Hoops Update, 10/25

Don Oglesby is a regular at basketball practice. He filed this report after watching Friday's workout.

Yes, I know there's a football game this evening. I'll be watching. But thought I'd post a couple of tidbits from Friday's basketball practice.

Rashard Sullivan didn't participate and looked very gimpy. I know he has been bothered by tendonitis in the knees, but it seemed more severe yesterday. That could be a problem with our shortage of inside players and because I think rest is about the only treatrment for tendonitis. It bothered Brandon Dean for much of his career at Arkansas.

Early in the practice during a 3-on-3 segment Pookie Modica went down writhing in pain. Stayed down a couple of minutes, then got up and limped to the sideline where Dave England retaped his ankle. Fifteen minutes or so later Modica was back on the court and finished practice. I imagine he's pretty sore this morning, but apparently it wasn't as bad as it looked for a moment.

Olu Famutimi continues to pick up his confidence, He's shooting very well. Still makes some ball handling errors, but I think the rust is coming off.

If Mike JOnes and Kendrick Davis keep shooting as well as they have been they will be in the hunt for minutes.

Both Ronnie Brewer and Eric Ferguson are giving excellent play from the point. Brewer made a couple of Ooh and Aaahh plays yesterday (and occasionally threw one away trying to hit a home run when a single was all that was necessary). He is also being pretty aggressive getting to the basket when playing the 2. Eric Ferguson has been all over the court, putting on great defensive pressure, making good passes and shooting well, both from the point and the 2. Chuck Tatum nailed a couple threes.

Vincent Hunter is struggling mightily to get the defensive post footwork the way the coaches want it, but otherwise is NOT looking like a freshman. And even defensively he's quick enough and long enough to recover for a block even when he gets the footwork wrong.

Billy Pharis is giving very solid play as expected and is shooting well. Pookie played well even after the ankle problem. Wen Mukubu just flat makes things happen. (Usually good, occasionally bad.) We also watched him nail about 9 straight 17 to 19 footers during a shooting drill, something that has been a problem for him in the past. Jamar Blackmon cashed in on a couple of his specialties... offensive rebound putbacks or under-the-basket steals and conversions. And Preston Cranford knocked down a couple of threes during yesterday's scrimmage.

There are still things that need correcting, especially at the offensive end. But by and large this practice was much better than Wednesday's, in my opinion. And all the individual, two-on-two and three-on-three work is paying dividends on the defensive end of the court. Attitudes are very good and competition features both the scrimmages and the drills.

To add a little pressure to the free throw shooting yesterday, twice during the scrimmages Coach Stan Heath stopped the play and sent everybody to the line for a one-and-one, with the results added to the scores that each team had recorded during the scrimmage. The final score ended up a one-point victory for the Reds... something like 47/46. Not surprising, since the teams were more evenly divided: Reds: Brewer, Davis, Famutimi, Mukubu, Pharis, Cranford. Whites: Modica, Hunter, Ferguson, Jones, Tatum, Blackmon.

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