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Thread: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

  1. #2041

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Way early Pure Speculation on platoon 1 and platoon 2 in 2019
    Platoon 1
    Bolon
    Yoakum
    Dyer
    Moore
    Boswell

    Platoon 2
    Alessandro
    McKinney
    Robinson
    Butler
    Shifflett



    Very interested in seeing Alessandro to see if he can defend inside because he is strong offensively.
    Situational play depending on development during year - hazelbaker and Conley

  2. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    More videos on Shifflett

    Jr year highlights
    https://youtu.be/YEf29D3ZC2s

    2019 Pitt Jam
    https://youtu.be/4nvqoUsTs7Y

  3. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by TVCS2 View Post
    More videos on Shifflett

    Jr year highlights
    https://youtu.be/YEf29D3ZC2s

    2019 Pitt Jam
    https://youtu.be/4nvqoUsTs7Y
    Thanks! He has great range. WLU also gets some smart players too, as I have seen outstanding GPAs and test scores for Hazelbaker, Shifflett and Butler (haven't seen data on other players). Their team GPA was 3.11 last semester!

    If NCAA votes tomorrow to move back 3 point line (as most expect) from 20 ft 9 inches to 22 feet 1.75 inches, I wonder if it just might make West Liberty even more dangerous and have a bigger impact on its opponents? Many of our opponents have some fringe 3 point shooters, whose % may be negatively impacted. Whereas players such as Yoakum, Bolon, Boswell, Shifflett, Conley and Butler all seem to be comfortable in shooting frequently from NBA 3 range. It could spread the floor even more, which allows their numerous slashers open lanes to the basket to score or pass. If passed in D1 for 2019, it will be effective in 2020 for D2.

  4. #2044
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Boy...Don't show up of one day and new players start popping up! Unfortunately I can't get to the WLU website because my computer is using IE 11 and apparently SideArmSports (the web site developer) has declared them No Bueno. To access any Sidearm developed site you HAVE to use Chrome or Firefox or the dumpster fire that is Edge!

  5. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    FYI
    Frostburg has their entire basketball schedule online.
    Suspect they got their out of conference games finalized before other MEC schools.

    WLU goes to Frostburg on Sat Jan 18.
    Frostburg comes to WLU on Wed Feb 19.

  6. #2046
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    One of the good things about Crutch going to Nova is that the WLU Style will receive a lot more exposure. Crutch spent over 5 hours schooling the Miami Heat coaching staff on his basketball style and now this pod cast which tells you a lot more than we probably would have ever known had Crutch stayed at WLU.

    VERY interesting quote..."They know it’s going to be charted; they know it’s going up on the board . . even drills in practice, in transition drills, there’s a winner and a loser "

    In this day and age of cottled players, everyone is a winner and there are no losers as long as we really try mentality, a coach even saying he rates everything his players do through the lens of winners and losers, that he TRACKS it AND it's being put on display for all to see is simply amazing!

    https://basketballimmersion.com/the-...m-crutchfield/

  7. #2047
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post
    FYI
    Frostburg has their entire basketball schedule online.
    Suspect they got their out of conference games finalized before other MEC schools.

    WLU goes to Frostburg on Sat Jan 18.
    Frostburg comes to WLU on Wed Feb 19.
    Frostburg is a hot mess in BB. Now that said, the same recruiting things that will probably make their FB team very good rather quickly are there for BB. As good as MD is for football recruiting, the HS BB environment in MD is equally good...if not better. My real question with Frostburg BB is do they have a coaching staff that is capable of iding and bringing in MD players that can elevate their program to a DII winner. My feeling is they don't.

  8. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    One of the good things about Crutch going to Nova is that the WLU Style will receive a lot more exposure. Crutch spent over 5 hours schooling the Miami Heat coaching staff on his basketball style and now this pod cast which tells you a lot more than we probably would have ever known had Crutch stayed at WLU.

