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The Wall Or The Pressure?

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    Wildcat Fan titan4wildcats's Avatar
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    Default The Wall Or The Pressure?

    We've all heard about the wall that freshmen hit. That teams hit. It's the middle of the season and there have been some great games and some tough games. And then suddenly players who were doing great are not able to do good.

    But the "wall" doesn't really say much about what is causing this. It's just a generalization that says suddenly this great player can't do what he normally does.

    We have seen this from the Wildcats the last couple of games. They can't hit the shots they've been hitting for 17 or 18 games. The 3's don't fall. The mid-range jumpers don't fall. And sometimes this phenomenon even hits the defense as well.

    I've noticed that besides the difference in the shots not going, etc., that there are no smiles on their faces these last couple of games. There is no bounce in their step and not nearly as much high fives, chest bumping, and demonstration of team togetherness of late as well.

    The majority of this season the Wildcats were like a group of kids that play after school or on weekends in the park. Playing together and really enjoying the together part as much or more than the playing part.

    It seems to have disappeared these last few games. It looked like Aaron said something to Zeus after Zeus was called with another foul he couldn't believe. And it looked like Zeus almost growled at Aaron in reply. Angry.

    I think this "wall" that the Wildcats seem to have hit isn't that at all. I think the pressure to be "that" team has taken them to where they're trying hard, way too hard to be that team. I think that it's taken the enjoyment of playing with the guys away and replaced it with the "drive" to perform at that top level.

    If this is the case, then it's sad because that enjoyment, the togetherness, the team spirit was what was making them such a great team. Now it's looking, at for the last few games like a bunch of guys on the same team who are taking out their frustrations on each other. That they've let that target on their back change their game from fun to a must do situation.

    Whatever the problem is in reality, I hope these fantastic Wildcats and their great Coach can figure it out and right the ship. It's nice to see them win, but it was so much better to watch them smiling, enjoying playing with their teammates and stomping on their opponents efforts.

    Is it just my warped mind or does anyone else think this may be what's going on?

  2. #2
    Wildcat Fan bogie's Avatar
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    I agree with most of what you say. Well put.

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    Raleigh Reignmakers YoDeFoe's Avatar
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    Agreed. Noticing the same thing and I found it telling what Rondae noted that they needed to work on, in his post game interview following the Utah win:

    "The little things behind the scenes, like you know: sticking together, staying with each other, um, you know just hanging tight. You know because any given moment we could just break off, have a bad day you know, our teammates start to get distant, and that could mess up our chemistry on the court. But if we stay together and stick together, I'm thinking we'll be pretty good."

    I thought that was shockingly honest at the time and I think its something that I hope we work on and work out. I don't want to see Nick dragging us to a win or the young guys forcing it or our sophomore bigs not getting touches. I want to see us out there having fun on offense, making the extra pass, and punishing on defense.
    If God isn't a Wildcat fan, then why do I bleed Red and Blue?

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    Originally Posted by YoDeFoe View Post
    Agreed. Noticing the same thing and I found it telling what Rondae noted that they needed to work on, in his post game interview following the Utah win:

    "The little things behind the scenes, like you know: sticking together, staying with each other, um, you know just hanging tight. You know because any given moment we could just break off, have a bad day you know, our teammates start to get distant, and that could mess up our chemistry on the court. But if we stay together and stick together, I'm thinking we'll be pretty good."

    I thought that was shockingly honest at the time and I think its something that I hope we work on and work out. I don't want to see Nick dragging us to a win or the young guys forcing it or our sophomore bigs not getting touches. I want to see us out there having fun on offense, making the extra pass, and punishing on defense.
    yes. that quote was surprising to me as well. i attempted to just write if off as him reciting the usual talking points. but maybe it's pointing to something that has been going on lately behind the scenes.

    i certainly hope it's the former. but after watching the last couple games......i'm not so sure.

    on a side note: i dont think rondae or ag should be "phoenix forwards" anymore. it seems more often than not, something undesirable happens.
    "if you're not bearin down, i dont know whatcha doin"

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    Wildcat Fan AlwaysBeenACatFan's Avatar
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    I don't think it is the pressure. Sure some of it, but We saw it the last two years with NJ and the team. He played so well heading into the PAC and then POW, he hit this wall and everything dropped off. He and TJ look to be the only ones not hitting this wall right now. Tarc, and Ash have dropped off a bit. AG and Jefferson seem to be reeling as well. Mid season blues? Bored with sub-par competition? Wanting the tournaments to start already....who isn't? Bottom line, I think there are many reasons for seeing this, and that is where it is up to your veteran headship (NJ &TJ) to pull them though this, as well as the coaching staff..... IMO

    Oh, now smile, we still have not lost!
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    Release the Hounds! Ric Aspen's Avatar
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    Coach Miller

    I thought Zeus was growling at the official that called the foul, not at Aaron, and was surprised he didn't get called for a technical. LOL. Miller took Zeus out of the game and the mood seemed so bad that I almost thought for sure we were going to lose the game.

