Monday, February 11, 2008

Q and A with Flyers Fieldhouse

This week I've exchanged emails with my friends over at Flyers Fieldhouse and they agreed to exchange Q and A's before the big game.

1. Tell me about Chris Wright. What did he bring to the Flyers and how has the team recovered from his injury?

Chris Wright, when healthy, is the second best player on the team behind senior Brian Roberts and one of the top 10 talents in the entire Atlantic 10, in my opinion. He's been hampered by foot injuries all season, so we haven't seen him at full strength yet this season. We've nicknamed Chris "Flyers Jesus" and commonly refer to him as "Chris(t) Wright". We anticipate his return from injury (aka the second coming) will involve a lot of teabagging of opposing players.

The freshman is good for at least a double double every game. Before his injury, the Flyers were 13-1. Since he got hurt, Dayton squeaked by a horrific St. Louis team in overtime, dropped three straight in rapings from UMass, Xavier and a terrible, terrible Richmond team, beat the piss out of SLU, got killed at Rhode Island, had to come back against Charlotte at home and lost on a last second three at George Washington. During that time, our entire team was battling the flu, Charles "Manbearpig" Little was sidelined with a foot injury and it snowed more in Dayton than it did in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a pretty messed up time in Flyer Country. So yeah, we're looking forward to him coming back and dunking on people. Sorry that you're going to miss it, although with Commissioner Linda Bruno's horrific TV contract, if you can even call it that, I'm sure you're not going to see the game.

2. At one point this year the Flyers were 14-1 and had wins over Pitt, Rhode Island, and at Louisville, then they lost 5 of their next 7 games. What happened? Is this fall from grace more than just the injury to Chris Wright?

Like I mentioned above, Wright's ankle injury couldn't have come at a worse time. We were finally getting national publicity, we were ranked for the first time in god knows how long and it seemed like the team was clicking on all cylinders. To make matters worse, a flu bug hit the entire team, and especially Brian Roberts, who looked slightly more energetic than those people that were dying after getting infected by that disease on 24 a few seasons ago. Worse still, A-10 Sixth Man of the Year Charles Little hurt his foot and missed a bunch of games. He's back now, but the Flyers still lost to GW on Saturday. I'd give my foot to Chris(t) Wright if I thought it would get him back sooner. Oh, and Wright also played a few plays with a broken foot before finally heading to the bench. He's pretty badass.

3. Brian Roberts is having a fantastic season. Tell me about his game. Has anyone been able to stop him this year. If yes, how?

Brian Roberts is hands down the best player in the A-10 right now and one of the best players in all of college basketball. He's a finalist for the Wooden Award, is the only player in college basketball to win the completely meaningless "Player of the Week" award from and once punched me in the face. It was awesome. (I might be confusing the last one with Regina George and the movie Mean Girls.)

In all seriousness, Roberts is a lights out shooter, hitting almost 50% of his shots on the season. He can get his shot off at anytime, and he's got a step back that's incredible. B-Rob's an underrated defender, but rarely is forced to guard anyone that's any good -- we rely on him too much offensively.

In the beginning of the season, teams were doubling him routinely, but he'd still drop 25. Now he's seeing all kinds of junk defenses thrown at him, he's getting double and triple teamed as soon as he crosses half court and was visibly frustrated at all the different defensive looks that teams are throwing at him. He was held scoreless for about 35 minutes in the Charlotte game, at home. It looked like he might not even score a point for the first time all season. Then he just came alive and scored 11 points down the stretch, hitting threes, getting to the basket for an and-1 and hitting free throws to ice the game.

You give him even the slightest opening and he'll knock down a dagger three just like that. He's got NBA range and consistently hits from midrange and the foul line. He's probably the smartest player in the league at reading a defense. B-Rob's currently projected as a second rounder in the NBA draft.

4. Dayton’s only home loss was at the hands of a UMass team that likes to run. Duquesne likes to run the floor as well, will Dayton have trouble keeping up with the Dukes’ frantic pace? How will Dayton combat the Dukes’ run and gun style of play?

Dayton doesn't take to kindly to the run and gun. Akron plays run and gun and we needed double OT to eek out that win. Charlotte had the lead the entire game at UD Arena and we needed Brian Roberts late-game heroics to win that one. Rhode Island killed us on the three ball the last game and so did Xavier (f-ck that team) earlier in the season. We also suck at defending the three point line. Do you have an in with the athletic department at Duquesne? Any way you guys can forfeit the game on Wednesday?

If we can knock down open threes, it'll slow the game and allow us to play our game. Jimmy Binnie, our other "senior leader" has the most fragile psyche in the history of the A-10. If he misses a few shots, his head is completely out of the game, but if he makes them, look out. Our radio announcers call him a "parking cone" on defense and it's about the only time they're right when they're not asking all of their listeners to get drunk on Bud Lights. We brought in Wisconsin transfer Mickey Perry for the sole purpose of knocking down threes. He made his first three of the season and has missed his last 12,383,308 shots he's taken. It's safe to say we're on a cold streak from behind the arc.

5. The Dukes feature two talented 6’10 forwards, Shawn James and Kieron Achara. How will Dayton handle the Dukes’ big men?

Dayton already faced Louisville big men Derrick Caracter and Earl Clark and Pittsburgh's DeJuan Blair and Sam Young and came out on the winning end. We also held our own against Akron's Jeremiah Wood, who's no slouch. The Flyers get solid play from Kurt Huelsman, who's been plagued by foul trouble of late, and Thiago Cordiero, the Brazilian transfer from Barton Community College (the team that won that championship game two years ago with the multiple steals and the layup at the buzzer). The Flyers help defense really neutralizes big men. This game is going to come down to guard play and whoever gets the most defensive stops.

6. Duquesne has struggled against zone defenses this season, especially when a team switches defense throughout the game. What type of D does Dayton normally play?

The Flyers generally play a lot of man-to-man with help defense principles, meaning any kind of lapse or slow rotation leads to an open three if the ball is moved around quickly. We've got a lockdown perimeter defender in Marcus Johnson (who played with LeBron James at St. Vincent-St. Mary). You'll also need to look out for London Warren, who's like Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers in guard form and in desperate need of Ritalin. He's that guy at the rec that plays defense way too hard. You might think I'm overexaggering, but he's got NBA-caliber defense right now as a sophomore. He's too short to ever make the league and he has a jump shot that is a cross between Shaquille O'Neil and Eric Snow, but he's going to frustrate the hell out of some pour soul on your team. London will either be starting or coming off the bench early and he's put together a string of double doubles the last few games. He and Marcus Johnson have been our constants on both ends of the floor during the recent Flyers lull.

Good luck to your Dukes, Patrick. I'll make a prediction that the Flyers come out with the win. We play well at home, guys are starting to get healthy again and I'm guessing the team is mad as hell after losing to GW, currently 226 in the RPI rankings and lost to some team called Maryland Baltimore County, which, I'm assuming, is not a made up school.

1 comment:

The Chief said...

This is a great interview! Seriously. First, the questions are honestly very good and the answers from the Dayton fans are really good.

This almost takes it out of the realm of blogging and into some good journalism!

Keep up the good job, Duke!

P.S. Why's everyone so down on the Musketeers!?!? HA!