Missing Bobby Frasor

As much as Ty Lawson not being in the game last night make life difficult for UNC, especially on offense, it is also fairly clear that not having both Lawson and Bobby Frasor healthy at the same time was also a factor as it pertains to the defense.

Back when Frasor went down I wrote the following about what his loss could mean:

I also think not having Frasor could hurt if UNC needs to run a small lineup for defensive purposes as they did versus Nicholls State.  If UNC faces a team in the Sweet Sixteen that employs three/four guards, not having Frasor as a defensive option in such a game could hurt.

If you recall, UNC had the same problems on defense last night as they did in the first game in 2007.  Duke was hot on the perimeter and there was some serious defensive lapses coming from both Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington.  The solution Roy employed was to ride Wes Miller and Bobby Frasor as your basic defensive stoppers to curb the Duke offense.  It worked to some extent and Duke’s general offensive ineptitude of 2007 did the rest.  Looking at what UNC faced last night, it would have been highly beneficial had UNC been able to have both Lawson and Frasor on the court at times with a smaller lineup, I think they could have done a better job guarding the perimeter.  Heck, having Frasor playing in place of an injured Lawson or alongside QT might have also been more effective.  The bottom line is we could feel the effects of not having the skills and basketball IQ Frasor brings to a game through the rest of the season.  Hopefully, the rest of the guys can adequately compensate for it.


16 Responses to Missing Bobby Frasor

  1. Tar Heel alum and fan says:

    One of the announcers last night said that coach K had adapted his offense from that of D’Antonio’s Phoenix Suns, with the emphasis on spacing, driving and kicking out for 3-pointers. I live on the West Coast so watch some Suns’ games and that is a very difficult offense to stop when it is clicking. The problem with that offense is that when the 3-point shot is off so is the offense. The Suns have done great in the regular season but have yet to recently make it to an NBA Finals because big physical teams like the Spurs pound them very successfully inside. That’s why they traded for Shaq. The shame of last night is that UNC was doing the same thing, Thomas was playing OK but the UNC perimeter shooting and defense was terrible. Fix that and we beat Duke. Maybe we can’t do that without Frasor lost for the season…

  2. Asheville Heel says:

    I agree that not having Bobby Frasor hurts us defensively. With the exception of Marcus, I thought Bobby was our best “on the ball” defender and we miss him as much there as running the team in relief of Ty. I was concerned going into the season about the drop-off from last year’s team on the defensive side. It is very apparent that we miss Miller and Terry even more that I feared. Including Wright, who was not great on the ball but could erase many of his and others mistakes around the basket, our players this year are clearly less defense-minded. IMHO playing defense is mostly a matter of really wanting to and while it takes tallent and agility you can make yourself a better defender through sheer effort. There appear to be some on this year’s team who have just not taken on the mindset to embrace the “D”. Tyler has really improved; Ellington was terrible last year and is somewhat better now; Green makes plays off the ball but is average at best on the ball; Ty can play defense with anybody but only when he “wants” to; and, finally, Deon and Alex are a liability out on the floor guarding anyone. It is just plain painful to watch Will Graves try to play defense.

    I know this sounds very critical but really it is just being realistic. I know that Roy is very frustrated trying to find a way to get these guys to play better defense. With all that said, I am still hopeful that these guys will figure out that they just can’t out-score teams at will. The offense will come and go. A good defensive team will always be in the game even when things get difficult. Never was that more true that last night’s game. As bad as we played (Tyler and Marcus exempted), a couple of good stops and it could gone our way! If there’s a way, Ol’ Roy will not stop trying to find it!
    GO Heels!

  3. Russell says:

    1. As Lawson goes, so go the Heels. ( An observation/prediction made in December.)
    2. Roy is a great recruiter; he is not a particularly great game prep coach or in-game coach. That this team was fielded so apparently unaware of the dook offensive tactics in the first half was mind numbing. Billy Packer put on-air voice to that recognition. Really pants-down exposure for Roy.
    3. This UNC squad has no center of being, cohesive core gestalt. Chickens sans heads was (embarrassingly) on display last night – as with G-town end-game last year. How to address that prime requisite for a championship caliber team? THAT is the ? for this year’s ?.
    4.. No team is going to “stop” this dookie edition. Dook must be out-scored, period.

