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Who are your sleepers?

LarstheRed

Travel Squad
5 Year Member
Since we appear to be without any immediate games, I thought a quick chat on topics other than 'why are we struggling', might be a nice change. With a team like ours, which has basically a new roster of players, there are always guys that catch a fans eye for certain qualities we feel they may bring to a team. I don't mean the Teddy's, or Delano's, but the ones that you have a feeling will potentially be key contributors to the success of the team, either this year, or next. Every team has them, be it for situational play, or specific match ups, smart coaches know their unique skillset and where it can get plugged in.

I'll toss out a guy who has seen some minutes, but I think before it's all said and done will be a key to our being competitive in some B1G games this season: Shamiel Stevenson. I've already mentioned, I'm concerned he's frustrated with his minutes, and I could see him look for another opportunity if that doesn't change. As much as I think he can be a key contributor, I do recognize he's really struggled from 3 pt range, and that's not a good way to earn minutes on a Fred Hoiberg team. We either need to accept he's going to be scoring 2s, or he's going to languish on the bench. That's the bad. The good, or areas I think he can really help this team is by being allowed to use that OLB body, as a really solid defender, as a guy who can drive strong and either pull up, or go inside and thrive shooting with contact. He is also a very good rebounder for his height, and he brings a level of nasty that isn't a bad thing in this league.

So that's my sleeper. A guy who isn't a starter, won't be a starter, but can be a key contributor in certain games for the Huskers. Now let's hope we get some games rolling to see if my guess is any good.
 

Sandhills Husker

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
Since we appear to be without any immediate games, I thought a quick chat on topics other than 'why are we struggling', might be a nice change. With a team like ours, which has basically a new roster of players, there are always guys that catch a fans eye for certain qualities we feel they may bring to a team. I don't mean the Teddy's, or Delano's, but the ones that you have a feeling will potentially be key contributors to the success of the team, either this year, or next. Every team has them, be it for situational play, or specific match ups, smart coaches know their unique skillset and where it can get plugged in.

I'll toss out a guy who has seen some minutes, but I think before it's all said and done will be a key to our being competitive in some B1G games this season: Shamiel Stevenson. I've already mentioned, I'm concerned he's frustrated with his minutes, and I could see him look for another opportunity if that doesn't change. As much as I think he can be a key contributor, I do recognize he's really struggled from 3 pt range, and that's not a good way to earn minutes on a Fred Hoiberg team. We either need to accept he's going to be scoring 2s, or he's going to languish on the bench. That's the bad. The good, or areas I think he can really help this team is by being allowed to use that OLB body, as a really solid defender, as a guy who can drive strong and either pull up, or go inside and thrive shooting with contact. He is also a very good rebounder for his height, and he brings a level of nasty that isn't a bad thing in this league.

So that's my sleeper. A guy who isn't a starter, won't be a starter, but can be a key contributor in certain games for the Huskers. Now let's hope we get some games rolling to see if my guess is any good.
Shamiel showed a little better in the Indiana game, and I hope you're right. Unfortunately there isn't much to choose from among the non-starters for other options. Kobe Webster is the another possible choice, although he may be more of a contributor at this point of the season than you mean by "sleeper" He has had flashes, but has trouble bringing it for extended minutes. Does some nice things at times. Always plays hard, but gets posted up a lot. If Yvan becomes a non-starter due to Walker becoming eligible, he could give us 15-20 minutes of rebounding and defense. Otherwise, Thor's minutes have gone way down. Lakes couldn't guard me. Eduardo is a long term project who isn't ready for extended minutes. And Elijah Woods will never play at this level. In a nutshell, yikes.
 

