Big East Coaches (aka LJ is better than you think)

Discussion in 'Butler Basketball' started by MasterSplinter, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    It was @knobcreekfan that asked for a comparison of LJ versus Holtmann and other coaches. The attached compares LJ versus Holtmann and all current BE coaches. It specifically looks at the overall and conf record of the first four years and the last four years of a coach at their BE school (it does not look at coaching at other schools prior/after). I chose the last four years because we've been in conf for four years and it should be the minimum coaches are given to demonstrate their ability (notice I said should be).

    The average for all the coaches first four years overall (conf) records are 18-15 (7-10). That improves to 20-13 (9-9) in the last four years suggesting coaches have gotten better with time probably due to roster stability and coaching improvement/adjustments.

    The key takeaway - those averages are not great, and LJ is already coaching at a last four years type of level. It's also clear that Jay Wright, Ed Cooley, and Greg McDermott are the class of BE coaches. Holtmann was on par with them and even better than most in conference play, quite remarkable given the situation he was also thrust into (full disclosure - I'm not a huge Holtmann fan after what happened, but hard to argue he can coach/manage a programme).

    Also, to all of those who are calling out the programme and Collier, could you please cite one piece of evidence that the programme is heading in the wrong direction? Donor money? Season tickets? Recruitment? Overall student enrollment? National standing? Graduation rates? Mentions in the police blotter? I don't think any of those metrics wash, so you are left with, well we don't play like Butler or some other line. But none of that holds up to scrutiny and you need to start to accept that the Butler style of old isn't coming back (that doesn't exclude us from playing the Butler Way though, whatever that means). Our positive trajectory is even more remarkable given we are the ONLY programme with serious coaching turnover (X and Georgetown maybe joining us) yet have maintained excellence.

    Edit - Source is Wikipedia coach pages. Also I was too lazy to find avg for all Power 5 coaches over same time periods. Would be nice to know though.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
    knobcreekfan and jeff like this.
  2. Red1972

    Red1972 Well-Known Member

    I like it. LaVall is not only a good coach getting better daily, but an excellent human being!
  3. wazthree

    wazthree Well-Known Member

  4. Baddog

    Baddog Well-Known Member

    Whew. Those of us concerned about the "lack of" or the "under coaching" and the absence of good basketball discipline and smart judgement by the players on this team can all rest easy now. Apparently Jordan is a hell of a lot better than what your eyes tell you when watching his teams. Good to know. Never understood this argument, if the coach has previous experience (in Jordan's case, 20+ years), and the roster has talent (this one does...see the DePaul game), why then does it take "years" for smart, consistent play to be exhibited on the floor in each and every game? Also good to know that playing smarter than the opponent, out hustling them, setting good picks, great passing, running some type of offense or sets with the intent of consistently getting the best shots in each and every possession, tough D, blocking out for rebounds, getting to the line and overall smart game management (like old style Butler basketball) are now all obsolete basketball concepts that just aren't coming back. Better tell Tony Bennett and Virginia. So I guess we need to adjust our expectations and embrace playground and hero ball going forward.

    Lastly, have never read one posting here or anywhere for that matter that has anything negative to say about LaVall as a human being. He's seems like a great guy. Great family. A Butler man. Appears to be nice as hell. No one questions any of that. Head coach at this level? We sure don't need another coaching change. I hope he stays and succeeds at Butler for a long time.....but it is becoming more and more obvious he needs a "head coaching whisperer" on that staff to help him. (FWIW, think back, Holtmann was a bit of an underachiever at Butler. He too, lost his share of winnable games....ex. why not bring your top scorer and rebounder and your best player by far off the bench 7 to 8 minutes in to each game, and most of the time, after halftime (this was long after his "punishment" was over). Nothing like spotting your opponent a good start and/or retarding your own. Holtmann thought "it was working." Just one of a number of examples. Holtmann's success, on court and recruiting, had a whole hell of a lot to do with his staff. Which is okay, just recognize it. I'd be a little careful comparing anyone to Holtmann. Maybe compare staff to staff).
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
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  5. UDDawg

    UDDawg Well-Known Member

    This is starting to get old. The team just won a Big East road game by 18.

    No idea where your whole first paragraph came from. Who has made those specific claims that we don't need to be doing all of those fundamental things anymore? I still, FWIW, have concerns about LJ's coaching acumen but also believe he'll continue to get better. I also agree that the staff is crucial and may be something worth looking at in the near future.

