I was very quick to issue an opinionated summary of the first Red/White "don't call it a scrimmage...it's a game" scrimmage. After this past Sunday's event, I took a couple of extra days to let it sink in. Not really. I was just busy. Well...not really. I was just lazy. Or, maybe I was just not on top of my game. Actually, that would be more consistent with some of the play I saw on Sunday. I'll get to that.
Anyway, let me offer opinions of Sunday's individual performances, as well as - a bonus for you guys - some additional thoughts on each player. Here's the good stuff:
- Wayne Blackshear - Played all 40 minutes, although I really only remember him for about 10 minutes. His 15 point total came mostly on 6 free throws and some nice lay ins. This game was a let down from the first, for sure. We need Wayne to be the guy we drooled over after watching his high school highlights - the guy we saw flashes from in the Final Four game.
- Chane Behanan - Looked like a guy who had just gotten in trouble for something. Oh wait. Like Wayne, a let down from the first game...in a big way. Feels like a theme starting, but some of these guys looked like they were sandbagging.
- Gorgui Dieng - Only played 29 minutes and had 7 fouls. Had DQs been allowed, he might have played just 20 minutes. Though only an intrasquad game, the Gorgster can't foul at that pace. He also has to be better offensively than 3 for 10 shooting. Like the first game, he really looked like he was being nice, or not aggressive, with his teammates.
- Russ Smith - Filled the stat sheet with 20 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. Yeah, he had 6 turnovers, but his other production far outweighed that. His 1 for 7 effort from the arc was awful, but he converted 5 for 9 inside the arc. In Russ Land, that's pure gold. Just need him to straighten out the three-ball, bottle it all up, and pour it out for 20 minutes a game this season.
- Tim Henderson - Logged all 40 minutes and knocked down 3 threes and chased down 5 rebounds. Hendo probably won't see many minutes this season, but Coach is not afraid to play him. He looks more comfortable on the court, plus his outside shooting has vastly improved. Certainly provides a challenge in practice every day.
- Mangok Mathiang - People around me at the game kept confusing him with Gorgui. Again, I will say it's crazy how much his physique and game resembles Gorgui's as a freshman. He didn't play a lot of minutes, but I really think we'll eventually be happier with this pick up by Coach than we initially were. Since he'll redshirt, he'll basically be a freshman next year with a free year of going up against Gorgui every day. Not a bad idea.
- Michael Baffour - Only played 3 minutes and, again, couldn't even get a read on whether he's providing a challenge in practice. He's probably the 13th guy in rotation, ahead of only Bond and Baumann. Seeing him on the court at any point would either be a really good or really bad indication as to how our season is going.
- Justin Bond - The newest walk on didn't play due to a mild concussion. It's almost like getting a concussion is an initiation to this team. "Here kid. Here's your concussion. Welcome to the team. You'll get your helmet tomorrow."
- Montrezl Harrell - Led the game with 5 steals to go along with his 20 points and 7 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive. Also led the Red team with 6 turnovers, but his hustle was undeniable. His 9 for 13 shooting was the most efficient of everyone, and it wasn't just dunks. I'm impressed enough to predict a Big East All-Freshman team spot for Trez.
- Stephen Van Treese - Logged only 20 minutes and scored one bucket. He did manage 4 assists, which mainly came from kick out passes from the post. I'm not seeing the SVT we got productive minutes from two seasons ago. We could really use those good spot minutes this season.
- Peyton Siva - After rolling his ankle - surprise - 7 minutes into the game, he was done for the night. In the 7 minutes, however, his only stats were 1 steal and 1 turnover. Much like Chane and Gorgui, he appeared to be trying to take a backseat to his teammates. Contrary to other opinions, I don't think we need Peyton to be a top 5 PG for us to go far. I just think we need Peyton to be healthy and confident...and maybe a top 10 PG.
- Kevin Ware - Didn't quite match the first game's stat stuffing, but came close. A 22 point, 10 rebound stat line looked pretty good, but his late-game outburst was most impressive. He showed he can knock down a mid-range pull up or can get to the rim. Frankly, Kevin has looked better through these two games than Wayne has. He also showed much improved skill and confidence in ball handling. Coach was right.
- Luke Hancock - Led all scorers with 29 points and did it from all over the court, knocking down all 4 threes he attempted and 11 of his 12 foul shots. Also led his team with 6 assists by running the point most of the game. He's not the best ball handler, but he's heady and capable being a floor leader. The amount of rust he knocked off in a week was incredible.
- Angel Nunez - I really want Angel to become a star. Unfortunately for him, he's pretty deep in the rotation for minutes. It's less of a knock on him and more of a hat tip to his teammates. In 30 minutes, he had 8 points and 1 rebound. That's not going to move him up in the rotation. As it stands, he'll probably log the 9th most minutes on the team.
- Logan Baumann - Played only 4 minutes this week. The former manager-turned-walk on is hopefully providing some good practice competition.
- Zach Price - Played 22 minutes and had 4 points and 8 rebounds. He also had 5 fouls. The rebound total was very encouraging, but he just didn't look comfortable on offense. I suppose being a big body on defense with 5 available fouls is all we need from Zach this season, though.
Overall, the two games so far have been somewhat sloppy, but the shooting (and FT shooting) improved in the second game. That was great news. What I need to see in the final Red/White game is Peyton, Gorgui, Wayne, and Chane being collectively impressive. Maybe it will motivate me to be less lazy in writing my next post.
Less than 2 weeks away from our opener against Manhattan after another Red/White game and a pair of exhibition games. It will have been over 7 months since the final game last season. It feels like just yesterday and like an eternity ago at the same time. Is that even possible? Maybe in Russ Land.