The first game went as expected. We scored. We didn't play much defense. We tightened up on defense. We scored, scored, scored, scored. We loosened up on defense, but we couldn't stop scoring to save our lives. Victory.
For those worried about Jorge Gutierrez, he cramped up according to Jeff Faraudo. That would explain the copious amounts of Gatorade I saw him chugging on the sideline. And the fact that he started heaving into a trash can before being assisted to the locker room. He'll be fine.
Kodiak watched the game, wrote stuff down and sent it to me before I could write anything, and I can't add much that I don't disagree with, so I'm just going to edit his stuff and post it up and take credit for it. JOKE'S ON YOU KODIAK. (I added some thoughts in here and there, but this is mostly him. Thank Papa Bear for this one.)
Kodiak: This was a nice coaching job by Monty. Pretty impressive how the shot selection, perimeter defense, and ball movement against the press improved between the 1st and 2nd halves. Monty reflected on it in his postgame thoughts.
Early on, the perimeter defense was poor. There were lots of guys not being able to fight through screens (namely, the freshmen). There were poor close-outs. Jumping at shooters instead of forcing them to put it on the deck. Also issues with getting beat off the dribble, forcing rotation, and allowing kickouts for open shots. That'll get coached out of them eventually. All three areas will still be issues throughout the year - especially against better competition.
As we had hoped, there was some nice passing between our two starting big guys. Entry passes are an art - our post play may suffer because we can't get the big guys the ball in the right place at the right time.
It's hard to say how much to take away considering that we can out-size and out-athlete them at most positions. I'm not sure if we'll be able to beat guys one-on-one - so we're going to need to learn how to hit cutters, set solid screens, and move the ball. Our offense is going to be a weird mix of sweet 3's and ugly hustle plays.
- It's great to see Harper Kamp back. For the basketball purist who enjoys watching fundamentals, it's great to watch him play. Great footwork. He has a pretty smooth-looking righty hook, which is definitely new. He had another nice spin move and hook shot. I think Monty is deliberately limiting Kamp's minutes to let the younger guys get work. Both the offense and defense work better when he's in because he knows how to move the ball, sets good screens, and boxes out.
- The new Markhuri Sanders-Frison...reminds me of the old MSF. He's still picking up cheap fouls from bodying people. He stays on the court longer before getting sloppy with his feet, though. He also shows more hustle and has a better motor than last season. There was some nice ball movement between MSF and Kamp. That high-low is another Monty staple. We may not beat people one on one in the post, but can generate points off movement by cutters.
Allen Crabbe was very smooth. I liked how he picked his spots, was patient, got his points within the flow of the offense or hustling on the glass. He was also good at getting rebounds with good hops and timing. He has a very mature game for a true frosh.
There were reports he was hesitant and passing up shots in practice. So, he gets fouled on a drive. Makes 2/2 FT.
Nails two 3's.
Gets fouled again on a drive. 2/2 FT.
Then banks in a 3.
Adds 4/4 more FT's.
He only missed one shot on the night from either the field or the stripe combined. It works for me.
Gary Franklin is going to have high highs and some head-scratching 'uh' moments. He hit his first open 3 and missed his next four. None of them were great shots to take, as they all looked pretty long. And taken from a standstill, not off ball movement. Monty couldn't have been happy with that.
Still, he's very confident. If Monty can turn Randle into a force, it's going to be fun to see what he does with Franklin.
- This is a good learning experience for Franklin and Crabbe on defense. They're getting abused and lit up by less athletic guys who know how to move without the ball. They improved after Monty probably lit them up for it at halftime, but it'll probably be a recurring issue for most of the frosh this season.
- Brandon Smith struggled early, but rallied. He played good defense and got better as he got more time. Still a work in progress, but I feel better about him as the backup PG. Smith also shuts down Sonoma State's hot outside shooter (#1, the guy keeping the Seawolves in it). Nothing fancy. Just closing out, fighting through cleans, and getting in his face. He works hard, and that's going to earn him time until the younger guys figure things out.
- Jorge also looked solid running the point. Better handles than last year. He has a knack for penetration and finding the open guy. Finishing is still inconsistent as is the outside shot. He looks quick and strong, but he probably will never be able to finish that well at the hoop--he seems very much ground-bound.
- Richard Solomon is active. He crashed the boards a couple of times and had a putback. He doesn't have any polished post moves yet. He got the ball down low a couple of times and didn't know what to do with it. The ball got swatted and he fumbled it away. He is able to put the ball on the floor and drive the baseline, but his offense this year will probably come mostly off of messy plays (offensive rebound putbacks or fast-break turnovers).
- Bak Bak had another nice block and displayed a decent jumper. But it's clear that there's a big dropoff from Kamp and MSF to Solomon and Bak defensively, as they opened up the baseline and driving lanes. They were fouled a couple of times and goaltended on another occasion.
- Alex Rossi has a sweet, quick stroke, nailing a three in transition. He still needs to work on stamina.
- Emerson Murray hit a few threes in garbage time. It's clear he's not up to speed yet, as he was hesitant to take open shots and break the press. In fact there was a lot of trouble with players trying to break the press by picking up their dribble, and there were a couple of bad turnovers. Hopefully this is a correctable issue.
- Nigel Carter played nice defense.
- Robert Thurman had a nice dunk. Hooray for the human victory cigar!