Hoping to avoid clogging up other threads by starting this thread.
It has been charged by “some” that Sendek doesn’t change. Obviously, if you look at his entire career, this is lunacy. But even if you look at just his SCU tenure, it’s just not true.
2016-17 – SCU increased their 3 point rate to 47% of all fields, increasing by 8 percentage points over the previous year. Shooting % improved, shot defense improved, despite the relatively unchanged level of talent and athletic ability (still a bad rebounding team due to that). Assist rate greatly improved. Improved coaching evident.
2017-18 – should be obvious just by looking at the first two months to the rest of the year. An obviously and predictably terrible team in the non-conference. Backed off the 3 point shooting in league play, and focused a lot more on 3-point defense. 2 point defense and rebounding stayed bad, but 3 point defense got a lot better, resulting in more wins. Didn’t give up many 3s in both periods bc of slow tempo (which was slowed even further in league play, to limit chances for our bad rebounding to show up). Good example of coaching a bad team to be about as good as they could be.
2018-19 – Would have been a breakout year if not for the injuries to Feagin and Hauser. Training a freshman shooting guard (even in high school) to be the main ballhandler was one very obvious, though necessary, adjustment. Boosted Justice and Caruso’s minutes in conference play, reducing Martin’s. Gave up a bit of defense to be viable on offense. Emphasis on 3 point defense evident. Did well to finish 8-8 in the league considering the injury losses and subsequent turnover issues.
2019-20 – Much better offense, significantly higher tempo. That might have become a problem when Caruso went down as we went from a decent rebounding team to a bad one. Played Vrankic more like a Princeton-style forward, with more ball distribution responsibility. In the end, couldn’t really make up for Caruso’s loss and 1-2 lollygagging players with their eyes on the exit. Williams’ minutes greatly increased in conference season. So were Bediako and Justice, but no real choice there.
2020-21 – Evolved again to essentially a point-guard-less offense. This was to try to make best use of Carlyle. Vrankic’s role changed again, likely as a result of the lack of practice time and subsequent team-wide shooting issues. Defensively, 3-point line again a strength and a focus. Despite playing 2 forwards (to the chagrin of some who apparently don’t think rebounding matters), rebounding still an issue, and the free-role ballhandling only mitigated to a point, with turnovers a weakness (though probably better than if Carlyle had been handed a traditional point guard role).
Clearly, being able to defend the 3 is a focus area and given the evolution of the game, probably a pretty well-chosen one. It has also served to mitigate the lack of athleticism in the frontcourt (manifesting in several ways).
What needs to improve is athletic ability among the post players. A Josh Martin that just isn’t a zero on offense would be a help. The team he was on was the only decent rebounding team. Another improvement would be ball control and turnovers, and it certainly looks like that should be coming next year. Two years ago wasn’t bad, and certainly part of this issue has been unexpected guard losses in 2019 with injuries and 2021 with the transfers (and probably partly the cuts in practice time).