Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hoops - Jackets Take Down Might Augusta State

Here are some quick impressions from the broadcast

- Jackets win 96-57, beating Augusta St.

- First, you can't learn a whole lot from these exhibition games, at least how good the team will really be. Substitution patterns and player rotations are wide open, and while Coach runs a deeper rotation than most, we all know it will tighten up once the games count. Second, this is the first time the team has a chance to match-up against live competition. Of course it is only a Div II, undermanned team. These guys are just learning how to play together, so regardless of the competition, I think you have to like what you heard.

- Starting line-up - Fredrick, West, Morrow, Smith, Dickey - both halves. Eleven players saw action - all except the 3 new walk-ons.

- I think fans should be generally pleased with what they saw today. The offense was very good and the defense was pretty good. The Jackets jumped out to a 21-8 lead based on sweet shooting from everywhere, as well as strong defense, forcing numerous turnovers. The lead extended to 29-12 on a 3pt shot from Mario West. At that point the team was 4-7 from long distance. The Jackets cruized from then on, finally closing out with a 96-57 win.

- Balance. That is what strikes you about the offensive output. Nine of eleven players scored. Buck Fredrick led everyone with 19 points. A-Mo chipped in 17, with freshman Lewis Clinch with 10. Freshman Alade Aminu even chipped in 15. There were another 4 guys that had between 7 and 9 points. A good all-around offensive balance for sure. One thing about this team - if they get open shots, they'll hit them. There is more offensive talent on this team - just not the experience.

- Surprise of the day - Alade Aminu. We were led to believe that he was "a project" and not to expect a lot from him for a year or two. Heck, the guy has only been playing organized ball for 3 years. Yet early quotes from Coach Hewitt led us to believe that he might be ready to contribute a bit earlier. Well, if today is any indication, he will quickly become part of the standard rotation. Alade was very active today, ending with 15 points, 7 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 blocks, 2 assists, and no turnovers. Double wow. He was 6-8 from the floor. Of course Augusta St. didn't have anyone tall in the middle to challenge, but outstanding for his first effort.

- The freshman looked pretty good today. Aminu was the big surprise, but Clinch has a hot streak early in the 2nd half. He's the real deal. De'Andre Bell was active and had a good all around game, scoring 7 on 3-5 shooting, as well as 2 boards, 4 assists, 1 steal and 2 to's. Paco Diaw got in for about 9 minutes, didn't score but was active on the boards.

- So how was Buck at the point? Well, 19 pts (6-10), 3-4 3pt range, 4-6 FT, 4 boards, 4 assists, 3 turnovers, 3 steals, 4 fouls. He did get into foul trouble, which is something we don't need, but could be an issue with quick ACC guard-play. The stat-line is certainly impressive, but it's hard to get a real feel for how he controlled the flow of the game at the point position. There is no doubt that he will be less hesitant than Jarrett Jack always was looking for his shot. He is a more natural scorer for sure. He also played for 30 minutes, which was longer than anyone else. He is still fighting the image of a 2-guard playing the point, but we'll have to see him in a few games before the we really get a feel for his game. So far so good.

- Mario West had a good game, scoring 7 (3-3), hit his only 3pt attempt, had 4 assists, 1 block and only 1 to. He also made 2 steals. He also had the dunk of the night - a tomahawk jam that resulted in a slight injury. The announcers said he had been battling a minor hamstring issue.

- key issue - Last season Ra'Sean Dickey had an incredibly high point per minute total. He made use of his limited time like no other. In this game, Dickey was not much of a factor - or so it seemed. He finished with 8 points, 3 boards, 2 blocks, 2 to's and 1 assist. He played 23 minutes, but his name just wasn't called a whole lot. Was he aggressive today? Not sure.

- key issue - rebounding. We were outrebounded by a much smaller team. I don't think they had anyone taller than 6'7". That's cause for concern, but again, too early to really call this an issue. Just have to wait and see.

- Evidently there will be a closed door scrimmage for the Jackets against another Div I team next, though they can't say with who. Our sources say it could be Furman.

- Palming the basketball is something the NCAA says they will enfore more this year. Well, they caught A-Mo at least once in the first half. If that role had been in effect last season, neither Jarrett nor Will Bynum would have EVER gotten the ball past half court.

- CSTV Gametracker is such a wonderful idea with terrible execution. I can't remember any single event where the thing didn't stop working. Once again - 55-31 and it stuck the rest of the game. Blah.

All in all, this should be a fun and exciting season. There will be some explosive ofense and if the team can play great defense and get stops, it just could be a winning season. Stay tuned.............