Here's my take on Saturday's Open Practice and Scrimmage at Seton Hall. Remember that this is just from this particular practice and could really mean little. Also, the team had stated the day with a film session at 11:30 AM and took to the court for earlier practice around 12:30. I'm not one for excuses however.
Kelly Whitney – One thing I haven't seen anyone comment on yet is how he looked physically. He looked like he actually lost weight from last year. His lower legs/calves are very thin. This prevents him from being as effective inside and it showed again yesterday. He used to bull his way through for lay-ups and seemed unable to do that yesterday against our second team. Took a few 15-foot jumpshots that he has no business taking. He needs to step it back up on the interior.
Donald Copeland – Played a quiet point guard, which is good. He did nothing to hurt his team. Still not very quick, he'll be okay as long as he doesn't turn the ball over.
Grant Billmeier – Real good captain and team leader. Rebounded strong during the scrimmage, took a few 12-15 foot jumpshots during the practice to no avail. He is what he is.
Marcus Cousin – I have trouble believing he's starting. Did nothing of any note yesterday. He's thin. What skills does he really have?
Stan Gaines – Athletic and active. Played good defense. His shot looked horrible yesterday. Knuckleball, hardly hit the rim. I expected a little more from him and think he is one of the keys to this year's team.
John Garcia – Still a little overweight and need conditioning but I thought he was further along than I expected. He knows he is an inside bruiser and he does it well. Seems like he has a pretty good basketball IQ too. He will be good for us in short order.
Paul Gause – Certainly athletic but small, 5-10 at most. Great hops. Likes to shoot. Did not appear to be the deadeye shooter he is made out to be but wants the ball and wants to play, two characteristics we need on this team. Temper your enthusiasm but don't be surprised if he makes some big shots for us this year either. Decent handle, doesn't have a PG mentality though.
Brian Laing – Plated tremendous defense and brought great defensive intensity but seemed out of sorts yesterday. His shot looked poor, even though he hangs in the air. Still doesn't value the ball and needs to improve ballhandling. Was even more miserable signing autographs at the Meet the Team. Perhaps he was ill?
Carl Marshall – During the practice, Asst. Coach Garrett got on him a number of times for poor plays. In the scrimmage, he was non-descript, which means he didn‘t do anything good, he didn't do anything bad. We didn't get to see his speed in use nor did he take any shots yesterday.
Mani Messy – Looked improved from what we've seen previously but I just don't think he has much of a role on this team.
Jamar Nutter – Elsewhere it has been said that he looked the best out there and I would agree. He looks comfortable. I can see big things for him this year. Made a great drive to the hoop only to throw up a prayer at the end. No matter, I like him and have no qualms about him receiving major minutes.
David Palmer – Big and athletic. Not bad but VERY aggressive. He will foul a lot and perhaps get a technical or two. Can shoot free throws very well. Been told not to expect much out of him this year.
Mike Pilgrim – Didn't get to see him play. Watched him shoot free throws on the side and he has a nice stroke. Asked him afterwards about his vertical and he said it was 43". That is insane.
As for team play, we looked disorganized a lot. Running the break was not a good thing to see, we turned the ball over a ton. Offensively we will struggle but defensively it appears that we still will be strong on that side of the court.
The day was a very pleasant experience and nicely done. Attendance as usual was abysmal.
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SPK's Review of Open Practice
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