Deveroes Summer League-Sunday, July 1st

Before taking a week's break for the Fourth of July, the Deveroe's Summer League was again in action on Sunday, July 1st. Bearcat Insider was primarily there to watch the Slats team perform.

Maybe it's just the time in the season when play gets sloppy, but that was certainly the case in the two games I witnessed on Sunday at Woodward High School. The game between Goodies BBQ Restaurant and OHC ended by using the mercy rule, and it was a fitting ending to a lousy game. Players on occasion were not even running the floor but just standing at their end waiting for the ball to eventually return. Xavier's C. J. Anderson led Goodies with 19 points. I didn't bother to see who won the game.

The UC dominated Slats team played the final game of the day, but I thought the enthusiasm of the Bearcat players was quite different than just one week ago. Slats started Mike Williams, Deonte Vaughn, Alvin Mitchell, Rashad Bishop, and Larry Davis. Kenny Belton was present but did not play. Kenny said he expected to be out for another week or so as he continues to nurse a bad ankle.

Innovative Marketing had no real size, and ex-Kentucky swingman Erik Daniels had the chore of matching up with Mike Williams. Daniels really struggled with that defensive assignment as Williams had in the neighborhood of 20 points in the first half. Still, Slats trailed 49-36 at the break.

Ex-Bearcats Armein Kirkland and Jihad Muhammed also played for Innovative. Jihad has recently returned to Cincinnati after playing professionally in Saudi Arabia.

The Woodward crowd was probably less than half of what it was to see Slats debut the previous week. I'd estimate the crowd to be about 200 fans, but the crowd continued to dwindle throughout the game.

The game was pretty uneventful. To illustrate that point, I'd say the most scintillating play of the day for Slats was when Rashad Bishop made an entry pass to Mike Williams through B. J. Raymond's legs. Slats saw its record dip to 2-3 with the 88-79 loss.

According to my unofficial stats, Mike Williams led the Bearcats with 32 points, but once again, Mike shot poorly from the charity stripe. Alvin Mitchell had 19 points; Rashad Bishop had 10. Deonta Vaughn had 9 points while Larry Davis scored 8 points. I think the Slats team could have benefited if they would have taken more advantage of having Theron Washington (Winton Woods) of Detriot-Mercy. Washington played very sparingly and seldom if ever touched the ball.

Rashap Bishop reminds me of a younger, bigger Immanuel McElroy. The even-tempered Bishop said he's willing to do more than just shoot the ball as he continues to recover from tendonitis in his knee. "I like getting my teammates involved more than getting myself involved." Bishop knows the Deveroe's Summer League is a far cry from real college basketball. "It's more like an all-star game with everyone wanting to come down and shoot threes. We had a little argument yesterday about shots, but we patched it up."

During every timeout or break in play, the three UC freshmen would go to the end of the Slats' bench while Deonta Vaughn would sit at the other end. Mike Williams did insert himself in the middle of the freshmen at halftime and spoke with them, but the Slats team did not look like a squad with any chemistry. In fact, there seemed to be some friction after Saturday's game.

Anthony McClain is still expected to play with Slats and enroll for the 2nd summer session at UC. That session begins on July 24, and Slats plays on July 10 and July 12 so he could be playing very soon.

I spoke with Mike Williams prior to Sunday's game to get his overall impressions of the Slats team. "I feel everything is going all right. Everyone is going out and playing hard and having fun."

Mike has been entrusted along with Deonta Vaughn to give the baby Bearcats their first taste of Cincinnati basketball. "They've picked me as their leader, and the guys look up to me so I've got to do a good job and make sure everyone does what they need to do."

Mike's goal for Slats? "I hope everyone finds some kind of chemistry and gets closer on and off the court. I hope that will carry on into the season."

When asked about his personal goal for next season, Williams showed why he's one of the leaders, "I want everyone to put it all on the table and go out and play hard every game."

Moving from a Big 12 school to a Big East school isn't a concern for Mike. "No matter what conference you go to, there's going to be some differences so you have to adapt to them."

Mike will give UC more size next season, but he doesn't see himself as just a power player. "I think I'm a power player and a finesse player. I can bang, and I can step out and hit the 15 footer."

Slats returns to action at 7:30 on Tuesday, July 10th.

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