The Van Buren Boys

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Reflections on Macklin

There was one downside to tonight’s game that I feel compelled to report on—Vernon Macklin’s play. I have to say I have never been more down on him. I believe I now have seen enough of his body of work (both this season and last) to say without any hesitation or equivocation that he will not wind up living up to his potential while wearing a Georgetown uniform.

For those who keep hoping that he’s going to turn the proverbial corner, the IPB is going to go on record saying it’s not going to happen. Mark my words--he is going to go down as one of the bigger disappointments to come out of Georgetown in recent years. Not quite in Anthony Perry territory but close. And let me make clear that I would like nothing than to be proven wrong.

Tonight was case in point. With the exception of a couple of plays, Vernon looked completely clueless on the court tonight. Vernon was continually out of place on defense, proceeded to get beat off the dribble on several occasions when he was out of place, literally was not even aware on one play that an opposing player drove by him for a layup (he was not watching the ball), appeared tentative on offense by refusing to make himself big when he was in the post or passing the ball out on most occasions when he did get the ball in the post (without even looking for a shot), loafed after a few loose balls, let a couple of what should have been easy rebounds bounce off his hands, and continued to clank free throw after free throw.

Couple this with what I perceive to be Vernon’s biggest problem—his head. I just don’t think he has the fire/desire/confidence that is required to be a success on the court and believe most of his other problems stem entirely from this.

As Jester has pointed out in previous posts, Vernon is usually good for a thunderous dunk or two when he frees himself on the baseline and goes straight at the basket. Georgetown fans have been watching this for two seasons now, salivating at the thought of what could be, and allowing these plays to absolve his many other miscues. He may occasionally have a good game but otherwise is going to continue to disappoint.

Again I hope I am proven wrong but doubt I will be. It has been exceedingly rare to have to write a post of this nature under JTIII (it would have been routine under Esherick had our blog existed then) because so many of his players make major strides each year. So it's painful to write this and I'm glad it has been so infrequent.

I invite my other fellow contributors to weigh in with their thoughts on Macklin's play and long-term prospects.


Diamond_Mike said...

His problems are correctable. He just needs to work on them. I thought he looked a lot better over the summer than he looks now. I think his confidence is down. And his hook shot looks worse than it did at this point last year. That said, Macklin's passing and ball handling have both improved. He needs an offensive go-to move, the ability to shoot from the free throw line, and a fire in his belly to make himself big in the paint. I also wonder if he just needs to add some bulk so he can tustle for position down low. Yes, there is a lot of work to do, but I'm not giving up on Macklin. His athletic ability is off the chart and he seems like he has a good attitude. Hopefully, he can live up to his prodigious potential.

Jester of Magellan said...

I disagree with Diamond, and concur with the IBP's assesment. I think Macklin's problems run deeper than needing to find a "go to move" and some passion. He just doesn't seem to have a feel for the game. He's the kind of player that excelled in high school because he had great size and athleticism, but it is obviously apparent that he doesn't know how to play in a structured system like we run. Maybe he would be more successful in a free-wheeling, run and gun type offense, but that's not what we have -- even when we are pushing the ball and running more. Macklin is a player that needs to have a presence down low and he just doesn't seem to know how to position himself so that he can have that presence. And IBP is right, he has horrible hands. He'll never be a rebounder if he can't grab on to the rock. Nor will he be much of an offensive threat down low if he can't catch an entry pass. He has had several good dunks this season by slipping behind the defenders along the baseline or by rolling off of a high pick (like he did last night on his thunderous dunk), but it's just not enough. He will never be successful at Georgetown.

And that is a big problem. We're going to be hurting in a bad way during the Big East season when Roy gets into foul trouble (and we all know that even with Roy's smarter play that is bound to happen). We have no legitimate post presence to replace Roy when he's on the bench. Don't get me wrong. We're a very versatile team and don't need to have a grind-it-out inside game like we did last year. But it's going to hurt us. Just watch.

IPB said...

Thanks to my esteemed colleagues for your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from the Itallion Stallion and Johnny as well as any of our other readers.

The only other thing I would add is JTIII apparently said at/near the beginning of the season that Macklin is the most improved Georgetown player from last season. The more I watch Macklin the more I am convinced this was a psychological ploy by JTIII to boost Macklin's confidence and inspire better play. So far it hasn't worked.