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Jim Whitesell: First Season as HC

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1 hour ago, Kevin said:

I know I live rent free in your mind with the 2014 and 2015 takes, but I'm not responding to you and your personal attacks anymore.

Aww that's cute, you think you live rent free in my head when I kicked you off of bull run as an editor, then as a commentor, then blocked you on twitter when you started to attack our content. 

You're going to ignore me now?

oh please don't throw me in that brier patch.

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1 hour ago, UBlearns said:

I've seen the bolded referenced a number of times on here for awhile; I've been a long-time lurker but didn't register until recently.  Can someone fill me in on the specifics here?  Private message is fine if you don't want to clutter the thread.

Basically Hodgson was playing both sides when Oats left. when he didn't get the job her reportedly was warning off recruits. 

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14 minutes ago, Bull_In_Exile said:

Aww that's cute, you think you live rent free in my head when I kicked you off of bull run as an editor, then as a commentor, then blocked you on twitter when you started to attack our content. 

You're going to ignore me now?

oh please don't throw me in that brier patch.

From a neutral opinion on this, I never see you commenting on here at all unless it’s to respond to Kevin. Your responses also always start an argument which then devolves into middle school pissing matches. Nobody cares about you banning anyone from a website or who you block on social media. This whole forum is intended to be used to talk about UB athletics, not starting arguments with someone you have a personal issue with. 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, 961819 said:

From a neutral opinion on this, I never see you commenting on here at all unless it’s to respond to Kevin. Your responses also always start an argument which then devolves into middle school pissing matches. Nobody cares about you banning anyone from a website or who you block on social media. This whole forum is intended to be used to talk about UB athletics, not starting arguments with someone you have a personal issue with. 

I posted several links on this thread to counter that. You "not seeing something" is not the same as that something not existing. All it proves is you don't know what you're talking about, neutral person or not.

It's like when some silly poster said "do you do anything but x" when I am one of the historically most frequent posters on UBfan.

And Kevin's kind of the guy who injected the whole "who banned/b locked who things"... 

He had a crap take and got called out by just about everyone here, his focus on me is telling. 

 

Edited by Bull_In_Exile

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2 hours ago, UBlearns said:

I've seen the bolded referenced a number of times on here for awhile; I've been a long-time lurker but didn't register until recently.  Can someone fill me in on the specifics here?  Private message is fine if you don't want to clutter the thread.

It's just some conspiracy theories that the truthers have

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3 hours ago, Jeseph said:

.........

 

...Cool, thanks guys!

 

3 hours ago, Jeseph said:

If that's what you want to say that you're doing in this thread and that you feel that your post is a productive contribution to the thread, go for it I guess.

My point is that a thread was made about Whitesell's job so far this year. If people disagree with OPs original post it's far more interesting to have a discussion about the topic.

I'm just here to read this topic. It's a good one. 
We have the one dude from one homer blog, personally fighting the other dude from Barstool.

I just want to talk about this. Does anyone have more charts to prove actual basketball?

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4 hours ago, Bull_In_Exile said:

I posted several links on this thread to counter that. You "not seeing something" is not the same as that something not existing. All it proves is you don't know what you're talking about, neutral person or not.

It's like when some silly poster said "do you do anything but x" when I am one of the historically most frequent posters on UBfan.

And Kevin's kind of the guy who injected the whole "who banned/b locked who things"... 

He had a crap take and got called out by just about everyone here, his focus on me is telling. 

 

I think you guys should hug it out or something. 

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Posted (edited)

I'll throw in some commentary here.  I'm not a basketball Xs and Os guy and won't pretend to be.  Whether Whitesell is "the future", I don't know.  I certainly don't think we had any idea of the successes of either Hurley or Oats halfway through their first seasons at UB.  For the rest of this post, I'm going to use PORPAGATU! as my metric comparing players - not because it's perfect but because it Torvik's calculations are transparent and the info can be compared year-over-year.

