I’ve bumped this from the comments. Thanks to Spartalytical for taking the time to compose his thoughts on the scrimmage and share them here.
Well, I did attend the Green-White game, and I’ll give my impressions of the goings on, though I’m nowhere near as witty or clever as kj. My apologies. [Editor’s note: “Witty” and “clever” are not the first two words my friends use to describe me.]
Having attended Midnight Madess just two weeks ago, the team looked far more sharp and put together as a whole. There were still some sloppy plays and turnovers, but when you’re playing against yourself, I found it hard to evaluate on the fly whether one side was lapsing or if the other was really on the ball. What did generally strike me was that there were several instances of great defense, pocket-pickings, blocks, and lots of hustle. This was far more entertaining and telling then a couple of weeks ago. I’ll try to recount impressions player-by-player.
One of the two players that stuck out the most was Chris Allen, who had better than 30 points on the day. Those came from three, and many came from creating his own shot through traffic. He seems quite improved and much more comfortable with the ball than last year, and I was quite impressed. He’s got great athletic ability, and put it on display in various ways. As a welcome site so this board, he has raised his ability to successfully create plays.
The other star of the day was Kalin Lucas. Off the top of my head, I can’t remember seeing him make a single mistake this afternoon. Creating shots, spotting up, leaving his man turning in the dust, and playing very good, quick defense, he did it all. He doesn’t play the least bit like a sophomore. The point position is in very good hands.
Korie Lucious played well, grabbed a few steals, and made a few slick passes that sometimes caught his man off guard. He handled the ball pretty well, especially for his speed (at times).
I watched Isaiah Dahlman with glasses as rose-colored as I could muster, but I’m just not seeing it for him. Izzo’s said his playing time will increase this year, and while I do think his shot looks better (in warm-ups), the minute he has any kind of pressure or the shot isn’t perfectly open, he hurries it and it’s lacking quality. His defense wasn’t good, and his ball-handling lacking. Several reports have him improved over last year, but I’m far from convinced he’ll be a meaningful contributor.
I was left wanting to see more from Durrell Summers. He had a quite day as I recall. Hit a couple shots, made some hustle plays, but I’m not remembering anything extreme in either direction.
As the game went on, Travis Walton got better. Early on, he was relatively quiet and missed his few open looks. But those looks came more frequently as time passed, and he began looking more comfortable and scored with what looked like relative calm. I think he had better than 20 points, and had at least one long ball. His defense looked decent, but his offense is what ended up sticking in my mind.
Not remembering a ton from Marquise Gray. If there was any play that was generally sloppy, it was the big men, in which Gray played his part. Just not remembering a lot.
I kept waiting for Goran Suton to bust out, and he sort of did at one point with a couple of threes and a short-range shot, but he seemed a bit fumbly and underused. He had a couple of good sequences with Lucas feeding him in the post, and all in all he looked decent. Just didn’t pop out like I was hoping he might.
I think I remember Idong Ibok having a couple of good offensive trips at Midnight Madness a couple of weeks ago, but today he was a complete offensive liability. He had a few points on put-backs, but nothing impressive. Those mostly, if not exclusively, came against Herzog. He did get some good boards, however, and sent some shots flying authoritatively. If he can keep his nose clean with respect to fouls, he should be pretty good defensively as he seems to have a good sense for blocking shots.
Tom Herzog had a few offensive glimmers of hope. His touch is pretty soft, and if open he seemed pretty comfortable, but against any real defensive pressure he gets lost with his lack of power ability. He does seem to have good hands inside, but it was painful at times watching him match up against Ibok. Neither could really establish themselves over the other. Herzog has the better shot, Ibok the better defensive presence.
I was impressed with Delvon Roe today. He looked quicker and better able to contend for boards and position than two weeks ago. Not long before Midnight Madness, he said his knees were about 80%. Today was at least 90%, by my estimation. He was solid on the glass, made effective moves to the basket, and played good defense. He’s got a good back of tricks whether posting or slashing, and we saw some more of that today.
Draymond Green was an enigma, I thought. I can’t remember how many points he had, but on the offensive end I only recall one trip where he made an impressive heads-up play. He missed several short-range shots, turned the ball over inside, and just seemed like he didn’t know what to do with the ball. He also seemed to suck a lot of wind when the game would pick up its tempo from time to time. As has been mentioned before, he’s lost a ton of weight, and has gone above and beyond expectations in workouts and training this summer, but he looks to need a good bit of conditioning yet. Given his goofs on the offensive end, I thought Green was impressive on the defensive end. He established position and rebounded very well and very consistently. I think he blocked at least one shot, and interrupted passes. What was strangest was that he seemed to exert and handle his upper body strength very well on the defensive end, where it was all out of control on the other end.
Austin Thornton had some good looks and made a couple of solid-looking shots. Mike Kebler had a couple of good shots and well, capitalizing on some plays drawn up specifically for him. I don’t remember anything from Jon Crandell. Sorry to lump you three into the same paragraph, guys. I’d like to see more from Thornton – I can see him being a Jake Hannon type player.
Anyway, that’s my feeble attempt at a recap from today’s scrimmage action. I think there were a couple of other folks here who were planning to attend, so hopefully they’ll chime in as well. It was a good afternoon with a lot of opportunity to catch glimpses of how good this team could be this year. Overall, I was pleased and impressed at the progress apparent in the last two weeks.
It was also great to watch the end of the Wisconsin game on the monitor above. For as relatively empty as the arena was at the time (15% full at most, I’d guess), people were pretty pumped when MSU pulled out their victory in storybook style. Brett Swenson shakes off last week’s Michigan mishaps and comes through on two huge field goals, one of which wins the game with mere seconds remaining. Maybe I’ll write in Mr. Swenson for president on Tuesday’s ballot. Runner up for player of the game goes to another Bret (Bielema, that is), for his time out call enabling the game-winning field goal to actually be set up properly.