If roundball is your blood, this is the place to discuss the Flames as they move into the Ritchie McKay era for the 2nd time.

Moderators: jcmanson, Sly Fox, BuryYourDuke

By Tothehoopyall1
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#660250
Coach Mckay has done an overall great job while he's been at Liberty. I think we are blessed to have him as a coach, and he certainly knows what he's doing. I don't question this, but I am a little concerned as it seems like some of you are who have been posting about the basketball team this year. For the record, the season is not over, and we still could win the CUSA tournament. I get it and realize we could still do some damage and go to the Big Dance. However, I will admit at the beginning of the year I was very excited about what I was seeing. Although the Myrtle Beach tournament was early in the season, we were playing well. Both Charlotte and Vermont have gone on to very good seasons and we played both teams very well, winning both games. It seems rare to see a team get worse as the season progresses, but that appears to be what happened to us this year. I have been dismayed to see how dismal we have played during the second half of this season. The Pack-line defense might as well have been called the Pack Score defense (it didn’t work). Teams have scored at will against us during the second half of the season. Here are my thoughts on some of our players. Again, I think Coach Mckay does a great job and our roster represents our school well. I am not denying this at all, and I appreciate so much about our team. I also attend the games. I am a season ticket holder and attend every home game minus the Christmas garbage games against Boyce College and similar competition (I just can’t watch that stuff).

My thoughts on the current roster:

Cleveland- I like what he brings to the program, but he is also erratic at times. I'm not completely sold on him being the primary ball handler, but he might be the best we can do at this time. It would be interesting to see him on the wing more where he could slash to the basket off of picks etc.

Porter- I mentioned last year in this forum that I don’t see him being a 4-year starter. If he remains a starter, we are doomed to .500 ball in CUSA. He wasn’t great last year and wasn’t much better this year (his shot did improve this year). I am not saying that he is not a good ball handler, because he is, but unfortunately, we need more than a ball handler on the court. He was scored on at will by other teams all season long. Is he even a D1 player? No disrespect, but I’m not sure at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t transfer at some point.

Peebles- He contributed well this year but has struggled to find a rhythm at times (seems to have lost some confidence). I feel like his increased playing time during the middle of the season was a help to the team. Unfortunately, like many others on the team, he was inconsistent. Hopefully, next year he can become more of a consistent contributor.

Metheny- This kid had an excellent season and I believe the best is yet to come for Kaden. It will be interesting to see how he meshes in with newcomers next year. He is a defensive liability against larger guards but he’s so good in other ways it is hard to keep him off the court. It wouldn’t have bothered me to see him consistently play the point this year.

Venzant- A great defender! Every team needs a stopper and Venzant brings this. I expect another year of the same. His jumper did improve some this year but still has a way to go.

Sutherland- Showed some promise at times but is he an answer to our woes? I am not sure, but he deserves some time to show more of what he can do.

Spell- His career at Liberty might be over. He just never seemed to find himself at LU. I’m kind of surprised as he was a UNC recruit out of high school.

Yates- Seems like a nice kid. Is he an answer for us on the court? No! I could see him eventually transferring.

Rode- Graduating- He had a solid career at LU and led well.

Robinson- Graduating- His performance declined but he was a solid player for Liberty for 5 seasons.

Davis- Will he be a difference-maker for the team? Seems little is known as to what he will bring to the team. I hope I’m surprised but I’m skeptical at this point.

Blair- I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do. Solid HS recruit out of Richmond.

Yu- An inside source tells me he is legit and stronger than he looks. I hear the language barrier has been a struggle for him. Looking forward to seeing what he brings next year.

What are your thoughts on the future of the team?
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By TH Spangler
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#660251
I forget who it was. But early in the season an opposing coach game planned to come out and closely contest every 3 point shot. It worked and it seems everyone else noticed. We haven't been able to counter with good inside play.

Not executing Pac this year, as well as past few seasons either.
By paradox
Registration Days Posts
#660254
TH Spangler wrote: March 4th, 2024, 6:06 am I forget who it was. But early in the season an opposing coach game planned to come out and closely contest every 3 point shot...
The FAU coach exposed a few vulnerabilities. Team has slowly adjusted and grown significantly since. All without much noise. But noticeably better nonetheless.