It is clear to me through 14 games that all 4 of UB's returning "core" (Graves, Jordan, Williams, Segu) have taken major steps forward.  All four are performing considerably better than years past using these metrics.  Graves in particular is a top ~200 player in the nation on this metric and would've been far and away the 2nd best player on last year's team with these ratings, while playing more minutes than anyone on last year's team.  They're putting a lot on his back right now.  Jordan's production this year approximates Harris' from last year (2.7 vs. Harris' 2.8).  Segu and Williams are playing at a level that would've firmly put them in the starting lineup in the Hurley/early Oats days.  To my untrained eye, the improvements that all 4 have shown demonstrate good coaching, and players buying into Whitesell and his staff.

The issue is that you can't replace 5 strong seniors so easily.  UB was incredibly deep last year.  No one expects these guys to step right in and fill in for the departed seniors, but I think we all - myself included - failed to realize just how much UB was losing (or, to put it differently, how massive of an immediate and unrealistic step-up the returning players would need to take to replace them).  Massinburg was the #22 player in the country last year by this metric.  The year before that, CJ, Harris, and Clark all scored in the 3.8 - 4.5 range; as well as Graves is playing right now, UB had 3 players playing at or above that level in 2017-18.

You've got 2 ways to pick up the pieces - with the previous transfers becoming eligible, and through recruiting.  Clearly, any time you have coaching turnover, the program is dealt a blow in terms of recruiting; I find it difficult to put that on the coaches.  It's clear they've landed a gem in Mballa, who - as crazy as it may sound - has nearly replaced Perkins (2.6 vs. Perkins' 2.7; Perkins had a 3.0 in 2017-18).  They may have another gem in Hardnett, who is already outpacing Perkins' freshman metrics and even Justin Moss' soph metrics (his first year at UB).  Gallion and Skogman are both unknown commodities, hopefully they both turn out.  The future is bright here, as these players continue to improve.

With the returning transfers, Johnson was a 2.3 player in 17-18 at MTSU - that's a solid rating that would put him ahead of a guy like Caruthers from last year.  This year, he's playing at a 1.0.  He's been consistent game-over-game, and does not turn the ball over, but a simple review of these metrics shows a regression from his junior year at MTSU.  Grant, on the other hand, hasn't regressed but hasn't markedly improved since his time at Houston (0.2 this year vs. 0.4 at Houston).  Is this coaching?  Maybe.  Or maybe it's guys still shaking the rust off after not having played for a full year.  Maybe it's a scheme fit issue.  Maybe it's something else.  Or maybe we, the fans, simply had unrealistic expectations.

I do know that I see significant improvement in UB's young players, and there are a lot of bright spots on this team.  Torvik projects UB to go 8-10 in MAC play.  I'd be disappointed in that, but I wouldn't be jumping ship.  There are enough pieces in place here to have another special season next year or the year after.  We'll know by then if Whitesell is the guy.  Otherwise we're all just grasping at straws here.

Edited by UBlearns
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14 minutes ago, UBlearns said:

I'll throw in some commentary here.  I'm not a basketball Xs and Os guy and won't pretend to be.  Whether Whitesell is "the future", I don't know.  I certainly don't think we had any idea of the successes of either Hurley or Oats halfway through their first seasons at UB.  For the rest of this post, I'm going to use PORPAGATU! as my metric comparing players - not because it's perfect but because it Torvik's calculations are transparent and the info can be compared year-over-year.

It is clear to me through 14 games that all 4 of UB's returning "core" (Graves, Jordan, Williams, Segu) have taken major steps forward.  All four are performing considerably better than years past using these metrics.  Graves in particular is a top ~200 player in the nation on this metric and would've been far and away the 2nd best player on last year's team with these ratings, while playing more minutes than anyone on last year's team.  They're putting a lot on his back right now.  Jordan's production this year approximates Harris' from last year (2.7 vs. Harris' 2.8).  Segu and Williams are playing at a level that would've firmly put them in the starting lineup in the Hurley/early Oats days.  To my untrained eye, the improvements that all 4 have shown demonstrate good coaching, and players buying into Whitesell and his staff.