LarstheRed

Travel Squad
5 Year Member
Shamiel showed a little better in the Indiana game, and I hope you're right. Unfortunately there isn't much to choose from among the non-starters for other options. Kobe Webster is the another possible choice, although he may be more of a contributor at this point of the season than you mean by "sleeper" He has had flashes, but has trouble bringing it for extended minutes. Does some nice things at times. Always plays hard, but gets posted up a lot. If Yvan becomes a non-starter due to Walker becoming eligible, he could give us 15-20 minutes of rebounding and defense. Otherwise, Thor's minutes have gone way down. Lakes couldn't guard me. Eduardo is a long term project who isn't ready for extended minutes. And Elijah Woods will never play at this level. In a nutshell, yikes.
Maybe I look at things a little different. I don't think a guy has to be a complete player to be able to contribute, they just need a specific skill that they can do as well or better than some of the top rotation guys. Eduardo is a project, but he can be an asset against some teams this year. His length, ability to protect the rim, can give us some help against certain teams. The same is true of Lakes. When you play strong team defense, or have an opponent playing someone who may not be overly explosive, you can afford to play a guy like Lakes and allow him to focus primarily on his spot shooting.

There are ways to protect players for a short period of time who have shortcomings on the defensive or offensive end. A junk defense, and by that I mean one that you use sporadically to mess with an offense. Basketball Defenses, Coach's Clipboard Basketball Coaching and Playbook (coachesclipboard.net) This link gives some ideas on various defenses you can use to slow a specific player or a hot shooting team, but it's also a great tool to protect players with specific holes in their game. I'm not suggesting we become the masters of the Junk, but when you have a teacher like Doc, learning how to play these various sets could be pretty beneficial for a long, athletic team like ours. I don't want to become the 'Cuse, but that's an example of how brutal a unique defense can confound even the toughest teams.
 

Sandhills Husker

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
I guess it depends how "sleeper" is looked at. If its "what can we do to limit our bench players from getting exposed in a league as good as this", the things you're talking about make a lot of sense. If "sleeper" is a more positive term, meaning what non-starter can really be a really solid contributor over extended minutes in this league, well, I don't think we have a lot to choose from.
 

LarstheRed

Travel Squad
5 Year Member
I guess it depends how "sleeper" is looked at. If its "what can we do to limit our bench players from getting exposed in a league as good as this", the things you're talking about make a lot of sense. If "sleeper" is a more positive term, meaning what non-starter can really be a really solid contributor over extended minutes in this league, well, I don't think we have a lot to choose from.
I don't need a guy to be a key participant every night. I played with a guy who was a bomber, and complete irritant in a press, but could not be counted on to be a solid participant against every team. Tall teams were a problem, as he wasn't particularly tall, and he had some issues against teams that zoned us if his shot wasn't falling, and he was streaky. A zone needs good passing, and my buddy was a little iffy with his passing accuracy. However, even with those limitations, his contributions were critical in getting us wins in several games. I don't think there are many 'complete players' on any team. Most have some gaps that can be exploited, some more than others, but it's being able or willing to use some creativity to be able to access that talent that is a key part of coaching. A team that I'll give credit for doing this pretty successfully over the years is Creighton. I see them being able to plug in guys, use what they are good at, and keep their deficiencies to a minimum. I'll be interested to see how Fred adapts his style to maximizing some of the guys we have on the roster.

I'd hope the thought isn't if we aren't able to do all the things we want this year means we can't help prepare players to be a bigger part of things next year, because we need to be continually building depth and talent.
 

Sandhills Husker

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
OK, I probably over-read "sleeper". Obviously Lakes could shoot some 3s against zones as a contribution. Perhaps Eduardo can contribute this year, but he's been lost out there so far (understandable given his late start, but getting 2-3 minutes a game with the post situation we have says it all); down the road I hope he can develop because he looks good out there in a uniform. For now, I think Webster and Stevenson are the best bets for significant contributions.
 

LarstheRed

Travel Squad
5 Year Member
OK, I probably over-read "sleeper". Obviously Lakes could shoot some 3s against zones as a contribution. Perhaps Eduardo can contribute this year, but he's been lost out there so far (understandable given his late start, but getting 2-3 minutes a game with the post situation we have says it all); down the road I hope he can develop because he looks good out there in a uniform. For now, I think Webster and Stevenson are the best bets for significant contributions.
I'll be disappointed if Fred doesn't figure out how to get some points out of Lakes. Considering our need for someone being able to take the lid of the basket some nights, and the fact this guy's shooting isn't reliant on him putting the ball on the floor and creating space, we need to run some sets that allow him to slip into a spot and give us 6-12 on particular nights.