    I just think you could get your point across a little better and stop putting words in people's mouths. I've never seen anyone on here suggest that we should embrace hero ball.
  6. the_speakers_lab

    the_speakers_lab Well-Known Member

    Yea! We beat DePaul! Let's create a thread proclaiming LaVall is a good coach!
    Daddysmack, bumba, mwall787 and 3 others like this.
  7. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    Yeah, admittedly a better title would have been "not as bad as we think" but I guess we'll know better in a couple of years.
  8. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    Sorry, too long in the UK where it's been pounded into me, along with all the -our, s-instead-of-z, etc. I try to revert back to American English when I post but doesn't always happen. Next time maybe read it in a Sean Connery voice, or not. Up to you.
    PSUButlerFan, Mad_Dawg 48 and shoeevv like this.
  9. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    Yeah, you are right. All those things are important and create a winning formula and I didn't mean to suggest that iso-ball and NBA style play is the way of the future. My statement was more to the point that the best teams every year do those things you mention, and I wouldn't say they are unique to Butler basketball, which was admittedly poorly worded. I have a problem defining what is/has been Butler basketball and that there is some notion LJ isn't honoring that. We've had 4 coaches in 5/6 years with each their own style. I think it's more that we all defined Butler basketball by their coaching more than Butler basketball defined their coaching and the emergence of the Butler Way also helped to mask that. I think the same will be the case for LJ and in time we will all reference 'Butler basketball' and we really just mean LJ ball. If you want to go back and find some common statistical denominators since 2000 that suggests a certain style of Butler ball I'm happy to chat it over. Heck I'll split it with you and do half the years. Quick example, I remember the Stevens years we were near top ten in 3pt rate but Holtmann went the exact opposite way. The only real defining characteristic I can see is that we were almost always underdogs who played above our level.
  10. OldSchoolDawg1983

    OldSchoolDawg1983 Active Member VIP Member

    Hats off to you for the effort. Sample size is a problem when drawing conclusions based on W/L averages for the first four and last four years. You only have two examples where no overlap exists between the last four seasons and the back four (Jay Wright and Kevin Willard; although Ed Cooley and Greg McDermott are close). The season overlaps for the other coaches in your sample distort your computed averages.

    This methodology may be more persuasive if: 1) You expanded the sample universe to all power 5 conferences (going beyond the BE would not discredit the analysis); and 2) LVJ had some more BE coaching experience with which to compare (say 8 years?).

    Also, what about coaches who don't make it to season 4? You could very well have a strong case for LVJ doing well as a 2nd year coach. But at the end of the day, its expectations, not relative W/L records, that drive evaluations.

    Btw, "programme" is fine with me.
  11. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    Ah yes, good catch. Thanks for that. Eliminating the overlap makes the improvement even more apparent, even though I wasn't really interested in that and assumed it would be. Whether that is the case across the power 5 I don't know and yes, definitely limitation in sample size. I was mainly interested in how LJ's early BE career stacks up against other current coaches. Then it made me wonder how the other coaches have done since Butler joined the BE, thus the first/last four year breakdown. Your last point is well taken and much of the motivation for the thread is about resetting expectations in the hope it doesn't drive potentially disastrous evaluations.

    Oh and here is one example of an all-in-one snapshot of Butler ball over the last 10 years. Looks like we are generally good at offense and defense, and pretty good at keeping TOs down and def reb. I was a bit surprised at our 3pt shooting % from year to year. Thought it would have been higher. Link is here in case you want to look more closely -

  12. wazthree

    wazthree Well-Known Member

    Tony Bennett has done something no other team in ncaa history has accomplished. Lost as a 1 seed to a 16, guy is a genius!
  13. wazthree

    wazthree Well-Known Member

    “You the man now, dog”
    MasterSplinter likes this.
  14. DawgsMD

    DawgsMD Forum Psychiatrist VIP Member

    I’m kind of surprised by the difference in turnover %, would have expected it to be more equivocal from CH and LJ to Stevens - however, my presumption is that although our overall TO/game is similar, there are more possessions now. Which makes turnover % better now, is that presumption correct?

    I think there are some telling stats in that data - Stevens last year in HL and BMs year are the FT% and 3PT% we’re down. IIRC BM lost a lot of close games.

    And I think most telling stat recently with LJ is defensive rebounding % and FT rate. Some of those Stevens teams really got to the line at a high clip.

    Sent from my iPhone using Butler Hoops mobile app
  15. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    One thing LJ does have in common with Tony Bennett is very low FT rate. That 1 seed team was 344 in the country in FT rate. Seems like quite an anomaly!

    Theoretically that presumption would be correct although I don't have the raw data at hand to verify. But if you want to see what elite looks like in the last 10 years check out Coach K's mind boggling team history matrix:

  16. Dogweed

    Dogweed Member

    Way too small sample size to be relevant.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  17. MasterSplinter

    MasterSplinter Active Member

    Give me a sample size you think would make it relevant and I'll see what I can do.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using Butler Hoops mobile app

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