THOMAS TEAM OUTLOOK SEASON 59
Team Offense: Flex
Team Defense: 2-3 Zone
Likely Starting Lineup, (Season 58 Stats)
PG: Michael Bosch, Sr (0 GS, 12.3 pt, 1.7 ast, 2.2 TO, 41 FG3%)
SG: Samuel Miller, So (0 GS, 4.4 pt, 1.3 ast, 1.6 TO)
SF: Jeffrey Taylor, Sr (32 GS, 4.3 pt, 3.8 reb, 2.3 ast, 54 FG%)
PF: Peter Buttrey, Jr (0 GS, 1.8 pt, 5.3 reb)
C: Jimmy Frederick, Sr (32 GS, 7.6 pt, 7.0 reb, 0.9 blk, 52 FG%)
1st guard off the bench: Bryan Cope, So (0 GS, 1.8 pt, 0.8 ast, 1.7 reb)
1st post off the bench: Michael Wallace, So (0 GS, 1.3 pt, 3.0 reb)
Thomas looks to recover from a (yet another) disappointing conclusion to season 58. Thomas earned a #1 seed in the NT based on a very strong regular season performance but flamed out early once the dance began. Recovery will be difficult in season 59. Thomas has a good collection of talent on the 12 man roster. However, observers of the North Atlantic have been whispering that Thomas' overall skill level may be less than the sum of the individual parts. On the defensive side, Thomas should be ok. Both the guards and the post player can defend and Thomas should have one of the better field goal defenses in the North Atlantic. The defense does have a risk with its lack of rebounding. Thomas will do a good job of preventing the first shot from falling but if the opponents can get second, third, and fourth chances, it is likely that eventually one of the shots will drop. The offensive end is where things could be very ugly. Scoring looks to be a challenge for what seems like the 20th season in a row. That will be even more difficult than normal since Thomas has a rather poor collection of guards that will struggle to simply hold onto the ball, much less be able to set up teammates for easy scoring chances. Thomas may play a lot of games in season 59 where the first team that gets to 50 wins.
In the North Atlantic, Thomas looks to take an unexpected roll as underdog. Thomas would do well to finish 2nd in the NAC South. Third is a more likely outcome. Thomas is still likely to be in the better half of NAC teams ... which of course means that Thomas should be one of the top 25 teams in the D3 world. But Thomas might be that 6th team in season 59. And while unlikely, it wouldn't be a shock to see Thomas end up as the 7th or 8th best team in the NAC.
Thomas has made it to the 2nd round of the NT for the past 27 seasons, but 28 might be a bit of a challenge. Thomas should make the NT and should be the lower (favored) seed in the 1st round of the NT but it will be more likely as a 5-7 seed instead of the 1-3 seed that Thomas has been accustomed to as of late. With a group of talent that doesn't mesh all that well, making it to the Sweet 16 would be a significant accomplishment.
Senior Michael Bosch enters his final campaign as an (all but) maxed out player. He has a some moderate room to improve his rebounding and stamina but all the important guard categories have little room to improve. Bosch will be expected to run the point for Thomas and that's a bit scary. That was not the intention when Bosch was signed. Bosch was initially signed to be a light-out scorer. That did not happen and whlie Bosch is not really a point guard, he's the closest thing to one on the roster. Bosch's high-high potential for perimeter shooting ended up having the bare minimum growth. At 84, the rating makes him dangerous but it is not good enough to carry the team on his shoulders. As point guard, Bosch is probably in over his head. He's slow, not terribly athletic and for a starting guard has so-so ball handling and passing ratings. Coming off the bench last season, Bosch managed 2.2 turnovers a game. In a starting role, the turnovers could end up costing Thomas dearly.
Samuel Miller is probably not ready to enter the starting lineup but the sophomore looks like he could end up being a real talent for Thomas by the time he graduates. Miller has a lot of room to improve: his defense, perimeter shooting, and stamina are both high potential; he has average room for growth in athleticism, speed, ball handling, and passing. Miller is being asked to be a shooting guard in season 59. That may be a challenge considering he hit just 39.6% of his two point shots in season 58. Miller's 73/60/70 ATH/SPD/DEF combo already makes him ready to play high level D3 defense even if he had no improvement in his game. On the offensive end, Miller has barely enough ball handling and passing to justify his spot in the lineup as a shooting guard. His scoring won't be there in season 58 but even if his improvement is the bare minimum, he'll turn into at least a decent scorer by the time he maxes out.
