Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Very Anticipated Daye

Keeping the ball rolling on his rankings of the top college players in the nation, Gary Parrish broke down the top wings in the country. As maxzag, said yesterday, Parrish is about as good at it gets when it comes to evaluating talent in college basketball. Will there be some disagreements? Of course, but overall you have to respect his list of the top 10 wings in the country. Besides, he's got a Zag in there so I'm pleased with it.

Gonzaga forward Austin Daye is one of those rare talents that has come to Spokane. It would be hard to argue that a player with more raw talent has ever player at Gonzaga. Just like the Gonzaga team, Austin Daye has plenty of expectations to be a star. Parrish ranks Daye as the tenth best wing in the nation. Parrish says that:
"Daye's level of productivity hasn't yet matched his level of talent, but that should change this season. The sweet-shooting Bulldog is expected to be more of a focal point of Gonzaga's attack, and if he develops properly he'll help Mark Few win another WCC title while helping himself break into next June's lottery."
While Austin is an extremely talented player, most of his accolades must be taken with a grain of salt because we have barely scratched the surface with him. In my opinion, one of the most serious mistakes of last season was the amount of minutes that Austin had. There were games where he would play 10+ minutes in the first half and would be on the bench for the majority of the second half. For a player of his skill level to be on the bench was mind-boggling. He's a game changing type of player who, more than anyone on this team, has the ability to put up 20 points a game. Everything sets up in his favor, it's simple math really. His minutes played will probably be close to doubling (18.5 minutes a game last year). He's going to be a major focal point in our offense which means that he will get more plays geared towards his game and in turn, will get more shots. The result is that Austin, who scored 10.5 points a season ago, should be close to putting up 18 or 20 a game this season. Especially with the lack of depth in our front court, Austin is going to be heavily relied on. Everything seems to be setting up in Austin's favor to become a star in the NCAA.

The question marks with Daye are typically dwarfed by my obsession with upside but there are certainly some causes for concern. Daye suffered a tough injury this summer, an injury that we were initially told had the potential to be season ending. It turned out that this injury was merely a deep bruise and some minor ligament damage. While this is great news, many questions have to be addressed. Austin has been limited in his workouts and practice regiment up to this point. We received word that he is completely healthy but there has to be some rust there as well and more importantly, you have to wonder about his conditioning. The injury is the main question but there are certainly a few other general wonderings. I'm curious to see how he can handle being a go-to player. Luckily, we have so many threats that he is not THE go-to player but he will certainly be a player that opposing teams focus on.

For more information on Austin and why he is rated #10, check out our summer breakdown of him.

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