Saturday, October 29, 2005

Hoops - Scrimmage Review

Ok, I wasn't there. In fact, I'm at home recovering from this wonderful virus that's going around here. My wife and oldest daughter got it Wed/Thurs and I managed to get it Friday and today. Not nice stuff. Let's just say I had my running game going - to the toilet.

Ok, I'm sure that's more detail than you wanted. But here are some details you do want - how did the hoops scrimmage go on Friday night? Well, I've scanned the net, talked to a couple of source, and here's the review:

1. Buck Fredrick at Point Guard was very solid and will surprise people this year. He ran the team well, and his passing was crisp. He will also be more prone to shoot than Jack ever was. However, he still has a way to go. He had to call a couple of timeouts when pinned in from double-teams. In the very few minutes last season we saw from Buck, there were similar issues. Another issue - conditioning. Evidently he was running out of gas in the 2nd half.

2. Anthony Morrow is poised to be the team scoring leader. We knew about his outside shot, but he's developed a very nice mid-range game as well. He didn't standout last night, but will have lots of opportunities during the season. However, he will have to work to create shots for himself and he needs to continue to tighten up his defense.

3. Ra'Sean Dickey could be the best offensive post player we've had since Tommy Hammonds. His footwork is excellent and his touch around the hoops outstanding. His development is solid and he is poised for an outstanding breakout season.. However, he still needs work learning how to take what the defense gives him. He had some trouble passing out of double-teams, and still tends to force things too much. The other key for Dickey's season - staying out of foul trouble.

4. Jeremis Smith is definitely a beast on the boards, but he is still struggling with his shot. For a guy who shot a decent amount from the outside in high school, his shot still needs a lot of work. In some ways, he was almost invisible last night. Smith is one of the strongest team leaders, but just didn't show it.

5. Mario West is ready to play. He's just what we have come to know - aggressive, our best defender, and has improved offensively. Had the play of the night when he elevated into the stratosphere for a monster dunk. Jacket fans were not so impressed with his point guard skills. Depth at the PG slot could be a real issue this season.

6. Theodis Tarver struggled to do anthing. Will this be his best season? Well, he hasn't had a standout season yet, so the odds are good. He'll be a good defensive backup.

5. Lewis Clinch was off with his outside shot last night, but he was quick and very smooth on the court. However, it's obvious he's still learning the offense and the team is learning to play together. Lewis was just too hesitant at times.

6. Alade Aminu showed off some good moves in the post, and showed off his athleticsm, but is still very raw and needs additional strength to battle in the ACC.

7. De'Andre Bell continues to impress with his hustle and knack for finding the ball. He is really starting to remind fans of Isma'il - but with an outside shot....... and the hustle of Mario West.

8. Paco Diaw is long and athletic, but he had troubles bringing the ball up the floor against pressure defense. Where he excels is defense, as he really gave Buck troubles. Offensively, he probably has a long way to go.

The team played a very half-court oriented offense, slowing down the clock and working the ball around. We have more offensive talent, but will they learn how to run an offense and get guys open? On defense there was a lot of trapping and pressure schemes. The defense will be active, aggressive and fast-paced.

At the end of the day, this scrimmage clearly showed our strengths and weaknesses, and none of it was much of a surprise. As was pointed out in the chatterbox, it's always hard to guage a team when you split them up and scrimmage against one another. What it does expose is depth - which is a major concern this season. Depth at all positions, particularly the 1 and 5 spots.

Help is on the way with Javaris, Thaddeus, Brad and Zach, but this year's team doesn't want to hear it. This is no "transition year" in their minds. This is their chance to step out of the shadow of Jack, Elder, Luke, T-Mac and Ish and make a statement. It should be a fun an frustrating ride, but don't forget - the ACC is wide open this year - at least once you get past Duke.