    Yes, I am a Tarheel. Yes, I am loyal. That’s how it is that I can recognize/lament these things.
    Go Heels!

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    1. agreed
    2. disagree-but at least you added a marginal qualifier (apparently)
    3. AGREE
    4. agree-but we have no offensive balance, and you contradict yourself per #2

  5. Tar Heel Fan says:

    1. Yeah, I said that when he shunned the NBA Draft
    2. I disagree that UNC was unaware of what Duke would do. Stopping dribble penetration has been a bugaboo all season and it was no different versus Duke. Also, I think Roy is trying to get these guys to buy in on defense, they just are either unwilling or not capable of playing better on that end of the court.
    3. There also happens to not be a David Noel or George Lynch so to speak. I also think having Lawson out causes things to fall apart a bit.
    4. Duke has plenty of weapons and three point shooters which makes them going cold out there a longer shot than one might think. That being said, any number of teams who can play defense and possess an inside presence would beat Duke.

  6. Jonathan Starsmore says:

    1. This statement is true if you take out the name “Lawson” and insert the names of just about every starting point guard to have played under Dean and Roy. Some were scorers, some were passers, but every single one controls the level at which our offense functions because that’s how the UNC system was designed.

    2. I completely disagree with the assertion that UNC was “apparently unaware of the dook offensive tactics” last night. Duke is far from the first team to run pick-n-pop or drive-n-dish successfully against us this season; we’ve been seeing it in ACC play since the opener at Clemson. The team just isn’t great at defending those tactics, and that’s something we might have to live with for the entire season. I’ll agree that Roy isn’t a legendary in-game tactician, but last night was hardly a showcase of his faults there — last night’s game merely reinforced some notions we all had about UNC’s shortcomings on perimeter defense.

    3. …”Core of being gestalt”? Philosophy (?) and basketball just don’t mix. For the most part, basketball is about talent, strategy, and execution, and I think people pay too much attention to things like “want”, “desire”, “chemistry”, and other “intangibles.” After all, how can anyone talk about what the players on a team are feeling/thinking without powers of empathy or telepathy (if you do have such powers, I apologize). UNC executed badly down the stretch against Georgetown and made bad decisions, end of story. Against Duke, it was pretty much the same thing but in much less severe fashion — we lost a game because our players could not execute (due to a combination of skill limitations, the quality of the opponent, and — as with Ellington and Green — bad luck) and could not play consistently the level of defense that could prevent Duke from executing as well. There were no visible signs that our players didn’t want to win (if that’s at all what you’re implying), and Hansbrough, for one, tried his darnedest to win.

    4. Duke can be stopped without being “outscored” as you suggest. Pitt shut them down very effectively with physical play both inside and out, and FSU held them to 70 points with a similar strategy (but much less talent). UNC does not utilize the same kind of physicality on D as those teams (and this team just isn’t great at defending the perimeter, period), so you might have been more accurate to say that WE can’t stop them, only outscore them. Postseason games generally see fewer fouls called for physical defensive play, so I can definitely see a Big Ten/Big East-style team giving Duke trouble, especially if that team also has a competent inside game. Duke is also not a particularly great free throw shooting team, and poor performances from the charity stripe doom many a team in NCAA tourney play.

  7. Howard says:

    I agree completely with item 3 posted by Russell. Something similar was noted in an earlier post from someone – noting how the Duke TEAM seemed cohesive and together, AS A TEAM. To me, what showed this were views of the huddles. Roy was always angry and chastising, taking like it was “I want You to do this.” While Coach K was encouraging, talking like it was “WE need to do this.” I’ve always been a bit disturbed by Roy’s constant anger and seeming berating of his team during play. Such a way of teaching and leading can wear people down and discourage them. This shows up, in my view, in the lack of what Russell called “center of being, cohesive core gestalt.” You don’t have to like philosophy or like the terms, but to me it’s obvious they refer to something that is indeed part of the Heels. They just don’t seem to be together. I noticed once a TV shot of the bench and Deon and another player were sitting there joking with each other, bent over, hiding their mouths with their hands, not paying one bit of attention to what was going on on the floor. They weren’t part of anything but themselves. Hmmm.