I haven't had the chance to watch all of the games, but is there some reason we have seen Kobe struggle as much as he has from 3? His stroke the one game looked very natural, and he was finding the spots to get it off despite his lack of height. Why he's been a clanker in more games than not just seems weird. Is he not getting open looks? Is he trying to shoot 3s while covered closely?
 

LarstheRed

Travel Squad
5 Year Member
I can get on board with Stevenson as long as he keeps his head up and accepts his role.
That's probably the challenge. Just like on the football team, when you aren't seeing the court, it's frustrating. But when you aren't seeing the court and we aren't winning, it's really frustrating. Finally, when you aren't seeing the court, we aren't winning, AND the guy in front of you isn't exactly burning up the nets, that can fracture a relationship with the coach. I hope we aren't to that point, and he can be a decently contributor for us.
 

All 'N' 011808

Former Walk-on
2 Year Member
That's probably the challenge. Just like on the football team, when you aren't seeing the court, it's frustrating. But when you aren't seeing the court and we aren't winning, it's really frustrating. Finally, when you aren't seeing the court, we aren't winning, AND the guy in front of you isn't exactly burning up the nets, that can fracture a relationship with the coach. I hope we aren't to that point, and he can be a decently contributor for us.
Looked better against Indiana.
 

Sandhills Husker

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
I'll be disappointed if Fred doesn't figure out how to get some points out of Lakes. Considering our need for someone being able to take the lid of the basket some nights, and the fact this guy's shooting isn't reliant on him putting the ball on the floor and creating space, we need to run some sets that allow him to slip into a spot and give us 6-12 on particular nights.

I haven't had the chance to watch all of the games, but is there some reason we have seen Kobe struggle as much as he has from 3? His stroke the one game looked very natural, and he was finding the spots to get it off despite his lack of height. Why he's been a clanker in more games than not just seems weird. Is he not getting open looks? Is he trying to shoot 3s while covered closely?
Perhaps Walker being a bigger offensive threat in the paint and pick and roll game will open some things up for Lakes. At this level the scout is so good they've identified "shooter" and it's hard to get him looks. Like many of our players, he could have used a normal pre-season and then nonconference schedule against some patsies. Difficult to come in and immediately see Big 10 level play. He's not shooting well or confidently, and he struggles so much in the other phases I doubt Fred wants to commit the minutes to let him shoot himself out of the funk.

I agree on Webster--it looks better than the results. He's getting open looks. Going through a funk right now with shot selection. Passes up some good looks, and then shoots some contested ones. He's streaky. Probably lost some confidence going up a level. But he's given some really good stretches of minutes, and then bad. Hopefully the consistency (good) will come.
 
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HuSkaBob

Husker Geek
5 Year Member
I'll be disappointed if Fred doesn't figure out how to get some points out of Lakes. Considering our need for someone being able to take the lid of the basket some nights, and the fact this guy's shooting isn't reliant on him putting the ball on the floor and creating space, we need to run some sets that allow him to slip into a spot and give us 6-12 on particular nights.

I haven't had the chance to watch all of the games, but is there some reason we have seen Kobe struggle as much as he has from 3? His stroke the one game looked very natural, and he was finding the spots to get it off despite his lack of height. Why he's been a clanker in more games than not just seems weird. Is he not getting open looks? Is he trying to shoot 3s while covered closely?
This is my impression, haven't gone back to look at games: If Kobe isn't wide open, he's getting a pass because one of the "main" guys is covered. The pass is usually way out of the "shooting pocket", and he has to do something unique to get a shot off. When he's open, he sets his feet, doesn't fade off to one side, or back, and shoots a good shot.

TL : DR -- Kobe passes better than he is passed to.
 
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