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I'll start off by saying that I love the energy this team plays with. I think the new coaching staff will do wonders with the team we have here. I'm concerned about Kennedy not being around and really hope he's back soon. The offense is much more fun to watch and the defensive pressure looks to be a turnover machine. We were jumping passes a lot, but compared to Turgeon's teams, we were getting a lot of them and not whiffing. They showed some of the excitement we should expect from this team with a few alley-oops (more on this later) and the 3-pt shooting looks like it's improved.
Now on to the players:
#2 Naji Hibbert - Still looks slightly timid on some shots and still has the tendency to get a bit out of control on drives, however he did start to hit his jump shots and calmed down a bit. He hit a half-court shot at the end of the first half that got the crowd pumped up. He finished 3rd in scoring with 15 on the night and at least 2 were from deep. Defensively, he's a shut-down type player. We saw what he did against Dunn last year in the second half of the Baylor game and I expect more of that this year.
#4 Keith Davis - One of the players I feel didn't make much progress. Now, it's just one game, but he looks like he did last year. Raw offensively but brings a post presence. He really needs to work on his shot selection as he tried the Yao Ming hook from 18 feet out a couple times and didn't hit either one. I was hoping he would improve a lot, but as of now, I wasn't too impressed. I hope he proves me wrong. I'm pulling for the guy.
#5 Dash Harris - I think the biggest question for Dash was his shooting. He looked more smooth tonight but I don't know if he's a 10 ppg player. I could see 6 ppg consistently, but we'll see. We just need him to be able to hit open shots when they come around. His passing was good and defense was as expected.
#10 David Loubeau - Looks good. Quick, good shot from 16' out and even took a shot from the 3 (missed it). Seems to have done some work on finishing as he had a couple really tough shots fall tonight. 21 points from the senior and I expect him to really thrive in Kennedy's more up-tempo offense.
#11 Jamal Branch - WOW. Branch might have the best court vision on the team. Offensively, I don't see him being too much of a impact scorer, but he's only a true freshman. He looked smooth handling the ball, dishing the ball, and running the offense. He has a really good cross-over drive that made the crowd make some noise. He was the passer of 3 (maybe 2) of the alley-oops. If Dash falters, I could see Branch stepping in without too many road bumps. Great now and will be an absolute stud when it's all said and done..
#13 Jordan Green - Didn't play.
#20 Dan Alexander - Bigger than I expected. Good bench player IMO. Can shoot the 3 and looks very confident doing it. He's very athletic, evident of the dunking at maroon madness.
#22 Khris Middleton - He looks to have lost some of his "baby fat" and leaned up during the off-season. Still sneaky smooth and busted out a few good moves tonight. He didn't stand out to me, but I think it's because others were producing and we weren't having to rely on him.
#23 Zach Kinsley - The UNO transfer played a lot tonight. He's got a good stroke from 3 but lacks the quickness on defense to guard a quick SG. Solid bench player and I think he makes an impact this year in situations tailored to his skills, 3 point shooting. With Naji and Turner playing well - I'm not sure how many minutes to expect from him though. He did see some time at the small forward position.
#31 Elston Turner - The UW transfer started when the 1's and 2's played. This kid is a beast. He's a good defensive player and excellent 3pt shooter. He was taking NBA 3's and hitting. It's bold, but I could see Turner leading us in scoring, or at least right there with Middleton. 15ppg player easy. He tore it up in Europe and looks like his year off helped him step up his game. Keep in mind he is the son of Sun's assistant Elston Turner Sr.
#32 Kourtney Roberson - Big kid. I wanted to see more, but he's exactly what he was last year - An intimidating force in the middle. He's 100% effort player and I think he starts when we play teams with a true center (Ray Turner & Loubeau started tonight). He's got plus handling for a big guy and offensively is a nightmare for smaller post players. He is built like an oak tree.
#35 Ray Turner - I'm very excited to say that I think Ray is putting it all together. He's possibly the most athletically gifted player on the team and has shown flashes, but has really lacked consistency. Tonight he showed range, rebounding ability, and a defensive presence down low. I can see why he got the start. Color me extremely impressed. If Middleton leaves, and Ray continues to improve (really has to work on handling), I could see Ray playing some 3 next year (bold statement).
Overall, there is some extreme potential for this team. We're deep. The first team vs. second team doesn't have a huge gap like other times and I can see us right in the thick of the Big 12 championship when it's all said and done, as well as the potential for a deep run in the tournament.
I'm sure Aubrey will add thoughts later.
This post was edited by tandrus on 10/23/2011 at 9:42 PM
Depth can be great in Basketball... Can't wait! Thanks man!
I keep forgetting about our transfers. This team has crazy depth.
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