Bryan Cope is the first guard off the bench. The true sophomore is still too raw to play the minutes that are going to be expected of him in season 59. His passing remains high potential, but the 33 rating just isn't close to cutting it for North Atlantic play. Cope has a risk of being eaten alive by good press defenses. In addition to the ball handling, Cope's perimeter shooting is also high potential. Cope was signed knowing there was a chance he would not pan out as a D3 player. While both PER and PAS are high potential, he likely is going to need to get at least an additional 30 points of growth in both to be a decent player and that may be asking for a bit too much. The 52/58/62 ATH/SPD/DEF combo should allow him to hold his own on the defensive end and all three of those categories still have average room for improvement. In addition to those three Cope has average room to improve his rebounding, low post, and ball handling. Right now Cope looks like a player that will never be good enough to start for Thomas.
Freshman Louis Carlson will be expected to play significant minutes as Thomas has a four man guard rotation in season 59. When the four guards need a breather Jimmy Baker will slide over from the small forward spot.
Jeffrey Taylor begins his fifth season at Thomas as a completely maxed out player. While he's got no room to improve, he's pretty good as it is. Taylor isn't much of a scorer but he is very good at everything else. He has a terrific ATH/SPD/DEF combo and he mixes that with an outstanding ball handling rating and good rebounding and passing for a small forward. Taylor will be the glue that keeps Thomas together. In a worst case scenario, Taylor may finish the season as Thomas' point guard. His skills for the position are better than Michael Bosch so if Bosch can't hold onto the ball, Thomas may choose to rob Peter to pay Paul and put Taylor at the PG position which would leave Thomas without a good SF.
Jimmy Baker should take up most of the minutes that Taylor doesn't play at SF. The third year sophomore still has a good amount of improvement to his game. Only his ball handling and stamina remain high potential ... but only his low post scoring is low potential. Baker is already pretty solid. He's a well rounded player that has "weaknesses" with categories that are in the low 40's. The flip to that is that he doesn't really have categories that make him great. His 56 speed is pretty good for a SF but nothing special. His 74 perimeter rating is similar in that it is good, but not great. Baker is a player that won't do much to help Thomas win, but shouldn't do anything that causes Thomas to lose.
Senior Jimmy Frederick is almost a finished product. He has some room to improve his speed and also his ball handling and passing (the coaching staff hasn't bothered to try and develop the BH or PAS his first three seasons). Thomas will lean hard on Frederick. While his 81 rebounding is nothing special, the backups have poor rebounding skills so Frederick will be expected to contribute more than his fair share of the team's rebounds. The same can be said offensively. Frederick's 67 rating in the low post is nothing special. But it shines on a Thomas team that does not have better options among the post players and will expect Frederick to put up scoring numbers that go beyond what you would think for a player of his modest talents. If Frederick is up to the challenge, Thomas may be able to tread water at the top level of the North Atlantic. If not, Thomas is likely to sink since the team does not have any other options.
Peter Buttrey is your typical Thomas post player. Very good athleticism, pretty good rebounding, excellent defense ... no ability to score. The junior is ready to enter the starting lineup and he still can improve from where he currently is. Only his passing (which hasn't been developed) is high potential but Buttrey has average room to improve his speed, rebounding, defense, low post, perimeter, ball handling, and stamina. Thomas has had a good run with players like this occupying the paint and Buttrey looks to continue the tradition.
Michael Wallace is the first post off the bench. The sophomore played a decent amount of minutes as a freshman and his terrible work ethic of 23 is now an almost as terrible 25. That may not matter all that much since all of Wallace's high potentials as a freshman turned out to be of the lowest of the low-high variety. For a true sophomore, Wallace doesn't have much room to improve his game. Nothing is high potential. The only average potential categories are athleticism, rebounding, defense, and stamina. (Technically perimeter and passing are average potential as well but those won't ever be practiced.) Wallace will be a liability when he is on the court. He has a good ATH/SPD/DEF combo but his rebounding of 46 is unacceptable for a player getting significant minutes. He isn't able to block shots. And his low post rating of 21 means that even tip ins will be a challenge. (Of course, with his poor rebounding, he won't have many opportunities to show off his 1 foot range.) Wallace was signed with the assumption that he might be the first player to be cut in Thomas' history. At this point, he hasn't yet shown enough to guarantee himself a scholarship for four seasons.
Wallace wasn't guaranteed a four year scholarship and neither was Robert Smith. Smith was, and remains, the likelier player to get cut but at least Smith has high potential that gives him a chance to end up being better than Wallace. Of course, Smith's work ethic of 28 might make that realistically impossible even if he technically has max ratings that are better than Wallace's. Smith starts his sophomore campaign with high potential in rebounding, defense, and shotblocking. Since those three ratings are, respectively, 47, 47, and 27 they need to be high-high potential if he has a chance of sticking around for four seasons. As a sophomore, he will be a liability whenever he takes the court. Wallace's speed and low post are maxed out so that really limits his chance of being an asset for Thomas while his athleticism still has average potential.
Nathan Keiser will see limited minutes as the 5th post player in the rotation.