Week one of the season is in the books and BYU came close to coming away with a 2-0 record. After a tune-up game win over Fullerton and a tough game against San Diego St. where we just didn’t make enough plays to secure the W, here are some of the things that stood out to me.
Coming into the season, Coach Pope talked about how effective Dalton has been distributing the ball in roll situations. His assist count hasn’t reflected it yet, but he is making the right plays out of his roll and showed some impressive passing against Cal State Fullerton.
The touch on his pass to Kolby is a pretty difficult pass to make and I really like his composure in the second clip to read the help defender as he is landing, then make the correct pass to Connor.
Switching 1 through 5
We got our first glimpse of how small we’re willing to get last week with Dalton and Zac getting minutes at the 5. When we go that small, we go ahead and switch 1 through 5 on defense.
This switching strategy puts a lot of work on the guards to fight in the post, and they have done a great job so far. Alex does a great job here to avoid being buried by the big and drawing an offensive foul.
Crashing the Offensive Glass
Effort is a huge part of rebounding and although we haven’t yet collected many offensive rebounds, we have shown that we are going to crash almost every possession. Check out Zac crashing instead of bailing on the play and just standing on the perimeter.
This doesn’t show up as an offensive rebound in the stats but in practice, it is. We were also in the bonus here, so it led directly to a scoring opportunity.
Running the floor
As mentioned in the film study for the Italy trip, we want to push the pace. One of the most effective ways to do that is have your bigs run the floor.
Dalton does a great job transitioning from rebounding to running all the way down the floor. Notice how his rim run sucks in the help side defender, creating the wide open three on the opposite wing. If that shot goes in, that’s Dalton’s make.
Guard Work in the Post
As mentioned above, when we switch 1-5 defense the guards have to be very engaged to make things work. Check out the work TJ does here to take away a post entry. Nice backside help as well to make sure they don’t throw it over the top.
Even though they score, TJ does an awesome job of fighting this entire possession. I especially like how he beats the big to the block on the first reversal, a critical part of guarding the post.
Evan Troy Contributing
Watching a few UVU games the last few years, Coach Pope seems willing to go a little deeper into his bench than you might expect, and he got some good minutes from Evan against San Diego State. Here he does a great job keeping up on defense in one possession then scrambling to a good contest where it looks like he got a piece of the shot.
I think the biggest thing I saw was that he didn’t look overmatched, slow, or lost on defense. Pleasant surprises like these will be huge in these no-Yoeli games.
Overall I think our defensive focus has been great these first two games. Late in the San Diego State game, though, we didn’t make the plays we needed to win. Though some of their shots were just big time makes with a hand in the face, lapses like this clip shows could be tightened up. The Aztecs run a nice play here that challenges our switching and we fail the test. TJ doesn’t switch early enough and can’t recover fast enough to discourage the corner three.
I’m not sure what our defensive philosophy is yet when it comes to emergency switches, but ideally you recover from this mistake by having either TJ or Zac recognizing that TJ is behind and letting Zac switch out to the corner.
Small ball “O”
Our guards have been doing their job defensively to make our small lineup work but offensively our “bigs” need to challenge opponents and see if we can make them get smaller to match our speed. Connor does a great job of that here.
Connor’s hard dribble towards TJ sucks up the big then he turns the corner quick to beat the big to the rim. Plays like these will help our wings thrive when they get moved to the 4 or 5.
Everyone knows that rebounding will be a huge issue for this team, even when Yoeli comes back. As an undersized team our guards/wings have to be incredibly involved on the glass and I like the total body of work they’ve shown so far (see the Connor Harding rebounding mixtape). In the Cal State Fullerton game and early in the SDSU game the guards did a great job of crashing the glass. Checkout how Jake takes initiative to crash from the free throw line in the first clip then how the whole team is in or near the paint in the second.
Another thing I really like about the second clip is how Trevin rotated in to get just enough contact on the big that he couldn’t secure the rebound. This type of orchestrated effort is what we need but is hard to do consistently. Later in the second half against San Diego State, Jake and Connor missed a few opportunities to clean up the glass.
The bigs are doing they’re best to keep down the long, athletic, bigs of SDSU but the guards need to get in there and rebound like they did earlier. Instead, Jake and Connor just stand there and the Aztecs get more possessions to cut into the lead. As we showed earlier, we are perfectly capable of doing it, we just need to make sure we consistently put in the effort.
TJ’s still doing his thing
Ending on a high note, TJ is still faking people and making plays. Not a huge fan of the first attempt, but he makes the most of it with this slick drop off to Dalton. This is a tough pass and he effortlessly pulls it off.