    VERY interesting quote..."They know it’s going to be charted; they know it’s going up on the board . . even drills in practice, in transition drills, there’s a winner and a loser "

    In this day and age of cottled players, everyone is a winner and there are no losers as long as we really try mentality, a coach even saying he rates everything his players do through the lens of winners and losers, that he TRACKS it AND it's being put on display for all to see is simply amazing!

    https://basketballimmersion.com/the-...m-crutchfield/
    Thanks Boat! Very informative podcast - Crutch is really a deep thinker on the game. He answered the recommendation that some have posed that WLU needs a traditional low post player. He says that won't happen because it would require him to change his offense. In his system there is only one position, ideally. Depending on the situation, a tall guy could be a point guard while a guard could be posting up his player in the low post.

    He does not pull guys for missing shots. He pulls guys for lack of effort.

    He wants the players to be free to make decisions on the court. He says the players love the freedom that he gives them as well as the uptempo style.

    He says the area for improvement of his players in his system is spacing on the court - He said if they could significantly improve in that area they would be really good.

    He wants continuous mental and physical pressure on the opponent regardless of whether the opponent is on offense and defense. He said gaps get wider due to fatigue after about 10 minutes, even for strong defensive opponents.

    Great insight into his coaching philosophy. Definitely worth a listen, even for non WLU fans.

  9. #2049

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post
    Thanks Boat! Very informative podcast - Crutch is really a deep thinker on the game. He answered the recommendation that some have posed that WLU needs a traditional low post player. He says that won't happen because it would require him to change his offense. In his system there is only one position, ideally. Depending on the situation, a tall guy could be a point guard while a guard could be posting up his player in the low post.

    He does not pull guys for missing shots. He pulls guys for lack of effort.

    He wants the players to be free to make decisions on the court. He says the players love the freedom that he gives them as well as the uptempo style.

    He says the area for improvement of his players in his system is spacing on the court - He said if they could significantly improve in that area they would be really good.

    He wants continuous mental and physical pressure on the opponent regardless of whether the opponent is on offense and defense. He said gaps get wider due to fatigue after about 10 minutes, even for strong defensive opponents.

    Great insight into his coaching philosophy. Definitely worth a listen, even for non WLU fans.

    Interesting stuff. Easy to agree with all most all of it. Until, of course, a 6'3" guard has to defend Dustin Sleva for 40 minutes. But, by and large, that will obviously work for 95 percent of the season. Mercyhurst wore WL out in that final game. I saw it in person. That said, WL stayed in that press way too long. It was useless in that game and just wore themselves out.

  10. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by IUPbigINDIANS View Post
    Interesting stuff. Easy to agree with all most all of it. Until, of course, a 6'3" guard has to defend Dustin Sleva for 40 minutes. But, by and large, that will obviously work for 95 percent of the season. Mercyhurst wore WL out in that final game. I saw it in person. That said, WL stayed in that press way too long. It was useless in that game and just wore themselves out.
    Mercyhurst did a great job against the pressure with only 8 turnovers. Impressive. I think the WL strategy was sound for they had to try to get some extra possessions for a young team that was playing an experienced team with a guy with an NBA body (Smith - what a specimen and matchup nightmare) and a good 3pt shooting team. For WL to win, they had to shoot well - They shot poorly (18% below average in FGs, 7% below average in 3FGs).

    I have felt at the Regional level, every team has some matchup problems, and it comes down to points per possession, usually due to shooting and turnovers.
    For the season, Mercyhurst averaged 1.15 pts per possesion while holding opponents to .95 points per possession.
    Both are impressive stats.

    WLU averaged 1.33 pts per possession, while holding opponents to 1.17.
    In the regional game, Merchyhurst averaged 1.19 pts per possession (a little above their average), while WLU averaged 1.01 points per possession.
    I would have to watch the game to see how much of the subpar scoring was due to Mercyhurst defense and also how many easy points Mercyhurst got off the press to help their scoring. But against great teams, the achilles heel for WLU has always been a poor shooting night.

    It is really hard to find a strong big defender who can play a Sleva or Smith one on one and who has all of the other skills required of WLU players. Long term, incoming freshman Hazelbaker could be a strong defender who hit 38% of this threes (also 4.0+ student) who may be still growing at 6-7. Have to see how fast he develops and adjusts to the game.

    Every system has its strengths and weaknesses and it sometimes comes down to who is "on their game" that night. But based on year-in and year-out performance, it is hard to argue to change the WLU system.

