So wanted to share some quick morning after notes on yet another baby step forward for our Ben Ball warriors. First, there aren't any new updates in the game reports from today's paper (or at least I didn't see any yet) on JA's cramp status. All I found was this classic quote from CBH:
[P]oint guard Jerime Anderson missed most of the second half because of cramps, prompting Howland to say: "We're going to force bananas down his throat every meal."
LOL. Still if you guys see any new updates through today please share them here or fanshot it. I thought JA seemed like on the verge of having a strong game before going out with the injury. He started slow again missing layups (he has no business missing) and looking shaky in another pass. However, as he settled down he looked a little more confident going towards the rim. While Abdul Hamid did an admirable job yesterday, we are going to need JA this season and hopefully he will have him healthy and confident leading the team.
Gordon had seven points in the first half on 3-of-4 shooting, including a monster dunk on a putback, and was a force in the paint, hauling in six rebounds as the Bruins built an eight-point halftime lead.
"If I can establish myself as someone who looks like they can play basketball, everybody kind of kicks back on their heels," Gordon said. "But at this level, everybody tries to play strong. I hope it doesn't intimidate them too bad."
I pointed out in the comment thread that DG does have his moments sometime when he makes me want to pull my hair out. Last night it only happened once though when he attempted that 3 point shot (Don McLean immedidately called it out as not a very smart shot).
Still it looks like DG is trying very hard to play smart, play within in control, and he is developing at least in the very early stages as a viable consistent throw downlow. I am crossing my fingers that he can keep this up. The progression is definitely fun to watch. Think how PAA and LMR turned out by their senior seasons and compare that to the progress DG has made since last year.
Also, speaking of making progress, I want to make a note of comments we often make (including from yours truly) about when we don't see players get what we think the mins they need to get on the court. I think it comes down to a very simple concept in Howlandwood. If a player proves himself during practices he gets on the court. Period. That is why I think we saw substantive mins for Abdul Hamid, who is not only well versed in Ben Ball defense but also works his rear end off. That is the example freshmen like MM, RN, BL and the rest will have to follow and they will get on the court.
As for JMM, the fact that he is not getting any mins during garbage time and find himself stuck at 3rd spot in the depth rotation behind DG and RN (at center) tells us IMHO what we need to know about Howland's judgment on whether heo is doing enough in practices. Oh and just because someone improved his conditioning over an off-season doesn't mean he is entitled to more mins. Ben Ball warriors still need to prove themselves during practices infront of Coach Howland (in addition to putting in the work needed in training rooms).
Lastly, I am really enjoying watching MR. If you get a chance next games see if you can zero in on him. Watch him how he moves around and creates perfect spacing for his passes. Watch him help out on defense and get himself in the right position to get rebounds. He is growing into the role JS played last couple of years, except I think MR might have a chance to emerge as a more polished point-forward this season. I am having fun watching this team and can't wait till the next game.