Skip to content

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee – Opening Week Edition

November 14, 2022

Grab your favorite brew, sit back, and humor me as I wax poetic and ramble a lot on the opening week for the 2022-23 CSU Mens Basketball season.

I’m doing my best to cover the team from a distance. My wife and I are in Salt Lake City dealing with a family medical issue and will be here through Thanksgiving. You know I prefer to write only what I see with my eyes in person. Sometimes TV lies a bit.

But in this case I’m having so much fun watching this years squad grow up as they deal with how to play without two top players Isaiah Stevens and Josiah Strong. And it’s rewarding for me to write about it.

First off, a huge shoutout to the coaching staff for how well they have handled the initial shock and put together a rotation of players that is working well together. It’s beyond a “Next Man Up” mentality which would just insert another peg into a hole. It is a strategy that accepts that every player has his own strengths and weaknesses and figures out how to create team success out of that.

Second, a shoutout to the returning veterans John Tonje, James Moors, Isaiah Rivera, and Jalen Lake. Their combined passion, commitment, and effort has filled in for the leadership void missing from the absence of Stevens. Yes they are skilled players. But they are making sure their skills, for the most part, are used within the framework of CSU’s offensive and defensive systems.

That has led to a successful integration of newcomers Patrick Cartier and Tavi Jackson along with the vastly increased role of Baylor Hebb. And Joe Palmer to a lesser degree.

We’re watching players and team grow in front of us. That is exciting. And worth me writing about from 500 miles away.

The Importance of Halftime Adjustments

I’m going to ramble a little bit on this topic after what I thought was a great example this weekend.

CSU led visiting Southeast Louisiana 42-40: at the half after jumping out to an early 23-10 lead. They were shooting 8-15 from beyond the arc, a very high percentage. They were leading, they were shooting well, but it wasn’t enough. They decided to forego the perimeter shooting for the most part and attack the rim when the opportunity presented itself. They scored layups, they got to the free throw line. They only took six shots from beyond the arc, several of which were on inbounds plays and not while running the halfcourt offense. And they made none of those perimeter shots. And managed to pull away to an 80-69 win.

Contrast that with what happened at Wyoming yesterday against the same opponent.

The Pokes has fallen behind early but managed to go into halftime tied at 38. They were 12-32 from the field in the first half with 23 of those shots coming from beyond the arc. Nearly 75% of their shots from deep!

And it looked like they changed very little in the second half as they took 32 shots once again with 19 of those coming from beyond the arc. The perimeter shots stopped falling and, despite a furious rally, the Pokes fell at home to SE Louisiana by a score of 76-72.

Yes Wyoming is missing All-MWC big Graham Ike to injury. But they have what looks to be a pretty deep and talented roster that should have been allowed them to prevail. After all, they were 22-point favorites. But they chose pretty much the same strategy in the second half, probably assuming that the cream would rise to the top. Which it probably would have done of the game were 45 minutes. But games stop at 40.

CSU got a win. WYO took a loss.

I’m pinning it on halftime adjustments.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

PS. Alls fair in Love and War and college rivalries. It’s more than OK to smack a Poke fan about their loss, after what happened in Canvas on Saturday night. But whatever you do, accept the fact that the smack is temporary. Wyoming is still a very good team and will be very much a factor in this years MWC hoops race. Upsets happen – CU lost to Grambling and immediately followed that up with a resounding win over nationally ranked Tennessee.

How Are The Players That Transferred Out Doing?

As you all know, Dischon Thomas, Kendle Moore, Adam Thistlewood, and Jalen Scott all left CSU in the off-season.

Dischon Thomas is starting for Montana, who opened their season with a tough road swing to Duquesne and Xavier. In nearly 28 minutes of action, Dischon is averaging 15.5 points and 6 rebounds.

Adam transferred to Colorado School of Mines who opened their season this past weekend with a pair of wins. Adam averaged 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in an average of 35 minutes of action. I’ll be keeping a close eye on Adam in the near future as he is headed toward the 1000 point mark for his career. He now stands at 915 points after his 30 to open the season for Mines.

Kendle Moore opened his season at Missouri State with a 20 minute 8 point, 4 rebound, 2 assist effort over Missouri S & T. But here’s the best part. Kendle has a road trip to BYU this week. I’m in Utah. While I cant make the CSU games currently, I’m planning a road trip to say hello to him and former CSU assistant Jace Herl.

Jalen Scott is currently playing limited minutes off the bench at South Plains College, a top 2-year program.

I’ll try to update their performances over the course of the season.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. terrypettit permalink
    November 14, 2022 3:35 pm

    Good stuff Steve!

    • November 14, 2022 4:21 pm

      Thanks Terry. It’s tough not going to games in person. I enjoy them so much. Hope you and Ann are doing well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: