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Username Post: Stefanini        (Topic#19971)
mrjames 
Postdoc
Posts: 4601

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
04-20-17 07:58 AM - Post#228816    
    In response to Columbia 37P6

Maybe the deepest, but "best" is going to be tough when three other teams return First-Team All-Ivy guys (Harvard - Aiken, Princeton - Stephens, Yale - Mason) with solid talent around them. The Ivy League will be exceedingly talented next year, so it takes way more than it ever has before to have the best backcourt. I also think that Columbia is going to struggle defensively with no real rim protectors and a (potentially) small backcourt.

No doubt, there's a lot of talent there, but even if Columbia can finish ~150 nationally, that might not be good enough to be favored to finish top four. I'd want to feel good about touching the Top 100 to also feel good about making the Ivy Tourney. Next year is going to be nuts.

 
Chet Forte 
PhD Student
Posts: 1786

Reg: 03-02-08
04-20-17 08:36 AM - Post#228817    
    In response to mrjames

Tape can be a legitimate rim protector if he learns how to stay out of foul trouble and gains some weight and muscle. One huge question mark is going to be Castlin. If he is 100% he could be a difference maker for us.


 
Dr. V 
PhD Student
Posts: 1343

Reg: 11-21-04
04-20-17 12:14 PM - Post#228822    
    In response to mrjames

Your points about the strengths of the other teams are well taken, and it's undeniable that, thus, the League will be stronger than ever in recent and more distant memory (I go back to '71-72).

Tape demonstrated flashes of unusual athleticism for a big. Our fortunes will in part depend on whether he stays static, in terms of development, gets better or gets worse. But even if he just remains static or improves, he and Faulds, an acknowledged defender who played against good competition in the Lansing area, should between the two of them be able to protect the rim for us.

A bigger question for me is the 4 slot. If Meisner is healthy we will be in good shape both offensively and defensively at that position, but that's an if, and we're thin there.

I presume that Smith will hold down the 1. He has more than shown that he can hold his own there. The addition of three players who are all good shooters, rebounders and who are athletic, and, thus, better defenders than we were last year, namely, Hanson, Bibbs and Stefanini, will either force our upper classmen to improve significantly over the summer or surrender PT to those newcomers. Now as always it's impossible to predict who will take how much time to adjust to D1 and college life in general, but it's reasonable to expect that at least one or two of them will contribute to an overall team improvement.

And this brings us to the key question, and one noted by Mr. James, namely, defense. We have to be able to learn how to play good man. Zone is OK for a change of pace, but unless you can bring in the kind of extraordinary length and agility that Saracuse used to bring in, zone can't be a staple. We have not yet demonstrated that we can play good man. I think that we may be able to do that next year, but that's obviously the biggest "if."

 
Columbia 37P6 
PhD Student
Posts: 1386

Reg: 02-14-06
04-20-17 10:34 PM - Post#228829    
    In response to Dr. V

Great assessment by Dr. V to which I would simply add that I would not be surprised if all five of the incoming freshman eventually make a major impact. on Columbia basketball. Regarding defense, I agree with Dr. V and Mr. James that defense is a major concern, but I feel that Columbia will be a much better defensive team next year because of the athleticism of the incoming group, specially Tai Bibbs. I think he is going to be a standout player on both sides of the ball.

 
RicDA 
Pre-Frosh
Posts: 1

Reg: 04-20-17
04-21-17 03:58 AM - Post#228833    
    In response to Dr. V

Hello everyone, I'm Riccardo, the author of that report on Stefanini (thank you for reading it!). There's one thing that I want to clarify: Gabriele didn't grow 3 inches during the last year, as someone may think. Some websites still list him as a 6-1 (others, 6-3) but we, as Italhoop, started to list him as a 6-4 since last october: these are the measurements they took in Columbia when Stefanini visited for the first time, as the player himself told us back then.

