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We have been staying away from recruiting bigs early and were striking out on guards. It seemed like at the time Becker was happy with the abundance of youth talent down low. Now we are into conference play without a low post threat. Smith is barely playing. The lack of confidence offensively is glaring. defensivley he seems not in tune. I still like his potential right now the situation is not working. Ayo has shown some signs as defensive back up but not a high minutes guy. veretto and fiorilo are going to be seniors and ochoa is out of shape. alamutu has been playing the 4 only pretty much.

Becker decided we need some help down low and we got one. I havent seen much tape but he seems an athletic skinny stretch 4 type with good size. Good coordination. I hope Seth Joba works out and locks up a future starting PF spot.

Back to striking out with guards.
 

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Most definitely would not classify Joba as a skinny stretch 4. He’s 6’9”, 225lbs and has a frame that will allow him to add another 10lbs of muscle. He’s built more in the Ryan Davis mold than Nick Fiorillo, who is best suited as a stretch 4 and not banging around in the paint. This seems like a clear to message to Ochoa that he needs to get his ass in shape or find another program. I’d also throw PSJ on the hot seat as both he and Joba have similar builds. PSJ is more athletic and might have the higher ceiling but if he can’t turn his talent into production he’ll be stuck in the position he’s in now - 5 mins a game and zero impact on the game. Competition builds character and we’ll find out how the likes of Ochoa, PSJ and even Ayo-Fayele respond.
 

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Most definitely would not classify Joba as a skinny stretch 4. He’s 6’9”, 225lbs and has a frame that will allow him to add another 10lbs of muscle. He’s built more in the Ryan Davis mold than Nick Fiorillo, who is best suited as a stretch 4 and not banging around in the paint. This seems like a clear to message to Ochoa that he needs to get his ass in shape or find another program. I’d also throw PSJ on the hot seat as both he and Joba have similar builds. PSJ is more athletic and might have the higher ceiling but if he can’t turn his talent into production he’ll be stuck in the position he’s in now - 5 mins a game and zero impact on the game. Competition builds character and we’ll find out how the likes of Ochoa, PSJ and even Ayo-Fayele respond.
Ochoa has been on the hot seat for a while.
Is Fiorillo out for the season?
They need these eight days to get healthy and figure things out.
 

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I’m really hoping Ochoa’s lack of time at this point is no longer due to conditioning. I mean, it’s mid-January. If you’re 18 years old and can’t get in shape in 3 months, just call it a day.

I’ve got to believe it’s that they don’t think he’s ready to contribute, although it’s a little demoralizing that Smith and Ochoa are combing for 5 minutes a game on a team that has no real inside presence.

I do think (hope?) that this will all work out fine in the long run. We all know that very few bigs have a major impact in this league as freshmen. It would be really nice if the Smith/IAF/Ochoa combo developed together over the next couple of years, along with Joba. That has the potential to be pretty good group.
 

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If you're unable to get front court minutes on a team that literally almost has no front court...like, you're supposed to be the Minutes, then I'm not sure if that bodes well for your future. We brought in a bunch of Forwards and they really aren't playing. I guess with exception of Veretto.

I mean, I've watched some games and the announcers think Robin is our PF....but, he kind of is, too, at the same time.
 
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Sometimes freshmen are just freshmen and they aren't ready to contribute. The real issue is recruiting failures in the upper classes which led to them counting on these freshmen to be good immediately.
 

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Statistically maybe 1 or 2 of our new bigs will turn into solid/reliable players.

Becker has been here 12 seasons and has recruited 4 "Bigs" in that time that have really made an impact: Lamb, Davis, O'Day, Henson.

Then there's guys like Urquhart, Payen, Giddens Dingba that were solid contributors but not spectacular.

It's not easy.
 
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Discussion Starter · #1,128 ·
I’m really hoping Ochoa’s lack of time at this point is no longer due to conditioning. I mean, it’s mid-January. If you’re 18 years old and can’t get in shape in 3 months, just call it a day.

