Since the beginning of last season, many of us have noticed the same things about our big men. They haven't really gotten any better and in some ways, have regressed. Having grown up in Central NY and graduating from Cuse in 2001, I have seen my fair share of big men come through the program. What did many of those guys have in common? Two things: 1. Most made a noticeable improvement in their sophomore years (as well as in subsequent seasons) and 2. Bernie Fine was the coach who worked with them.
Arinze Onuaku: +22 min/game, +10.5 ppg, +5.3 rpg
Rick Jackson: +9 min/game, +4.6 ppg, +2.8 rpg
Fab Melo (shockingly, I know): +15 min/game, +5.5 ppg, +3.9 rpg
If you want to see their full stats, here are links:
Fab was the last key big man who went into his 2nd season with Fine as his position coach. Since Coach Hopkins has taken over the big men duties, here is what we have seen out of our main big guys (I left Baye out of this section, but will address him later):
DaJuan Coleman: +2 min/game, +0.8 ppg, +1 rpg
Rakeem Christmas 2nd year(last year): +10/min/game, +2.3 ppg, +1.7 rpg / 3rd year (this year): -0.3 min/game, -0.1 ppg, -0.8 rpg
In the case of Rak, he has had two years without Fine and his numbers are beginning to regress when they should be going way up in my opinion.
As for Baye, I am not sure what to make of him. I don't think he should be held to the same standards as the two McDonald's AAs (DCII and Rak) but at the same time, he is a senior and his numbers have been kind of flat during his career. That isn't to say they are bad, considering I don't think he was ever meant to be a real force on the offensive end of the court. They just haven't really improved much I recognize that Fine was his coach the first two years he was on campus too. His numbers can be found here:
So, my point in all of this is that it looks like we are missing Bernie Fine quite a bit. I know basketball is basketball, but Coach Hopkins was a guard. Having him coach the big men might be a bit out of place. Before anyone says it, yes Bernie Fine never played PF or C in college or in the pros. But he had 30+ years as the big man coach with Jimmy B. I didn't list the stats of some of the older alumns such as Etan, Hak, Wallace, Otis Hill (my man Otis!) DC and Seikaly, but I know they follow the pattern above for the most part. I am not, by any means, suggesting any sort of coaching move here, just pointing out what seems pretty obvious to me. I wouldn't want to get rid of any of our current assistants (Hop, red or GMac), but something is off here.
Maybe I am totally off base, but considering that we came into the season touting our big men as a strength and our guards as a question mark, it seems as if that is working out completely backwards.