Welcome Coach Joe Scott back to USAFA as our new Falcon MBB Coach
More at http://ricksfalconreview.blogspot.com/
Air Force Basketball welcomes back Coach Joe Scott+his family back into our Falcon Family. Coach we look to support you as FALCONFANATICS+hope to see the revival of Section8 and fans filling Clune Arena with hopefully a resurgence similar to your earlier arrival at USAFA.
While the decision may be polarizing to some, we now have our head coach and the process begins to rebuild. The Gazette will have more later today or tomorrow but their early comments suggest it was the anticipated hire for our Athletic Director Nathan Pine and that a news conference will be held later this week. There were many candidate for the job and Coach Scott rose to the top and we Falcon fans look to support him and the cadet student athletes on his team.
We do know Coach Scott has the ability to use the recruiting process into the Academy to bring and keep young men to first graduate and then to play well as a team in Clune Arena. During his tenure at the Academy one of his strengths was in recruiting and keeping those recruits at USAFA. Yes, it was a different time and transfer rules were extremely different but none-the-less players stayed. He matured young men into playing a potent offense based on his experience playing and coaching the Princeton Offense and equally impressive was the dynamic matchup zone pressure he coached and demanded of his players. In those years he was a very vocal and demanding coach, some would say in a Bobby Knight way. I don't know if I would make that drastic of a comparison but do know from watching him during those years he yearned for and demanded 110% from his players.
During that timeframe under Coach Scott our Falcons took baby steps gradually growing until his final season of 2003-2004 going to the NCAA tourney losing in the first round to North Carolina in the Pepsi Center. I was there and we had the game in our hands. You can read the Gazette's postgame accounts of the full MWC schedule and the NCAA tourney game from January-March 2004, 20+ stories at http://ricksfalconreview.blogspot.com/2018/10/historic-perspective-air-forces-run-to.html . In those four season AF went:
2000-2001 8-21/3-11 MWC; 2001-2002 9-19/3-11MWC; 2002-2003 12-16/3-11MWC and 2003-2004 22-7/12-2MWC (MWC Champion-AF/MWC COY Joe Scott/MWC Co-POY Nick Welch)
During that time period the Falcons shot the ball well and defended better. In the 2003-2004 season using the slow down Princeton Offense in MWC action AF averaged 59.9ppg and held opponents to 50.9ppg. AF was second in overall season stats in the conference at 48.1% FG (BYU led 48.8%); second in 3pt at 37.9% (Utah 38.6%). Big steps to follow as we head to the 2020-2021 schedule.
Time will tell how Coach Scott's offensive and defensive style has change/matured/stayed the same since leaving the Academy and in a new basketball era 16 years later. Initial challenges will to hopefully soon see what the new staff will look like (difficult in this time and age of the COV19) and what young men (Freshmen and Sophomores) will stay with the team to include if AJ Walker.
Looking at the returners there is optimism from at least this one fan as Coach Scott is far from starting with an empty barrel. No matter your thoughts on the Coach Pilipovich era, he was a very good recruiter and his players fit right into that of Coach Scott in many ways. Under Coach P the Falcons played what I would call a hybrid Princeton Offense with the principles there per the Princeton. His big change was to push the ball up the court quickly then, if no quick shot was available, settle into the offense. It worked well at times but when we let the ball stop moving (ie: picked up the dribble or dribbled too much vs passing) it got bogged down. Joe Scott will not let that happen. Looking at the returners, here's my thoughts on those that played and that I followed and more on those on the bench with limited knowledge on my part. I do know that with our departing seniors we are losing 61% of our scoring from this year and, if Walker does not return we lose 76% of our scoring. Ouch. But we have players that can play and score still on this roster. (And before I forget, I was asked about the prep school and I really don't know anything about them and who is/is not still committed). Here's a look at returners that I know and a comparison to that roster back in 2004 (NCAA) to 2007 (NIT Semi's). So a look at returners and the class they will be in at the start of the fall semester if all return (right now only those that will be seniors are committed!):
Sr Chris Joyce-Forward 6.6 ppg/21mpg-Kind of an AJ Kuhle who can shoot from the outside but strength and quickness to go inside.
Sr Ameka Akaya-Forward 3.8ppg but in only averaging 8.8mpg after not playing 1st semester. (Extrapolate "If" he had played 26mpg would equal 11.4ppg) Strong player whose upside is tremendous. Similar to a left handed version of Antoine Hood but stronger.
Sr Keeton Van Soelen-Forward 3.5ppg-Aggressive like Gerlach BUT MUST look at the basket and be an offensive threat. Strength is his defense.
Jr AJ Walker-Guard 11.1ppg-If he returns will be a starter at guard. Similar to Matt McCaw/Tim Anderson he can shoot, he can distribute, he can penetrate.
Jr Abe Kinrade-Center 2.3ppg/6.6mpg ((Extrapolate 26.4mpg would equal 9.2ppg). Should have played more-Vocal, tough, blue collared “Jake Burtchi’ clone and if given the opportunity will succeed as did Jake.
Jr Isaac Monson-Center 1.5ppg/5mpg (Extrapolate 20mpg would equal 6ppg) -Lost on the bench and I don’t know why. Can shoot the 3-ball and isn’t afraid to go inside. Not quite a Nick Welch kind of guy but the comparison can be made if he continues to play and mature.
Soph Carter Murphy-Guard 2.4ppg/5.5mpg (Extrapolate 27.5mpg would equal 12ppg) -Quintessential guard for the Princeton offense and I think starter or first off the bench. The 3-ball (50%) is his strength and I believe he can run the offense similar to Tim Keller
Soph Mason Taylor-Guard 2.8ppg/8.8mpg (Extrapolate 26mpg would equal 8.8ppg) -Strong guard and overall ball handler but also shoots well from the outside at 40% 3’s. Again, similar to Antoine Hood.
Soph Nikc Jackson-Forward/Center 1.4ppg/2.4mpg-Long lanky player again similar to Joel Gerlach. Upside is strength
Soph Camden Vander Zwagg-Guard 1ppg- Ball handler.
Alot of intrigue awaits this new Air Force coach, his staff and his roster, much less learning about each other (Coaches, Players, Offense, Defense) via remote video, internet, telephone and text. Coach Scott will learn most about his players early on not from practicing with them but from watching game and practice film from the past season. It will be a challenge and we look forward to Coach Scott and our Falcons finding success at home in Clune and on the road in 2020-2021.
GOOD LUCK, WELCOME AGAIN and GO FALCONS Rick '77