I have made a couple of points in Blog posts earlier this season:
1) More minutes for Jordan Harris
2) Extended time in the first half for Derek Ogbeide
So, just as I have criticized Coach Fox for his substitution patterns and talent utilization, it it appropriate now to give due credit.
Coach Fox replaced Turtle Jackson with Jordan Harris in the starting line-up. Great move. I think it will benefit both players. Jordan will have more minutes and get acclimated to playing in college, and Turtle will come in fairly early, either to replace J.J., or to spell Jordan, but not feel pressured to score.
In another positive trend, Coach Fox has resisted the urge to pull Derek Ogbeide for Houston Kessler. Nothing against Houston, but Derek is a more physical presence around the basket. Teams are less likely to double Yante Maten if that means that Derek will be open underneath the bucket.
Derek scored 10 first-half points on 5 of 5 shooting against Tech, and he can have similar production in the future if allowed to play extended minutes early.
Houston Kessler may be needed later in the year, and I'm not totally against him getting some time on the floor. Just not at the 2 or 3-minute mark of the first half like Coach Fox was doing.
In addition to the player utilization points, I also wanted Fox to come up with a game plan that takes away what the other team likes to do. I saw just that scenario in the Georgia Tech game. We knew where the ball was going, and we disrupted Tech's offensive plays.
Now, Tech is not a talented offensive team. That much is clear. But our scouting and defensive strategies had a good bit to do with our 17-point win.
Bravo, Coach Fox.