LaVall’s Last Season

Discussion in 'Butler Basketball' started by MadDawg2020, Nov 18, 2021.

  1. Carmel Caramels

    Carmel Caramels New Member

    Money:
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    Hey everyone, new member and young alumnus here. I recently learned of this forum from a friend and have no idea how I haven't discovered you old farts earlier! I have some time to kill at work and figured I'd pitch in my two cents on Lavall for what it's worth.

    In summary, I don't like what I see. I don't like the direction the program is headed, and I don't trust Lavall to lead this program out of this slump. Holtmann left the year I graduated and I didn't like the hiring of LJ at the time. Ironically, I happened to be watching the Horizon League Championship game in 2017 in my senior house with my roommates when Lavall was coaching UWM and remember saying out loud to them "Thank God we hired Holtmann over this guy." Yet here we are. I would like to see Lavall fired, but realistically I don't think it'll happen this year unless we lose out the rest of our Big East schedule and Lavall loses control of the locker room. A lot of our younger guys transferring out at the end of the year could do it too, but unfortunately I don't think this will be "Lavall's last season" as the thread title suggests.

    To LJ's credit, there have been some good moments during his run as HC, and those can't be ignored. The no. 5 ranking, the tourney win, beating Villanova at home (twice! Including once when they were ranked no. 1), beating Xavier in the Big East tourney a few years ago, and all of our seniors using their extra year of COVID eligibility to return to the Dawgs, which speaks to how much his players like playing for him. But the bad far outweighs the good here. The lack of an offensive scheme, a failure to adjust to opponents, not playing to his players' strengths, questionable recruiting, lack of player development, and increased transfers out of the Butler program (notably Battle, Coles, and Tucker, in a way) have exposed his weaknesses as a coach and more importantly, a failure to correct for those weaknesses.

    Take our offense this year, for example. LJ tries so hard to fit the mold of Villanova with slow, deliberately paced basketball in which he tries to control the tempo while running a pick and roll set. I'm fine with the strategy, hell it works for Virginia and Nova, but it doesn't fit our guys' skillset. Instead, you end up with five guys standing around the paint with little to no ball movement whatsoever and the result is a desperation 3-pointer on half of our possessions. And many times that shot is taken by AT or Nze, who should never, ever, ever be shooting 3-pointers. There's a reason we're only shooting 31.1% from 3, which is good for 266th in the country out of 358 D-1 teams. Our offense is insanely inefficient, and paired with a slow tempo, is a recipe for disaster because of a reliance on luck from beyond the arc; without Kamar or Kelan Martin to lean on (really without a pure scorer), the glaring weakness in Lavall's offense is exposed. But like I said earlier the lack of adjustment is what's more concerning. We keep trying the same thing over and over and over and over and over and it's maddening. Drive the ball! Get to the free throw line! Stop having everyone stand around the perimeter and get some ball movement! I don't claim to be a basketball expert but the lack of basic X's and O's of fundamental basketball is inexcusable for a D-1 coach, let alone a Power 6 coach.

    Lavall is driving this program into the ground and it's sad to watch. I like him as a person, but he seems overwhelmed and is not ready to coach at this level. I still root for our boys out there because I love the players, but the lack of player development (Chuck Harris is a prime example) and lack of top recruiting talent coming in isn't going to help Butler be competitive any time soon, especially in a conference as good as the Big East. It's time to move on and build back a solid foundation and be competitive again, but sadly, I just don't see that happening this year.
     
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  2. estar20dawg

    estar20dawg Well-Known Member

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    What bothers me the most, what I can't figure out, is good coaches look at your roster and adept to its strengths and not try to change it into something it is not. There are many examples out there, most notably Baltimore, changing their entire offensive scheme to fit what Lamar does. There is zero common sense smarts it looks like
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2022 at 6:48 PM
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  3. knobcreekfan

    knobcreekfan Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    I would suggest that LJ should be asking those questions about himself and his staff. Meanwhile, Barry should be asking those questions about the staff and LJ.
     
  4. dawgs2014

    dawgs2014 Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    I’m torn on this one.

    Like you’re not wrong, but we also completely changed our offense after Maui. The pick and roll is a very small part of our offense at this point, whereas it was the primary focus to that point. I think that change has really benefited Golden and Thompson.

    Where I agree with you is inability to maximize the contributions of the team’s talent. Take Aaron Thompson. He is absolutely incredible at everything in college basketball except shooting. Yet we have him off the ball for 3 years, and now we don’t even *know how* to space the floor to take advantage of his ability to penetrate and finish or penetrate and find open shooters. Then Groce. He scored an efficient 16 a game last year I think. He can shoot, he has bounce, and we can’t figure out how to get him to be a meaningful contributor. Wilmoth can guard 4 spots, is an okay outside shooter and a threat as a slasher. That should be more valuable to the team than what Christian David offers.

    Then on the flip side we have guys like Harris and Bolden who seem to have no understanding what their strengths are. Bolden- not very good off the dribble. Excellent catch and shoot. He shoots 36% on twos and on threes. There isn’t a justification for him dribbling into a 17 footer. Harris-also really bad at two’s. Pretty good at catch and shoot threes. Good foul shooter. He shouldn’t be shooting floaters and shots made to avoid the defense. It should be threes and at the rim. If he gets his shot blocked, oh well.

    Even though we adjusted our offense, we still don’t cater our any players role in our offense to their strengths with the exception of Gokden and maybe AT now.


