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Thoughts on Gottlieb’s Thoughts

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Just what we need, more pontificating!

In case you missed it, John Helsley interviewed Doug Gottlieb in The Oklahoman yesterday. Here’s the link to that story. I’ve gone through and sorted out a few of my thoughts about his quotes below. Enjoy.

What do you identify as the major issues hampering OSU this season?
They haven’t had great point guard play. I think Keiton is obviously their best shooter. And they don’t have a lot of shooters around him, so he’s forced to be more of a shooter and he’s not the truest of point guards. He can’t create as much as he needs to, nor does he have guys to create for.

Their bigs, while Marshall Moses has made himself into a nice little scorer and he does play hard, there’s a lot of things he doesn’t do. He’s not a great defender. He’s undersized. So when you play against legit length and guys with size, there’s just a limit to what he’s going to be able to do. And I don’t think they have enough shooting. They’re the worst 3-point shooting team in the league.

Saying “OSU doesn’t have enough shooting” is like saying “Charlie Sheen has access to too many drugs.” Also Doug, Marshall is just “a nice little scorer”? How about the active leader in Big 12 double doubles and the sixth-best rebounder in the league?

How do you judge the chemistry of the team?
I think you have some character issues, and it’s pretty obvious. Anytime you’re having different guys get arrested, investigated, charged, suspended… when you start having a guy like that – two or three guys like that – now we’ve got some problems.

I wish Helsley would have followed this up with something on Ford. I’d be interested to see what direction Gottlieb would take that.

[Is there] hope for 2011-12?
They’re going to have a major talent uptick. With Nash and Cobbins, then they can play Keiton with those guys, they’ll be all right.

Not sure that Nash and Cobbins are the answer to this team’s question.

Have we seen the Travis Ford identity in a Cowboys team yet?
When I was being recruited, every coach in America comes in and says he wants to run. ‘We’re going to run. We’re going to do this, do that.’ And then they all average about 68 to 72 points a game. There’s like five coaches in the country who run. I don’t hold it against him. But his teams, they just kind of play. I understand you have to be pragmatic. You can’t put a square peg into a round hole. At some point, they’re going to have to establish, ‘This is who we are. This is what this program is.’ I think you have to find that.

Great thoughts here. First of all, great point by Gottlieb when he basically said, who doesn’t want to run? This isn’t 1940. There’s a shot clock and when you have a stable full of horses you want to see what they can do, how far they can go. Unfortunately for Ford he has more like a stall and half worth of horses.

It also brings to mind the chicken/egg question of “is it the system or the players?” For Gundy it’s been the players, the system has adapted. Ford has kind of wanted to do that but doesn’t seem like he’s committed to either one. Maybe he’s a strong enough recruiter to make up for those deficiencies but that hasn’t been proven yet either.

Are they on their way, with an increasingly athletic roster?
Maybe that changes next year with LeBryan. They add the length of Cobbins and get after people and press. I don’t know. Ford probably can’t win without Keiton, but he can’t run his style with him. His way of playing is he wants long, rangy guys at as many positions as possible. Athletes. I think next year, if Cobbins is good enough to start, LeBryan Nash, Brown — don’t know what they’re going to do inside — and then Keiton, that’s a pretty good little crew to play up-tempo.

This has been the crux of this season (and probably next). Can’t play with Keiton but can’t win without him. It’s like bizarro college basketball version of Les Miles and the LSU fan base. Lots of love, lots of hate, nobody with any answers.

What about Jéan-Paul Olukemi, do you like him in the mix?
Oh, yeah, that’s the other kid. I love Olukemi. That’s a good five right there. People forget, he sat out a year. And when you don’t play for a year, then all of a sudden you’re playing in the Big 12, there’s an adjustment. He makes the classic mistake where he spins and takes off way too far out. He needs like one dribble, two dribbles more, then power up. He needs to shoot the ball better as well. But I really like Olukemi. I actually think he’s a pro.

I hope he’s a pro. He’s been baptized into the hallows of GIA and I think he’s going to fully embrace the full force of its weight in the coming years. I’m rooting for him big time.

Sounds like you’re a fan of Page?
He’s their best player. Look, everybody has a strength and everybody has a weakness. They’re not able to play up his strengths nearly enough, because they don’t have enough scoring around him. And his limitations are fairly obvious. I like Keiton. Next year you’re going to have a kid who’s a senior, a starter, no issues, totally bought into it. The only thing he’s not, if I was going to be critical of him, other than he’s not a great defender, by my estimation he’s not a vocal enough leader. And they obviously don’t have that.

I’m not entirely sold that he’s OSU’s best player (think that could either be JPO or Moses) but he is the most prolific and important scorer they have.

All in all I thought Gottlieb offered educated, intellectual opinions about where he thinks this program stands. He’s been heavily criticized in the past for not pandering to the basketball program but, as Q has repeatedly pointed out, nobody wants that. It would be so much more awkward for everyone if he was championing Roger Franklin as Big 12 newcomer of the year and trying to get Keiton on Dickie V’s 2012 diaper-dandy team. Nobody wins in that scenario.

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