The issue is that you can't replace 5 strong seniors so easily.  UB was incredibly deep last year.  No one expects these guys to step right in and fill in for the departed seniors, but I think we all - myself included - failed to realize just how much UB was losing (or, to put it differently, how massive of an immediate and unrealistic step-up the returning players would need to take to replace them).  Massinburg was the #22 player in the country last year by this metric.  The year before that, CJ, Harris, and Clark all scored in the 3.8 - 4.5 range; as well as Graves is playing right now, UB had 3 players playing at or above that level in 2017-18.

You've got 2 ways to pick up the pieces - with the previous transfers becoming eligible, and through recruiting.  Clearly, any time you have coaching turnover, the program is dealt a blow in terms of recruiting; I find it difficult to put that on the coaches.  It's clear they've landed a gem in Mballa, who - as crazy as it may sound - has nearly replaced Perkins (2.6 vs. Perkins' 2.7; Perkins had a 3.0 in 2017-18).  They may have another gem in Hardnett, who is already outpacing Perkins' freshman metrics and even Justin Moss' soph metrics (his first year at UB).  Gallion and Skogman are both unknown commodities, hopefully they both turn out.  The future is bright here, as these players continue to improve.

With the returning transfers, Johnson was a 2.3 player in 17-18 at MTSU - that's a solid rating that would put him ahead of a guy like Caruthers from last year.  This year, he's playing at a 1.0.  He's been consistent game-over-game, and does not turn the ball over, but a simple review of these metrics shows a regression from his junior year at MTSU.  Grant, on the other hand, hasn't regressed but hasn't markedly improved since his time at Houston (0.2 this year vs. 0.4 at Houston).  Is this coaching?  Maybe.  Or maybe it's guys still shaking the rust off after not having played for a full year.  Maybe it's a scheme fit issue.  Maybe it's something else.  Or maybe we, the fans, simply had unrealistic expectations.

I do know that I see significant improvement in UB's young players, and there are a lot of bright spots on this team.  Torvik projects UB to go 8-10 in MAC play.  I'd be disappointed in that, but I wouldn't be jumping ship.  There are enough pieces in place here to have another special season next year or the year after.  We'll know by then if Whitesell is the guy.  Otherwise we're all just grasping at straws here.

Good commentary with objective and factual information. I agree that maybe our expectations were too high for this team. Forecasts for players are just that until they start playing the games. In many cases potential of players no matter how high the experts rate them sometimes do not equate to success on the court. As I have said many times I think we have to let this play out and see if this team improves. Like many of the diehard fans we will continue to support UB and continue to enjoy college basketball locally. Go Bulls!!!!

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34 minutes ago, 961819 said:

I think you guys should hug it out or something. 

Or, when it's pointed out he has a reactionary ridiculous post he can be humble enough to say "maybe I'm wrong"

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14 minutes ago, Bull_In_Exile said:

Or, when it's pointed out he has a reactionary ridiculous post he can be humble enough to say "maybe I'm wrong"

You have came in here and argued like 3 different people. 

We were just on track in the conversation from @UBlearns. Good stuff there!

People have differing opinions and you've shown to struggle with that idea.

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8 hours ago, Bull_In_Exile said:

I posted several links on this thread to counter that. You "not seeing something" is not the same as that something not existing. All it proves is you don't know what you're talking about, neutral person or not.

It's like when some silly poster said "do you do anything but x" when I am one of the historically most frequent posters on UBfan.

And Kevin's kind of the guy who injected the whole "who banned/b locked who things"... 

He had a crap take and got called out by just about everyone here, his focus on me is telling. 

 

Actually all he did was start a thread to discuss how the coach is doing. He made pretty good points about Whitesell too and I don’t agree with Kevin on much, but they were very fair arguments. I can see how maybe he’ll keep an argument going longer than it should, but to his credit he never got defensive or pissy, or looked up posts from half a decade ago, the way you have on this thread. If anyone’s credibility took a hit here, it’s yours. 

