Thinking about Basketball

Yeah, its homecoming weekend and the <b>Wildcats</b> have a really big football game coming up, but <b>Basketball</b> started last Saturday, and the Coach is intrigued by who's practicing with <b>Bill Carmody</b> at <b>Welsh-Ryan</b> right now.

So the Wildcats are back out on the court, short 2 forwards, but with some very talented back court guys. Last year it was the "French Connection" that provided most of the fireworks.

This year -- the Croat Convention?

OK its SWAG time [a sheer wild-a**ed guess - based on nothing but my opinions of what happened last year] -

First: My early prediction for how the 'Cats line up for the first game:

Forwards: Vedran Vukusic, Jitim Young
Center: Davor Duvancic
Guards: T.J. Parker, Mohamed Hachad
Off the bench: Evan Seacat, Ivan Tolic, Vince Scott, Joe Kennedy.

Yes, I'm afraid we're going to see that 3 guard - "french connection" set much of the time early this year, as the 'Cats have to compensate for the loss of Patrick Towne [achilles] and Jimmy Maley [just gone].

I also suspect that Evan Seacat will be in the rotation at shooting guard more with Hachad and maybe they'll even play him at "small" forward so he can bomb in 3 pointers from the corner.

If Ivan Tolic [NU Photo-Right] comes on at Center and his knees are strong enough for him to play in there in a few preseason games, look for him to share time with Duvancic, and maybe even Scott, if he picks up the offense quickly.

At that point you could have Scott and Tolic rotating at Center, with Duvancic at the other forward. That would allow Young to move back to shooting/point guard, a scenerio I'm sure the coaches would favor.

A few givens:

1. We have to have Jitim Young on the court as much as possible. He's a firey leader who really hates to lose, and when he plays "small" forward, he usually comes up big.

2. Vedran Vukusic has to be healthy. Duh, we saw what happens when he isn't last year. Having talked with him a bit last Spring, I can tell you that he also is not a happy camper in rehab -- he wants to be on the court. If he got hurt his year, I'd expect to see him out there on crutches shooting left handed 3 pointers from the corner, a scary thought.

3. The French Connection [TJ Parker - left and Mohamed Hachad - lower right]should be a powerful defensive force this year. Young is reported to be faster and stronger [please no football comments], and should be an even better pickpocket this year.

Hachad and Parker are both playing "more under control" [Bill Carmody's words] and along with Jitim, should play better defense and add to the rebounding at both ends. Add a few jumpers, and the Cats are in every game.

4. Davor Duvancic has to pick up where he left off in the Big 10 tournament. I'm old enough to remember a Knicks team playing [and beating] the Lakers without a true center and the 'Cats just might have to do the same the year. DD has shown the potential to be the pivot guy for NU, and he's demonstrated that he has the shooting ability, but what would be even better is DD lining up at the other forward with Tolic and Scott in the middle.

5. Nobody else gets seriously injured. Hey, we're thin everywhere but at guard.

As usual, I'm not predicting anything until the Cats get playing, but I am really excited about what I'm reading about the Men's team so far this year.Let's face it, the best chance for really making noise in the Big 10 starts in Welsh-Ryan this year.

Now, I wonder what the Women's team is up to?

-- da Coach

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