Happy Monday to you Cougar Nation. Hope your week is off to a good start.
Well, in case any of you caught Saturday's game against the Bears, you saw what I thought was the toughest loss we've experienced in a long, long time.
For me it was among the hardest because, for the first time since our two point loss @ UCLA in 2007, we lost a game where we played about as well as we can play.
So now that we know that our best might not be good enough, it's really time for a change.
Before I get to the meat (if there is any) of the post, I do want to tip my hat to the CAL Bears. Simply put, if those kids play like they did last weekend in March, you will see them in the Sweet Sixteen. They are long, althletic, play decent D, and boy can they shoot the rock. Even more impressive, they are ALL back. So, you got a chance to witness your 2009-2010 Pac-10 Champs on Saturday night.
Now, back to us.
Nation, having ditched my former moniker for a pair of letters, I really do not want to get back into the game of calling out individual players. But, in this case, it is really unavoidable.
On Saturday night, this guy had a MINUS 32 while he was in the game.
In case you are among the math challenged like BH, a minus 32 means that when this kid was in the game, CAL outscored us by a whopping 32 points.
Now granted, no one should pin our season on his woes. After all basketball is a team game. And even more than that,we know that this kid is a gem of a teammate and one heck of a human being. Moreover, we also know that when given enough touches, this kid can be really lights out.
But, we also know that it is inappropriate for him to get those touches now. Moreover, we also know that when we lost to UCLA by two points a few weeks ago, he didn't get off the bench. So, unless we get into a situation where we're down 20 and Tony can insert him with the message "shoot every time you touch it, or you're off the team" he really shouldn't play again. And it truly hurts to even write that.
But even more to the point, as I wrote on Saturday, when you look toward next year, FOUR OUT OF OUR FIVE LEADING SCORERS ARE GRADUATING. And that simply means that when you look toward our prospects for 2009-2010, you're looking squarely at replicating this season of Oregon Ducks basketball.
And so, I say again, like I did on Saturday, its time to put the youth movement forward. Its time for Casto and Capers to get many more minutes--even if they make horrible mistakes (and tony, don't sub in an entire unit of freshmen reserves when we're up 11, please). Simply put, I think most of us would sacrifice a few W's this year for the chance of competitive next year, not to mention an upper bracket NCAA team in 2010-2001.
Its now officially transition time for Cougar basketball. And while playing the Oregon schools may seem like a good opportunity to stay veteran and win a few games, it actually is the perfect time for playing the young kids until they either win for you or foul out.
So, Onward to the Future, Cougar Nation.
And a HUGE Congrats and THANK YOU to this year's seniors for all they've done in making the past so darn memorable and enjoyable.