Thursday, June 16, 2011

24 Hours Later

After the most disappointing moment of this offseason to date, I've had time to sleep. Manny Ochenje is not going to be playing for the Mocs next year. He won't be redshirting either.

Initially, the reaction to this was only negative. It made me feel a little sick inside. And I began to feel like things were never going to break the Mocs way.

But then I thought more about it. Could Ochenje still come to the Mocs next year? Absolutely. From a "glass half full" perspective, he can absolutely still show up on the Mocs roster in 2012-13. His academic problems should be taken care of.

What is the biggest flaw in Ochenje at the moment? It's that he is thin and has not grown into his body yet. He needs at least a year to grow into his body. At least, that's how it appears from where I am sitting. With a year off, he will have time to grow into that large body. He will have time to hone his skills more. That's why it would have been good to redshirt him a year. If he still comes next year, then it will be like he redshirted this year, without having him on scholarship or redshirting him this year.

On top of that, Ochenje could also redshirt next year- and then will play in 2013-2014 as a redshirt freshman. That means he could have two more years to grow into that body and get his game refined.

Of course, the positives here are hinging on whether or not Ochenje still signs here in the fall. I hope he does. I think he could. But we'll have to wait and see. That is the only negative. But it sure is a massive negative. A really gigantic negative.

But, here about 24 hours later, the world looks a little bit brighter than it did. Maybe this can work out.



Ochenje Out

Manny Ochenje was declared academically ineligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse. This is bad news.

Ochenje was one of the best recruits in many years for the Mocs and now he's gone. The Mocs could still sign him again, and that would be ideal, particularly if the Mocs get him next year.

This leaves the Mocs dreadfully thin at the 5 position. Zlovaric will be the starter. Bryant and Mason can both play back-up 5, I think. We'll see.

We'll let this play out and find out if Ochenje will still consider the Mocs. I'm down. Turns out I was right in my previous post- it is raining on my parade in a big way.

Glad to still have Bareika and Burroughs. They will be very valuable next year, like I said. But Ochenje was going to be one of the most important players on the team for four years. Here's hoping he will still consider.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Raining on My Parade

So there is some rain on my parade.

The Mocs roster was really shaping up in a way that I really liked. The addition of Mason really had the Mocs looking like they may be over the top.

Now, the news comes out that one Moc is leaving- without knowing which one. We have to wait until tomorrow morning to find out. Or maybe until around midnight tonight when it will be posted on-line in the Times-Free Press.

Look- I don't want anyone gone. But if there must be someone on scholarship gone, then I would choose Martynas Bareika or Jamal Burroughs. Burroughs provides depth at the 4 spot, which is a similar position to what Mason provides. So, where does Burroughs fit now? Bareika sounds very athletic and would get minutes as a redshirt freshman. But he would get minutes at the 1 and 2 spot. With Rico White and Xavian Rimmer coming in as true freshman, Bareika could be left out.

Of course, I was hoping that Bareika would be there to provide depth at that spot, and that Rimmer or White could redshirt.

If anyone else leaves, I really feel sick to my stomach. Early? Bell? Wattad? Taylor? Surely not. Can we possibly lose one of those guys? I can't imagine. What about one of the recent recruits? Could one of them be leaving? I just can't see it- although maybe one did not qualify for some reason.

That leaves Bareika and Burroughs. I don't want either one to leave. I think both are important to next years team. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be anyone else that would be even OK to leave for the shape of the program.

So who leaves? All I know- after a couple of weeks of feeling pretty good about the situation the Mocs find themselves in, I'm going to have a sleepless night. Either that, or sit around updating the Times-Free Press site until I get the article that announces the answer.

Let's all hope for the best...whatever that is.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Zaccheus Mason Transferring To Mocs

Zaccheus Mason is an Ole Miss Rebel. Or at least he was, according to his Twitter account.

He tweeted this yesterday: "With that being said I committed to the University of Tennessee Chattanooga.....I'm a Moc now!!"

Now, this is an interesting development, seeing as that he is currently a tight end at Ole Miss. He's listed at 6'5, 267 pounds. He was interested in the Mocs during his recruiting back in 2008-09, but chose to go the football route.

Now, it appears that he is looking to come to Chattanooga and play basketball. It looks like he has three years of eligibility, and that he will be immediately eligible, since he is switching sports.

So what does this mean? Plenty. He will probably be a little raw, given that he has not played organized basketball in two years. That being said, he appears to have the body to play at the four spot as the Mocs power forward. Would this be good? I like it, because it gives the Mocs more bodies to throw at the 4 and 5 positions. It may enable the Mocs to redshirt more of these incoming freshman.

On top of that, if he proves very capable, maybe Early could move to play the three spot some, which is clearly his natural position. That is an unlikely move, but it could work out.

Ochenje, Bryant, Zlovaric, Early, Watson, and Mason all can play the 4 or 5 spot.

I'm going to say it again- this team just really has a special feel to it to me. It may take some time, but this team should be very good by conference time. The starters should be able to keep the team together before that. The back-ups should make the team great by conference time.