    That said, I think WLU far exceeded expectations with their young team. Folks generally thought their strong year was going to be 2019-2020, not the 2018-2019 season. We will have to wait and see.

  11. #2051
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by IUPbigINDIANS View Post
    Interesting stuff. Easy to agree with all most all of it. Until, of course, a 6'3" guard has to defend Dustin Sleva for 40 minutes. But, by and large, that will obviously work for 95 percent of the season. Mercyhurst wore WL out in that final game. I saw it in person. That said, WL stayed in that press way too long. It was useless in that game and just wore themselves out.
    That is the flaw with the style...just as the flaw with a defensive team is usually the ability to score when necessary, WLU's position less approach struggles when they are faced with a gifted big man. Not saying WLU should scrap it's style in favor of having a big man in the low post the whole game, but they need to have some sort of counter when they do face a big who is eating up that 6'3" (or 6'4" or 6'5") guy in the low post. Contrary to what Christopher Walken may think, the prescription to the problem WLU faces is not MORE cowbell!

    Most nights during the season, WLU is going to be able to overcome any inside deficiency with a blizzard of 3. But in the playoffs, seems like consistently they run up against a team with a dominant inside presence that WLU has zero answer for. If your only plan is I hope we are hot from 3 and I hope their big has an off night, you don't really have much of a plan.

    Each part of the season has different team and strategy requirements. WLU has one of if not the best team/strategy/style makeups for the regular season and in many years, it carries them deep into the NCAA tourney. But eventually, our weakness get's exposed and we falter and fall. If our goal is to win a NC, which I think it is, as a team we need to have a counter to what has proven to be our Achilles heal in the playoffs. I'm not advocating for a fundamental change in what we do or how we do it on most nights. I'm not arguing for a drastic change in team makeup either. What I'm advocating for is having some sort of plan to combat a dominant big man who is eating our lunch...maybe it means you try and recruit that "unicorn" who is big and can shoot and run and play shut-down inside D...maybe you recruit a "defensive specialist" who can run but can't hit the broad side of a barn from farther than 10 feet...maybe it is a defensive scheme that you use on those isolated night when you are getting hammered inside. Point is, we need an answer beyond just trying to do MORE of what we do. That is, if we truly want to win a NC.
    Last edited by boatcapt; 06-19-2019 at 09:44 AM.

  12. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    ...What I'm advocating for is having some sort of plan to combat a dominant big man who is eating our lunch...maybe it means you try and recruit that "unicorn" who is big and can shoot and run and play shut-down inside D...maybe you recruit a "defensive specialist" who can run but can't hit the broad side of a barn from farther than 10 feet...maybe it is a defensive scheme that you use on those isolated night when you are getting hammered inside. Point is, we need an answer beyond just trying to do MORE of what we do. That is, if we truly want to win a NC.
    I am not as pessimistic about the NC chances. How many teams can say they have gone as far as WLU in the tournament over the last decade? We played in the national finals! It is really, really hard to win the national title.
    Why I think the future is bright:
    - the word is getting out about WLU style.
    - The head coach of the Miami Heat spend 5 hours picking Crutchfield's brain.
    - I am seeing better and better players show serious interest in WL. Some went ahead and signed with D1 but the fact they visited is impressive.
    - In the past, I perceived WL as having very high basketball IQ players, but maybe somewhat average in physical athletic skills. The physical limitations would sometimes get exposed in the NCAA tournament. That is changing. We are getting high basketball IQ players who are much better athletes. We are getting guys who can create their own shot and also slash to the basket in addition to hitting the 3 and can defend talented athletes.
    - In the past, we had to rely on turnover margin and superior 3 point shooting to win games, as they typically did not rebound well. This year WL did not get as many turnovers but was among the nation's leaders in offensive rebounding. They were better than any D1 or D2 school in 3 point shooting too. That will help us when we run into great well-coached teams who don't commit turnovers.

    In any style, if one does not have a player who can handle a dominant big man, the traditional approach is to have a guard sag down and make the big pick up his dribble early and disrupt. Of course, that leaves a guard open for a three. IMHO It is the combination of the dominant big and a hot 3 point shooter that is deadly. For example, Fairmont focused on Voorhees and left the guy open in the corner 3 who killed them.