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  5. ButlerAlumDad716

    ButlerAlumDad716 Active Member VIP Member

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    Every team should have someone who plays every position, never makes an error, and knows just what the opposition is planning…But so far there’s been no way to get that person to put down the popcorn and coke to come down out of the stands!
     
  6. Carmel Caramels

    Carmel Caramels New Member

    Money:
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    Besides the oversimplification and exaggeration of the issue at hand here, I actually agree with your sentiment that it's easy to be an armchair critic. Most of us are pretty far removed from the locker room and don't see what goes on behind the curtain. But does that mean LJ is immune to any criticism whatsoever? I don't think it's too big an ask to get some competency and basic strategy back to Butler basketball. Lavall's results speak for themselves.
     
  7. Insane Dawg

    Insane Dawg Well-Known Member

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    Bet they are every day.
     
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  8. knobcreekfan

    knobcreekfan Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.
     
  9. Shane Davis

    Shane Davis Well-Known Member

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    My guess is that Dad716 is referring more to the criticism being thrown at the players than at LaVall. Sports is a business, therefore you open yourself up to performance criticism, but being a student that doesn’t collect a paycheck for playing a sport (yet) shouldn’t be held to such high standards, at least not while the coach still has a hand in their futures.
     
  10. ButlerGoalie

    ButlerGoalie Well-Known Member

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    Not really sure where to put this and didn't want to start a new thread for it, but this is perhaps the most damning evidence against LJ...

    ● Minnesota has lost consecutive games with the losses coming by 13 and 23 points. Since the beginning of last season, the team has 12 conference losses by double digits. In that span, only Nebraska and Butler have more such losses among major conference teams.

    Sure, injuries and Covid and whatnot, but at what point do the excuses run out? For me, this is my main trigger point. The large number of double-digit losses in-conference is a reflection of competitiveness, especially in-conference. If the team were more competitive more often, I think there would be less unrest from the fans. It's not just that we're losing, we're getting blown out. A lot.
     
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  11. Danville Bulldog

    Danville Bulldog Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    Wait till the Georgetown game tomorrow. Groce and Hodges are back! Georgetown is worse than terrible. If we can't win this one, it will be a horrible disgrace.
     
  12. dawgs2014

    dawgs2014 Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    I think this is the the “results” based gripe that resonates the most with me as well. I forget the exact number but I posted it somewhere but we’re like 34 double digit losses in the last 4 years and change. By my count 16 of our last 38 GAMES (not losses, GAMES) have been double digit losses.

    We’re blown tf out like once every other week.

    There’s so much non competitive basketball and it’s tough to reconcile.


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  13. Cranjis McBasketball

    Cranjis McBasketball Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    Doing a little bit of research regarding how Butler plays against Georgetown. Butler is 4-4 under LJ but we play well in DC and actually have a 3-1 record when we play AT Georgetown.

    Another interesting tidbit regarding AWAY records in conference play
    LaVall Jordan :10-27 (0.270)
    Chris Holtmann: 16-11 (0.592) **3 seasons**

    Outside of DePaul (x3) and Georgetown (x3), we’ve only beaten Marquette, Xavier, Providence, and SJU (each x1) in the last 4 years of away conference games.

    Last 4 seasons:

    Hurley: 6-3 (0.667) *1 season*
    Wright: 23-14 (0.622)
    McDermott: 19-18 (0.514)
    Willard: 18-19 (0.486)
    Woj: 17-20 (0.459)
    Cooley: 15-22 (0.405)
    Steele: 10-16 (0.385) *3 seasons*
    Ewing: 11-23 (0.324)
    Jordan: 10-27 (0.270)
    Anderson: 5-15 (0.250) *2 seasons*


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  14. TheDawgDub95

    TheDawgDub95 Well-Known Member VIP Member

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    I think this is a big reason for a lot of the unrest. There have been a lot of games or stretches within games where we are uncompetitive to the point of ineptness. Times where we don't look like we belong on the same court.

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  15. Insane Dawg

    Insane Dawg Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    I think the major reason contributing to the losses on the road is the hole we dig in the first half . This has been a problem under LJ and surely he recognizes it. In many of those games we either claw back or play competitively but because of the hole we lose. It would interesting if I’m right to see what the greatest point deficit was in the first half versus final score. Is there something in pregame preparation causing this? LJ has said we need to put together a full 40 minutes which we never do. What causes the lapses? I have scratched my head on some of the substituting from time to time though don’t know if there is a coronation between substituting and momentum. Seems like there is a lot of substituting at unusual moments.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2022 at 11:31 AM
  16. the_speakers_lab

    the_speakers_lab Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    When there are 3 coaches w winning conference road records, then I think there better things to gripe about. And there are plenty. Would you like him to be closer to .500? Absolutely
     
  17. Cranjis McBasketball

    Cranjis McBasketball Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    Oh no doubt. In no way do I expect to win 50% of away games. I thought it was interesting in how we stack up vs the rest of the conference. It also explains the whiplash effect that we have as fans going from Holtmann who was near the top to LJ who is at the bottom. I think realistically being at .400 or higher constitutes a decent performance.


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  18. dawgs2014

    dawgs2014 Well-Known Member

    Money:
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    That’s like an 11-12 win season most likely. So I’ll agree that’s probably the right number to assess par performance.


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  19. the_speakers_lab

    the_speakers_lab Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    It's now gotten to the point where I've started looking at replacement coaching candidates :(:eek:
     
  20. the_speakers_lab

    the_speakers_lab Well-Known Member

    Money:
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