    But all of this analysis and stuff doesn’t really matter. I think the Durham Sun had it right the next morning when it boiled it all down to the three-pointer. I think we played a decent game against Duke, but we just didn’t have a three-point shot and they did. And thus they won. If they hadn’t make the three-pointers, or if we had made ours, then we would have won. To me it’s obvious. And that is a depressing thought. All the hype about defense could improve the team, but it doesn’t seem like it’s possible to teach three-point shooting that successfully, certainly not this late in the game.


  8. Tardy Turtle says:

    You know what, it’s better this way. We’ve been holding our breath all season with Lawson, hoping he can go major minutes every night. And now the team has to confront Plan B. Well better now than later. Q said after the game “I have to get better as a playmaker.” Right, I agree, no time like the present. (Specially since we’re talking about Feb of his senior season, tick tock).

  9. Chris says:

    A few random comments:
    1. Duke is just a better all around team than we are now. No surprise that we lost the other night.
    2. Individual defense is a skill like shooting, some are better than others. You can try to make yourself a better defender with practice, but if you’re not a good defender, many times you never will be.
    3. Carolina has very few players that are good natural defenders; we will always struggle on defense this year against quality teams.
    4. Ellington has little natural ability to play defense, and as far as I can tell, little desire to do so. Sit him on the bench until he desires to do so.
    5. I think we have to go into the “Be Happy, Don’t Worry” mode. It is what it is, and will be difficult to make better until Lawson is back up and running. From what I can tell with him playing again we are a decent final 8 team at this point.

  10. 52BigGameJames says:

    tho I’m not one to belabor a point 🙂 #3 is the most salient imo. Put aside for a moment Roy’s debatable technical skills, and Lawson’s injury. We were playing a game at home, with the fresh memory of Henderson’s assault on Tyler. If I’m a team-mate (who cares & has pride) who is charged with guarding GH in that game, he doesn’t get room to breathe, much less go over the top for a tip-in. To the contrary, he was all over the court, with drives, put-backs, and weak-side blocks. Tyler is the only player we have right now who even comes close to the determination/dedication of the average Dook starter. The rest of em just plain got punked. Howard, I saw what you saw (Deon), and had the same reaction. Call it chemistry, gestalt, whatever–this team doesn’t have it, and it’s not on Roy, or Lawson’s injury. If they get it, the sky’s the limit–if not, expect more “unexpected” losses.

  11. CarolinaGirl says:

    Tardy Turtle, give Q a bit of a break – up until now, he hasn’t had to be a playmaker. He’s needed only to come in, spell Ty Lawson, make good passes and not screw things up too much. Let’s be real here – Q outscored Wayne. Who would have seen that coming?

    But that’s the problem – we have a team full of individuals and the fact that we can point to certain individuals and say “so-and-so looked into it” and “so-and-so did not” is a problem. In 2006 at Duke, we certainly didn’t play well the whole game but the whole team played with passion all the time. The whole team kept its head and its poise. All it takes is one person to not buy in or just not be completely on board and against high-quality competition, our ship sinks. Duke, to its credit, played team basketball. Even Lance Thomas was not a weak link for them as he sometimes has been.

    *Note: I am not suggesting that people out there on our team weren’t trying. I can’t really explain it but there is a huge part of me that misses the ’06 team. I can’t put my finger on what it is with this team. I want us to get mean. I want us to have more of a sense of urgency. I want us to have more confidence. Again, I don’t know what it is. I think we have some great guys on our team but it’s like they don’t have the Felton-esque chip on their shoulder. Maybe I’m making an impossible comparison.

  12. CarolinaGirl says:

    James – I completely agree with you. Another thing that bugged me was the fact that almost all of our fouls were cheap and a result of us being out of position. The way I see it – if you’re going to foul, make it count and prevent someone from making a basket or something. Don’t just weakly bump someone on the perimeter when you can’t stay in front (and Lord knows we couldn’t stay in front).

