The Road Not Taken
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry but our Bonnies could not travel both
And repeat another typical season, long they stood
And looked down one as far they could
To Where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was snow-covered and wanted wear;
Though as for that passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In snowflakes no step had trodden black.
Oh, they kept the first for another day!
Yet Knowing how past seasons leads on to way,
They doubted if they should ever come back.
They shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere Tom Stith and alumni hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and they –
They took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
With just over a fortnight until the Atlantic Ten Tournament tips off in Brooklyn, our beloved Bonnies face a fork in the road… Dream of what could have been if they had not lost their emerging freshman star PG; or grow together as a team and find success over the remainder of the regular season – 4 very winnable games and beyond.
17 – 39: The combined record of our remaining opponents. GW has dropped 7 of their last 8 and Duquesne, St. Louis and Fordham have been the caboose of the League all year. A pessimistic Bonnies fan would probably tell you that they would sign up for a 2-2 finish, which would put the Bonnies right at .500 with a 9-9 conference record. But why not see the glass half full? Fresh off their first win in the post-Jay era coupled with an incredibly favorable remaining schedule I have hope that Mark can WILL this team on a REAL winning streak. Tournament basketball in March might as well be playoff hockey, teams that finish strong buoy with confidence and become very, very dangerous.
The starting jitters in Alston should be gone. The teams lack of confidence – over. The blueprint is simple. The execution not as easy, but not impossible either. Let’s take a look at what certain players need to do as we make the turn into the final lap of the season.
Posley – Consistency. The team’s leading scorer has shown us all that he can score the basketball. However, he has also shown his best Houdini impression and disappeared on numerous occasions. If the Sandman can knock down the long ball and get to the hoop (like he did Saturday night) his piece of the puzzle will be in good position. Posley hasn’t scored 20 points in a single contest since the Duquense game. Prior to dropping and unconscious 36 points that night he was putting up 20+ nights left and right. The SG is an ice cold 8 for his last 60 three point attempts; that’s good enough for 13% from three over our last eight games. That cannot continue.
N’doye – FINISH strong. I am going to be very sad to see the big man graduate at year’s end. But our favorite swift footed dancing fool of a Center isn’t ready to punch his ticket just yet. I expect a strong finish to an even stronger career. Ndoye had a great weekend in Brooklyn last March and the Bonnies will need that same production down the stretch here in his final go-round. Ndoye has all-league talent and could carry the Bonnies if he’s on. The center is a tremendous weapon to have in a tournament setting.
Wright – Double D’s. Dion’s double-double in Philly Saturday night played a huge part in the team’s OT win. If he can continue to board the basketball (esp. on the offensive end) and pour in 15 per game, the Bonnies will be in every game. Wright has produced five double-doubles this season and has upped his scoring from 8.7 to 13.1 and rebounding from 4.8 to 6.9.
Cumberbatch – Know your role. Truth be told, I was in disbelief watching the batch connect of 4 of 5 from beyond the arc vs the Hawks. Any expectations of a similar performance of the remainder of the season would be considered reckless. I am looking for Andell to play as the senior that he is: limit turnovers, better shot selection and fill a stat sheet (think: 11 pts, 6 rbs, 3 ast, 2 stls). The key for Andell is playing smart and under control however given Jay’s injury and Iakeem’s shooting issues, the senior may have to take on a larger role from the perimeter.
Alston – Play with Passion. Energy is contagious. Alston hit some tough shots with contact and drew a few offensive fouls in the loss to Dayton. If he can make these types of plays over the next few weeks, I think he can be a real spark plug for the Bonnies. He needs to play within himself and understand that it’s okay to put your foot on the break sometimes. There is a time for pedal to the metal – find the medium.
Gregg – Grow up. We all know Denzel is an athlete. But too often it’s one step forward, two steps back. I nearly broke my computer after he left the ball to his invisible friend just seconds after a superb block on the defensive end. He has failed to develop into the player I thought he would be this year largely due to mental mistakes. However, it ain’t over yet. I really hope he can buckle down and show some maturity. Gregg will likely be a starter next year and there’s no better time than now to show Schmidt he’s ready. Gregg has 25 turnovers this year against 16 assists and has went from a 60% FT shooter last year to a 42% shooter this season.
So there it is. Will the Bonnies choose the path less traveled by? Can they turn the tide of mediocrity? While 4-0 will not be my expectation, it sure as hell should be theirs. Every game is a dogfight in the Atlantic Ten. But with a blue-collar coach and blue-collar players, I believe our guys can get the job done.