I’ve got to believe it’s that they don’t think he’s ready to contribute, although it’s a little demoralizing that Smith and Ochoa are combing for 5 minutes a game on a team that has no real inside presence.

I do think (hope?) that this will all work out fine in the long run. We all know that very few bigs have a major impact in this league as freshmen. It would be really nice if the Smith/IAF/Ochoa combo developed together over the next couple of years, along with Joba. That has the potential to be pretty good group.
I think it's clear that our group of healthy "traditional" bigs (IAF, Smith, Ochoa) consists of partial players. They each have some strengths, but enough deficiencies to where I'd say the staff has decided it's more productive to play a less conventional lineup of better-rounded players (especially when we have some guards who are less conventional). IAF gets the most minutes because he's established himself as a) the best post defender of the three and b) not a complete black hole offensively (good FT shooter, just enough range that you can't ignore him). And it's not surprising because he's in his 3rd year of college hoops. Even though IAF had scarce game minutes at URI, putting in the work every day for the last 2 years gives him a much better understanding of how this whole thing works.

Smith is next, because his athleticism makes him more of a factor around the rim defensively and on the glass, even if he's basically a Daniel Giddens Origin Story on offense right now. I still think Ochoa has the best offensive touch of the 3, which means he must just be a turnstile on defense right now (and from the limited on-court minutes we've seen from him, he might be). And that's a trade the staff isn't willing to make.

But I wouldn't write any of them off yet. Especially Smith and Ochoa. They really could have used one more upperclassman big to play behind as to take a bit of the scrutiny off of them, especially with Fiorillo's injury, but so it goes.

We didn't recruit Joba to replace any of these guys. We recruited him because, as Fiorillo's injury exposed, even if Smith and Ochoa were a little more productive, we could still use an extra body in that frontcourt group. In fact, isn't that what everyone has been saying for like the last 2 years? The 4 schollies that are guaranteed to open are all backcourt guys, but we definitely had some room to redistribute one of those and try to balance the roster a little better. Save for Smith and Ochoa showing up on campus looking like Kevin Roberson and Taylor Coppenrath, I'd imagine recruiting a forward this year was always in the cards.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,129 ·
Statistically maybe 1 or 2 of our new bigs will turn into solid/reliable players.

Becker has been here 12 seasons and has recruited 4 "Bigs" in that time that have really made an impact: Lamb, Davis, O'Day, Henson.

Then there's guys like Urquhart, Payen, Giddens Dingba that were solid contributors but not spectacular.

It's not easy.
And of the 4 "impact" guys you mentioned:
-One was ready to go right out of the box as a freshman.
-One was solid, though unspectacular as a freshman.
-One missed his first 14 3-pointers as a freshman.
-And one didn't show up on campus until he was a junior.

Drew Urquhart is actually a decent model/goal/hope for post recruits. Start modestly, incremental improvements, peaking as a senior as a double-figure starter. Over a longer period of time, we're going to recruit more guys like that than Lamb.
 

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I’m really hoping Ochoa’s lack of time at this point is no longer due to conditioning. I mean, it’s mid-January. If you’re 18 years old and can’t get in shape in 3 months, just call it a day.

I’ve got to believe it’s that they don’t think he’s ready to contribute, although it’s a little demoralizing that Smith and Ochoa are combing for 5 minutes a game on a team that has no real inside presence.

I do think (hope?) that this will all work out fine in the long run. We all know that very few bigs have a major impact in this league as freshmen. It would be really nice if the Smith/IAF/Ochoa combo developed together over the next couple of years, along with Joba. That has the potential to be pretty good group.
In a pre-game, maybe two or three weeks ago, Becker said that Ochoa was out of shape. I posted this at the time. He said in an annoyed manner that he'd expected Ochoa to get lots of time, perhaps even start. I didn't pull this out of thin air.

Hope Hurley and Finn are back. These are enormous pieces to be without, especially on a limited team. Needless to say, also Nick, but I dont know what the deal is. As noted, an away announcer said that he was out for the season.

