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Tuesday bullet points

October 19, 2010

 

Furious Picks up Matsuno

  • Furious George apparently picked up Masahiro Matsuno from Japan’s Buzz Bullets. Matsuno is Buzz Bullets’ best player, and is probably the best player in the game that plays outside of North America. He was dominant in Prague, throwing 40 goals and catching 33, and drawing other teams’ best match-ups: from what I saw of semifinals against Revolver, he checked Mac Taylor, and against Chain in the 3rd place game, he was lined up against Zip. Also, at World Games in 2009, Japan had him guard Beau.
  • As a player, Matsuno pretty much fits the reputation that follows Buzz Bullets: not all that tall (my guess is 5’10 or so), fast as hell, and a great thrower. It also helps that he’s left-handed. And did I mention that he’s really, really fast? Aside from overall speed and amazing chemistry on both sides of the disc, Matsuno was the Buzz Bullets’ biggest weapon. Their offense almost always started with him streating acrros the field, catching it under, and bombing it for a goal. His throws were really strong, getting there in a hurry but also having enough spin on them that they stayed out in space with ample time for his receiver to run onto them. Even when it was this predictable, Matsuno was one of the most fun players to watch at Worlds.
  • It’ll be interesting to see how Furious uses him. Buzz Bullets are really good because they’re probably more coordinated than any other team in the world, and in this setting, he’ll be without the teammates that he’s used to. Also, I’ve not seen Furious play in quite a while, so it’s hard to say where he’ll fit in. Still, speculation is always fun… In Matsuno and Oscar Pottinger, Furious now has two throwers who can consistently throw huge hucks not only accurately, but quickly. I imagine that they’ll put him to use bouncing the disc around and firing deep shots whenever they open up. And if I had to really go out on a limb here, I’d guess that Morgan Hibbert and Andrew Lugsdin will be on the receiving end of some of those hucks. On defense, Furious now has another world class defender that can run with just about anyone and create serious match ups on a turn.
  • Bottom line, adding a player of Matsuno’s caliber to your roster is a strong move. He’s got all the tools, and teams that have guys like that tend to win games. Maybe adding him right before Nationals means that there will be some hiccups, but Furious and Matsuno have both been playing long enough to make me think that things will go smoothly. 
  • Finally, for anyone following as a fan of the game, this is sweet. Matsuno is a really exciting player to watch, and this gives yet another story line to pay attention to for 2010. Cool.

More about young players

  • Just to elaborate on what I said yesterday about Truck Stop’s youth as well as my response to Joaq’s comment about Revolver being young as well, I think the best teams this year are also the ones that do the best job of putting their young guys to use. This isn’t necessarily the reason why they’re the best; that’s because they have veterans, cohesion, and athleticism. But it might be why they’re going to remain competitive in the future.
  • Looking at Ironside, Revolver, Doublewide, Chain, and Truck Stop, you see that all have recent college grads that both make huge plays and hold down the fort. In the past, I think that a lot of the younger players in the Open game have been huge playmakers, chosen for their ability to run fast and sky. As things progress, we’re seeing more youth in the role player positions, which I think is great for the game.
  • With Chain, as guys like Rob Barrett, both Hammonds, AJ, and Jason Simpson have either retired or gotten closer to doing so, players like Peter Dempsey, Robert Runner, Nick Lance, Will Lokke, and David Berendes have filled their shoes. You can see the same generation shift with Revolver, and I think we’re starting to see it with Ironside. A lot of the top players on Doublewide and Truck Stop are a good bit younger than those on the other three, which is probably why they aren’t quite as scary a match.
  • Ring of Fire also deserves to be thrown into this conversation, especially since two of their top players, Thomas Ward and Ken Porter, only recently finished playing for NC State (’09 and ’10). Ring has quite a few young guys, all of whom have been impact faces on the North Carolina college scene for a number of years. I think, though, that Ring still relies pretty heavily on their vets to get the job done. That is, of course, outside of Ward and KP, who are just ridiculous. Also on the youth note, Rusty Ingold-Smith is a huge loss, as he’d be an ideal piece of a young foundation.

Chain Lightning and Doublewide

  • I think that the people writing Chain off are a being fickle. Are they as dominant as they were coming into last year’s Nationals? Probably not. The losses at Worlds (in semis to Sockeye and in the 3rd place game against Buzz Bullets) were disappointing for sure, they didn’t exactly atone for them by losing the finals of Chesapeake (to Ironside) and Regionals (to Doublewide). But they’re still the champs, and they’ve had the luxury of playing around with a new roster and waiting patiently for the only tournament that actually matters.
  • Speaking of new roster, they haven’t even been at full strength yet. And by not at full strength, I mean missing some of the absolute best players in the game. At Worlds, Kiran Thomas was still with Doublewide. Sam C-K didn’t make the trip up for Chesapeake. And in Austin at Regionals, Zip stayed back in Atlanta. Those players are all… I don’t know… pretty good. Let’s see what Chain can do when they’re all available.

