Brian: In his latest blog post, ESPN college basketball writer Andy Katz chronicles the disappointing season of the Michigan Wolverines basketball team. Coach John Beilein attributes the ups and downs of the Wolverines season to a lack of leadership on the floor. Gone from the Wolverines are seniors C.J. Lee and David Merritt, both of whom Beilein praised as the type of players that were leaders in the locker room and on the court. Lee and Merritt didn’t allow last year’s Michigan team to drift, whereas this year, the Wolverines don’t have that type of player on the team.
Katz goes on to compare the situation in Ann Arbor to the team that beat them in this year’s ACC-Big Ten Challenge:
"And this exact type of situation -- not knowing where the leadership might come from -- has occurred elsewhere this season. Like at Boston College, for example.
The Eagles didn't fret much about losing Tyrese Rice because he had a bit of an enigmatic personality and tended to drift. But what Rice could do, and had the respect to do it among his teammates, was get the Eagles refocused at times if the situation called for it. Biko Paris, who took over for Rice, doesn't have the demonstrative personality and neither does Reggie Jackson or Rakim Sanders. Senior Tyler Roche doesn't have that personality trait and neither does Joe Trapani. Yet, a lack of leadership in key moments has led to BC floundering in home games it should have won like against Rhode Island, Harvard and Maine."
Now it’s not like we are 5 games into this basketball season. BC only has 10 regular season games left this season. So my questions to you are as follows:
- Do you agree with Katz that a lack of leadership is the crucial ingredient missing from this year's Eagles squad?
- Is it too late for this season, or can a player emerge as a natural leader of this team?
- Who do you expect to play the role of leader going into next season?
Jeff: Yes, leadership is a missing ingredient of this year's team that is significant but was not unknown prior to the Katz story. BC's lack of leadership is not the only excuse for all the losses. You don't have to have a senior leader to show up and play against Maine and Harvard after the same group of guys made similar mistakes last season.
I don't know who the leader in the huddle is and there might not be one. I forget if it was the game against Virginia Tech or Miami but Roche tried to call the players together before he shot some free throws and they seemed to be saying "What are you doing?" from their body language. Roche at least tried in that situation but it might be a lost cause. Based on production on the court though, Joe Trapani and Reggie Jackson must be the leaders on the floor at this point. If we need a basket, that's who we're looking to and their off the court personalities have nothing to do with that.
Going into this season I would've said Rakim Sanders would be the leader of this team so maybe a healthy Sanders will be next year, but if we are stuck having the same conversation all over again I wouldn't be shocked.