As also noted, it's tough to get bigs at this level, even one, and it's tough to get one. But... all you need is one. Was Lamb a big? I guess in the AE.

Yes, Robin is a point forward. He seems to get most of the rebounds.
 

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In a pre-game, maybe two or three weeks ago, Becker said that Ochoa was out of shape. I posted this at the time. He said in an annoyed manner that he'd expected Ochoa to get lots of time, perhaps even start. I didn't pull this out of thin air.
I know, but that wasn‘t two or three weeks ago. It was early December. And someone mentioned something about it to me in the stands at one of the early November games. If he was out of shape in November, he was out of shape in October.

My point is that if conditioning is still the reason a D1 college athlete isn’t playing in month 3 of the season, it’s a really bad sign. Which is why I hope it’s now because of something else like he hasn’t figured out how to defend anyone yet. I suppose maybe the conditioning issues left him behind schedule to the point where even if they’ve been solved, he’s not far enough along developmentally to play. But if it’s literally still that he’s out of shape now, we ain’t gonna see him here next year.
 

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I know, but that wasn‘t two or three weeks ago. It was early December. And someone mentioned something about it to me in the stands at one of the early November games. If he was out of shape in November, he was out of shape in October.

My point is that if conditioning is still the reason a D1 college athlete isn’t playing in month 3 of the season, it’s a really bad sign. Which is why I hope it’s now because of something else like he hasn’t figured out how to defend anyone yet. I suppose maybe the conditioning issues left him behind schedule to the point where even if they’ve been solved, he’s not far enough along developmentally to play. But if it’s literally still that he’s out of shape now, we ain’t gonna see him here next year.
I don't know if he's going to be around, maybe, maybe not. D2 might be in his future.

As far as the timeline, I'll trust yours. It feels like yesterday that Becker said it. He was quite candid on the matter.

PSJ is barely in the rotation. Last pre-game, Becker said PSJ is going to have to play. His tone indicated that he wasn't very happy about it.

I'm generalizing but freshman often take time to figure things out, everything from the game to life. It's a transition, to put it mildly. Lamb was an anomaly. Right from the get go, he said that he wanted Final Four and NBA or bust. He got the latter, and he didn't the chance to get the former. I also point out again that a lot of people on this board wrote him off as far as getting to the NBA. Regardless, I still like to hear opinions.
 

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Payen and DrewU were both very good players their senior years, really "coming into their own", not really before. Payen was a transfer if I recall

Henson was very good from day 1, but he was a junior/transfer

Davis struggled in year 1 (remember?)

really only Lamb was a star freshman big from day 1

as for this year's team, PSJ has been getting very inconsistent playing time and Ochoa almost none. Becker does not seem to have confidence in eother

Veretto has been something like like Fiorillo would have been IMO
 

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I think it's clear that our group of healthy "traditional" bigs (IAF, Smith, Ochoa) consists of partial players. They each have some strengths, but enough deficiencies to where I'd say the staff has decided it's more productive to play a less conventional lineup of better-rounded players (especially when we have some guards who are less conventional). IAF gets the most minutes because he's established himself as a) the best post defender of the three and b) not a complete black hole offensively (good FT shooter, just enough range that you can't ignore him). And it's not surprising because he's in his 3rd year of college hoops. Even though IAF had scarce game minutes at URI, putting in the work every day for the last 2 years gives him a much better understanding of how this whole thing works.

Smith is next, because his athleticism makes him more of a factor around the rim defensively and on the glass, even if he's basically a Daniel Giddens Origin Story on offense right now. I still think Ochoa has the best offensive touch of the 3, which means he must just be a turnstile on defense right now (and from the limited on-court minutes we've seen from him, he might be). And that's a trade the staff isn't willing to make.

But I wouldn't write any of them off yet. Especially Smith and Ochoa. They really could have used one more upperclassman big to play behind as to take a bit of the scrutiny off of them, especially with Fiorillo's injury, but so it goes.