    People are complicated. Even good friends wear on each other when they spend lots of time together. It takes the maturity to wish more for your team's success, and even for your teammates' success, than for your own personal success, to overcome this type of interpersonal friction.
    "Happiness begins where selfishness ends." - Bill Walton

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    Wildcat Fan Danny V's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ric Aspen View Post
    I thought Zeus was growling at the official that called the foul, not at Aaron, and was surprised he didn't get called for a technical. LOL. Miller took Zeus out of the game and the mood seemed so bad that I almost thought for sure we were going to lose the game.

    People are complicated. Even good friends wear on each other when they spend lots of time together. It takes the maturity to wish more for your team's success, and even for your teammates' success, than for your own personal success, to overcome this type of interpersonal friction.
    Looked to me like he was barking at the ref about the call as well.

  8. #8
    Wildcat Fan Professor_Sully's Avatar
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    It's easy to get along when the team is playing really well. I think the perception of a diminished team chemistry is really a product of a couple frustrating games. The thing about improving is you have to be willing to test your boundaries. When you test boundaries, you're bound to make mistakes. And, mistakes breed frustration.

    The reason this team will peak in March is that SM is encouraging certain individuals (Rondae & AG) to stay aggressive. He's pushing them outside their comfort zone, but come march you'll see Rondae have more control in the lane, and AG shooting with more confidence and accuracy.

    Oh, and you can bet they'll all be having a fun time once those two get it going again cuz they'll probably be headed to the Final 4.

  9. #9
    KillerCarlson
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    You guys (especially Titan) are making way too much of this. It's hard winning Pac-12 road games, and a season that could potentially reach 40 games is grueling and we've just crossed the half-way point. So our typically efficient offense (just look at Field Goal % and Assists) stumbled recently vrs. Utah and Stanford. 2 games does not make the norm people. We were in the midst of blowing out Colorado last week, and there were plenty of dunks and "hi fives."

    Sorry, you dudes are blowing this way out of proportion. You don't play team defense like Arizona did last night without being one strong unit, and having each others backs. These guys show their togetherness with their toughness and shutting down opposing teams offenses, don't get worried if you don't see the "ra ra" moments that makes your heart melt. These Cats have a goal in mind, and they are focused. Don't get that confused with the notion of "not being together" or not having fun.

  10. #10
    Wildcat Fan tazlittleking's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Professor_Sully View Post
    It's easy to get along when the team is playing really well. I think the perception of a diminished team chemistry is really a product of a couple frustrating games. The thing about improving is you have to be willing to test your boundaries. When you test boundaries, you're bound to make mistakes. And, mistakes breed frustration.

    The reason this team will peak in March is that SM is encouraging certain individuals (Rondae & AG) to stay aggressive. He's pushing them outside their comfort zone, but come march you'll see Rondae have more control in the lane, and AG shooting with more confidence and accuracy.

    Oh, and you can bet they'll all be having a fun time once those two get it going again cuz they'll probably be headed to the Final 4.
    I agree. What ever is causing the "wall". It has got to be a good thing it is happening now. Would like to think that it is a necessity for them to peak in March.

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    Wildcat Fan tortolitacat's Avatar
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    Big boy basketball sometimes ain't too fun. Sometimes the pros, and these guys see themselves as unpaid pros, have to stress production over pleasure. So long as we stress process over all else, the production will follow and so will the pro-thing in its own good time. It's about time AG realized his jumper is weak. It's about time RHJ realized his jumper is unstable. It's about time our front court realizes other bigs with more experience can out rebound us. And it's about time for us fans to admit our guys will lose a bit of the joy that makes college ball so much more passionate than the pros as they bear the burden of being undefeated and being #1. Big boy basketball: hardhats and lunchboxes and busted lips.

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    @KillerCarlson-I understand your point about we shouldn't be screaming "abandon ship" or anything like that, and that's not what I'm saying. But I saw in the Utah game and again in the Stanford game that were some tense moments between a couple of Wildcats. I haven't seen anything like that in the previous 17 or 18 games. It just looks to me, because of those instances combined with the lack of "happy" displays during the game that they might have lost some of the FUN of playing GAMES because of the pressure to keep producing at that level.

    After seeing Rondae's comments as well, I tend to believe my feelings;

    "The little things behind the scenes, like you know: sticking together, staying with each other, um, you know just hanging tight. You know because any given moment we could just break off, have a bad day you know, our teammates start to get distant, and that could mess up our chemistry on the court. But if we stay together and stick together, I'm thinking we'll be pretty good."

    I respect your opinions, but I'm still thinking that trying a little too hard to produce and not as much enjoyment/togetherness could be hindering the offense some.

