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Offseason To-Do List: Establish a PG



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Welcome to what should be a lengthy list of things Travis Ford needs to knock out this offseason in preparation for a 2013 tourney run. You might disagree with a few (or if your name is Nate, all) of these…but that’s what the comments section is for. Let’s get to it.

If you’re Travis Ford, you basically have three distinct options at point guard next year, and they are as follows:

1. You can let it ride with Markel and hope he develops that Russel Westbrook/Derrick Rose innate killer thing that drive first, shoot second, think about it third, pass fourth PGs have. It’s not ideal, and I don’t think it’s that pretty, but if you’re mildly athletic and can guard other teams’ PGs, it’s actually kind of intriguing. If this were to happen, I would see Marcus Smart playing the two (he can) and Cezar backing Markel up.

2. Roll the dice with the Mexican Assassin (his words, not mine…just the messenger here) at the helm and pray he spent all summer in a gym with Doug Gottlieb (and no NCAA investigators) somewhere. In this scenario Markel would start at the two and Smart would back both of them up. I have no idea what Forte is going to do.

3. Put your $20M contract in the hands of an 18-year old. Granted, the hands of a back-to-back state champion 18-year old whose coach speaks about him the way I speak about late 90s cursive Cowboys uniforms…but still. Markel would be at the two. Cezar would transfer back up Smart at the one.

The closer we get to the season, and the more I read about Marcus Smart, the more I’m convinced Ford isn’t going to be able to keep him out of the lineup. The problem, as is the problem with Markel, is that he can play three different positions and isn’t really better at one than any of the others.

Offseason To-Do List: Hoops

Establish a PG

I also don’t foresee any scenario in which Ford fully gives the reins over to Cezar. He’s going to get some minutes next year, hopefully quality ones, but he’s not going to be at the helm of a team whose coach is desperate to make the dance. That’s just not happening.

So what should Ford do?

In the Elite Eight this year, here was the classification of the eight starting point guards: senior-senior-senior-junior-junior-sophomore-sophomore-freshman.

The lone freshman was Stilman White, and he, um, didn’t exactly lead Carolina to that position.

The point is, you need experience at the one spot. Smart can’t provide that. Markel can.

So if I’m Ford, I pull up every every tape of that 2007-2008 Memphis team, all 40 of them, and memorize them. I watch how Calipari let Rose run the dribble-drive offense and drill it into Markel’s head all summer. I tie Markel’s right hand behind his back on Monday-Wednesday-Friday and make him the best dribbler in the Big 12 (he’s already one of the best body control guys).

Heck, I call up Calipari and beg him to have dinner with me to pick his brain about how the offense works (it’s not like we’d be scrapping some elaborate, effective offensive plan we’ve been cultivating the last five years).

Give it to Markel, name him the starter, hijack one of Gundy’s press conferences and say “he might not be able to name a quarterback but I’m going to name my point guard and it’s going to be Markel.”

Please, for the love of the velvet curtains we’ve resorted to in the third level in Gallagher-Iba, don’t let this drag into December or January.

Learn from this year’s mistakes. And do it soon.

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