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November 12, 2012"How was the point guard play?"
That was a text message I received from my friend and professional handicapper in Las Vegas an hour or so after the Jays easily handled North Texas. It's a fair question and one everyone has been asking since the graduation of Antoine Young.
Do you ever notice that we never compare the next generation of players to the likes of Rodney Buford, Kyle Korver or now Doug McDermott?
Why is that?
It's easy to answer really. Jays fans are smart enough to know that these guys are really, really good and to make a comparison is not easy because few, if any, can really live up to those expectations.
However... if you are going to play point guard at Creighton, be ready to try and live up to long list of players and the expectations that go along with it. Playing point guard at Creighton is like playing quarterback at Nebraska, all eyes are on you!
Let's go back to the days of Randy Ecker to the kid who really started the recent string of point guard greatness, Ryan Sears. People in the seats and watching on TV know the success starts with the point of attack.
The pressure is on Austin Chatman, who started against the Mean Green last Friday. 27 minutes of action 11 points. Fans I was sitting by were ecstatic over Chatman's ability to score. I mean, if the Jays can get 11 out of him every night, hell with the Sweet 16, bring on the Final Four.
Austin Chatman DOES NOT NEED TO SCORE! He needs to distribute the basketball. This team is full of guys who can score, and score a lot. Remember the quarterback analogy? Get the ball to the right guys and the rest will take care of itself.
Here's the line on the box score that I am looking at: 2 assist and 4 turnovers. I'm not Dr. Naismith but I can tell you that's not going to cut it against the likes of Wisconsin or California or any team deep into the NCAA Tournament.
Chatman's back up wasn't much better. Andre Yates had 1 assist and 4 turnovers.
It's early folks and the great news; the Jays have plenty of depth and experience to pick up the slack early on, (Thank you Grant Gibbs)
Chatman could have had at least 10 assists against North Texas. I am assuming his inexperience made him hesitate and hold back when a lane was open. Making those split second entry passes will come with time and most of all confidence. Maybe we should have Tyler McKinney talking in his ear, "make the pass Austin, make the pass!"
The question is - when will he make them?
If I'm writing a scouting report the first thing I'm going to do is bait Chatman or Yates into shooting. Why wouldn't you? It's the best way to keep the ball out of Doug's hands. Both Chatman and Yates have to be aware of this and not take the bait. It's will be tempting and really, really juicy at times but the last thing these guys want or need to do is take it.
I'm not saying neither one of these guys's should ever shoot the basketball; their opportunity and points will come. However, the philosophy must be look to pass first, second, third and then shoot fourth.
It all comes down to assist to turnover ratio. Nothing more and nothing less.
My buddy in Vegas lost money by betting against the Jays. It's just one game but he was smart enough to ask the question about point guard play.
How the Jays answer this question will go along way in telling how far they go in March.