  • Of course, this isn’t meant to take anything away from Doublewide. They were right on the cusp last year, and seem to have taken some serious strides in 2010. Their Worlds performance was iffy, but that was in July, and they weren’t at full strength. At the time, I wondered what they’d look like with Stephen Presley and a healthy Kurt Gibson. I think Presley was the best player in Columbus in 2009, and I hold Gibson in pretty high regard because at the time, I had never seen a player dominate the game of Ultimate the way he did at college Regionals in 2008. Plus, they added Brodie Smith, who was hands down the best college player in 2010. For a team that finished 5th last year, that’s a pretty big pick up.
  • For the most part though, I think that the hype around Doublewide’s Florida connection is a little overplayed. There’s still so much to be said for veterans in this game, and good teams know how to neutralize two and three-man attacks. This isn’t Kurt and Brodie v. Carleton, it’s Doublewide v. the best teams in Ultimate. Their skills are going to be put to use for sure, but I don’t see any one or two players domination Club Nationals the way Brodie did in Madison. I think that Doublewide’s 15-8 loss to Revolver in the semis of Labor Day is indicative of this. For more, check out the post on this thread by Alex Seber.
  • With Brodie coming to Doublewide, I’ve heard the comment that they completely re-shaped their offense around him. I obviously haven’t seen them play, but my guess is that this is a bit drastic. Texas and Florida of the past few years have played a similar offensive game: a vert stack that goes 40 or 45 yards deep and handlers that swing the disc really wide while they wait for an isolated deep match up that they like. From my perspective, Doublewide did a lot of the same last year and at Worlds, which I’m sure is a nice fit for both Brodie and Kurt. So really, it’s not that they’ve rearranged things, it’s more that they’ve added more skill at positions that pretty much already existed.
7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2010 11:50 am

    Are you trying to become the Henry Abbott of ultimate with 87tilinfinity becoming TrueDisc?

  2. neeley permalink*
    October 19, 2010 11:56 am

    Most definitely. It was either that, or the Trey Kirby angle, and the roller coaster of funny/not funny that is reading his stuff is just too much for me.

    Also, thanks for the Revolver info. That is a pretty impressive list of recent college kids. After adding Kanner, what’s Cal going to look like this year?

    • October 21, 2010 1:40 pm

      Good call avoiding the BDL angle. Disc Don’t Lie doesn’t work for me, and it reminds me too much of “Disc Never Lies!” (in the Black Tide voice, of course).

      It’s hard to know what to say about Cal or what to give away considering I’m helping out with the UCSC program. If you do a college season preview I’d be down to provide some west coast info.

  3. BrookDaves permalink
    October 20, 2010 7:04 am

    The offense DW is using is actually a North Texas/Florida offense. UT’s vert is totally different. The difference is the hucking positions. Florida and UNT had perfected this two years ago and having Kevin Richardson, Jake Anderson and Zach Riggins all from UNT and combining them with Kurt, Brodie and Chris Gibson makes for an insane line. The other person on that line I noticed at Regionals is Max Cook.

    Good Luck to DW and Chain.

  4. neeley permalink*
    October 20, 2010 7:22 am

    That’s a really good point. What I remember from playing Texas at Nationals is that their hucks came after swings, so they were usually from the sideline into the middle of the field. Also, they did a really good job of helping each other out by pulling defenders underneath to make sure that the deep look was a 1v1 match up.
    With Florida last year, hucks usually came from the middle of the field, with Cole or Brodie waiting for something they liked and then just firing away from a stand still. When the disc moved, it was usually a quick give and go reset, as it’s pretty easy to force a dump to Brodie… he can body out dump defenders better than most. Was UNT’s offense similar?
    As for Doublewide running this kind of style, I’d be concerned that there wasn’t enough movement. The longer the disc stays in one spot on the field, the less defenders have to adjust, and the more they can pressure the other team into throwing a low-percentage throw. The more it moves laterally, the more the angles of defending change, making it harder to rely on help from teammates. Given their collection of receivers, I would think that Doublewide would be looking to make this happen.

    • BrookDaves permalink
      October 20, 2010 2:38 pm

      UNT’s offense is similar, but the hucking comes from power positions (forward momentum catches) and not standstill like FL. Thats really the biggest difference. Another is that Kurt/Brodie always demanded the disc back after resetting or going upfield. UNT O has more fluidity with the easier swing/strike resets. The top of the vert is the same.

      DW has taken this O and applied their best handlers – Max, Salad, Franchise with three of the best recievers in the game – K Rich, Jake, Brodie/Kurt.

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