    Regarding the unicorn, most the bigs I have seen in USA cannot handle the running and intensity and don't have the all around game, including passing, dribbling, shooting and deadly free throw shooting. WL had the bigs from Charleston and Shepherd gasping for air after about 8 minutes. One possibility is to find a talented, tall, undernourished scrawny deadeye shooter and lock him in the weight room without losing his speed and hope he can learn to defend natural bigs.

    imho, we will have to expand recruiting beyond the USA and find a big who played soccer as a child and is raw, but has the physical tools and a good grasp of the fundamentals of basketball. I would look in Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, Republic of Congo, Serbia, Russia, Croatia, Greece, etc. AAU weasels have not ruined their athletes there.

    But that takes boosters opening their wallets.

    I am looking forward to seeing if Alessandro and Hazelbaker can help us in that area. Alessandro looks like he is 6-7 and has gotten stronger. When I saw him in high school he reminded me a lot of a bigger yoakum in his playing style.

    Hazelbaker loves to mix it up inside and could be still growing. Just needs to develop his power and quickness vertically by not playing quite so upright and flexing his knees more to generate more power on his elevation IMHO.

  13. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    FYI here is an in depth look at the wlu style from an analytical perspective. It provides the rationale for the type of player west liberty recruits.

    https://statsbywill.com/2019/06/19/b...ter-actions/2/

  14. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Anyone heard how new guys are doing? It has got to be a shock to experience the intensity and pace.
    If they can adjust the transfers could thrive in this free flowing offense. From highlights They look like they could deadly in an open court up and down game.

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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Pretty clear that with this years team, Ben is doubling down on "WLU Style" players! I think they could move the 3 point line to half court and every player on the squad would make 50% of their shots!!!! If we have a night were ALL our many, many, many shooters go cold, it will be proof that god hates us and won't let us win!!!!!!

  16. #2056
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    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post
    Anyone heard how new guys are doing? It has got to be a shock to experience the intensity and pace.
    If they can adjust the transfers could thrive in this free flowing offense. From highlights They look like they could deadly in an open court up and down game.
    Had a brief Twitter exchange with McKinney after he transferred. Told him he needs to start doing an INSANE number of suicides EVERY day and start practicing an INSANE number of 3 point shots EVERY day starting THAT day and to never stop! He laughed and said he was headed to the gym to do just that and that he was stoked to show that he has what it takes to play on one of the best teams in the nation!

  17. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by boatcapt View Post
    Had a brief Twitter exchange with McKinney after he transferred. Told him he needs to start doing an INSANE number of suicides EVERY day and start practicing an INSANE number of 3 point shots EVERY day starting THAT day and to never stop! He laughed and said he was headed to the gym to do just that and that he was stoked to show that he has what it takes to play on one of the best teams in the nation!
    LOL You are a wise man, Boat. Very good counsel to a young player. From his highlights, it looks like he likes defense too. Both he and Robinson have a great first step, but they don't slash out of control to the basket - they appear to change their angle to avoid charges. They also appear strong enough to score after contact to get the and-one.

    Without knowing them and just generally speaking, I would suspect that another difficult adjustment for a new player is to adjust to the freedom given to players to make good decisions in rapidly changing dynamic situations under duress, when there are no set plays. Kind of rare in today's environment of micro-managing coaches.

  18. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    A lot of talent with a years experience could pay off in a big way. No seniors so everyone back the following year is kinda crazy.
    Last edited by Dirtybird; 06-25-2019 at 05:47 PM.

  19. Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtybird View Post
    A lot of talent with a years experience could pay off in a big way. No seniors so everyone back the following year is kinda crazy.
    You raise an interesting point. With no seniors, how many scholarships are available next year?
    I can see it now - Player X with 5.0 GPA turns down MIT and Carnegie Mellon for academic scholarship and basketball at WL :-)

  20. #2060

    Default Re: West Liberty Hilltopper Basketball

    Quote Originally Posted by Columbuseer View Post
    You raise an interesting point. With no seniors, how many scholarships are available next year?
    I can see it now - Player X with 5.0 GPA turns down MIT and Carnegie Mellon for academic scholarship and basketball at WL :-)
    If he does that he should have his head examined. Lol.

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