Can RMU slow Bobby Hain?

Last year, in a Dec. 2 meting at the Sewall Center, then-junior center Bobby Hain scored 24 points on 10-14 shooting, grabbed 14 boards and dished out two assists in an 89-81 Youngstown State win. Now, a year to the day, the Colonials have to find a way to slow down Hain for a win.

Hain imposed his will against Robert Morris in that game. His 24 points and 14 rebounds were a career high up to that point.

The word “will” was a pretty hot topic for Toole after that game. The head coach went on a several minute postgame rant about the competitiveness of his team.

“We haven’t imposed our will on anybody, we don’t have a will. Our will is to point the finger,” he said.

I wrote more about that disastrous game when I was with Colonials Corner last season. *Pours one out*

So what can RMU do to slow down the man who crushed them most last season? The principles don’t change, but the awareness has to. From what I remember (and wrote about last season), Hain was a decisive passer. He finished with two assists, but his decision making led to more ball movement and good looks. His quick touches haunt my memory.

RMU has to try and deny, deny, deny the high post. Hain is clearly a good passer and quick decision maker, but a strength of the zone is supposed to be crowding the high post. Hain might be tall (6-foot-10) but RMU has to take away passing lanes to the best of their abilities, and then stay disciplined when he does get the ball.

YSU was so effective because Hain was able to dish it to capable shooters. Even without guard Marcus Keene, who tore RMU up for 24 of his own last season, the Penguins are shooting 35.9 percent from three as a team this season. Communication will be key; can RMU not get screened off the ball and provide capable defense?

Then there’s slowing Hain himself, who is shooting 56.7 percent from the floor and drawing a ton of fouls. Quite frankly, if  I’m the Colonials coaching staff, I think I start the game guarding Hain the best I can one-on-one and let him get his. Yes, he might drop 30, but so what? YSU is a poor defensive teams. Get stops and don’t let anyone else beat you.

Much easier said than done. If my memory serves me correct (it usually does), Hain is a guy who finishes well around the rim with a soft touch with both hands. He’s going to brawl on the boards to create second chance opportunities. If Andre Frederick, Billy Giles and Conrad Stephens (???? half-kidding) don’t come in with the right mentality, they’ll get demolished. The task is theirs to handle.

I doubt this happens, but I’d love to see what Elijah Minnie could do anchoring the zone this game. He has similar height to Hain and it would be a good test of his rebounding and iso defensive discipline and overall defensive IQ.

No matter who is guarding him, Bobby Hain is at the top of the scouting report. I almost feel like a groundhog on groundhog day. Another year of Bobby Hain nightmares, or a night of peaceful sleep?

–Chris Cappella


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