Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Future Looks Like the Past

So, with the Block Party officially shut down by the man, there is an unyielding urgency for Shamari Spears to step up and slide into a role left by a man who was built the same.

There was talk that if Spears could bulk up a little, he would have a chance to be the force-to-be-reckoned-with New Craig Smith.

The truth of the matter is, at 6-6, 245, #34 is built more like a linebacker than a 4. Well, his baptism by fire starts this weekend as the freshmen gets the nod over Tyrelle Blair, a Junior transfer.

Is it the right decision? Consider this, Williams was averaging 12 and 10, and was good for three to four blocks a game. Spears was getting 8 and 6 in about 70% of the playing time. The loss of Williams will boost his minutes. What Spears lacks in shot blocking ability, though, he makes up with clean defense and offensive boards. He was less of a threat to foul than Williams, and, more important even still, he is an efficient and consistent free throw shooter.

When the clock is winding down, who do you want? Williams was getting better with the ball, but, he still was somewhat of a liability from the charity stripe. Spears hits in the 70-80 percent range. Smith NEVER came that close.

Spears weakness, though, is anywhere NOT under the basket. An effective trap offense could pull him out from the post and set him up to leave the lane wide open. At which point he'll either have to foul or just give up the easy two. He will shut down the second chance points, its the first chance points you have to worry about.

Do I think this team will be ok? For this next month, the core of the conference play and hardest part of the schedule, I hope so. A UNC game I thought we would walk away with now will be competitive and favor the Heels (Spears on Hansbrough is not a matchup I want). Spears on McRoberts? We'll see next weekend.

As for right now? This team just needs to focus on what they can do and not what they no longer can.

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