My Trip To Bozeman

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My Trip To Bozeman

Post by phantom » Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:41 pm

I had a chance to make a trip to Bozeman last week to catch the Thursday and Saturday games. I wanted to make the trip to catch 2 games and with my coaching schedule, it was the only time I could do that. It was my second trip to Bozeman as I came in two years ago to catch the Saturday afternoon game with Eastern Washington. Bottom line, the Bobcats are 3-0 at home when I'm there, so if anyone wants to start a GoFundMe, feel free. lol
My overall thoughts ... Bozeman is a pretty cool place. I've been fortunate that it hasn't snowed when I've been there either time. The mountains around the area just makes for a really cool backdrop. Everyone I've run into both times I've been there have been super nice. Maybe I've just found the right people, but the people couldn't have been more friendly. I really enjoyed chatting with the people at the games. Again, very nice people.
As far as the basketball, I had no clue I was coming out to the Brick to see Lassi Nikkarinen's coming of age as a college basketball player. I was really impressed with him. He played composed and confident. A year ago, I figured he wouldn't return this year and was wondering who decided he was a division 1 player. I left Sunday thinking he's a key cog moving forward this year and moving forward if he can keep it up. He was clearly the Bobcats best perimeter on ball defender and he gives them another ball handler. He allows the coaching staff to rest Frey with confidence. I was also really impressed with Devin Kirby. Again, a guy that as a freshman struggled mightily. He's discovered the key to success in college basketball is having a high motor. He simply outworked the bigs from Portland State and Sac State for rebounds and drew fouls because of it. His length allowed him to alter or block shots in the zone. I'm hoping as he gains confidence, he'll become more efficient scoring 1-on-1 on the block. Because of the makeup of the team, really the only person teams could double off of is Keljin as you don't want to leave Frey, Hall or Ricketts on the perimeter unless you really believe in your rotations.
As far as the condition of the program and I know there was a thread about what needs to be done to improve the program ... right now, the program is growing and is stronger than it has been, largely due to the play of Kirby and Nikkarinen. They give the depth and breadth to the lineup to where Tyler can score 9 points and you hardly notice it. He didn't play poorly on Saturday, they just didn't need him to have to score and try to create or force opportunities. That is a great thing. If that keeps happening, everyone will prosper.
I like the upside of the freshman that are getting some minutes. Currently, they play like freshmen. They lack experience and they do dumb freshman things. It's hard to be good as a freshman. Really hard. Unfortunately, in today's society, people overlook that ... especially players and parents. Many times freshmen come in and haven't really had a coach get into them and they were good enough were even when they made mistakes, they stayed on the floor. That's not the case in college. You get yelled at. You get pulled off the floor. That's not a Montana State thing or a division 1 thing ... it's a college basketball thing. Players eventually grow up and realize if you don't want to get yelled at for making mistakes, don't make the mistakes. You have to know a scouting report and execute it or you hear about it. You have to know and execute responsibilities offensively and defensively, or you hear about it. However, as Kirby and Nikkarinen show, if you get through the tough times and grow, there are better days ahead and you will grow as a player and contribute.
As a coach, I'm impressed with how Fish has adjusted offensively and defensively over the past 4.5 years. He came in running mostly the spread, which makes sense with his background. This weekend, I'm not sure how many trips, I saw the spread at all. I like their matchup zone they play defensively. That's growth as a head coach and that only comes through experience and the willingness to make adjustments.
Those are my thoughts without making this long story longer. I know some of you will disagree and that's fine. I view coaches in a different light because I've coached for almost 30 years now. I admire coaches that know their stuff. Barrett Perry (Portland State) does things differently, the Sac State coach does things differently and I respect them all. There's more than one way to skin a cat (no pun intended) in the game of basketball.

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Re: My Trip To Bozeman

Post by duelalumnicat » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:29 pm

Phantom, thank you for your thoughts and insights. I appreciate your expertise.

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Re: My Trip To Bozeman

Post by WalkOn79 » Wed Jan 09, 2019 5:21 pm

Nice post Phantom!

"The pride and tradition
of Montana State football
will not be entrusted to
the timid or weak!"

Cliff Hysell, RIP

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