Whether you were bullish on the Flyers to begin the season or dug your heels in assuming the worst – after the weekend in Charleston we’re all on the same page now. UD is 2-2, really mediocre, and has a lot of shit to work out.
After a tough loss at the hands of Hofstra, UD bounced back to beat equally-if-not-more-mediocre Ohio quite comfortably, and then lost the closing game at the hands of Old Dominion. All in all, it wasn’t the best trip, but if you need to say, “At least we didn’t lose all 3!” fine, I guess you can do that. While the Ohio game is long gone now, and the Old Dominion loss is fresh, we have a decent sample size of four games to at least agree on a few things for your Flyers young season. Let’s make some takes and then forget this weekend ever happened:
I’ll start with the bad and get it out of the way:
X-Man Williams needs to burn the film from this weekend and go have a day long siesta. He finished the three games in Charleston going 3-for-23 from downtown. He just would not stop shooting. Normally this is where I try to be clever and say some shit like “shooters shoot” but that kind of blind optimism stops after about shot #15. The only silver lining to this stinky heap of a weekend from X was that he started last year in similar fashion and then turned it on down the stretch.
The lack of creativity on offense is concerning at the very least. The Flyers were completely stymied by the Old Dominion zone on Sunday, then went all “Brian Gregory” on us and just started aimlessly passing the ball around the key, hoping to bore the opponent to death before attacking the hoop. As you may know from the entire Gregory era…that didn’t work. UD’s answer was to jack up threes until their arms fell off. Through four games, the Flyers have attempted 100 (!!) three-pointers, an absolutely insane number. Saying the Flyers live and die by the three is like pointing out that a zebra has stripes. Since the film from ODU now exists in the world, you can bet your ass that UD’s opponents will be giving them much more zone defense.
The defensive woes speak for themselves, you should just expect UD to give up 35 a half going into every night. I felt like they were constantly chasing the ball on defense, switches looked bad, and no one could guard the perimeter. I still have yet to feel like UD will be able to get a big stop when they need it.
Honestly there are more problems to highlight from this past weekend, but those are just the main three that came to mind. You can add in UD’s limited depth and lack of bench scoring, their inability to work the ball down low or their refusal to go with a consistent lineup as additional problems if you need more things to complain about.
These were the positives worth taking from the weekend:
Tough loss and tough tourney, but can we take a second to appreciate that Durrell has scored 88 points in just four games this year? That is over half as many points as he scored the *entire season* last year (172) ? @sullymygoodname @BlackburnReview @DavidPJablonski
— Jack Capodice (@JackTheJinger) November 19, 2017
It’s hard to believe anyone could’ve predicted a start to the season like this for DURRELL. Along with Josh Cunningham, they have been the lone bright spots on an otherwise up-and-down campaign. A fellow alumnus summed up how we were all feeling:
You can read into this as much as you see fit, but that sure sounds like someone got their training wheels taken off just in time for a senior season. Without the heroics of DURRELL this team could very well be 0-4 to start the season, he’s been playing the absolute best basketball of his life. Through four games, here’s what DURRELL has produced:
22 ppg – 29/58 FG (50%) – 15/29 3PT (51%) – 2.5 ast/g – 2.8 reb/g
Through four games, I have seen enough now to know that most (if not all) offensive possessions should be going through DURRELL until further notice. ODU was the first matchup we saw on the young season where the game plan was to key on DURRELL and get the ball out of his hands. Something tells me UD will be seeing that type of defensive look on most evenings simply for the fact that no one else in the lineup outside of Josh Cunningham has proven any ability to get consistent buckets.
Speaking of Josh Cunningham, it does feel somewhat refreshing to see him with his legs under him contributing at 100%. Josh’s 19 rebound effort against Ohio was the most by a Flyer since Chris Johnson in 2010. He’s currently averaging 15 pts and 8.8 rebounds per game and is the only semblance of a “go-to bucket” on this team outside of DURRELL launching them from the perimeter. While we still don’t know much about this team, we at least know Josh and DURRELL will be stirring the drink night in and night out.
As for the rest of his team? Shucks, I dunno, you guys. John Crosby has been fairly serviceable but seemingly losing time to the freshman, which may or may not be hurting his rhythm on the floor. Grant has seemed pretty determined to play John, Jordan Davis and Crutcher on a 3-man rotation, and I would like to think this is just his way of feeling through the roster to see what works best. For my money, right now Crutcher and Jordan Davis are interchangeable and it will be interesting to see who starts to pull ahead as the season wears on. Crutcher was clearly favored in the first two games, with Jordan coming on in the latter part of the weekend due to the injury of Trey Landers. Crutcher hasn’t really found any sort of consistency on the score sheet, but Davis finally was able to get it going the last two games, shooting 7-of-9 from the floor for a collective 21 points. Unfortunately, UD needs those types of contributions from more than one guy from here on out, DURRELL can’t be expected to throw down 25 every night.
So that’s that. While many of you realists knew this type of a season was a very real possibility, it’s hard to feel great about what we saw this weekend. This was always going to be a bumpy ride, but a wise man told me recently this season isn’t for any fan who can’t see the forest for the trees. This season will test the patience of many, but in the end, you count on watching these young guys develop their game while DURRELL continues huck-it-chuck-it basketball on his twilight tour, that’s enough reason for me to tune in.
The Flyers get a much-needed week off before doing battle with the Akron Zips in the cozy confines of the Arena on Saturday night. Let’s hope some home cookin’ is in the air for our Flyers to get back on track. Until then, wear red and keep it LOWD.