Derailed by a 38-point outburst by former UD standout Keith Waleskowski, Slats was bounced from the second round of the Deveroes Summer League Playoffs by Stan Litz Law Office, 102-88.
The heavily UC-supplied Slats roster played strong for most of the contest, keeping the contest within single digits for first 23 minutes of the contest, before Waleskowski and company decided to kick-it-up a notch! Game officials instituted the "mercy rule" with more than two minutes left on the game clock, as the UC players and fans could hardly stomach the rapid decline and you could visibly notice that the Slats team had all but embraced their loss with several minutes to play in the contest.
Strong team and individual play surged on the early success of the Slat/UC players. James White, the most consistent all-around player this summer, led the offensive attack. The 6-7 soon-to-be senior swingman netted 31 points and dished out four assists. White, who failed to get the fans on their feet with a jaw-dropping dunk, managed to keep those in attendance entertained with a dazzling display of offensive moves and shots. White impressed all contest (and all summer) long with his jumper, knocking down 10-of-17 shots (4-of-6 from behind the arc).
Slats also saw two of its more dynamic summertime scorers have success on Saturday night, though in the end their inability to perform for 36-minutes helped "do in" Slats. Incoming freshman DaAndre Coleman has proven to be the most polished of the Bearcat recruits involved in the Summer League with his strong individual play, and during Saturday's contest he showed more of the same. Coleman finished with 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. However, as strong as Coleman has played at times, he once again showed how "green" many aspects of his game really are. Coleman was strong with his outside jumper once again, but seemed to rely on his three-point shot rather than take the ball strong when it wasn't falling. Coleman managed to knock down just 3-of-11 shots from distance. Coleman also struggled when being forced the Waleskowski brothers. When matched against either Keith or Adam Waleskowski, Coleman's smaller size caused him great match-up troubles, as he has yet to learn proper defensive positioning and situational defense.
Jihad Muhammed, who has impressed with his ability to play off the ball and get in the lane, again showed what earned him a chance to perform in a Bearcat uniform last season. At times Muhammed dominated a bigger, slower defended (Doug Peno; Miami (OH)), getting to the basket at will. Overall, however, Muhammed struggled with his shot, connecting on just 5 of his 16 field-goal attempts.
While Muhammed's shot struggled, speedy Devan Downey showed for the first time that he can make a standstill jump shot. Downey connected on 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and was fouled while attempting three others. Overall, the disappointing playoff defeat proved to be one of Downey's best overall games. Not only did Downey score 17 points while attempting just nine shots (4-of-9), but the 5-7 lead guard also showed off the quality skills needed to run a team, which will benefit UC greatly if they can get Muhammed to play the off-guard position. Downey consistently got in the lane with ease and managed to kick the ball out open shooters when the defenders collapsed on the ball. Muhammed seemed particularly impressed with Downey‘s passing skill, as after one of Downey's improbable "finds" in traffic he just smiled at the youngster. Downey's lackadaisical, fun-loving attitude also seemed to subside during this contest. Downey had struggled with poor turnovers in the open court in recent contest, but this game proved to be different. Downey committed only one turnover during the contest.
Fellow freshman Abdul Herrera did little to aid the Slats attack. Neither Herrera nor University of Dayton center Chris Alvarez could do much to stop the dominant inside attack of the Waleskowki's who combined for 57 points and 29 rebounds. However, for Bearcat fans, the very fact that Herrera was able to give his Slats teammates about eight minutes of solid effort is something they should be excited about. The Panamanian import that is making his way to the campus at Clifton via Miami has struggled with conditioning issues all summer long. Herrera's poor physical condition made his obviously underdeveloped basketball IQ, as he was unable to use his God-given size and athleticism to the fullest of their ability. Both of these issues were emphasized more dramatically when it was revealed that Herrera was dealing with a chronic injury that was limiting his ability to workout and play in games, which hindered his ability to learn to play with his teammates and get playing experience against some top competition.
Look for comments from the incoming Bearcat freshman about their first experience as college basketball players in the next few days.