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10 hours ago, UBlearns said:

I'll throw in some commentary here.  I'm not a basketball Xs and Os guy and won't pretend to be.  Whether Whitesell is "the future", I don't know.  I certainly don't think we had any idea of the successes of either Hurley or Oats halfway through their first seasons at UB. 

I cut this part of your post for a reason.

I think one of the reasons why Whitesell (whether consciously or not) is given a bit shorter of a leash is two-fold:  (1)  The talent level [overall] on the team that Whitesell inherited relative to what Hurley or Oats inherited is greater [though fair play to Whitesell for keeping all of the guys on the roster].  In fact, I can link to posts before the season started where people were saying that this team was potentially as talented (or more) than last year's team.  (2) Hurley and Oats, as D1 college basketball coaches (and especially as head coaches), were a mystery.  Hurley had four years at Wagner/URI as an Asst/Assoc while Oats had 3 years at UB as an Asst. Coach.  Hiring Oats was a leap of faith.   Whitesell, on the other hand, had 9 years as an Asst/Assoc and 11 years as head coach.   To compare Whitesell with Hurley and Oats without considering this huge experience gap in coaching at this level is silly.

It is clear that Whitesell wasn't Alnutt's first choice, but his relationship with the players AND his 20+ years of coaching experience (including 10+ as a head coach) helped him get the head job at the end of the day.  And, I suspect, the expectation of the AD is that he would continue the tradition of what Hurley and Oats built.

Let's go back and look at what Alnutt said upon hiring Whitesell:

"That process, for me, was one that I felt I wanted to do my due diligence, and not necessarily to rush, and to be in position to continue this success."

“But part of my mindset through this process was the fact that, I’m not conducting a coaching search for a program that is failing. I’m conducting a search for a program that has been highly successful.”

https://buffalonews.com/2019/04/08/jim-whitesell-ub-mens-basketball-coach-nate-oats-mark-alnutt/

While he doesn't give Whitesell an ultimatum in his quotes, he does use phrases like "continue this success" and "for a program that has been highly successful".   One can infer from those statements that Alnutt expects to "continue this success".  I am sure losing at home to Dartmouth and Army (and now NIU) is quite disappointing for Alnutt.  Unlike first-time coaches, I would expect Whitesell to not have as long of a leash (though I could be way off).

As fans, regardless of where you fall on this, we want UB to be successful and success means "wins".  The team has had good wins this season and some bad losses.  But there are 17 conference games left.  Let's see what Whitesell does with the rest of them.  

Go Bulls.

 

 

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11 hours ago, UBlearns said:

It is clear to me through 14 games that all 4 of UB's returning "core" (Graves, Jordan, Williams, Segu) have taken major steps forward.  All four are performing considerably better than years past using these metrics.  Graves in particular is a top ~200 player in the nation on this metric and would've been far and away the 2nd best player on last year's team with these ratings, while playing more minutes than anyone on last year's team.  They're putting a lot on his back right now.  Jordan's production this year approximates Harris' from last year (2.7 vs. Harris' 2.8).  Segu and Williams are playing at a level that would've firmly put them in the starting lineup in the Hurley/early Oats days.  To my untrained eye, the improvements that all 4 have shown demonstrate good coaching, and players buying into Whitesell and his staff.

...

You've got 2 ways to pick up the pieces - with the previous transfers becoming eligible, and through recruiting.  Clearly, any time you have coaching turnover, the program is dealt a blow in terms of recruiting; I find it difficult to put that on the coaches.  It's clear they've landed a gem in Mballa, who - as crazy as it may sound - has nearly replaced Perkins (2.6 vs. Perkins' 2.7; Perkins had a 3.0 in 2017-18).  They may have another gem in Hardnett, who is already outpacing Perkins' freshman metrics and even Justin Moss' soph metrics (his first year at UB).  Gallion and Skogman are both unknown commodities, hopefully they both turn out.  The future is bright here, as these players continue to improve.