We didn't recruit Joba to replace any of these guys. We recruited him because, as Fiorillo's injury exposed, even if Smith and Ochoa were a little more productive, we could still use an extra body in that frontcourt group. In fact, isn't that what everyone has been saying for like the last 2 years? The 4 schollies that are guaranteed to open are all backcourt guys, but we definitely had some room to redistribute one of those and try to balance the roster a little better. Save for Smith and Ochoa showing up on campus looking like Kevin Roberson and Taylor Coppenrath, I'd imagine recruiting a forward this year was always in the cards.
I must say, I have yet to see clear evidence that PSJ has great athleticism. For sure he brings a much-needed solid build. But his quickness of foot ain’t great. He is not really a leaper. I grant that it takes time to develop bigs in this program and think he needs more time to find himself in this system. Becker will not put guys on the floor if they are not ready. Let’s hope the bigs now getting a lot of time on the bench put the time in to ‘get there’.
 

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Payen transferred from Hofstra. In his senior year, he was almost automatic from the paint. This was a win. Love Drew. Becker admits that he should've played him more. Davis was thrown in the fire. He wasn't ready but he did his best and held down the fort. I think he was also injured. Needless to say, R Davis was huge W for the Cats.

No, PSJ doesn't seem to have great athleticisim. Ditto Ochoa.
 

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I must say, I have yet to see clear evidence that PSJ has great athleticism. For sure he brings a much-needed solid build. But his quickness of foot ain’t great. He is not really a leaper. I grant that it takes time to develop bigs in this program and think he needs more time to find himself in this system. Becker will not put guys on the floor if they are not ready. Let’s hope the bigs now getting a lot of time on the bench put the time in to ‘get there’.
Agreed. I'm not sure I see that athleticism, either. I do see size, toughness, and some tangible skill around the hoop.

Smith Jr had a lot of BCS offers early in HS, but from what I've seen he's at his right level thus far. Apparently, Earl Grant is his uncle also, and was his first offer when he took the BC job.

When fam is passing then you know you're at the right level ;)
 

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Yall panicking is cute. Becker and his staff have been GREAT at developing big men. They also don't like to rely on Freshmen. So, its frustrating for Becker to use them. But to start speculating on either PSJ, Ochoa or Jackson Skipper is silly.

Think of the improvement guys like Drew-U, Davis, and Nick have made over their time at UVM. No reason to think at the VERY least 1 of those three freshmen will find their groove and contribute heavily. More likely, 2 will because they have the natural talent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #1,138 ·
I must say, I have yet to see clear evidence that PSJ has great athleticism. For sure he brings a much-needed solid build. But his quickness of foot ain’t great. He is not really a leaper. I grant that it takes time to develop bigs in this program and think he needs more time to find himself in this system. Becker will not put guys on the floor if they are not ready. Let’s hope the bigs now getting a lot of time on the bench put the time in to ‘get there’.
Contextually, I think he's more athletic and plays better defense than Ochoa, which is why he plays ahead of him. That was the crux of the discussion.
 

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Not sure how many Catamount fans remember Jordan Clarke? Huge recruit from DC area under Lonergan, 6'7"/6'8" or so, had a million D1 offers and a lot of hype. Got to UVM, was not nearly as athletic as I thought he was going to be. Didn't make an initial huge impact as a freshman but showed some potential. Solid, but didn't stick around UVM to develop and transferred to Drake, where he did become a really good rebounder.

Smith Jr freshman frosh season reminds me a bit of Clarke, although I obviously hope he sticks around.
 

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All the transfer talk is kinda toxic, though I understand it's something that just comes with the territory. But if we're going to talk about big men who transferred out early, let's talk about Ra Kpedi. Was clearly not ready here as a freshman/sophomore. Transferred to Fort Wayne, and with the benefit of a Covid year has turned into a pretty serviceable post player in the Horizon League. Not spectacular, but can give you 20+ mpg with some rebounding and finishing around the rim.

So, like, a guy we could use right now.

Players get better. Not every player improves at the same rate, and some never improve to where you'd like them to by the time you want them to. But players get better.
 
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