Thursday, March 8, 2012

Dear Tray Woodall

I had another letter for your team mate Ashton but it wasn't hopeful or nearly so kind. When he put that towel over his eyes yesterday, unwilling to watch the end of the game the season, and I shouted at my espn3 streaming "great! that's a metaphor! If I have to witness this so should you!" - I knew I was not in a healthy enough place to write to him.

His season didn't turn out how he wanted, on any level. I can sympathize with him for that, but I can't agree with how he used the the hand he was dealt. In life, a lot of people's 'seasons' don't turn out how the imagine - do they put the towel over their eyes? no!.... (breathe, calm. Tray, I'm sorry I keep loosing my cool here. What's done is done. The season's over. Let's talk about you.)

*note after writing this, Ashton gave a very kind and humble interview taking blame for the season. and I ate some crow

I mention all this stuff about Ashton and his leadership because that's what I believe to be our gaping wound this season. (that and a struggling front court game, but more so the leadership thing).

The night we found out you got hurt, my husband and I went to dinner and we got into a heated debate healthy discussion about what makes a good point guard.

We said the top five are:
1. assist to turnover ratio
2. ball handling
3. range of shooting (so you're a threat outside but can penetrate when needed)
4. knowledge of the game/playbook
5. and solid defense

My husband said you have all of that (aside from some difficulty getting burned on man defense - which you've improved). My husband's prediction: your injury will be the downfall of our season.

I agreed with the top five skills he attributed to you - you're a fine guard. However, when it comes to point guards - I added that more important than ANY of those 5 things is that X factor (excuse the conjured up Krauser image of crisscrossed forearms). The thing I'm looking for is the ability to rally the team behind you, the confidence to take the last shot, the carrier of the morale.

*I don't feel it NEEDS to be the point that has this X factor but someone has to have it and no one on this year's team did... maybe Nasir had the most heart but if your forward has heart and the ball is turned over before he can even get it then there's problems.

My prediction: that your injury would be the best thing for our panther team. I said either a leader would emerge - Ashton or someone else would step up as point guard - or you would sit on the sidelines and it would effect you. Then in your return, we'd have our game changer.

Maybe my husband was right - the season did downfall. (as a life long fan, I have braced myself for dips, I'm okay with it). But maybe you can make it so I'm also right. Travon, when you came back there were flashes of great things. Hold onto that - let that sidelined time and the poor season change you instead of using it as a reason to throw in the towel.

You have the skill. Work on your turnovers a bit, square up your shot, and keep up with the defense (minor stuff really). But I love that with your size difference you'll still drive into the lane, and I love that you always look for the assist. You have good bones. Use them. Own this team... because a new crop of players are coming.

And this is the best part  - the panther's still need a leader.  

the girl sheepishly asking for what channel they air the NIT


  1. Very Nice Read good job there Mrs. Orbin keep up the good work hope all is well with you and neil.

    1. Thanks Joe! As always, we would be doing much better if we were hanging out in a PNC parking lot with the one and only Joey Ferrante - but until then we're alright

  2. It's sad to say - and I can't really describe in the comments section - just how freaking comforting this was to read. The Dance just doesn't feel the same this year :(

  3. Oops. CBI, not NIT... along with TCU... and the Quinnipiac Bobcats. I can't find a CBI bracket challenge to enter anywhere.

    You'll have to wait for next year's dead-man-walking, lame-duck Big East season. That will be weird.

    Loved meeting everyone last night and, of course, hanging with you and Neil.