Well that was fun way to start the season. Everyone's blood going?!? Good. I was going to wait until tomorrow morning to do this, but I had all these thoughts in my head and I figured I might as well get them out now. They are a little scatterbrained, but so was the play tonight, so I think it works. I'm sure Nestor will have a writeup with the stats, which are available here, but I don't think the stats are too important from a game like this.
- DC will be sorely missed. I know JA wasn’t in the game, but without ball pressure, CBH’s defensive scheme becomes much weaker. Also, the lack of a definitive leader to throw the ball to at the end of a shot clock is something that will have to be worked out through the course of the season.
- JA's groin cant get healed soon enough. Mustafa Abdul-Hamid played as good as can be expected and nailed that clutch 3, but a Pac 10 starting point guard he is not.
- ML showed flashes of what we all are hoping for. ML showed off an improved jumper and did a fantastic job penetrating, however he needs to add some more muscle to allow him to finish around the rim better. He still has a tendency to pay out of control and doesn't have the best handle in the world, but with more playing time, I'm sure he will get more comfortable on the floor and play more under control as the season progresses.
- DG will be the heart and soul of this team and that is a very good thing. DG showed off an improved offensive repretoire and seemed to gobble up every rebound, especially in the closing minutes. He had an embarassing moment when he got hung up on a dunk, but other than that, he was by far the player of the game.
- I was very pleased with JK. Its hard to describe, but he just looks less "stiff" this year than he has in past. He was active on both offensive and defense and played with a confidence that has escaped him in his three previous years. Let's hope JK finally puts it together and becomes the McDonald's All American he was in high school.
- JMM walked off the court with a trainer in the second half and it looked like he was holding his lower back. Hopefully there will be more news on this (or no news at all, would be the best news) tomorrow morning. JMM showed off his new body, but he needs to gain some weight now in the form of muscle as he looks a like a middle school kid who lost all his baby fat and now is kinda lanky. He did show a few good post moves and a soft touch which were promising. JMM got the start today, but I fully expect DG to be the starting center once the season starts with JMM being a very capable backup.
- ND didn't have a great shooting night, but I still feel like every time he shoots the ball it is going in. What I was very impressed with was his improved playmaking. ND helped bring the ball up the court to break the Concordia press which was killing us and made some good semi-drives and passes in the half court offense that showed signs that ND is finally becoming a complete player.
More thoughts and an analysis of the freshmen, after the jump.
- Tyler Honeycutt (TH) and Mike Moser (MM) have a loooooooooooooooong way to go. Both struggled tremendously on defense guarding quicker guards getting burned multiple times and were pushed around both on offense and defense. Their lateral speed just isn't yet up to CBH level defense. Offensively, both were rather lost and struggled with spacing. I'm positive that both will get better over the course of the season, but anyone expecting a Kevin Love or even Jrue Holiday type impact from them should go take a cold shower.
- Reeves Nelson (RN) showed a lot of promise. He will be an excellent bruiser and rebounder in the mold of Aboya, but he has to figure that out first. Unfortunately, RN played more like a perimeter player and over-dribbled on offense and was a little lost defensively. However, as a fifth big off the bench, RN will have a very succesful season backing up DG, JMM, JK, and ND.
- Anthony Stover (AS) looked pretty good in warmups. He didn't get in the game though which doesn't bode well for his chances for playing time this season. A redshirt for both AS and BL (who has been out with an injury) could be likely this year as I don't see anyway that they crack the rotation of the five bigs in front of them.
- MR's impact on the offense cant be overstated. I'm not talking about his great shooting, but his entry passes. With a thin bankcourt even when JA is healthy, MR's ability to make entry passes to our low post scoring threats and his ability to handle the ball will be crucial to making CBH's offense flow.
In sum, this is a very young team and this was their first game together after barely practicing as a team this past week. However, I think it is pretty safe to say that the success of this team will depend on (1) JA and ML developing into a guard combo who can limit turnovers and apply ballpressure, and (2) the four bigs (DG, JK, ND, and JMM) dominating the glass and getting easy baskets.
Strap yourselves in Bruins Nation, this is going to be a ride like one we haven't had in awhile. I for one am looking forward to it.