October 19, 2012

Quick Thoughts from the Open Scrimmage

Enjoyed a nice evening in JPJ.  My quick thoughts from the Blue-White Scrimmage:

-- I thought AKIL "Big Fundamental" / "Big Fun" / "Fun" MITCHELL was the best player on the floor tonight.  Extremely active.  Great on the boards.  Showed some pop from mid-range.  Stickbacks galore.  Stepped up and drilled his free throws.  Great D.  Vocal leadership, and fully displayed confidence.  Called out assignments on defense.  I absolutely loved what I saw from Big Fun tonight, and I think he looks like he just took a major step forward in his development.

-- Anthony Gill isn't eligible to play this season, but I thought he looked good, too.  Maybe struggling a little bit with whether he's a big 3 or a small 4, but this 'tweener type player is perfect for the "stretch 4" role Bennett used with Will Sherrill and Mike Scott.  Gill is clearly athletic and can shoot the rock, but he needs to get stronger.

-- Justin Anderson is a man among boys.  He looked like a 28-year old NFL tight end, not like a college freshman small forward.  He also had a better-than-I-thought-it'd-be shot from outside.  He's not going to be able to put the ball on the floor with much success, and he's a bit overaggressive with his defense (think freshman season Jontel Evans), but Justin Anderson is a freaking MAN.

-- Joey Buckets was working hard, had some really good moments, and definitely set the tone for the entire team.  He was drenched with sweat after the scrimmage, if that tells you anything.  He did give us an ugly bricked dunk on a breakaway, though.

-- Mike Tobey can get his shot off, no problem.  Lots of post moves.  Spins, drop steps, shoulder fakes, and he;s not bashful about going to the hook.  But his shot was flat tonight. Always short, always off the front iron.  Seemed like he shot about 25%, and he shot a LOT.  Still, I think he's the most smooth, fluid low post offensive player we've had in a long time.  If he can beef up and put a little loft under that shot, he'll be a real weapon.  That won't happen as a freshman, but I bet he has a few big games this season.

-- Evan Nolte has a sweet stroke, and mixed it up a little bit on the inside.  But he's rail thin.  Still, I liked what I saw.  Seemed to really play with some intelligence, which I liked a lot.

-- I also liked what I saw from Doug Browman, who split defenders to get into the lane seemingly at will.  Not the best decisions once he was there, but he was penetrating successfully.  His D, unfortunately, was not good.  He's tiny, so that's mostly to be expected.

-- Taylor Barnette looked like a walk-on with an above-average shot.  Sorry.  He's a one-dimensional sniper at this point, and that's fine... but his shot is not Keith Friel-like.

-- Darion Atkins kind of disappeared at times.  Not encouraging.  Tobey definitely had more "sizzle" to his game than Atkins did tonight.  That said, Atkins did a pretty good job of staying home on defense, which was one of his big problems last year.

-- Jontel Evans, Malcolm Brogdon, Teven Jones, Paul Jesperson, Thomas Rogers, and Justin Miller did not play tonight.  That's four scholarship guys and two recruited walk-ons.  That's a big chunk of the team, including probably our three best dribble-drive penetrators and likely our starting backcourt.  Get better soon, guys.

Bottom line: I left the arena feeling excited about Joey Buckets, Big Fun, and Justin Anderson, hopeful about Nolte and Tobey, and concerned about the rest of the roster. We really need Brog and Bub back - quick. And Jesperson should factor into the rotation this season, too.


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