 
Sagatius 
Freshman
Posts: 9

Age: 69
Reg: 11-17-15
04-21-17 07:58 AM - Post#228835    
    In response to Dr. V

Tape has shown that he has the natural talent to be a dominant player in the Ivy League. He can be the difference maker, in terms of how far Columbia is able to go in the League.

To reach his potential, he will need to put many hours into his game over the summer, including playing with top-flight competition. It will be interesting to see how far he is able to progress.

 
Dr. V 
PhD Student
Posts: 1343

Reg: 11-21-04
04-21-17 10:53 AM - Post#228850    
    In response to RicDA

Thank you, Riccardo, for that correction (given that Stefanini had been listed at 6'1 in various places and then you listed him as 6'4", I thought he had grown between the beginning of his junior year and his senior year), but, more importantly, thank you for such an outstanding report!

 
Dr. V 
PhD Student
Posts: 1343

Reg: 11-21-04
04-21-17 10:57 AM - Post#228851    
    In response to Sagatius

I think that you are spot on about Tape.

One of many things that encourages me about Faulds coming in is that he and Tape should both benefit from having to compete against each other in practice every day--although that is separate from the work Tape needs to do on his own and in individual workouts now and over the summer.

 
cc66 
PhD Student
Posts: 1476

Reg: 10-09-09
04-21-17 11:18 AM - Post#228853    
    In response to Sagatius

I too am optimistic, for the all the reasons listed above. The one thing that gives me pause is the curious resemblance between the reasons for our optimism last year and next. Last year, we thought that given all the players who had at least some experience, enough would step up so that the decline in the program would not be as steep as many thought. It's true Castlin went down, which thinned out the pool, but still the decline was sharper than most of us anticipated. Next year, we will again have multiple options--most particularly, three or four recruits who in the aggregate probably constitute the highest rank group we've had in many years. Since I dread the notion of deja vu all over again, i.e. yet another season where we fight and lose out to Penn for fourth place, I hope that next year we deviate on the upside as much as last year we deviated on the down.

 
Chet Forte 
PhD Student
Posts: 1786

Reg: 03-02-08
04-22-17 07:03 AM - Post#228868    
    In response to cc66

Two factors last year: Castlin was potnetially our best player. A few of the preseason writeups on the team made note of the fact that this Was going to be his breakout year. Second, my optimism was based upon my belief that Petrasek would have a dominant year; while he had a good year and from time to time was excellent, he fell short of my expectations. What more or less saved our season was the upward trajectory of the very excellent Mike Smith, who as a pure PG is going to be a great player for us.


 
florida lion 
Pre-Frosh
Posts: 2

Age: 68
Reg: 04-21-17
04-22-17 01:55 PM - Post#228872    
    In response to Chet Forte

I was very optimistic at the beginning of the Ivy season and we got off to a good start. Then it seemed like Mike Smith moved forward while the others stood still (although it was good to watch Conor Voss play well in his last year). There were a couple of games we would have won if we just made a key free throw or two. But hope springs eternal. The incoming class looks great, we should be pretty good next season.

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4127

Reg: 11-22-04
04-22-17 02:31 PM - Post#228873    
    In response to mrjames

Well, this does lead directly to a discussion of the top back courts. Princeton went undefeated and returns an Ivy first teamer and defensive player of the year (Stephens) plus an honorable mention PG (Cannady). I'd take them over Columbia right now, and my guess is that will be true until they graduate.

Yale returns an Ivy first teamer too, plus a 2nd teamer in Oni (and then a plus scorer in Copeland and a plus defender in Phils). They seem ahead as well.

Harvard was much better than Columbia this past year, and their best player was probably Aiken.

So I guess I'm of the opinion that Columbia isn't top 3 in backcourt next year. But we'll see.

I also think that Columbia's backcourt recruits, while good, would rank behind those coming in for Princeton, Harvard, and Penn. The players have different skill sets (Harvard and Princeton don't have any PGs coming in), of course, and recruiting is far from certain. But I wouldn't presume that Columbia catches up significantly based on what is coming in at the other guard spot.