With the returning transfers, Johnson was a 2.3 player in 17-18 at MTSU - that's a solid rating that would put him ahead of a guy like Caruthers from last year.  This year, he's playing at a 1.0.  He's been consistent game-over-game, and does not turn the ball over, but a simple review of these metrics shows a regression from his junior year at MTSU.  Grant, on the other hand, hasn't regressed but hasn't markedly improved since his time at Houston (0.2 this year vs. 0.4 at Houston).  Is this coaching?  Maybe.  Or maybe it's guys still shaking the rust off after not having played for a full year.  Maybe it's a scheme fit issue.  Maybe it's something else.  Or maybe we, the fans, simply had unrealistic expectations.

I do know that I see significant improvement in UB's young players, and there are a lot of bright spots on this team.  Torvik projects UB to go 8-10 in MAC play.  I'd be disappointed in that, but I wouldn't be jumping ship.  There are enough pieces in place here to have another special season next year or the year after.  We'll know by then if Whitesell is the guy.  Otherwise we're all just grasping at straws here.

I took a look at Points per Possession to compare Oats(yr1), Oats(yr4) and Whitesell(yr1), as it has direct correlation to the outcome - the other stats explain the why the PPP are what they are (i.e. eFG%, Offensive Rebounds, Turnovers).  In any given game both teams will have the same number of possessions (give or take). So what will lead to wins and losses is that you score more in your possessions than your opponent does with theirs.  Here are the results on offense:

image.png.26a8221249e2515b4bcb71adee98ea97.png

As you can see the results this year are better than four years ago, but are off from last year.  This corresponds to some of the observations that you have made.  I would say that if you are able to get greater contribution from another player - say Johnson who is performing below his previous season - offensively the performance is acceptable.

To look at things from a defensive perspective here are the results for three periods:

image.png.8ef520d60afeb486501567f505ce6668.png

This chart highlights for me an area of concern - specifically that the Points per Possession that we are allowing opponents is trending upward.  Over the next few games I would like to see increased intensity on the defensive side.  I am hopeful that this can occur and expect that we will do better than 8-10. 

 

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2 hours ago, UB92 said:

While he doesn't give Whitesell an ultimatum in his quotes, he does use phrases like "continue this success" and "for a program that has been highly successful".   One can infer from those statements that Alnutt expects to "continue this success".  I am sure losing at home to Dartmouth and Army (and now NIU) is quite disappointing for Alnutt.  Unlike first-time coaches, I would expect Whitesell to not have as long of a leash (though I could be way off).

As fans, regardless of where you fall on this, we want UB to be successful and success means "wins".  The team has had good wins this season and some bad losses.  But there are 17 conference games left.  Let's see what Whitesell does with the rest of them.  

Go Bulls.

I agree with much of your post, and I do think Whitesell will have a shorter leash than the other two did.  UB is in a different stratosphere now and there is an expectation of success rather than a "shrug and hope for the best" type of mentality.  I would say that if UB does not get back to the NCAAs by the time the Williams/Segu/Mballa sophomore class graduate, Whitesell and staff should probably be gone.  I'm willing to give a little leeway knowing how difficult it is to sustain success in the MAC, but UB is a basketball brand name right now and continues to land - on paper - pretty good recruits.  Losing at home to teams like Dartmouth and Army is simply not acceptable.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DocCas86 said:

This chart highlights for me an area of concern - specifically that the Points per Possession that we are allowing opponents is trending upward.  Over the next few games I would like to see increased intensity on the defensive side.  I am hopeful that this can occur and expect that we will do better than 8-10. 

I like this analysis and it demonstrates a flaw in the POP metric in that it doesn't really adequately account for team defensive performance.  The linear trend lines really show that the offense is doing fine treading water, but the defense is trending down.  That's a worrying trend line when you look at the Oats' first year defensive performance.

