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Old 06-12-2018, 11:44 AM   #1
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Default What a great turnaround by the team this year

Kingston exceeded my expectations for year 1.

I was not a fan of hiring him in the first place. I honestly thought we could get one of the 'bigger names' out there.

The first half of the season was complete garbage, we didn't play well, and it was depressing to watch. However, the team rebounded in the 2nd half and had a great run, all the way to Game#3 of a Super Regional. I thought with our talent this year, the floor was making the Regionals. Sweeping the Regionals and being ranked in the Top25, exceeded my expecations. I believe that if Kingston can keep his roster with talent, his system can win games.

Right now though, our recruiting for 2019 and 2020 is good but not great (not compared to where we need to be to be a 'every year CWS contender.' Kingston took over a roster with a bunch of Top8 ranked classes (a pretty decently loaded deck,) and the next 2 upcoming classes are currently ranked in 20's (still has plenty of time to improve though and a Top 25 class is good nationally, but half of our conference is ranked above us.)

We will lose a lot of current starting or good HS talent to MLB this year. So next year the road could be more difficult, but that also depends on how the guys still here will develop and contribute. We should know more after everyone signs their contracts or enrolls here. We really need some Pitchers though, (preferrably some lefties with power.)

Still really proud of the way this team battled back this year. That showed the right qualities in leadership we need.

TL/DR Summary:
Kingston did well this year, exceeded my expecations, but he was handed a loaded deck. We need to do well in recruiting now and get some Pitchers.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:57 AM   #2
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

Side note:

I'm not usually one for the whole woulda/coulda/shoulda mentality...but I still can't help but wonder where we would be now IF Kingston was hired 1 to 2 years earlier. That Pitching staff 2 years ago was elite, and last year was just about elite too (we just sucked at hitting.) If we woulda/coulda/shoulda used his coaching those 2 years, with that level of talent...I think we woulda at least had CWS appearances.

Can we just hire Jerry Meyer to recruit Pitchers? lol, but only half joking.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

I get it we had a lot of guys drafted so it's easy to say this team had a lot of talent, but this team did not have very many guys who would start on top caliber SEC teams. There's a reason we didn't have a single player on any of the all SEC teams. LT, Carlos and Adam Hill were at one point all SEC freshmen, but that's it. Stokes hadn't done much in his career up to this point, neither had Cody Morris or really any of our bullpen guys. At the midway point of the year the narrative was this team has a lot of recruits who were probably a little overrated coming out of high school. Now that we went on a run it has somehow changed to this team was loaded with talent and Holbrook just didn't get it out of them. Kingston deserves a ton of credit for the strides a lot of these guys have made. Making it as deep as we did, especially with this pitching staff (we had one lefty), is crazy.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

We got better as the season progressed. Nothing wrong with that
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

The first half of the season was about what I expected.

The second half greatly exceeded my expectations.

That's a lot better than the other way around.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

A few thoughts:

First, Kingston exceeded expectations for year one, especially coming out of the Holbrook era. And then, to start of so poorly, at which point I'm just thinking it's a new coach putting their head down and getting in their guys, and then to turn it around was impressive. Maybe I'm reading more into it, but I love it when a coach takes a step back, re-evaluates what is wrong, what can be fixed, and what cannot, and then makes it happen. At the midway point, you can't fix the pitching, but you can tweak some things, like bat speed, which he did.

Second, the production of a first year coach is always suspect. Underperform, it's because of the team they got. Exceed expectations, you're winning with our coach's players. I'm excited for the future and hope this wasn't a blip but a start of a trend.

Third, I don't think this can be overstated, but the last half of the season made baseball fun and relevant again. We may have had historical success, but the distance from those national championships is only getting longer. If we'd limped through this season and missed the tournament, the excitement around the program would've been likely at the lowest I'd ever seen it (in twenty years). That would've sucked and put a lot of pressure on year 2.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

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Originally Posted by MWard View Post
Side note:

I'm not usually one for the whole woulda/coulda/shoulda mentality...but I still can't help but wonder where we would be now IF Kingston was hired 1 to 2 years earlier. That Pitching staff 2 years ago was elite, and last year was just about elite too (we just sucked at hitting.) If we woulda/coulda/shoulda used his coaching those 2 years, with that level of talent...I think we woulda at least had CWS appearances.

Can we just hire Jerry Meyer to recruit Pitchers? lol, but only half joking.
Unfortunately he's the one who left us with only one lefty on staff this season.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

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Exceed expectations, you're winning with our coach's players.
I don't think you can really say that for CMK because it was glaringly obvious the coach made ALL the difference.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

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I don't think you can really say that for CMK because it was glaringly obvious the coach made ALL the difference.
Yes, but he didn't get those players. My point was, people are already looking at recruiting classes and ultimately pointing to--yeah, but can he identify and recruit as well?

I completely agree, though, that if the point is: With Holbrook coaching do we get to the supers, it's a pretty clear no. He did less with more talent.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

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Unfortunately he's the one who left us with only one lefty on staff this season.

No lefty on staff. Remember, Kingston and Meade convinced Gilreath to enroll in January. Before that we were lefty deprived. Gilreath was a Meyer recruit, but he was not slated to be on the team until next season
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:07 PM   #11
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

1 Game shy of Omaha. I think Kingston has done far more than everyone expected. I truly believe he will bring us back to greatness on the diamond. We just need to be patient.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:21 PM   #12
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

Before the season I tried to curb everyone's expectations. A ton of you were on here talking about how we had to make the NCAA tournament in year 1 or Kingston was a terrible hire blah blah blah. All I kept saying was that I wanted to see us play good Baseball again. The record didn't matter as much as long as we got back to Carolina Baseball where we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot and played the game the way it was supposed to be played.

