Andy Kennedy's not worried about David Huertas. He's certain the sophomore transfer from Florida's game will come around.
"He's just rushing things," the second-year head coach of the Rebels said. "He's trying to hit home runs every time he gets the ball. He'll be fine."
Huertas had only two points Tuesday night, both on free throws following a technical called on South Alabama. In the Mississippi Valley State game, he actually was the team's second-leading scorer with 12 points.
Although he played at Florida two years ago, it's been a long time since he was in a competitive situation. Time is what it normally takes for all players to step up at this level, even with some that have experience – like Huertas and Eniel Polynice, who had his best showing as a Rebel Tuesday night with 28 points.
"Confidence," Kennedy said of the difference in Polynice now and Polynice last year as a freshman. "He's shooting the ball with more confidence. He's really worked at it. We're trying to encourage all our guys to be confident."
That includes Huertas, who will become that. It just appears he needs one of those break-out halves of basketball – like Polynice had against South Alabama, scoring 21 in the opening half last night, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range.
"David will step up," Kennedy said. "His time will come."
The Rebels shot 26 times from 3-point range and made 12. USA put up 23 treys and sank 11. That didn't surprise Kennedy.
"We wanted tempo. They wanted tempo. I knew in tonight's game there would be some opportunities in the open floor. We'll take what they give us. I do think we're forcing some things at times. That's just guys being over-anxious. We're going to try to take what the defense gives us."
Kennedy says he likes much of the progress of his team, but there are a lot of areas that need improving rather quickly.
"Our attention to detail is not as good as it needs to be. I hate to give you coach-speak, but it's not something we didn't anticipate. Our attention to detail as it relates to scouting. Our attention to detail as it relates to game adjustments. Those are things that we have to get better at. But those are also things these kids have never heard before. They've never had to go through in-depth scouting reports against players equally as good as them, more
experienced than them.
"When they did something wrong, I thought South Alabama did a good job of taking advantage of it. If we go under a screen, then they stepped behind it and made shots. If we leave our feet, they exploited us. A lot of this is just inexperience. They haven't been in this position before at this level."
Kennedy said freshman Chris Warren's development at the point has been a mixed bag so far.
"Good and bad. I think he does some really good things. He also does some things that freshmen do, especially in only their second college game when matched up against a fifth-year senior."
The Rebels host Lamar University of Beaumont, Texas, Friday at 7 p.m.
More comments from AK Tuesday night
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