Edited by UBlearns
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31 minutes ago, UBlearns said:

I like this analysis and it demonstrates a flaw in the POP metric in that it doesn't really adequately account for team defensive performance.  The linear trend lines really show that the offense is doing fine treading water, but the defense is trending down.  That's a worrying trend line when you look at the Oats' first year defensive performance.

Not to undermine the point that the team needs to come out with strong defensive efforts the rest of the MAC season, but I did find it interesting that last years team trended upward as well.  I wonder if some of the upward trending is to be expected as our opponents are shaking off their "offensive rust" as season goes on. 

Again, if we reverse trend on defense and perhaps get increase in offensive contributions from Johnson. or elsewhere, we will be closer to the expectation of the poll taken before NIU game.   

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Posted (edited)

Wow, how bad has the defense been? It's clear that team is fully focusing on offense and forgetting that actually need to make stops in games.

I have not liked a single defensive philosophy so far under the new staff. 

I think they should run more press. You can go deep pulling players of the bench for rests but don't just be a press team after the under 4. 

sometimes you need to use your athleticism to your advantage and now allow the bigs to get the ball down low, this could be one great way to force the guards in this conference to make quick decisions. The NFL version of the blitz. 

Team - #PRESSBUFFALO

Edited by Erie County
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2 hours ago, DocCas86 said:

Not to undermine the point that the team needs to come out with strong defensive efforts the rest of the MAC season, but I did find it interesting that last years team trended upward as well.  I wonder if some of the upward trending is to be expected as our opponents are shaking off their "offensive rust" as season goes on. 

Again, if we reverse trend on defense and perhaps get increase in offensive contributions from Johnson. or elsewhere, we will be closer to the expectation of the poll taken before NIU game.   

I thought about last years' Points per Possession trending upward.  This is driven primarily by one game and primarily one person - Markus Howard.

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23 hours ago, Tee4three said:

How many minutes did the guys that returned actually play last year? We lost 5 seniors you could argue 4 of them were all time great bulls. That is a lot. That isn't your average turn over in a program

Rebuilding is the wrong terminology in my opinion, this season has always been about keeping the ship headed in the right direction while getting key young pieces experience in leadership roles.

A great example of what the expectations for this team should be is Wichita State last year. They had lost a lot of talent but had a great in coming class and were young inexperienced everywhere. They started slow losing to teams they should beat and winning games they shouldn't. By the end of the season they started to put it together and made a run to the NIT semi's.

Tldr: this season isn't about the now, its about March, not because thats the only way we make the tournament but its the only way you can see if the team has progressed and where they are headed

It is also about maintaining respectability and continued success even if another MAC title isn’t in the offing. Success on the level we’ve enjoyed these last 5-6 years are fleeting for mid majors unless the decision makers and coaches make the right decisions and execute almost flawlessly. I’m rooting hard for Jim. I think he’s a great guy. He’s a good coach. He needs the right support from Alnut and Tripathi. 

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On 1/5/2020 at 6:51 PM, Kevin said:

Censored by UB's media department for being too negative. 

Wait what? Did they take this down?

I was trying to reference one of these Ken-Pom numbers in a discussion I was having with someone on campus and the thread is gone?

That's a weak job to neuter a discussion!

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Erie County said:

Wait what? Did they take this down?

I was trying to reference one of these Ken-Pom numbers in a discussion I was having with someone on campus and the thread is gone?

That's a weak job to neuter a discussion!

I don't think UB's media department has admin rights so Kevin took it down. 

Which is ironic since some here have implied Bull Run is some sort of lapdog.

Edited by Bull_In_Exile

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First of all, the title was very poorly worded.  Did anyone else see it and think that JW may have had a breakdown?  Secondly, seems like the threat of having media credentials stripped may have caused the post to go down.  That's what I would read into it.

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1 minute ago, ChubbyHubby said:

First of all, the title was very poorly worded.  Did anyone else see it and think that JW may have had a breakdown?  Secondly, seems like the threat of having media credentials stripped may have caused the post to go down.  That's what I would read into it.

Did they really do that? Someone sent in message board postings?

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