I’m posted up in Humphrey Coliseum, where Rick Ray and the basketball team are about to scrimmage for our viewing pleasure.
In addition to free pizza for students, the draw of the evening is to get a first look at the Bulldogs. Only one noteworthy item before we start: senior forward Colin Borchert is sitting out tonight with back spasms and Trivante Bloodman is out with something of some sort involving his hand.
I’ll post random updates and observations here, with no promises that they’ll be sensical or organized.
The teams, by the way, are basically starters vs. others.
Maroon is freshman IJ Ready at point, sophomore Craig Sword at 2, sophomore Fred Thomas at 3, junior Roquez Johnson at 4 and sophomore Gavin Ware at the 5.
I wouldn’t officially write in Ready as the starter, particularly as Bloodman and Jacoby Davis are still getting healthy, but he’s got a good shot.
Ooh, nice drive by Johnson. Got the ball on the perimeter, took it inside and dropped a nifty little hook for the bucket in the lane. Improved tons from freshman to sophomore, wonder if he’ll make a similar jump this year. Ray always says he wants him to be an energy guy.
And right on cue, he hits another bucket. Four points for Johnson, 10 for Maroon.
Now a third-straight twosie for Johnson, and I could’ve sworn the announcer said Robert Jackson (clap-clap) instead of Roquez Johnson. Either way, Roq is having his way in the paint. Granted, it’s against almost exclusively walk-ons.
Now it’s just getting out of hand. More buckets for Johnson. The monotony is finally broken up by Flat Top Freddy, who scored second basket with a breakaway dunk.
And apparently this team only scores on runs, as Thomas just hit a deep three on the next possession.
Aw, Gavin Ware just missed a dunk. Big dude dropped down to around 260 pounds this offseason, was around 300 this time last year.
Also worth noting senior Tyson Cunningham is with the Maroon team, which seems to indicate he’s going to play a lot. Though I could be reading too much into that.
He won’t play this year, but 6’11” freshman Fallou Ndoye looks every bit as high-energy as Ray described him to be. Bit overmatched posting up against Ware, who has a good 45 pounds on him, but the potential is there, at least seemingly.
Ray told us a couple weeks ago that Sword and Thomas both put on double-digit poundage and it especially shows on Thomas. He’s still a skinny dude, but he looks a fair bit thicker, more ready for contact, which is what Ray wanted.
While we’re on the subject of he-of-the-flat-top, Thomas just downed another breakaway dunk.
And ooh, hey, pretty bucket from Ready. Shook his defender at the three-point line, took two steps in and hit a deep jumper for two. Maroon up 26-6.
Ready has switched teams now, after that bucket, and is running the point for White, while Sword has taken over at point for Maroon. Ready just had a nice little drive-and-dish to Ndoye for two points in the lane.
Ware told me last week his favorite thing about Ready is how well he does getting people the ball in good situations, and that was a good example.
Goodness, more Ready. Just drove the length of the court and hit a layup around the outstretched arms of Ware. I feel we’ll be saying this a lot, but Ready is good. Very good.
Flat Top Freddy, by the way, still not afraid to shoot the ball.
White team has made a run since Ready joined, Rick Ray just told them on the bench, “One dude has flipped, and it’s changed the whole team, because he’s got something beating in his chest.”
Good hustle by Ware, who got two-consecutive offensive rebounds, putting the second in the hoop for two. Did it around Ndoye, who looks a bit tired.
Alright, that’s it for the scrimmage. Hope this made some sense or offered at least a touch of insight.
My initial observations:
IJ Ready looks like a game-changer.
Roquez Johnson looks like he’s continued to improve.
Gavin Ware, Craig Sword and Fred Thomas have all altered their bodies for the better.
Fallou Ndoye could be a big player down the road, especially once he puts some weight on.
Depth is still not ideal, though it’s significantly better than it was.