While we are all feeling good about the Bruins, I think it is time to give CBH props for adding three really good players to the program.
CBH saw something in Zeke Jones many teams across the country did not see. He handles the ball well, plays really hard defense, has a really nice jump shot, and loves to take it to the hole on big players. He plays team basketball, which accounted for his 11 assists last night. When we needed offense with TH against UCI, he scored 20. He does what CBH asks him to do. His only weakness is on the defensive end, where big guards can take him to the hole, and quick guards can drive around him. He is getting better on defense, and team help defense is helping to reduce the impact of these weaknesses.
Joshua Smith is a game changer. He has great basketball instincts, great hands, and unlike many big men, loves to play 3 feet from the basket. His free throw stroke is quite good, even if his percentage is not. He is a man among boys on the court. He not only makes shots for himself, but teams need to double team him, leaving open shots for TH and ML. With RN and TH, this is a dominant front line that can score, rebound and block shots. JS clogs the lane all by himself. I predict that the NBA will take JS either this year or the next. He will get better with every game.
Tyler Lamb is a very good athlete with very good basketball skills. He plays valuable minutes and can be relied upon to play extended minutes when RN and JS are in foul trouble, allowing us to play TH, BL and TL as the front line. I predict that he will be a very good player as he gets more experience.
These players have transformed the Bruins from awful to good. The nice thing is that it is hard to tell who are best player is on a given night (TH is the most skilled and talented), as all five starters have had great games. When they play the game right, as they did in the second half last night, they can be very good. I was proud of our skill and effort last night. Whereas we criticized CBH for picking JA, Drew Gordon and Bobo, he deserves props for adding these three (and the Wear twins,) and getting us back in the Pac-10 hunt. It is still too early to predict whether we will make a run on the Pac10 title, and we have been inconsistent so far this season. Nevertheless, the talent is there to compete and CBH deserves credit for raising the talent level.