In case you didn’t know, Dennis Felton still has enough players left on his roster to field a team and that team beat Delaware State two weeks ago 58-47, followed it up with a narrow escape of 1-AA Augusta State (81-74) a few nights ago, and then throttled Wake Forest (72-50) yesterday.This is the look of hearing "We're up by twenty points" from the band.
I got to catch some of the Delaware State and Wake Forest games on TV and from what I saw, the talent is actually there for this team to piss a couple of opposing teams off this year. Are we NCAA tourney bound? Not by a long shot IMO, but there is enough talent on this squad to possibly pull a few upsets.
Offensively, we still take too many 3-point shots and we’re still having trouble running an actual offense instead of the “look he’s open, throw it to him” style we’ve been accustomed to over the past few years. The defense is not as tenacious as some of Felton’s defenses have been, but part of that has to do with the youth and the other, much smaller, part has to do with playing cupcakes. Hard to get jacked up when you’re playing in front of a standing-room-only crowd of 5,000 – 6,000 fans.
In fairness though, yesterday's effort against the Demon Deacons was this team's best so far this year. They understood how tough this game could have been, and played up to the level of the challenge. Wake Forest is a young team as well, but is very fast in transition; something the Dawgs kept them from utilizing a lot. Our youngsters played quite well, and shared the ball effectively. I'm hoping to see more of that offensive and defensive effort, but again, I'm not sure this team is old enough to make that a possibility.
I think our biggest problem is going to be the lack of a dominant inside game. We have good size all the way around the court, excluding Humphrey and Gaines, but is Dave Bliss really going to be healthy enough to become a physical Center? The lack of progress in Reshad Singleton and the suspension of Albert Jackson hurts us because those are the two most physically imposing players on our team. In “relatively good news,” Jackson came back this weekend against Wake Forest, and played quite well. He actually scored his first points of the year with "boom shaka laka" type jam. Reshad Singleton also had a decent game, but decent is where I would draw the line. No points from the biggest man on the court, but he did net seven rebounds and had two blocks."I CAN'T WAIT FOR CLASS ON MONDAY!!!!!!!"
All in all, if we could get have that inside presence to make defenses account for someone in the paint, then we could be dangerous. The one thing Takais Brown did for us was make other teams account for him, even if he wasn't producing that well. We need that type of presence to loosen up the outside and give our guys chances to hit some mid-range jumpers (which we shoot really well).
Aside from that, our biggest problem that I see is going to be cohesion. This team has not played together long enough to establish a chemistry that makes a player responsible for his assignment, and give him faith in his teammates to handle theirs. From what I saw, we’re going to constantly over pursue on defense due to some players trying to do too much. That will leave opposing teams wide open to drain run-ending 3’s or get us physically dominated in the paint.
This season is going to break down to how well the team can follow the gameplan, and how well we can play in the paint. Period.
Going forward, I expect Felton to play a ton of zone defense until the youngsters get comfortable with the system. Again, IMO it’s a talented team; they just don’t know how to play together yet.
Just my thoughts. I could be wrong.
Until next time kids.
Labels: Men's Basketball