I am very disappointed with Taylor Rochestie's play against superior competition thus far this season. Here is what Grady had to say about Rochestie's latest performance:
"Taylor will eventually get better. I'm starting to realize that maybe it's the guys on the floor that need to rally around Rochestie and make him better, not the other way around. Last year, he had Kyle Weaver and Derrick Low to cool things off with a bucket or two. Now he doesn't. He gets frustrated and starts jacking up bad shots instead of settling into the offense. But Gonzaga deserves credit here as well. They took away the extra pass underneath. They kept us from moving the ball effectively and they limited Baynes' touches. I don't know what to say, other than we were dominated."
I think Taylor has developed a serious flaw in his game play and I think this sentence is the most relevant:
"They took away the extra pass underneath."
Right now, when Taylor drives to the basket, or any other Cougar guard for that matter, their objective is always "Pass First". You might say, "well that's not a problem, that's suppose to be the Cougar mentality" And I am here to say that this IS a problem, because every time Taylor Rochestie puts the ball to the floor and attempts a drive to the basket EVERYBODY in the stadium knows that he's doing it to try and open up a passing lane and not actually making an attempt to take it to the hoop. And this is certainly a problem, because if I know this, the opposing defense certainly must know it.
Gonzaga, was able to take away the extra pass underneath because they were looking for that extra pass and instead of defending against a potential shot, they spent their efforts cutting off the passing lanes.
There is a substantial difference between Rochestie and either Weaver or Low. When Weaver or Low would make a cut to the basket, there was a good chance that they were going to come away with two points or atleast get to the line. Dish-off passes to Baynes or a three point shooter in the corner were after thoughts that in the right situations became extraordinary.
Taylor is not the only guard that seems to be suffering from this passer syndrome. Of all the guards, Klay Thompson seems to be the most comfortable with shooting the ball off the dribble. However, late in the game tonight when it was already getting out of hand, Thompson had a clear outbreak of the passer syndrome. Klay made a semi-decent drive to the inside of the key and a second Gonzaga defender crashed inside to defend him. So what did Klay do? He tried to dish-off a pass underneath to a non-existent Cougar player. There were no Cougars anywhere near that pass! Now, this incident may have been brought on by the stress and anxiety of playing in a blow-out game, and you do have to give the Gonzaga defense some credit. But either way Klay needs to take a shot, draw a foul, or find some other way to make something out of that situation.
Back to Taylor. I really want to know what is going through Rochestie's head when he makes a drive. If I were to guess, my intuition tells me that he is not thinking "Score, or Get to the Line". He has got to be thinking that and needs to establish himself as a shooter or else defenses will read him all too well just like Gonzaga did tonight. The passes have got to be an after thought, if not in Rochestie's mind, then in the minds of our opponents.