 
Columbia 37P6 
PhD Student
Posts: 1386

Reg: 02-14-06
04-22-17 08:15 PM - Post#228875    
    In response to SomeGuy

Whether or not they are better than the other schools' recruits, the point is that these new Lions are the first recruits of Coach Engles and a definite upgrade from the past. At least two of the newcomers, Fauls and Bibbs, are likely to start immediately and the other three are almost certain to be in the rotation. It seems to me that Engles got the guys he wanted to make his system go.

 
SRP 
Postdoc
Posts: 3067

Reg: 02-04-06
04-23-17 06:21 PM - Post#228878    
    In response to Columbia 37P6

Stephens is more of a small forward, really, even though he can guard the backcourt positions. But head-to-head I still like Bell paired with Cannady better than Smith with anybody I've seen for Columbia (especially defensively), although if Smith somehow gets even better than he was toward the end of last season that could change.

Yale's pool of guards is scary offensively if you add back Mason being anywhere near how good he was two seasons ago. Harvard is hard to predict, but the Bryce Aiken Story will be fascinating next year--can he play as a true point guard without losing his scoring edge?--and if he pulls that off alongside any of his plausible running mates that'll be an excellent offensive backcourt as well.

 
Chet Forte 
PhD Student
Posts: 1786

Reg: 03-02-08
04-23-17 08:09 PM - Post#228879    
    In response to SRP

As a pure PG Smith really had a remarkable year, in terms of PPG, assist to turnover ratio, steals, minutes played and intangibles. And as a pure PG, I would take him over any returning PG. and he has ice water to n his veins: he is fearless.


 
mrjames 
Postdoc
Posts: 4601

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
04-23-17 09:41 PM - Post#228880    
    In response to Chet Forte

Unless Makai has some real, residual issues from the injury, he's the best returning PG in the league. His third comp from his soph season was to Damian Lillard's soph season. I'd rather have Bryce than Mike, though you could make some arguments there. It's hard to argue anyone over Makai, though...

 
SomeGuy 
Postdoc
Posts: 4127

Reg: 11-22-04
04-23-17 09:52 PM - Post#228881    
    In response to mrjames

Couldn't Morgan end up playing point for Cornell this year, too? Could be a very crowded field for best point guard in the league.

 
mrjames 
Postdoc
Posts: 4601

Loc: Montclair, NJ
Reg: 11-21-04
04-23-17 10:05 PM - Post#228882    
    In response to SomeGuy

Yeah - and I guess I was trying too hard to fit to "true" point because Mike Smith really isn't a true point either. We have a lot of guys who could hold the ball a lot but aren't going to crack 30% on Assist Rate, like a pure point like Siyani would. Morgan, potentially Cannady, if Antonio Woods ever comes back, along with Mason and Aiken. Lead guard will indeed be competitive.

 
Chet Forte 
PhD Student
Posts: 1786

Reg: 03-02-08
04-24-17 06:36 AM - Post#228884    
    In response to mrjames

When Columbia played Harvard this year, how did Smith vs. Aiken play out? I know that we split two very tough games, but Imcan't recall if they guarded each other.


 
Dr. V 
PhD Student
Posts: 1343

Reg: 11-21-04
04-24-17 12:17 PM - Post#228887    
    In response to Chet Forte

I don't recall whether they guarded each other, but the combined stats from the two CU-H games, which CU and H split 65-62 (CU) and 78-72 (H), were:

Minutes: Smith 71, Aiken 60.
Pts: Smith 18, Aiken 18.
Assists: Smith 12, Aiken 9.
TOs: Smith 7, Aiken 7
Steals: Smith 3, Aiken 0

In terms of Ivy stats, Smith was # 6 re points with 14.7, and Aiken tied for 8th with 13.4. Re assists, Smith was 6th in the League with 3.5 and Aiken 8th with 2.9.

 
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