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Thinking out loud: Are the Bonnies a “deep team”?

Are we deep? Or do we have an empty and pathetic bench like Minnesota?

Are we deep? Or do we have an empty and pathetic bench like this version of Arizona State (one kid looks like he’s dead). 

I’ve seen a lot of people on the good ole’ Bandwagon discussing the idea of how deep this year’s team is. And, right after the Dartmouth game I was one of those people. I thought Jalen Adams was easily a rotation player who would help right now, Dees was a solid if-not-spectacular back-up, Xavier Smith was coming along and once Gathers and Gregg came back we’d be even deeper (which is still true). We seemed to have a lot of guys who could come in and contribute.

But really, what defines a deep team and are we deep?

Is it the number of players Schmidt tosses off the bench and in front of the scorers’ table each night, or, is it the production you’re getting from your bench regardless of the number of players seeing the floor?

This is the question.

Our bench players are averaging the following:

8.6 minutes, 1.7 points, 1.4 rebounds and shooting 35% from the field.

Doesn’t sound like a deep bench to me.

While guys are playing minutes, they aren’t exactly producing when they’re in the game. Smith, Taqqee and Tyson are averaging under a point a game. Our leading scorer off the bench, Jalen Adams, is averaging 3.8 points. Honestly, right now, we have a bench full of guys who are playing hard and contributing, but are not talented offensive players. We may be “deep” if you consider their defense, but from a pure offensive standpoint, I actually don’t think we are very deep (at least at the present moment).  Jalen Adams struggles to score shooting the ball, I don’t think Alston can/really wants to shoot outside of a lay-up (which is ok), Dees takes one shot a game, Xavier Smith…I really have no idea and Tyson, probably should have been a RS. Taqqee I think could have some moments this year as an offensive player, but I’m not sure about him as a shooter (which we could use when Posley sits, I will say I like Taqqee’s game though).

So really, are we deep? Do we need to be deep?

Listen, right now we have all five starters averaging double figures. If that continues, bench scoring really won’t matter all that much. But, it probably won’t. Getting Gathers back (whenever that happens, I’m tired of speculating though a source told us he’s shooting for A10 play right now) and Gregg (Saturday) is certainly going to help a lot. But it is fun to debate how deep this team really is, and what defines depth.

This Bonnies team was DEEP.

This Bonnies team was DEEP.

Now the 2011-2012 team was a DEEP team. Consider the guys off the pine in our Championship season.

Davenport (injured eight games in), Simmons (injured opening night) Mosley, Ndoye, Chris Johnson, and others. In the A10 final our starters not named Andrew Nicholson combined to score 23 points. Our bench chipped in 18 points. Heck, even Gathers was seeing meaningful minutes in March…On many nights Mosley and Chris Johnson were among our best players. Think of the huge moments guys like Kloof, Ndoye, Johnson and Mosley all had in Atlantic City that weekend. Those guys made some massive plays in big time spots…that was a deep team.  That was one of the biggest reasons we all fell in love with that squad: it wasn’t just Nicholson (although some nights it was) it was a team of guys who could all make plays on a given night.

So, it will be interesting to see how this year’s team develops depth as the season goes in. One thing is for sure, playing the first X number of games without Gathers and Gregg will only help the team feel more comfortable in big games going forward.

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A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.