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Red, White and Sweat All Over

Just got back from the game.  Fun time had by all.  Peyton Siva led the white team to a thrilling, last second victory. 

The headline is of course Chane leaving the game with a couple minutes left with what looked like a sprained ankle.  I haven't seen how bad it is yet, hopefully something he gets over in a couple days.  Both teams played hard and every time they would run into each other and crash to the floor I would hold by breath until they got up and seemed fine.  So of course I didn't see how Chane went down and it looked like it was in the middle of the floor, not underneath the basket or when he was going up for a dunk or contested layup.

And of course, the second headline is who didn't play: mainly Wayne Blackshear, but also SVT and Rock, and Justice played very few minutes.  Those are 4 guys who could play significant time on the floor, possibly at the same time, this year so it's hard to tell about this team without key guys. 

Also hard to tell based on who was playing together.   It seems like our best 5 players are Siva-Blackshear-Kuric-Chane-Dieng, and there's no telling when we'll actually see all 5 together on the floor at the same time. 

Last year's red-white game had a lot more flow and scoring in transition than this year's did, and I think part of it is that everyone tonight knew what everyone else was doing at all times.  It is clear these guys know where their man is going to be, so every great pass to a cutter and what would seem like an uncontested dunk would either be blocked or someone would swipe/slap down or otherwise interrupt the score.  I tweeted that it was like watching George and Oscar Bluth fight each other.  That's funny, dammit.  And apt.  An apt allusion that I tweeted.

But I am a little concerned that the sorta soccer-style pass that leads to the assist was lacking.  Maybe that's because the other guys all knew where the ball was going.  But that was one of the best things about last year's team.  Hopefully when they get more time together, they will get there.  Jokes aside, Russ Smith seriously does not pass the ball on the break.

There is a gap between the starters and the second team seems bigger this year than last year.  They evened up the teams by putting the starting guards together on one team and the starting bigs on the other, and so the red team dominated most of the game on the boards and inside, and then when everyone started to wear down, Siva, Kuric and Russ Smith took over. 

Overall, they all played extremely hard and Siva's team won.

Thoughts on Individual Players and Plays:

Siva  -  looks stronger, still getting to the rim but able to finish against contact better and not get slammed to the floor.  Gave up a 3 in the zone (argh).

Russ Smith - I like me some Russ Smith.  He plays fast, gets his shots and is quick on defense.  I think him and Siva playing together for stretches could be fun because they compliment each other well.  They give up a lot of size on defense and I'm not sure Pitino will ever do it, but those two were fun on the same team.

Kuric - leading scorer, but did it quietly.  Always seems to be around the ball, especially on defense, but had trouble guarding Chane (not surprisingly).  Interestingly when he and Nunez were in the game, Kuric played the 4 and Angel the 3. 

Swop - hit the first three and had one nice move but overall was not much of a factor.  Hopefully after a few months of real play will get back into game shape.

Price - Wow, I was really impressed with him.  Dieng swatted a couple of his dunk attempts (which shows how strong Dieng has gotten) and his hands on entry passes need a little work, but for the most part he played really well, looked a lot better than he did even in August.  If he and SVT can give 10-15 minutes a game at the 5, a couple fouls and not be a HUGE dropoff from Dieng in terms of rebounding and defense, that would be big for this team. 

Nunez - Didn't get to do much, probably won't get a ton of time this year but we don't really need him.

Hendo - Played the whole game essentially (Bullett played like 5 minutes?) and it's not fair to compare him to Siva but he played okay.  Hit a couple open shots. 

Chris Smith - Quiet night for him.  Russ really seemed to bother him, and he and Hendo didn't exactly move the ball around as well as Siva might.  A little worrisome because Russ is clearly not a point guard, so when Siva sits, unless Ware is as good as advertised or Bullet comes back....well, let's just hope Siva can play 35 minutes a game.

Mike Marra - Played okay, hit some 3's but didn't do much that I could see on defense although hard to tell.  No longer in contention for best player on the team.  MarraFan427 will be crushed when I tell him one of the 5 times he wakes up overnight. 

Chane Behanan - Different level player.  Really, really, really, really, really, really sucked seeing him limp off the floor and then come back with crutches.  It's going to be hard not to get too hyped about him early in the season, hard to remember he is still a true freshman playing inside in the Big East.  But man, he is really, really good.

Gorgui - Really looks a lot bigger than last year, and those slow developing turn-arounds are fun to watch.  His biggest impact will be rebounding and as a facilitator on offense.  The potential for the high-low game with him and Chane is very exciting. 

Hancock - Love that Luke Hancock wanted to take the shot late in the game for the red team.  He physically is way behind our guys who are in the same year development, so I am anxious to see how a transfer year does for him.  He will contribute next year.

Overall, exciting to watch although they did not look as in sync as they could have been. 

And I can't wait to see Wayne Blackshear. Have I mentioned that?