[Late getting to this, but bumped anyway. Some curious personnel move so far from Lickliter.--OPS]
We've seen this before from Todd Lickliter. Squeezing the line-up tight, dumping minutes on no more than six players over the course of an important game. Clapping on the bench wildly and yelling, "let's go!" as they run ragged into the later moments of the game, only to crumble down the stretch. Lickliter, I imagine, has the old "practice" rule. If you can't show it in practice, then how on earth can you expect to show it in a game? So goes the old adage and so goes Lickliter.
Well, Todd, there are some extenuating circumstances sometimes my man. Um, hmmm, height, for example, might be a factor you want to input into the equation. You are running out five two-guards and a small forward each game and shooting the most 3's in America--to middling results. It's a fine offense when you're making the 3s. But on too many a night, you're not making enough or at a high enough percentage. At least not enough to overcome the interior pounding you are taking from teams that, sadly, on many occasions, are not much taller than your own.
I expect a Todd Lickliter practice is a shirts and skins game run at a 100 miles an hour up and down the court with the occcasional drill to create movement around the arc. I would not be surprised if there was VERY LITTLE practice spent posting up or working half-court interior sets. In such a practice environment I can see how David Palmer might look ordinary, misplaced, outshined and just downright unappealing.
I live in NJ and, in fact, a few miles from the campus of Seton Hall. When Palmer transferred people were upset there. They felt they lost a good one. As an Iowa fan, I, on the other hand, was excited. But, soon after he became eligible I wondered what all the fuss was about. Well, now I am beginning to see.
Hopefully this is another Iowa athletic version of the (riches to) rags to riches story (ala Shonn Greene) in the making. Or just maybe it is not, but instead, unlike in the Greene version, a failing of coaching to see light in time.
I am still high on Lickliter and he certainly deserves two more years to get this ship righted. But, it is the little things that drive me nuts with him. Like not using Palmer until he was without any other option. Playing ONLY six guys any meaningful minutes in a close, tough game in a season where NO ONE expects him to win the Big 10, make the NCAA or the NIT tournament or even have a winning record. Play these damn guys Todd, give them serious minutes, test them in an environment other than practice, see what you have, develop your talent! It troubles me greatly when every player on the team has recently been quoted like this: "No, it does not surprise me what he [Palmer] is doing. He is really talented."
As for Palmer, what a great attitude. And I'll give Lickliter credit for keeping the team together emotionally. They do appear all for one and one for all. I hope Palmer rips it up over the next month and becomes Todd's turning point, his come to Jesus moment, and we see better personnel moves the rest of the way.