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Most important player

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  • Most important player

    I feel like this year more than ever, it's tough to pick out one guy that is the most important player on this team. I don't even know where to start, I'd say my top 3 important for next year are Juwan, Bennett, and McDonnell. All three showed flashes last year, if they can put it together, it could be something special. I feel like when we see Juwan play relaxed and with confidence, he's going to put up big numbers. Bennett is Bennett. He makes us pull our hair out at times, but there are also times where he looks unstoppable. If he can say consistent, it'll be HUGE. McDonnell is kind of a wild card. I wasn't high on him before last year, but others compared him to Tut, and he did really impress at times. Hopefully he put on some pounds in the offseason, I think it could really help his game. I could see a good argument for guys like Carlson, Wyatt, and Brown too. Carlson and Wyatt are both going to be hungry after they both had frustrating years last year. Brown is just so athletic, if he improved his shot, he will really be a good player for us going forward. The most important for the program long term, I would say for guys like Pickford or Dahl. I really think Pickford can be an absolute star for us, legitimately one of the best we've seen in a Panther uniform. Maybe that's just wishful thinking though. As for Dahl, he could really answer questions inside for us for a few years is he's ready. I know Phyfe is going to be there too, but the size Dahl has - he could be able to dominate the Valley if he figures it out. I'm really looking forward to this season, and I have high hopes. Now that I've mentioned more than half the team here, who do you all think?
    To avoid confusion - my username is baseball (Cy Young award) related, NOT for the Cyclones.

  • #2
    Mentioning almost every player actually seems appropriate. I think almost anyone on the team could be the most important player and the key for this year is for one or two of these players to take a big step up and make some major improvements. Given that it seems like these guys are pretty talented, I'm hopeful that will happen. If not, it's going to be a long season.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by CyCarp View Post
      Now that I've mentioned more than half the team here, who do you all think?
      Darn it, if you hadn't've pointed it out, I would have just listen everyone on the team. Non-jokingly, I agree with you on Bennett and Juwan. Bennett does have those flashes of greatness, and I legitimately mean greatness. But it's always interrupted by a foul/not-a-foul-that's-called-a-foul/turnover/boneheaded mistake, and then he goes back to being an average to slightly below average PF/C. But if he can be that exceptional player for even just five minutes a game instead of five minutes every third game, he and UNI will be a force.

      And Juwan needs to learn how to play offense again, because last year, when he was on the floor, the opposition was able to play 4-on-5 the whole time. If he can even be a Washpun-like player, where he masters the drive and dish, that should at least get our three-point shooters much more open then they were last year. Watching the Prime Time League, it looks like he was able to get some offense going, or at the very least, some confidence, since I know defense isn't a huge priority during PTL. Luckily, his defense was already incredible last year, so that shouldn't see much regression, if any.

      As for Pickford, pretty much anyone that's been around him has said that he's a special player, whether it was someone from UNI or people who were just around. Everyone is praising the kid. I wouldn't be totally surprised to see him start at some point this year.

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      • #4
        I think it has to be Carlson. He was the vocal leader last year, despite Morgan being the senior captain. Unfortunately, he didn't shoot the ball well and didn't have that great of a year. He showed flashes in the MVC tournament the previous year of what a match-up problem he can be, but last year he seemed really indecisive when he had the ball. Often times it looked like he chose to attempt the harder shot/pass rather than taking the open look. Carlson is going to play a lot of minutes again this year. Likely more than anyone else and he needs to find a way to be productive in those minutes.

        Bennett is what he is. He'll likely score about 10-12 per game and get 4-5 rebounds per game and turn it over 4-5 times per game. 15-20 minutes a game is more than enough for him unless he has learned how to pass out of a double team. Anymore than 15-20 minutes and he instantly looks gassed and picks up lazy fouls that are 99.99% of the time are definitely fouls. I hope Dahl is able to provide serviceable minutes, but if the rumors about Phyfe playing this year are true then I think you can read into that and realize Dahl isn't ready to play yet.

        Wyatt isn't going to blow anyone away, but he knows where he is supposed to be and has a good IQ. I think he'll be a steadying force on the court. It would be great to see a small ball lineup with him, Juwan, Brown, Pickford and Carlson and let them spread the court on offense and get out and run. I doubt we'll see it, but I can certainly dream about an uptempo team.