    Do you know what I can’t wait for? Will Graves to develop. The kid seems like he’s going to be a gamer and a really tough kid for us once he gets his defense down. I also wanted to compliment the effort of Deon last night – a kid that I have often wondered about but I feel like we are seeing him mature, slowly but surely, over these last few games. Without his foul trouble, who knows? We might have had to go small anyway but having him in there really helped on the offensive end.

  13. Russell says:

    “Tyler is the only player we have right now who even comes close to the determination/dedication of the average Dook starter. The rest of em just plain got punked.” Worth repeating, 52, so there it is.

    Including Roy in the got punked.

    Others: check out the immediate post-game interview with Paulus by the TV gal. Just look at his eyes and sense the energy fueling his words. THAT is it that this squad is obviously missing. (Not that The Paulus sucketh not, surely.)

    PS. Flush the pre-game jump around, Green. It’s show-offy non-Carolina look-at-me energy wasting ego crap. Show me your specialness on the court in the game. Thanks.

  14. Tar Heel Fan says:

    The 2006 team had David Noel and much like 1993 with George Lynch and 2005 with Jawad Williams and Jackie Manuel this team needs that one guy who has those special leadership skills. I think Marcus Ginyard tries to be that. He is certainly vocal in the media and says things that indicate he understands what the deal is but it is just not translated to the whole team. Tyler Hansbrough is not a vocal leader despite being the most intense basketball player I have ever seen in a UNC uniform. I think there is hope that his intensity would rub off on the other guys but I do not see evidence of that happening. Another thing about 2006, with that team being so young and so little expected of them, they simply bought in, without question to Roy’s system. As they have gotten older and as the newer more talented group has come in, there seems to be less inclination to respond to what Roy is saying. Maybe that is more on the sophomores than it is the juniors and QT but the effect is the same. Everyone is not on the same page and there is not one leading voice among the players to get everyone on that page. Sometimes having a leader among the players helps the coach get his message across. UNC needs that.

    And let me just say, it is not like we are dealing with a Joe Forte or Jeff McInnis on this team. I believe all these guys are good kids with character and the desire to perform at a high level. It just seems like they are not full engaged with what Roy wants, especially on defense.

  15. Chris says:

    I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but the first step toward team unity is to give Ellington some pine time. Check out his stats for rebounds, steals, tie-ups, on the floor, etc. and it’s obvious that his high school career continues to give him a starting position. An occasional 39 point game doesn’t get it, and it certainly won’t get him to the pros. Let him sit and show the rest of the team that it’s hustle and production that produces playing time, not ranking coming out of high school. He acts like he’s bored with the game unless someone throws him the ball in a shooting position. That’s not going to get us much down the road. K put Scheyer on the bench for the start, and Roy needs to do the same with Ellington.

  16. 52BigGameJames says:

    droning on here (but I’m enjoying it)…
    we debated some last spring about recruiting, and imo, it’s germane, so I’ll bring it up again. Worth noting that this is Roy’s first team. As THF noted, they are seemingly all good character kids, but outside of Tyler, none has the “country-boy..or city-boy” toughness that is a key ingredient for a C run–not yet anyway. There was a good piece in SI last Spring about Corey Brewer, and his hard-scrabble upbringing. Brewer was the nail in the coffin for the Gators, but they had equal intensity at the other 4 spots. Many of Roy’s Jayhawks teams had it in spades. I’m not discounting the 5-Stars, but just because a *kid has skills, doesn’t translate to a Final Four visit (*Chris). Duly noted that if we had Wright and Lawson, along w/Bobby, we’d be on cruise control, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of mongrels mixed in with the AKC’s. I’ll add that I’d put Tyler in the former category.
    I agree Russell that DG should can the dance routine until he gets his court game on, but I wouldn’t want to see these guys become joyless robots like the Dookies either. I coach youth soccer and I see that robot s**t in upper level all the time. Lawson has a clownish nature, and I love to see that–competitiveness and mirth aren’t mutually exclusive traits.

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