"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What is up with Ousmane Barro?

From Todd Rosiak's chat tonight:

Q: LP of Chicago - Why isn't Ooze really starting? We have had big problems on the boards this year. This will only get worse vs UW and in the BE. If anything, start him in to win the jump ball.

A: Todd Rosiak - Start him to win the jump ball? You're joking, right? Barro isn't starting because of his proclivity for early foul trouble, as well as for the energy he's been bringing off the bench. Use Burke to bang around early, then bring Barro in and get some stuff done a few minutes in. Makes sense to me. That also could change in the coming games, especially if Burke continues to be the non-factor he was in Maui.

I gather from Rosiak's answer above that Crean indicated Barro is coming off the bench to avoid early fouls. Whatever. Barro has not started a single game in the current campaign, so it is not possible for him to have a 'proclivity for early foul trouble' because by definition he's not even in the game early.

Still, if Barro had this 'proclivity' everybody would have noticed it last season when the big fella started all 34 games for Marquette and averaged just 2.6 personal fouls per game (which was far less than the 3.5 fouls per game delivered by McNeal or the 2.9 from Fitzgerald last season, and in line with Matthews' 2.5 per game).

Look, this should be a much bigger issue for TC with the media and fan base, IMHO. A senior, a 34-game starter just one year ago is now an underachieving bench player relegated to watching a marginal Big East post player take his minutes.......all to avoid a few early fouls? That's silly -- it is not like Barro is being benched in favor of bona fide Big East talent.

The early foul trouble notion is merely an excuse. Barro must be coming off the bench for other reasons - - maybe he's hurt, perhaps he's plateaued as a player, he might have tuned the coach out, or maybe he's simply regressed. After demonstrating substantial improvement between his sophomore and junior seasons, Tom Crean surely didn't expect his big man to take three steps back as a senior.

Something is amiss.

Barro's minutes are down dramatically from 27+ a year ago to just about 20 per game now, and he's averaging fewer points per game than he did as a sophomore. And wouldn't you know it, his fouls per game are up this year. Note to self: perhaps Barro is a lousy bench player. Can anybody envision a scenario where a former starter does not adjust well to a reduced role as a marginalized bench player thereby making himself even less effective when he enters the game?

Simply put - - as a starter, Barro scores more and fouls less than he does as a bench player. The logic is flawed. Let's hope TC changes course soon, or that Barro helps Crean see the light and earns his starting role once again. This team needs him.


Anonymous said...

I don't understand the hue and cry over Barro. He played 28 minutes against Duke. When he was in there, I thought he played very well. He's never going to be a scorer, but he grabbed a few rebounds, had a nice dunk, and hustled after several loose balls. What are people expecting out of him? No matter who is in the game, the team's offense has been designed to allow three poor shooters to shoot at will. That doesn't leave much of anything for our big guys.

As for Barro not starting, I suspect it's Crean playing his annual mind games with the senior-du jour (see Joe Chapman). I would bet he'll be starting by the time the Big East starts.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Must be a slow news day. Only 5 games in and he's playing well out of his role. The only change I'd like too see involving Ooze is the implementation of a finger-wag ala Hakeem Olajuwon.

Anonymous said...

...err Dikembe Mutombo

Anonymous said...

One thing to consider is how Ooze was playing extremely well up until February last year-there were predictions that he would be averaging a double-double this year because he wasn't that far off. Then he completely fell off the planet. It's a possibility that keeping his minutes down now is to keep him stronger later in the season instead of pretty much losing him.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if Rosiak had an opinion of his own for once, instead of just telling us what Tom Crean told him....

Anonymous said...

So you were there?

TB said...

"It would be nice if Rosiak had an opinion of his own for once, instead of just telling us what Tom Crean told him...."

Rosiak is a reporter not a columnist

Anonymous said...

Ousmane would be averaging 10/10 if he were starting.

Gene Frenkle said...

I've watched Ousmane. I like Ousmane. Dwight Burke...you are no Ousmane.

That said, Ousmane's production on offense is predicated by the guards getting him the ball on that spot on the lower left post. I don't think he'll ever be a double double guy. But, I would much rather have him starting than Burke.

I still don't understand why he's not starting, but hopefully, by B.East time, he is. I can see a little bit of all sides in this one and Crean's reason doesn't jive. I call shenanigans on him.

Anonymous said...

I say you need to find out what Burke brings to the game - better to play him now and find out, then need him when the BE games start and not know.

Anonymous said...

Ous played only 10 minutes against UWM off the bench? WTF is going on here?

Anonymous said...

"Rosiak is a reporter and not a columnist."

Yes, and as such he should have an objective opinion, and not simply be a Crean mouthpiece.

And in this context, it was a question-and-answer session or a blog or something, not an article. So actually, yes, he can have an opinion from time to time.

I realize he has to maintain a cordial relationship with Crean to get his info, but he spends way too much time at the Al McGuire Center on his knees.