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Grading Coach Mack: Roster management

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The Brandon Randolph story became a large part of the season, but Coach Mack handled his roster very well on the whole.

Did Coach Mack manage Dee's replacements well?
Did Coach Mack manage Dee's replacements well?
Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to everyone who participated in our inaugural Banners on the Parkway postseason report cards. With the players done, we are moving on to breaking down the various facets of Coach Mack. In addition to showing how the community rated the coach on offense, defense, man management, and overall, we'll be assigning and explaining our own grades as well. If you've missed any of the previous breakdowns, check them out in our Season in Review section.

Man management
A 41 28.28%
B 78 53.79%
C 22 15.17%
D 4 2.76%
F 0.00%
Community GPA 3.08

The community was pretty widely spread on Coach Mack's man management this year. Four Ds were offset by 41 As, but it was the middle ground where most people landed. All told, Coach Mack just managed a B in his community report card. An uneven year leveled out in large part because the coaching staff used players well, and it seems most fans recognized that

Man management: B

One of the criticisms leveled at Coach Mack this year was that he didn't get the most out of some of the players on the team. As the season ebbed and flowed, so did the usage of some of the players. Sean O'Mara, James Farr, Remy Abell, and Larry Austin Jr. all saw their time vary greatly over the course of the season without a great deal of public explanation.

Of course a coach isn't obliged to give an explanation for every move he makes and, for the most part, it seemed as if Coach Mack pulled the right strings this year. The switch to the 1-3-1 neccessitated a switch in personnel that partially explained Abell and his man to man prowess losing time. Sean O'Mara's inability to play without committing assault undoubtedly had a lot to do with his time. Those weren't the main questions asked this year though, those came behind Dee Davis.

Brandon Randolph started the season by playing double figure minutes in eight of the first 11 games, peaking with 35 in a loss at Auburn. After that point, Randolph never played more than nine minutes in a game an appeared only 12 more times. Brandon finished averaging only 9.7 points per game in the 23 games he played. That's down 11 games and four minutes per contest from last year. Randolph's numbers were actually better per 40 minutes than last year and there wasn't any glaring issue that led to his benching, demotion, and actual transfer. He simply didn't play. In stark contrast to that was Larry Austin Jr., who played more as the season went along, peaking with 20 minutes against Villanova in a Big East matchup. Austin Jr. was objectively worse statistically, but there was no question he had risen up the pecking order by season's end.

That oddity aside, Coach Mack used his team well. A large part of managing a squad is knowing what matchups play well and when. As Joel mentioned in the offense breakdown, this team was excellent offensively while integrating a lot of new pieces. When you consider that Remy Abell, Trevon Bluiett, LAJ, Sean O'Mara,and JP Macura all became useful pieces after not ever having suited up for Xavier before, you have to factor in the coaching staff as well as just the player's own talent. Coach Mack was not perfect this year, but he took a lot of disparate pieces and created a team that landed in the Sweet 16 and threw a major scare into one of the nation's elite.