Derby Festival Classic - My Thoughts

Attended the Classic last night for my 4th time in five years and was very impressed as always. This was my second trip to the Bucket (Depaul Day) but this time I was lucky enough to have 5th row, midcourt seats behind the benches. These were perfect seats and I can only dream to get seats that good again someday. The crowd was very quiet and it was almost eerie. It didn't have the same feel that it had at Freedom Hall due to the size of the place. The lower bowl was about sold out but the crowd just didn't have any energy. Anyway, the game was your typical all star game, a lot of scoring and not much defense, but I was able to get a good look at some of the players.

Chane Behanan - Louisville - Two words, ABSOLUTE MONSTER. This guy is huge. Has tree trucks for calves and pythons for arms. He may not be the tallest player but he was by far the strongest guy out there. He has similar size to SamSam but is about 100x as athletic. He was quick, always up around the rim, and has a killer spin move that he used a few times. Was able to bring the ball up the court a few times and attacked from the wing while also in the post. Didn't shoot the outside shot well (faded every time) but thats not why he's here. This guy could be special but due to height issues, I don't see him being one and done. Will be great for the Cards.

Angel Nunez - Louisville - LONG. This guy's arms almost touched his knees when he was standing straight up. Had a pretty shot and knocked down a few threes. Kind of a moon ball shot but I don't see any harm in that. Kind of slow on D but a few months under Pitino will fix that. Maybe not a huge impact right away but I can see him being very important down the road.

Zach Price - Louisville - I think he is definitely a project. Has good size and decent skills but needs work. Very weak it seemed and made a few dumb mistakes. Got pushed around a lot on the boards but played great D on Zeller when they were matched up. At most I can see him being 5 fouls this year but after some work, could be a very effective big. Had the best entrance of the night. Came out in a UK shirt, and received some jeers from Chane and Angel, looked down, then ripped it off. It was stuck by a thread and he dragged it behind him under Chane stomped it away. Got a big ovation for that.

Wayne Blackshear - Louisville - Not in attendance. Very disappointing. Hope he heals perfectly. We really need him next year and I look forward to watching him.

Kevin Ware - UNDECIDED - Very interesting. Was announced last and still as Undecided. Came out to a good ovation to have Chane meet him at mid court, put his around him, spin him around, and say something along the lines of "this could be yours". Seemed to have good handles, even though thats his "weakness", and was very athletic. Got to the rim pretty easily and also made some good passes. I would not be opposed to having him here and after tonight, I think it very well may be possible.

Cody Zeller - Indiana - Great get for the Hoosiers. Can't see him being as good as his brother (Funny story, I've said this before. My HS team went to summer camp with his team and as a sophomore he only about 6'6" and 100 lbs playing JV. I said there is no way he will be anywhere near as good as his brother. Now look at him) but he will be crucial in bringing back IU. Is very good under the basket and has the ability to step outside and knock a shot down. Maybe we can get IU on the schedule in a few years as they are going to eventually be tough.

Austin Etherington - Indiana - Best pure shooter at the game IMO. Could possibly see him developing into a Kuric type player in a few years. Another great get by Crean.

Anthony Hickey Jr. - Undecided - Not that there is room for him here, but he could definitely be the next Kentucky Mr. Basketball that comes back to haunt us. Very undersized at 5'8" but built like a tank and very quick. Had a good looking shot and court vision. Considering WKU, TCU, Nebraska, and Tennessee. 

Deuce Bello - Baylor - Athletic freak. Very similar game to Ware but I think Bello is very slender. Not too upset about losing him and was more impressed with Ware tonight.

Le'Bryan Nash - Oklahoma St. - Easily the best player out there. Seemed to be coasting the entire game. Could do just about anything on the court and has great size at 6'7". If allowed, he would be a top 5 pick in this current draft class. I was very impressed with his game. 

Besides these guys, not many others left a lasting impression. The St. John's guy had a few high points but didn't stick out much. Could possibly be dangerous. The big man going to Ohio St. will fit in great next to Sully. They will be TOUGH next year. I feel that due to so many players coming back, the NCAA will be as deep as its ever been. Ohio St, UNC, Duke, UL, UK and many others all could be very dangerous. Tonight was a lot of fun as always and I am already looking forward to next season.

Question for those in attendance. There was guy out there who didn't play but hung around with the players. Kind of short and was wearing a gray hoodie. He participated in the dunk contest a little but that was about it. Anyone know who this was and is he of any importance?

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