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    Wildcat Fan vivarizona's Avatar
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    I am surprised what Rondae said.. I missed that one. I know he is kind of a entertainer in the team, I hope he uses those skills more and get some of the tension off of the players when needed. But not by going to the rim whenever he wants. I mean off-court skills.

  14. #14
    KillerCarlson
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    Originally Posted by titan4wildcats View Post
    @KillerCarlson-I understand your point about we shouldn't be screaming "abandon ship" or anything like that, and that's not what I'm saying. But I saw in the Utah game and again in the Stanford game that were some tense moments between a couple of Wildcats. I haven't seen anything like that in the previous 17 or 18 games. It just looks to me, because of those instances combined with the lack of "happy" displays during the game that they might have lost some of the FUN of playing GAMES because of the pressure to keep producing at that level.

    After seeing Rondae's comments as well, I tend to believe my feelings;



    "The little things behind the scenes, like you know: sticking together, staying with each other, um, you know just hanging tight. You know because any given moment we could just break off, have a bad day you know, our teammates start to get distant, and that could mess up our chemistry on the court. But if we stay together and stick together, I'm thinking we'll be pretty good."

    I respect your opinions, but I'm still thinking that trying a little too hard to produce and not as much enjoyment/togetherness could be hindering the offense some.
    Have you ever played a competitive team sport that had a lengthy season? You are never going to see eye to eye with every teammate all the time, and frustrations are going to be visible at times. Sure the pressure has increased, but these guys knew these types of situations could arise when they signed on to be a part of the Arizona tradition. Winning isn't easy, and there will always be bumps along the way. Sure it's easier to have fun when you are blowing out some cupcake team, but if you re-watch the Duke win or the Michigan win where we won after trailing almost the entire game, the team is focused and fought together. It didn't look like they were having fun while they battled, but they worked together and pulled out the victory. Guess what is fun though? Winning.

    This "fun" or enjoyment you keep alluding to, how exactly do they need to manifest it in order for you to fee okay about it? When I see players dialed in, and a group of guys pursuing one goal -to win- and they bond together playing great team defense and share the ball on offense, what more do you want?

    The ass slapping and we're just playing to have a great time and to have fun was checked at the door when these guys graduated from the middle school games where their Mom's supplied oranges at half time.

  15. #15
    KillerCarlson
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    On a side note, there is nothing wrong with players yelling at other players. This is a heated game, and if a guy makes a mistake there is nothing wrong with taking him to task. In the heat of the moment it might look like bickering, but in the long run this type of communication is mostly healthy. Now, if it turns into constant bickering and no one takes ownership of their actions, that could lead to problems. But I really don't see that from watching this team

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    There was actually a point in last nights game during a time out in the second half (I think with about 4 mins left or so), where Miller was very animated (and not in a friendly way at all) with the guys in the game. They all looked unhappy and didn't look to have that killer instinct that we've seen so often in their expressions and body language this year....and at that point in time I actually said to myself "we are going to lose this game". While obviously we wound up winning, that is the first time I have had any doubt at all this season we were going to come out on top.

    A loss wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for this team. I don't want to see it....but I also want to see these guys having fun out there again. Yes, the pressure seems to be mounting and it appears to be taking a toll on them. So whatever it takes to loosen these guys up again to where they are having fun, playing unselfishly and enjoying themselves, I am all for it....whatever "it" happens to be.
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    Wildcat Fan JS Esq.'s Avatar
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    Originally Posted by KillerCarlson View Post
    On a side note, there is nothing wrong with players yelling at other players. This is a heated game, and if a guy makes a mistake there is nothing wrong with taking him to task. In the heat of the moment it might look like bickering, but in the long run this type of communication is mostly healthy. Now, if it turns into constant bickering and no one takes ownership of their actions, that could lead to problems. But I really don't see that from watching this team
    The tension definitely seems to be ratcheting up each game as the pressure for perfection increases. But it's still nothing like last year, when several members of the team clearly did not like each other. Rather, when several members of the team clearly did not like one of their teammates.

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    Wildcat Fan titan4wildcats's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Ric Aspen View Post
    I thought Zeus was growling at the official that called the foul, not at Aaron, and was surprised he didn't get called for a technical. LOL. Miller took Zeus out of the game and the mood seemed so bad that I almost thought for sure we were going to lose the game.

    People are complicated. Even good friends wear on each other when they spend lots of time together. It takes the maturity to wish more for your team's success, and even for your teammates' success, than for your own personal success, to overcome this type of interpersonal friction.
    Yes Zeus did growl at the ref and started to go after him. The thing I was talking about was afterward when Zeus went to the bench, and Aaron said something to him, maybe trying to cheer him up or calm him down, and he looked like he was going to bite his head off too. Aaron looked kind of startled and just backed off.

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