame and (great link) I posted the ranking of every opponent down to the many many 100 rank and MUCH lower ranked opponents on the XXXXX schedule in color coded posts to illustrate the disparity. *this link is a fun link to remind us of what was. Sadly those days are gone. I never print the name of that school and team because I believe Pat's boycott meant that we should boycott even the mention of the name.
This is prelude because many of you will consider this post negative heresy. This lengthy discourse has been under construction for a couple of weeks and is one shot at what could have been 20 posts. I only have one question for all of you:
DO YOU DESIRE A PROGRAM OF UNPARALLELED EXCELLENCE?
|A missed Final Four was once the exception.|
That is what was here built by Pat – great players – and the largest most dedicated fan base in the women’s game. The Lady Vols are
Understand this: Holly is a VFL and a fine person - but she is not the leader and coach this program should have. We should be taking our pick of TOP 10 recruits every year. Absence from a FINAL FOUR should be a rarity - an exception to the rule. This program deserves and should demand AN EXCEPTIONAL COACH - for a $665,000.00 a year this should be our demand. Don't settle for less - for just good - for someone who 'earned it' - I want to see us with a coach who sees the LADY VOLS as superior to the XXXXX program and who considers absence from the FINAL FOUR a FAILURE. We will not get that kind of coaching without DEMANDING IT. As far as I'm concerned anyone who thinks this way of thinking is negative is an impediment to the ultimate goal "A LADY VOLS program that has no equal."
The days of “We will figure it out, go back to the drawing board and get this team off to a better start.” are over and done. We don't have time to let this staff go back to the same drawing board where they drew up the plans that have seen the precipitous decline in player development, winning basketball, and ZERO recruiting. This is massive TOTAL DRAWING BOARD FAILURE and anyone who thinks this staff can fix what they have broken and not only failed to fix - but watched decline day after week after year. They have no idea how to fix this or how to "get better". If we were seeing any improvement instead of decline we could wait and see but we are not seeing improvement. Even the D and rebounding are declining. Can you name one area or one player who has improved under the coaching of this staff?
Any acceptance of ‘good’ and ‘adequate’ while being ‘nice’ and ‘positive’ about mediocrity is not what Lady Vol basketball is about. - and this is not "good" or "adequate". Pat would never settle for this – and as a fan of what Pat built I don’t think we should settle for it either.
A coach worthy of the Lady Vols has to be capable of putting together recruiting classes every year of 3 or 4 TOP 10 McDonald’s AAs.
TOP 10 REASONS TO BECOME A LADY VOL link to recruiting advantages of the SUMMITT at TBA.
|No better recruiting tool for women basketball was ever conceived|
Our guards Reynolds and Carter look worse now than they did as freshmen Holly Warlick. How can you take capable guards who look good as Freshmen and turn them into ineffective nonentities as Juniors? Both Reynolds and Carter were capable of hitting the three and finishing layup prior to this season.
As CP3 noted; we don’t seem to run any offense. When CP3 speaks we should listen. We can’t seem to develop shooters – and the long time staff of self satisfied highly paid former assistants to Pat have evidently lost touch with what it takes to mold excellent young women athletes into better players every day, week, month and year of their time at UT. Women don’t do ONE AND DONE. Coaches have them for four years and have to be capable of improving their skills or they are simply a waste of time and money. A hungry young staff out to prove their mettle could be what is required to rekindle the fire and desire to excel.
LOOK AT EXAMPLES CLOSE TO HOME.
Listening to the Army game I learned that UT guard Kevin Punter was coached by Barnes to completely change his shot in the past 3 months. It took a couple of months but his arm positioning and release point were totally altered and the results have been near spectacular as he is leading the scorers on our undersized and barely rated men's team. The early success of the men is a very good sign that we have a coach who knows how to get the most from a very depleted roster. I imagine what a coach like Barnes might get out of talent like we have in the Lady Vols program?
We can only judge the statement's of the head coach since she is very
specific about her philosophy and her game plan.
WARLICK: "Anybody that knows
WARLICK: "We've got to get the ball inside and penetrate, we'll get better."
WARLICK via Maria: "she threatened to cut off the arm of the next shooter who launched an ill-advised long-range shot"
These statements are a continuation of a theme that has made me believe that offense is an afterthought undiscovered and ignored. The staff seems to believe that shooting performance is the sole responsibility of the player - a skill to be honed during personal gym rat time. The idea of creating open space for perimeter players to catch and shoot seems to be a foreign language with our women but Barnes believes that great defense starts with the ability to make baskets since a break out from a take out after a made goal is not possible as it is with a rebound of a missed shot. The 3 point line is a gift of an extra point on each possession - a forced pass to the interior requires 3 things to happen for a positive result: - 1) An open passing lane 2) Great position and hands by the recipient post and 3) A non-telegraphed accurate pass to a position where the post can A) reach it and B) be in a good scoring position once it arrives. In some ways a rebound from a near miss 3 is every bit as good an option since the post should be facing the rim after getting the rebound.
How easy do we make it for opposing coaches to game plan? 1) Everybody knows what we are going to try to do 2) Everybody knows we don't spend much time on offensive schemes or shooting drills. 3) Everybody knows our best 3 point threat isn't on the court and nothing has changed at
Now add playing 'inside out" with offense as an afterthought and no time spent trying to develop any strategy to get the guards involved in any offense outside of feeding the posts. Don't spend any time trying to teach picks and screens to open perimeter shooters or a lane for penetration. The idea of a shot coach? heresy. Trying to develop an offensive scheme? really? I can't say that I really see much improvement in lock down D even with all the emphasis and time. I guess things would be a disaster without it. Is it the case that our players require so much practice on D and rebounding that we have no time to coach shooting and offense? Against a zone we are lost because a zone attack requires fear of 3 point shooters.
or perhaps retain Kyra Elzy $230,000
Put together 2 week camps with these former players and pros to key on shot mechanics like Peyton does with Cutcliffe and his receivers. The mechanics once developed can be learned and practiced over time.