It was 32 degrees and snowing but that wasn't enough to keep a good crowd from turning out to watch the Ferris Saxons take on the Central Valley Bears.
Future Gonzaga Bulldog 6'8" Sean Mallon was the main attraction and the main target.
From the opening tip, it was clear what CV head coach Rick Sloan's defensive strategy would be: double- and triple-team Sean Mallon in an attempt to slow him down.
It worked, but only sort of.
Sean's first two points came off a spinning, driving finger roll to the hoop, around and through three players.
His next two came on a nice turnaround jumper from 6 feet out, a high release that is unblockable.
Mallon continued to pound it down low, wanting the ball, wanting to take the game over. He does not "disappear" at any time and was very active inside.
The 2001 4A State Tournament MVP runs the floor extremely well, as well as some guards, and elevated on a fastbreak to catch an alley-oop and jam it down.
Then Sean stepped out and hit two 18 footers before pulling up and sinking a trifecta.
He pretty much had things his way with the feisty CV Bears. And when the Bears upped their intensity in hopes of a 4th quarter comeback, Sean swatted several shots, from long-rangers to inside attempts.
What was perhaps most impressive was how smartly Sean plays. He had numerous assists and was especially adept at zipping quick passes inside to cutting guards or teammates posting up for easy points. He also recognizes the double- and triple-teams and kicks it out or draws the foul. Mallon is money from the free throw line.
Ballhandling: very good. Sean brought the ball up like a guard and drove from the arc in with solid dribble penetration.
While mistakes and overall aggressiveness need to be taken to that next level, and more bulk added to his long, rangy frame, it was exciting to visualize what will be happening in The Kennel in a couple years.
Gonzaga truly has an elite big man on the way.
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