It’s a constant process in perpetual motion. Will there be enough to finish strong? Maybe. We’ll find out soon enough.
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By LUOrange
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#660255
I agree with much of ToTheHoop's player assessment on the regulars in McKay's rotation. My difference is that Porter is better than he gives him credit for, but on this team his role is wasted with 2 point forwards. If he's our PG, let him work the ball. But many of times, I think it's pointless to have Porter and Methany on the court together. IMO, Robinson & Peebles regression or inconsistencies are due to diminished PT and/or confidence from McKay. Personally, I thought it was a mistake to take restart Venzant after his injury after Peebles had cleary stepped up his game. So if it were up to me, my starting 5 would be Robinson, Rode, Cleveland, Methany & Peebles.

I really don't have opinion on Southerland, Yates, and Spell's abilities because they don't really play that much. Southerland plays the most and has stints where he impresses me. I think Yates and Spell, like Blake Preston, are underutilized. But they're also at the end of the bench for a reason too. Although, you can argue that they'd play more if not for Rode and Robinson's COVID year.

I am much higher on next year's team with Yu, Blair, and Davis adding size and athleticism, than I am on this squad making a run in the CUSA tourney.
By Tothehoopyall1
Posts
#660259
LUOrange wrote:I agree with much of ToTheHoop's player assessment on the regulars in McKay's rotation. My difference is that Porter is better than he gives him credit for, but on this team his role is wasted with 2 point forwards. If he's our PG, let him work the ball. But many of times, I think it's pointless to have Porter and Methany on the court together. IMO, Robinson & Peebles regression or inconsistencies are due to diminished PT and/or confidence from McKay. Personally, I thought it was a mistake to take restart Venzant after his injury after Peebles had cleary stepped up his game. So if it were up to me, my starting 5 would be Robinson, Rode, Cleveland, Methany & Peebles.

I really don't have opinion on Southerland, Yates, and Spell's abilities because they don't really play that much. Southerland plays the most and has stints where he impresses me. I think Yates and Spell, like Blake Preston, are underutilized. But they're also at the end of the bench for a reason too. Although, you can argue that they'd play more if not for Rode and Robinson's COVID year.

I am much higher on next year's team with Yu, Blair, and Davis adding size and athleticism, than I am on this squad making a run in the CUSA tourney.
I could go along with the lineup you are proposing. However, I would go with Venzant over Robinson. Robinson would probably be my sixth man. I would also go with Metheny at the point. He makes a lot of things happen when he has the ball. Why not let him run the show?
By broncosliberty
Posts
#660260
It is great to be excited about the future players who hopefully will live up to the hype that is being talked about on this board. I just don't understand how we can be experiencing such a drought in overall talent, height and athletic ability this year. With the resources, money and committed administration Mckay should be producing top level rosters every year. I hope next year is very successful but it's disappointing for fans to see the product that is on the court now. I still believe McKay's biggest weakness is recruiting. Again I hope for success next year, but I have my doubts.
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By stokesjokes
Registration Days Posts
#660262
I agree with most of OP, but more so appreciate the in-depth content. I do like Yates more than he does, I think he will be a solid contributor if he can figure out defense. He has size and can really shoot.

I’m not ready to count my chickens on the redshirts, I understand the desire to be hopeful, but we thought Tyler Baker was going to be great on down to Jonathan Jackson being declared the best shooter on the team. Until they’ve played a few games I’m only going to judge the future of this team on what we have returning.
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By LUOrange
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#660263
flamehunter wrote: March 5th, 2024, 7:37 am I think we miss Blake Preston this year more than people realize. Especially on the defensive end.
I think if Preston or player of similar size and abilities would counted for at least 3-4 wins this year, just with his defense, rebounding, and post play.

McKay a great coach, who should retire here, but he needs to balance his affinity for small ball with some bigger players. Even last year, I though playing Preston more consistently and going to him in the post would've won us a few ore games. As of right now, we're replacing Robinson and Rode with 6'2 guard and a 6'6 forward, so I definitely think we need to focus on playing and utilizing Spell and Yu's size next year.

