Special Boll Weevil Edition

Dear Diary,

I hate my coach.

Regards,

J.B. Williams, Robert Miller, Torre Doty, Brandon Mayweather, Billy McDaniel, Nate Newell, Ron McGrew, DeMarcus Wilson, Durran Goodwin, and Derek Easter.

A.K.A. the "Boll Weevils"

Monday night it looked like at some point each UAM player was about one more profane statement away from trading punches with Mike Newell. I guess players don't just always love their coach – but this stuff is great. You've got the coach basically posted up in the lane getting in his players' ears, talking about their moms (except maybe Nate's, I don't know for sure), and threatening to revoke their scholarships and right to breathe right there on the spot.

He even said on the radio that one of his players "played like a retard" last week.

Oddly enough, I don't think they all take too kindly to that stuff. A bunch of them would turn away from him and make their way down the floor cussing him under their breath all the way. Most of the time, body language spoke louder than words (except those R-rated ones coming rapid-fire from the Boll Weevil bench), and you could just see it on the players' faces they wanted to snap.

I don't see the Boll Weevils just a whole lot over the course of the season, so I don't know if this is the norm or just something that happens every now and again, but it was a nice little sideshow to the game at hand.

But, whether the players like the guy or not, Newell and his team getting the job done. They beat the Bears and put themselves in pretty good position for second place in the conference.

The only thing I don't understand is the decline in production from Billy McDaniel. I've seen this guy play for three years now and he's one of the better talents I've seen in the league over that span. And it's not just me hallucinating, either.

His freshman season he averaged 20.9 points per game and 12.8 rebounds. His sophomore season he was a 1st team All-American and led the GSC in scoring and rebounding at 20.0 and 10.8 per game. HIs junior season, his scoring and rebounding dropped yet again, even though he still led the league in the latter. It's saying something when averages of 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds are your career lows.

This year, his senior season, his numbers are down again. He's averaging 14.8 points per game and 8.8 rebounds.

Is he just getting worse? Are people paying more attention to him?

No, and no. Actually on the latter, it's just the opposite. It seems that people pay less attention to him these days – his coach included.

Nate Newell, a good shooter who has a big reputation and a father for a coach, leads the team in field goal attempts with 295 to 291 over McDaniel. JB Williams has 286.

The thing is, McDaniel's shots mostly come near the basket. Newell's often come 20-something feet out, hurriedly off a couple screens. If you have to shoot a shot with a hand in your face, I'd rather take it eight feet from the basket, not 22.

In four fewer shots, McDaniel has made 33 more field goals than Newell. He's shooting 49.1 percent from the floor for, while Nate shoots 37.3. And Nate's supposed to be the sniper, but McDaniel shoots a lot higher percentage from out there, too. Nate's only hit 28 more 3s in 87 more attempts than Billy McD.

Newell: 61-174, 35.1 percent.
McDaniel: 33-87, 37.9 percent.

And on two-point shots:
Newell: 49-121, 40.5 percent
McDaniel: 110-204, 53.9 percent

So I don't know, but it looks like a concerted effort to get the younger Newell plenty of looks has come at the expense of McDaniel. UAM is 10-4 in conference play and sitting in second behind DSU, so whatever formula they're using now isn't just horrible, but you can't help but wonder if in those losses of one point (UCA), three points (DSU) and six points (Harding), if an extra touch inside for McDaniel here or there might've made a difference.

A couple of interesting notes -

At Harding, Nate got rang up for a technical and was taken out of the game. The Boll Weevils subsequently went on an 18-0 run with him sitting on the bench.

Although Nate's the team's leading scorer for the season, he hasn't been their high scorer in a game since Jan. 12 at Delta State – a game UAM lost by 15. In the last 10 games, UAM has been led by McDaniel five times (including the last four), Williams four times, and Brandon Mayweather once. They are 8-2 in those games.


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