February 1, 2012

1 – On Monday morning, Greg Wrubell tweeted out: “Dave Rose has a Marriott Center coaching record of 99-8; probably aren’t many guys who get their 100th home win before their 10th home loss.”  Where does Dave Rose rank on the BYU all-time list of men’s basketball coaches?

Matt – With respect to Stan Watts, BYU’s winningest basketball coach, I have to give the nod to Dave Rose.  In only his 7th season at BYU’s helm, he has a 77.6% winning percentage.  While Watts has 371 wins, two NIT championships (one when it was at least equal in prestige to the current NCAA version), and became a highly-sought after coaching mentor across the nation, Coach Rose has had to be front and center for BYU in the media-crazed environment of the 21st century.  Navigating the media through all the Jimmer-mania, the Brandon Davies “scandal”, and keeping his guys focused enough to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time in 30 years all one year removed from beating pancreatic cancer makes him my all-time #1.

Carl – That’s a tough list to compare.  The top 4 coaches you’d obviously put Frank Arnold, Roger Reid, Steve Cleveland and Dave Rose.  Arnold had the legendary Danny Ainge team from 1981, but never sustained success.  Roger Reid, the fiery coach that you felt never quite fit in to BYU, tried to put BYU on the map with his 7’7 Shawn Bradley.  He ended up riding that wave to 5 NCAA tourney appearances.  But, Steve Cleveland really transformed the program over after Roger Reid left BYU.  You could argue that Cleveland did more for the program in his time than any other, even though he got BYU in to March Madness just 3 times.  And even though Rose’s coaching legacy is still being written, he’s done a better job than any other coach at BYU.  4 NCAA tourney chances, a sweet 16 appearance, sustainable recruiting; you get the feeling that BYU could sustain a high level of competitiveness while Rose is leading the show.

Mark – Right now, he has to rank at the top.  He has done more for the BYU program recently, save Jimmer only, than any other coach has done.

David – Maybe I have a bit of a man crush, but I’m definitely on the Dave Rose bandwagon and feel like he has done much more for the program than any other coach in BYU basketball history.  In just seven seasons he has brought BYU basketball out of obscurity and made them a force to be reckoned with.  I’m not predicting a National Championship here by any means, but I do expect to see some very successful seasons coming up.

2 – In years past, Dave Rose tends to find a solid scorer like The Jimmer and build an offense around him. This season there are a bunch of good scorers, two especially in Hartsock and Davies, and the offense seems to be a little more flexible on who is taking charge each night. What type of offense do you prefer for BYU? The one man show with lots of back-up, or the all-around offense with lots of talent spread across the court?

Matt – The Jimmer was exciting to watch.  You couldn’t help tuning in to see how many shots he would jack up, where he’d pull up from behind the arc to let it rip, or to see if he’d at least match his average to keep the scoring title.  But for my part, I much prefer a team effort.  I think every team needs to have that one guy (or two guys) to go to, but I prefer the balanced attack of this year’s team.  I want to see the ball passed to the right guy on each possession.  Jimmer was so ball-dominant it appeared the team was only doing what it could do to get him the ball and he took some truly awful shots last year.  He took some incredible shots too.  For my part, I like the balanced team effort.

Carl – I believe that it’s more of a mentality than it is anything else.  When the players know their roles, things run much smoother.  This year’s BYU team is really talented and it almost seems like a small-scale version of the Miami Heat.  Anyone can really step up in a given game, but nobody knows when to do it.  Carlino will be the leader next year, but they’ll have to figure out how to co-exist and be effective with each other if they expect to go dancing in March.

Mark – Jimmer is a once in a generation player.  It would be unfair to characterize the style of play when he was here as typical Dave Rose.  Personally, I prefer to have many people who can score as it keeps the defense on their toes.

David – Jimmer was so fun to watch.  It seems like you can’t read more than a few names in a row in the record books without seeing his.  But even with that enormous talent, I like having a strong all-around offense.  When one guy is having an off-night, another can step in and produce.  Instead of one player winning or losing the game, it becomes a team win or loss.

3 – Why is the 3-ball not working for BYU in the last 3 games?  Is it something Cougar fans should worry about?

Matt – Of these four questions, this is the hardest one for me to answer.  I don’t think it can be adequately answered by opinion, but I don’t really have any facts or stats or data to rely on either.  My simple observation is the team hit a drought and the players just don’t seem to have the confidence in themselves to dig out.  Charles Abouo has always been streaky offensively.  Brock Zylstra seems to be struggling with the increased pressure upon him as a first-time starter and best long shooter.  And freshman guard Matt Carlino seems to have hit some sort of rut that has completely sapped him of all confidence.  To answer the second question, the easy answer is yes.  If this team can’t figure out how to get back to 35%+ shooting from behind the arc soon, we not only will miss the NCAA tournament, we may not even win a game in the WCC or NIT tournaments.

Carl – You may as well list this question as 2a.  It seems to be a product of lack of team play and chemistry.  Spacing has been poor and lack of creation – inside outside play or creation off the dribble drive – keeps defenses in better position to defend.  BYU has always needed success beyond the arc to keep defenses honest.  Without it, the Cougars become a mediocre team, which is exactly what they’ve been over the last 10 days.  Again, they won’t be going dancing without a course correction.

Mark – Shooting is mostly mental.  Some mechanics, but mostly mental.  Mental toughness is only gained by experience.  Due to injuries, experienced perimeter players were in short supply.  I am not worried yet.  The youth is definitely showing, but all these things shall give thee experience.

David – It seems to be one of those things where they had an off-night or two, and now there is a psychological block that they need to get past.  And it isn’t helping that they have had this problem during two big losses to Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary’s.  I think we have some time still before we really need to worry.

4 – Are the WCC refs better or worse than MWC?

Matt – Can you honestly answer one way or the other?  I can’t.  The Mountain West Conference largely plays a physical, beat you down style of basketball while the West Coast Conference plays a more finesse game.  The WCC officials have learned to officiate the same way and you can honestly look at them and say they have never met a charge they didn’t like.  Case in point: the horrendous flop call at the end of the SMC game in Moraga, CA against Brandon Davies that forced him to the bench in the middle of our last run.  BYU needs to develop a finesse they don’t currently have.  The two best players on our team are Davies and Noah Hartsock and they play down low.  They play physical.  I think this current issue with the officiating has more to do with the absence of our three-point shooting over the past few games because defenders are double-teaming our bigs since our long-ball isn’t falling.  If that gets fixed, this officiating issue becomes less pronounced.

Carl – A bit of a side-bar here which will lead me into this question.  To learn a little about me, I’m a wrestling official.  The biggest thing I learned about being a ref is YOU ARE ALWAYS IN A NO WIN SITUATION.  Especially when the game or match is tight and you make a call that could go either way.  You’ll have either one of the coaches yelling at you for making or not making a call.  That said, my opinion is the WCC refs are worse because I believe them to be more anticipatory, rather than just making calls as they see them.  Banging in the low block?  Something is going to get called.  Why are BYU players always in foul trouble this year?  They’re probably used to a more physical style of play in the MWC, than a more finesse style, other than SMC and Gonzaga, of the WCC.

Mark –The WCC referees looks like they were picked up at a local stake center just after they were done refereeing the High Priests.  Good referees do not get noticed.  This is something that the WCC needs to address during the off season.

David – Worse.  I think the NCAA should put a limit on how many times they are allowed to blow the whistle during a game.  Let the guys play.

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