Observations From First Scrimmage

The Eagles faced off against Carleton University from Ontario on Sunday afternoon during their only exhibition game of the season. The Eagles won 67-59, but the final was the least interesting fact from the scrimmage… Click inside for Brian Smith's player-by-player observations.

Jared Dudley is the truth. He looks even better than he did at the end of last season, posting an impressive 26 points and 8 rebounds on 10 of 15 shooting, including 2 of 3 from beyond the arc. Dudley said after the game that he worked with a shooting coach three times a week while at home this summer and feels he needs to be more effective from the perimeter. Dudley was all over the glass, especially the offensive end. Seven of his 8 boards were on the Eagles' end, and he got most of his points underneath. He continues to be the glue of this team, contributing in every aspect.

Sean Williams is still a very raw basketball player, but has all the talent in the world. He blocked four shots on Sunday; two on the same play, but also picked up 4 fouls with over 7 minutes remaining in the second half. Four fouls in 16 minutes of playing time isn't a good omen for his ability to stay on the floor for longer stretches, and while he has long arms, good timing, and a lot of athleticism, he must hone his basketball knowledge and learn when to go for the block and when to stay on the floor. Smart opposing post players will likely goad him into early foul trouble for much of the season.

Sean Marshall continued his shooting struggles from late last season, going 0 for 5 from three and an appalling 2 for 10 overall for 5 points. He can't seem to get in rhythm whether wide open or closely guarded, so it is somewhat puzzling as to what is hindering him. He reportedly lost 10-15 pounds over the summer of fat weight, and he as well as many other Eagles appears to have bulked up in the weight room this summer. Perhaps he's just adjusting to his newfound upper body strength. If not, he's going to watch his back, as Gordon Watt played well and the backcourt of Louis Hinnant and Steve Hailey has been very effective.

Speaking of Steve Hailey, he also looks to have added upper body strength this off-season and was easily the best outside shooter the Eagles had on Sunday. He drained two of his three attempts from behind the arc and looked comfortable doing so. If he can become a viable offensive threat both driving the line and shooting, he may force Skinner to play him and Hinnant together, as both can shoot well from deep to take pressure of Craig Smith and Dudley.

Gordon Watt looked impressive in his debut in Conte Forum, scoring 8 points on 50% shooting in only 11 minutes of time. He and fellow frosh swingman Akida McLain are athletic, fast, long-armed, and play ferocious defense. McLain also had a beautiful dunk in the second half that left the sparse Conte crowd in awe.

Nate Doornekamp looked as solid as he did much of last season, clogging the middle and forcing misdirected shots, but only grabbing 3 rebounds. With Carleton's tallest player being Nate's brother Aaron, Nate should be getting more than 3 boards in a game. He did record 3 blocks, however, which is encouraging. One of those came against his brother, which drew laughter from the crowd and both brothers.

Craig Smith played 24 minutes and never really got going, except for early in the second half when he scored his only two baskets of the afternoon. He had his left thumb wrapped prior to the game, but took it off after halftime. He apparently re-injured it, as he said after the game that he had torn a ligament and, "I'm in a lot of pain right now. It's going to be a pain in the you-know-what for a couple weeks." He reportedly hurt it a week or two ago dunking in practice, then aggravated or worsened the injury during the game when fouled by a Carleton player.

Louis Hinnant could not find his shot Sunday, missing all five of his attempts and not scoring a point. He struggled to get the offense into a rhythm early on and generally just looked like a player who hadn't played a meaningful game in several months, a problem which plagued just about every member of the team besides Dudley.

Jermaine Watson did not play in the exhibition and he is not hurt. Coach Skinner said after the game that Watson was suspended for violating a team rule and he had not decided whether Watson would play in Friday's regular season opener against Maine. Watson was gracious enough to talk to the press after the scrimmage, saying his misstep "wasn't a huge violation, but it was something that was avoidable…and I just have to suffer the consequences." Skinner wouldn't specify the violation, only saying, "That's not what you want for one of your seniors, to be in that position."

Coach Al Skinner also sounded somewhat bothered, but also bemused at the lack of respect his team received by the rest of the Big East, as they were ranked 5th in the pre-season conference poll. "Since I've been here," Skinner commented, "we haven't gotten much credit, so why should it change now? All that matters is what happens at the end of the season." Regarding the team's uninspired play, Skinner's view was, "I don't think our intensity is where it should be," but that he was more concerned with getting everyone playing time to see where they will fit than worrying about continuity and margin of victory in a rather meaningless exhibition game.

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