Redshirting Yu, Blair, and Davis was the right thing to do this years; especially since McKay couldn't resist his add to xshooters with Metheny and Yates. I don't think that Blair's redshirting probably had more to do with who was in front of him than his abilities.
By paradox
Registration Days Posts
#660285
Tothehoopyall1 wrote: March 3rd, 2024, 11:55 pm
...thoughts on the current roster:


...what are your thoughts on the future of the team?
Cleveland isn't the primary ball handler. They prefer to run offense from the high post through him because it opens opportunities for cuts below the FT line.

McKay is experimenting with repositioning Cleveland because team's have been successful pressuring his dribble. It's been a concern last 2 games.
Last edited by paradox on March 6th, 2024, 7:48 pm, edited 3 times in total.
By Tothehoopyall1
Posts
#660286
paradox wrote: March 6th, 2024, 4:24 pm
Tothehoopyall1 wrote: March 3rd, 2024, 11:55 pm
...thoughts on the current roster:


...what are your thoughts on the future of the team?
You couldn't be more wrong about Porter.
Well…I tried to be fair but… I give the 2 year experiment with him at best a C-. I think he would be passed over by most D2 schools. What is it that you like besides him being a great ball handler? I get that but what else is it? It’s just NOT working.
By Tothehoopyall1
Posts
#660288
paradox wrote:As if McKay of all people doesn't know his PGs. And that he would somehow need our advice?
I guess I’m wrong. Thank you for the correction. Like I mentioned .500 conference ball is great for some schools. I feel like we should be doing better here.
By paradox
Registration Days Posts
#660289
Season's not even over yet. Players don't quit. Sometimes you gotta fall hard in order to get going in the right direction. Success always involves previous failure.
Last edited by paradox on March 6th, 2024, 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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By paradox
Registration Days Posts
#660291
No expectations this year. Just enjoying games. Hope they have a run in them. Win or lose, these guys are fun to watch. Hard to hate on a team with so much grit, hustle, & commitment.
By Tothehoopyall1
Posts
#660292
Who is hating? Being minutely critical for a subpar regular season isn’t hating. I have high expectations for every season, should I not? You’ve definitely earned some flames cash loyalty points.
By Tothehoopyall1
Posts
#660296
paradox wrote:Team is losing because offense is not responding to pressure well. Porter handles pressure better than anyone on this team. How did he look against FAU?
paradox wrote:Team is losing because offense is not responding to pressure well. Porter handles pressure better than anyone on this team. How did he look against FAU?
paradox wrote:Team is losing because offense is not responding to pressure well. Porter handles pressure better than anyone on this team. How did he look against FAU?
Once again.. he's a good ball handler.
By paradox
Registration Days Posts
#660297
Go back and watch the FAU game. He did more than hang in that game. He really stood out in all phases of the game. That's something tangible that you can look at.
By Tothehoopyall1
Posts
#660298
paradox wrote: March 6th, 2024, 8:41 pm Go back and watch the FAU game. He did more than hang in that game. He really stood out in all phases of the game. That's something tangible that you can look at.
Fair enough.. I'll go back and watch it again.
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By Purple Haize
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#660299
paradox wrote: March 6th, 2024, 7:10 pm Season's not even over yet. Players don't quit. Sometimes you gotta fall hard in order to get going in the right direction. Success always involves previous failure.
Players quit. I’ve seen it a lot. Some years with some teams the players just want it to be over. You’ll see it a lot early next week in the Conference tournaments. I’m not sure this team is there though. I think they still want to play
I agree with you on Porter. I think he fits exactly what RMK wants. The issue is he’s more of a facilitator and he doesn’t really have anyone to facilitate to at this point. Metheny is electric at times but undersized with he and Porter out there.
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By paradox
Registration Days Posts
#660303
Porter’s good from behind the arc. Efficient form w/quick release. Pulls up in transition skillfully. Fluid w/catch and shoot and off the bounce as well.

This team didn’t have the kind of depth that it needed this year. There’s no question that they know what they need. And this looks like a nice core to build around.
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