KooIn Sunday’s round of 32 match-up against Wichita State, Mychal Mulder had a big 3 and 2 nice assists to help his team to a hard-fought victory. But the real story in his stat line can be found in the minutes column.
For the first time in recent memory, Mulder logged more playing time (10 minutes) than Wenyen Gabriel (7 minutes), although that gap has been narrowing.
Where art thou Wenyen? 11 points over his last 5 games... pic.twitter.com/COq9Troau9— Jason Marcum (@marcum89) March 1, 2017
Since mid-February, Gabriel’s minutes have seen a dramatic decrease. And the eye test tells you that he looks fairly lost when he is out on the floor at this point. Thankfully, this has coincided pretty perfectly with Derek Willis’ emergence and the development of his superhuman shot-blocking abilities.
But do you think Gabriel is even a serviceable backup at this point? If you take a closer look at Coach Cal’s post-game comments on Sunday, he appears that he might not.
Wenyen Gabriel hasn't hit a shot in 6 weeks and he is 0-5 today, most attempts of any player on the team other than Fox. That's on Cal.— TheCeilingIsTheRoof (@G2_Blog) March 19, 2017
When asked about the contributions of his seniors against Wichita State, Cal was complimentary of all of them. After discussing Mulder’s big 3-pointer in the first half, he had this to say:
“I put him back in to play the four. I was going to play he and Derek as the fours. I played Derek almost the whole half.”
So in the second half against the Shockers, Cal’s plan was to have Mulder back up Derek at the 4 spot? Gabriel is one of the only players that he did not mention at all in his post-game remarks. Is he entering the Sacha Killeya-Jones zone?
Mychal Mulder cheering on his teammates hard while on the bench. Love seeing that.— CoachCal.com (@CoachCalDotCom) March 19, 2017
Mulder did see some time earlier this season in a four-guard lineup, but it has been over two months seen we have seen that look consistently.
Do you think the NCAA Tournament is a bad time to tinker with the rotation? Or is Gabriel such a liability that Cal needs to find a new approach?