Saturday Workout Recap

In a mere matter of days, the 2012-2013 college basketball season kicks off with the beginning of practice. While Friday marks the first day of official practice, the Hawks have been logging preseason workouts. On Saturday, Hawk Hill Hardwood took in a workout.

Saturday marked the third time this fall that Hawk Hill Hardwood was able to swing by St. Joe's to catch a glimpse at the 2012-2013 Hawk team. The Hawks, picked to finish first in the Atlantic 10 by the conference's coaches, return every single member of last year's 20-win team.

While Langston Galloway, Ron Roberts, Tay Jones, Halil Kanacevic, and C.J. Aiken are the big names on the Hawks, I was more zoned in on other members of the roster. That being said, Langston Galloway, who shot 47% from three a year ago, was incredibly impressive knocking down shots from deep. In addition, he appears to be even stronger than last year, and seemed more comfortable attacking the basket.

Galloway is nearly automatic from three if given an inch, and he was terrific from beyond the arc Saturday. Junior forward Ron Roberts, who was the Atlantic 10 6th Man of the Year last year, threw down the play of the day as a flushed a powerful two-handed alley-oop. It will be very interesting to see if Ron is given the opportunity to start this season.

The player that I was most interested in watching on Saturday was sophomore point guard Chris Wilson. Chris scored just over three points per game as a freshman last year in just over 20 minutes a contest. He had his struggles from the field though, shooting only 36% from the field and 31% from three. On Saturday, Chris displayed a reworked jumper. His release is different, and the ball has a much cleaner rotation. Chris hit two threes on Saturday and also canned a contested 17 footer off the catch-and-shoot. If Chris is able to improve that shooting percentage to closer to 40-45%, it will give the Hawks a significant boost.

Freshman Isaiah Miles, a 6'7 roughly 220 pounder, has been running with both the wings and the bigs in offseason workouts. Miles was impressive Saturday with his willingness to bang down low. He looks primed to give the Hawks minutes at both the 3 and the 4 this season in backup roles. He will be able to ease himself into the rotation as he will not be asked to do too much this year.

The Hawk that remains the biggest mystery is freshman big Javon Baumann. At 6'8 and 260 pounds, Javon is a big-bodied post player. Javon has slimmed down over the last several months and showed above-average mobility on Saturday. Running alongside Aiken, Roberts, and Kanacevic, Baumann is clearly the least polished of the group. That being said, he possesses solid hands, great size, and a willingness to battle on the glass. If Javon is able to redshirt this year, as has been discussed, he and incoming Hawk Jai Williams would give the Hawks two big, wide post players in the same class.

Another Hawk I kept a close eye on Saturday was sophomore forward Papa Ndao. Papa averaged 1.6 points and 1.3 rebounds per game last year in limited minutes. He showed some very positive flashes on Saturday, knocking down a number of threes in drills. He also had a great bounce pass to a cutting Chris Wilson off the block. With his size and strength, it will be interesting to see if the SJU coaching staff tries to utilize Ndao more in the post this year, where he does seem to have good vision.

The Hawks kick off practice Friday. Hawk Hill Hardwood will be there over the weekend, with a recap to follow.

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