Thursday, November 4, 2010

Questions and Answers

The 2010-2011 season is here and there were plenty of new players to watch, sophomores who need to improve, seniors that have extended roles, and a top-flight point guard to enjoy. Sure they were playing AIC and had a dominating advantage in length and depth, but there were plenty of great signs out there to take from this game. The outside shooting looked much improved and players weren’t hesitant with taking open jumpers, the free throw shooting was stellar, and they rebounded well enough, though they lost several long rebounds. They mostly had two defenders on the offensive glass to protect easy fast break points, and AIC was crashing the boards. While the rebounding needs to get better, especially position rebounding, they did a good enough job in their first game together. Defensively, Calhoun mixed things up, playing full court pressure, several different 2-3 zones, and for the most part played the pick and roll well.

Walker was outstanding and carried over his great summer play into the preseason. He was looking for his offense early and often which is what this team needs. His jumper, while they always looked smooth, were sinking early. He played great defense too, getting a multitude of steals that fed the fast break. There was a stretch in the second half where he took over the ball game, having a great no look pass, then stealing the ball and draining a three. This is a great start to his season and a confidence booster for this entire team.

Beverly didn’t have a standout game. He did have a steal and got fouled, making both free throws and had a nice runner, but he needs to be more effective with the ball in his hands with either assists or scoring opportunities. Napier was a pleasant surprise. He is nifty with the ball in his hands and showed a sick crossover, but it was his outside shooting that was the most impressive. If he can consistently knock down those shots, then he will be eating into Beverly’s minutes.

Oriakhi and Okwandu had a distinct advantage against AIC and did what they were supposed to do, dominate the defensive boards. Oriakhi did show some moves around the basket, but most of his points were from the line or dunks. Okwandu did a superb job and was one of the most impressive players out there. He played hard without fouling which was one of his biggest issues last season, but it was his abilities to finish plays through contact that was great to see. This has got to be a great confidence booster for him and he needs to back it up with another solid outing.

Giffey, Olander, Smith and Lamb all had tough first halves, missing jumpers galore, but they started to settle in during the second half. Lamb’s jumper wasn’t falling, but he did have a nice block, rebounded nicely, and had a nice dunk. Olander showed some versatility and had some easy buckets early, but also showed some range with a 3-ball. Smith’s jumper also wasn’t dropping, but he battled hard on the boards and in the second half, he was able to get to the rim a few times.

Calhoun couldn’t of had a better showing for his squad. They were playing an inferior opponent, but Calhoun has seen his teams flounder against teams like this early, and especially with such a young team, there was no telling what type of execution there would be on the floor. His big men dominated the paint, Napier displayed enough to warrant more minutes, and Walker looks to have a stellar start to the season. Sure it is early, but this game gave fans more answers then it did questions about the future of this team.


hedgie said...

Calhoun should bring back the 2-2-1 full court press, he has a lot of bodies to cycle through this year given the uncertainty around a lot of the guys. These guys need to create as many FB opportunities as possible. I am not sold on the front line, Okwandu will be good for 5 fouls and not much else, not to mention he's a weak fouler where legit front line guys will get 3 point plays when Okwandu fouls them. When do the germans get on the squad and play?

I think there's a chance for some good jump shooters in the incoming class to develop but it really will depend on how they do against real competition and pressure. Syracuse, WV, Lville, Nova, etc...

David Gillett said...

I agree, Hedgie. The front line is going to be an issue and Wolfe will add a body but he'll be behind the eight ball for awhile. The young wing players are going to need to rebound much better and Coombs-McDaniel needs to be much better rebounding also. The Napier and Walker lineup is intriguing and could pose a problem on both ends of the court.

So far Calhoun has used the 2-2-1 and the press and it has paid off, but these are slow and less talented squads.

Okwandu has out shined Oriakhi so far, but it is very thin depth there. They'll need to play them separately until Wolfe arrives. Oriakhi is more of a power forward then a center.