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        • #5
          This team goes as far as point guard play takes it. Juwan should be/has to be better on the offensive end of the floor. He didn't turn the ball over but shot the ball so poorly it was like playing 4 on 5 at times. If he takes that second year step forward that most guys in Jake's system take, he'll be just fine. He's also worked a ton on his body and is noticeably stronger which will help against bigger guards.

          I also think Pickford is a key. His body looks different than any recruit we've gotten and he can get to the rack from the wing and finish through contact. He starts Day One and has a chance to be Freshman of the Year and multiple time All-Conference going forward.
          #MACtion

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          • #6
            I will certainly argue for Bennett. I honestly think he was the most important part of the team last year. He is a mismatch in the Missouri Valley. By far lead the team in PER, Usage Rate, and FTR in Conference play. I know many don't read into analytics, especially in the NCAA, but it tells a lot more about when Bennett was on the floor vs off, which was a huge struggle, considering Bennett's foul trouble. That will be a huge factor in the direction of this season. I think that trickles down to the other players as mentioned earlier. The progression of our Freshman to Sophomore class can set apart a a sub- average to good team, as well as the play of Klint and Wyatt.

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            • #7
              I vote for Carlson. I think this year's team is going to need to "sneak up" on opponents. And no matter how you game-plan, it is hard for players on the floor to cover Klint in real time. His game is unique. Him being on will be crucial for this year's team.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Username View Post
                I will certainly argue for Bennett. I honestly think he was the most important part of the team last year. He is a mismatch in the Missouri Valley. By far lead the team in PER, Usage Rate, and FTR in Conference play. I know many don't read into analytics, especially in the NCAA, but it tells a lot more about when Bennett was on the floor vs off, which was a huge struggle, considering Bennett's foul trouble. That will be a huge factor in the direction of this season. I think that trickles down to the other players as mentioned earlier. The progression of our Freshman to Sophomore class can set apart a a sub- average to good team, as well as the play of Klint and Wyatt.
                This is where I was going to go. Bennett was by far the most efficient player in the league last season. Argue all you want about Alize Johnson being better, more athletic, etc... Bennett's efficiency numbers were much better.

                The problem was 2 fold with him. Fouls and slow to pass thus causing a TO.

                If Bennett can avoid being called for the 4 weak fouls a game he gets called for he stays on the court. There are a ton of numbers that show the team is better with him on the court.

                He also needs to make faster decisions when he gets the ball in the post rather than waiting for the double to get there.

                Bennett is my key
                "People will talk about getting into the playoffs - don't give a ****. This isn't about just getting to the playoffs. Bull**** programs care about just getting to the playoffs."
                -A twist on Matt Campbell getting Iowa State bowl eligible.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by UNIdad View Post
                  I vote for Carlson. I think this year's team is going to need to "sneak up" on opponents. And no matter how you game-plan, it is hard for players on the floor to cover Klint in real time. His game is unique. Him being on will be crucial for this year's team.
                  Ditto on Carlson. I really hope we see much more of the late-season sophomore Klint than the junior year Klint this season. I think we will, with this being his last season.

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                  • #10
                    Carlson could do great things for this team and be the leader to step up and take on that role, he needs to learn to not let the game get to him (hoping he has) as much as it did last year at times. You could see his emotions all over the place during games, hence the technical fouls he received last year. Having a level headed leader to keep the team on track has been huge in the past. Morgan was that last year. Can he do it this year?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by UNIChippewa View Post

                      Ditto on Carlson. I really hope we see much more of the late-season sophomore Klint than the junior year Klint this season. I think we will, with this being his last season.
                      I agree, I think we will see a more decisive Klint this year compared to last year, being his final season. He had that edge at the beginning of last season, most notably in that Oklahoma game, but it dropped off quickly.

                      It is a close call between Bennett and Juwan for me. We relied so heavily on Bennett last year because he was the only aspect of our inside game. If Juwan has improved his game to the point he is actually able to cut to the rim and finish, that will be huge for not only our perimeter game, but we will have a 2nd option for scoring inside the arc when Bennett isn't on the floor.

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