While it was the play of the veteran UC players that everyone took notice of
on Tuesday night, DeAndre Coleman stepped to the forefront on Saturday
afternoon, and showed that the incoming recruits have a little game, as well. In
game number 2 for the Slats team, composed primarily of current and future
Bearcats, the SLATS took an early lead and never looked back. They looked much
improved from Tuesday night, and held on for an entertaining 95-88 win over
Innovative Marketing on a warm afternoon at Woodward High School to even their
record to 1-1.
There were certainly many shining performances to go around. But let's start with the freshman to be, DeAndre Coleman. Coleman, a 6-7 195 SF out of Stephenson High School in Stone Mountain, GA exuded the kind of confidence Bob Huggins can only dream of getting for 4 years in the Big East Conference. While his list of offers won't knock your socks off (believed to be Purdue, Tulane, Toledo, and West Virginia), Coleman showed off an array of skills that makes this sleeper an interesting prospect to watch for the next 4 years. You'd never know how under recruited he was, by his play in the gym today. He more than held his own, and looked likes one of the best players on the floor today. It appears the UC staff may have found a true diamond in the rough with this signing.
What did he do well, you ask? Well, just about everything. While he struggled to find his stroke the other night, he obviously felt more comfortable today, as his stroke was as smooth as the other side of the pillow (apologies to Stuart Scott). His high arcing shot is a beautiful thing to see when he's on, as the ball reaches its peak, and then drops down slowly until it swishes through the net like sweet chin music. He knocked down four 3 pointers today, and ended up with 25 points.
He showed off his all-court game today, as he handled the ball with ease for a man his size. He was able to take the ball to the whole aggressively, either finishing (as he did on one occasion with a nice hook shot while swooping through the lane), or if the defenders collapsed on him, he would kick it out to the open man. He often made it look easy out there. He also continued to show his willingness to rebound, as he got down low, and did the dirty work when he deemed it necessary. He ended up with 5 rebounds and 5 assists for good measure. If his performance at the Deveroes Summer League today was any indication, Bob Huggins and the UC staff have a good one. All of those major schools that decided to pass on him, and instead went after his high school teammate, Alade Aminu, could be kicking themselves in a few years. UC fans certainly hope that is the case.
James White was as impressive today as he was on Tuesday. He looks so confident and sure of himself these days. Part of it has to do with his experience at UC, and the other factor appears to be his NBA workouts. He seems to have come back from that experience as a new player. He could do whatever he wanted out there, as there was no resistance from his opponents. Also displayed a leadership role out there, as he could be seen working with Abdul Herrera, and showing him what to do. His offensive game was very crisp. He made 3 pointers, he posted up, and he had nice drives to the basket, and was absolutely lethal on the fast break. There are few guys in Div. 1 who have a prayer of stopping James in a breakaway situation. James ended up with 26 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, and 2 blocks. Play of the game involved a 2 on 1 fastbreak; Jihad Muhammad had the ball, and when he saw his man collapse on him, he laid it off the glass, and James White skied to put it back through. A real crowd pleaser.
Muhammad was very solid, again. Was a scoring machine out there today. Had a game high 28 points, on 4 treys, and hit some big shots down the stretch of a close ball game. Did it every way possible. Hit most of his 3's in transition on pull ups. Also had some nice drives to the basket, where he was able to finish, or get fouled. Didn't have many turnovers, considering the pace at which he plays. Bearcat fans are hoping for this kind of production for his senior season.
Devan Downey was more aggressive today. He didn't look as timid as he admitted he was the other night. Struggled again with his outside shot, but shows the ability to get into the lane because of his quickness. Scored 6 points on 3-9 shooting. His shot seemed better when he was on the move, as opposed to stand still jumpers. Is very jittery with the ball, much like Jihad. Was able to make shots over much taller defenders, which he'll need to do in the Big East.
Abdul Herrera showed improvement from his first game, though is still a major work in progress. Was able to handle a pass on the move, going to the basket from Coleman, and put it in. Showed a nice, soft touch, by hitting about a 10 foot jump shot, as well as sinking some foul shots. Still struggled with the physical play in the post. Fouled because he was out of position. Hands need to get better, and intensity needs to pick up on the defensive end. He scored 8 points today, to go along with 5 boards.
BEARCAT INSIDER NOTE***
Adam Blecher is a lifelong Bearcat... His parents got together at UC and raised their son right "The Bearcat Way" While Adam is his real name, those who visit message boards around the net know him better as Bearcatfan4life. Bearcat Insider is a fan first site... We always are looking for stories that have the fans of UC athletics in mind. We want to thank Adam for taking the time and hitting the keyboard with his second story. If you have a story and want to share it, please e-mail Bearcat Insider Publisher Dave Berk. He may just take you up on it. Click here to reach Dave's E-mail