Although the last 2 games didn't show it, we were in the Top 10 in the nation in Fielding Percentage for the first time in a long time. That to me was huge improvement #1, and told me we're back on the right path.

We're going to have to see who all returns for next season, because that's going to play big in what expectations should realistically be. This team was NOT loaded with talent, and if we lose a number of the actual top talent we did have ... that could hurt.

I'm not worried with Kingston on the recruiting trail. He had a top 5 class at South Florida ... I'll repeat, he had a top 5 class ... at South Florida. The problem is going to be the pitching staff is extremely bare right now. What we really need is to find some top maybe JUCO guys that can come in and be a weekend starter or door slamming closer right away. I don't know if that's possible. It also wouldn't hurt if we could find a few of those Arkansas Freshmen for the every day lineup.

We went on a GREAT run to finish this season off, and I'm sure Coach Kingston is reaching out to recruits right now, but the Baseball program isn't "fixed" just yet. He's got some recruiting to do in High Schools AND in the program to keep some guys here. If he can do that, we have a much better chance to get back a lot sooner, but if we lose a lot of those guys that got their name called ... we could be in trouble next season until he's able to get the roster filled back up with Gamecock level talent.

That's on down the road though. Let's just celebrate what this team accomplished this year.
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I agree with Cack.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

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1 Game shy of Omaha. I think Kingston has done far more than everyone expected. I truly believe he will bring us back to greatness on the diamond. We just need to be patient.
This too

I was very upset that we let Monte Lee not only get away, but go to Clemson. I really felt like he was going to be a phenomenal hire and would have them in Omaha on a very consistent basis. They're still extremely talented and he's recruiting out the ying yang, but I'm not so sure he has the "it" to be the caliber coach to do that. We may have actually dodged a bullet and won the lottery at the same time.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

Need arms, right and left
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

I was extremely impressed by the mentality when we were 20-17 I thought we were gonna have a losing overall record. If we had 1-2 more quality arms we would’ve been in Omaha. Kingston will have a real test next season replacing all of the starters. But for year 1 I was blown away by the success he had.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:49 PM   #16
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

Yesterday the broadcasters said that our 5 series winning streak (in conference) was unmatched by anyone in the SEC. Wow! I didn't know that.

Great job to coach Kingston and the staff but also to the players! What a season...
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:54 PM   #17
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

Anyone know how our recruiting class looks? I know Alexander and Owen White are turning pro. Are we bringing in a lot of pitchers and does anyone have the potential to start from day 1? A couple of more arms and this past team would’ve been elite.
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Old 06-12-2018, 02:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

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Anyone know how our recruiting class looks? I know Alexander and Owen White are turning pro. Are we bringing in a lot of pitchers and does anyone have the potential to start from day 1? A couple of more arms and this past team would’ve been elite.
Here are the Perfect Game class rankings. You can change the year to see 2018-2021. Just a note, as soon as a player signs with MLB they are removed from our class ranking for that year. Right now, they haven't registered any 2018 signees, so our 2018 class is #10 in the country.
https://www.perfectgame.org/Rankings...gs.aspx?g=2020

Here is a quick look at our 2018 class (and some Pitcher notes)
https://247sports.com/college/south-...seball/Commits
LHP - Gilreath enrolled early.
SP - Owen White was drafted in the 2nd Rd, he's as good as gone.
RHP - Taj Bradley signed (it's not on PG yet, but he signed with the Rays.)
SP or 1B - Josiah Sightler drafted in the 12th, not signed, drafted as a 1B-man though. Didn't pitch this year. He will have to decide what he wants to do still.
All the other Pitchers on that list will probably come here.
RHP - Daniel Lloyd
RHP - Wes Sweatt
RHP - Brett Kerry
LHP/OF - Brady Allen (drafted by Yankees in 39th)
RH JUCO - Reid Morgan
RHP - Hayden Lehman
LHP JUCO - Cole Ganapolus
LHP SP - Julian Bosnic
LHP - Dylan Harley
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:10 PM   #19
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

Don't forget about the TON of injuries we had early this year. I'm beginning to be a fan of the "statistical" method of coaching. Maybe "The MoneyBall System" was correct. Today, though, I am proud of the Job The King and his Court did this year!! Congratulations Gamecocks!!!
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Old 06-12-2018, 03:14 PM   #20
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Default Re: What a great turnaround by the team this year

This staff did some really nice things. The biggest thing to me is this team is better than it was in February. They brought Carlos out of his slump. Jacob became a better hitter over the course of the year. Yes, we had a lot of guys drafted, but there were holes on this team. Adam Hill has just never trusted his stuff enough to say here it is, hit it if you can. Therefore at the first sign of adversity he has control issues. Our defense was not up to our level of a lot of our past teams. Stats were fine, but overall not a great defense, particularly without TJ. Bride is solid at 3rd, but range is not great. Tolbert doesn't have good range and Rowe has poor footwork which leads to bad throws. Williams is a pretty solid defensive first basemen. Even with TJ, defensively we had one of the weaker outfields I can remember. A lot of assists, but a lot of balls hit the ground that do not against good SEC outfields.

Kingston and staff did a great job using shifts to overcome those shortcomings. They did a much better job of coaching hitters through slumps and coaching a guy into and through an at bat. They also did a great job of knowing when to let go of something that wasn't working. He told us early how much he hated to bunt, but he did a very effective job of bunting in a lot of games. Most importantly he took a team that was on the mat and turned their season around. Reminded me a lot of 2012. We started well then lost 5 of our first 6 SEC games. Lost to Wofford and Francis Marion in mid weeks. Then swept 3 straight SEC series.
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