Modica Paces Cage Workout

The basketball Hogs continue to prep for their trip to Cancun over the Labor Day weekend. Don Oglesby watched their workout Tuesday and filed this report.

First things first. Competitor that he is, Pookie Modica had an excellent day today. It was as if he realized that yesterday wasn't his finest day and he set out from the very beginning of practice to improve his performance.

From the layup drills to the 3-on-2 to the 5-man offensive runthroughs without defense to the 3-on-3 work to the 5-on-5 half court and finally in the 5-on-5 full court Pookie set the pace. Not that his performance was flawless. But it was darned go0d, culminating in the 20-minute (clock running) scrimmage with Ferguson, Brewer, Modica, Hunter and Pharis against Tatum, Jones, Famutimi, Davis and Sulllivan.

Modica's team won 26-13 and it really wasn't that close. His team used a stifling full-court press that caused frequent turnovers. Scoring was as follows: Modica 11, Hunter 5, Ferguson and Brewer 4 each and Pharis 2 for the winners. Sullivan paced the losers with 7 points. Famutimi had 4 and Jones 2. Davis didn't score (was hobbled a bit by yesterday's ankle sprain which he aggravated slightly today, but continued to gut it out).

Tatum didn't score and really struggled trying to beat the press with Ferguson all over him like a blanket and Brewer's and Hunter's long arms in the passing lanes deflecting everything. In the 5- on-5 work in the half court that preceded the scrimmage Billy Pharis again had an excellent practice.

Mike Jones played especially well early on in the 5-on-5 work, but had a couple mental lapses later in the practice. On balance, though it was a pretty good day for Mike.

Again they spent some time working against a zone and Vincent Hunter showed a nice ability to find the soft spots in the middle of the zone. Pharis and Modica each drained a couple threes and both Brewer and Ferguson were distributors and took good care of the ball when the Famutimi/Sullivan team tried o press.

Just before the closing 20-minute scrimmage they went full-court with both teams pressing and a lineup of Brewer, Hunter, Ferguson, Pharis and Sullivan really created some havoc, which continued when Famutimi subbed for Pharis. A combination of being only about 90% recovered from his injury plus the natural rustiness after so long a rehab period has Olu a bit tentative, but you can see the ability lurking just below the little bit of rust.

Former log-time Georgetown coach John Thompson, father of Hog Assistant Ronnie Thompson attended today's practice along with Coach Heath's father. Coach Thompson the elder could be seen busily scribbling notes which I'll bet he shared with the coaching staff after the practice.

By the way, it appears that Coach Ronnie Thompson is taking an active role in installing what at this early stage looks like could be a very effective zone press. He also is working with the big men as expected.

So far (and it's far too early to draw any conclusions from this) I think most of the guys are playing about as expected and Billy Pharis and Vincent Hunter have exceeded expectations. In addition to playing well Pharis is also taking a very vocal leadership role (as is Wen Mukubu from the bench). Davis has been shooting lights out in the drills, but missed most of yesterday's scrimmage and was only at about 2/3 speed today.

There have been 30 or 40 spectators each day. If any of them are readers of this board I wish they would post their observations. Sometimes two people can watch the same thing and get altogether different impressions. Also I'm getting things together for the trip to Cancun, so will probably not make tomorrow afternoon's practice.

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