- The story of the practice to my eyes was Teyo. I've heard the phrase that he isn't in "basketball shape" several times already, but I saw several indications that Teyo isn't far away. Most notable were the abundance of jumpers (including behind the arc) he hit late in a grueling practice. He may have been winded at times, but he sure had his legs late. Comparing Teyo now to his early appearances in hoops last year are night and day. He's well integrated and at ease. The fire is redhot, and he had some excellent battles with Rob, Justin and others. Really physical, tenacious play. But what took me by surprise was the high percentage Teyo was shooting his jumpers. When the team played a scrimmage at the end of practice (well, just before free throws ad nauseum), Teyo single-handedly carried the white team. I was really, really impressed.
- The plan for Teyo is to likely use him in spot duty to get him back into the groove these next three games. His season debut will come on the 15th against Long Beach State, just one hour after finishing football practice in preparation for the Seattle Bowl. Teyo will also play in the two Stanford Invitational games on the 18th and 19th. Three days in five days, with the third game coming 24 hours after the second. Tough. He'll miss the BYU game on the 22nd, but will rejoin the team full-time by the Michigan State game in Oakland.
- For a shooting drill late in practice, the team split into "posts" and "wings." Nick Robinson, for the first time I've seen, shot with the wings. The posts were Curtis, Justin, Rob, Joe and Teyo. Looks like Nick might be on his way to time at his more natural position - the small forward.
- Joe got strong instruction from Monty to be more physical on defense. Showed him how to keep his arms straight up, but push his guy away with his chest. It was repeated again soon thereafter.
- Monty really laid into Rob Little when he missed a dunk all by his lonesome in transition. Lay it in if that will get the points. The gentle part of the condemnation was a reminder that his play was recorded as just another field goal attempt. I think Rob laid in every other chance for the rest of practice, in every drill and play. Could certainly have dunked some of them, but he made sure he didn't miss again.
- Back to jump-shooting, Julius Barnes was in top form. Outplayed all guards today, on the break and hitting his jumpers. I give him a tie with Teyo for top "lights out" shooter today.
- Boy, is Matt Lottich hot and cold. Turnover and airball one minute; brilliant pass and clutch three-pointer later.
- It wasn't until after fifty minutes of practice that I saw Casey Jacobsen take a three-pointer.
- One thought on Justin's tough luck down low on offense: should he work on putting his shots higher off the glass?
- Quiet day from Josh.
- Chris Hernandez really gets after guys. He poked the ball away from Casey from behind in the scrimmage, which really ticked CJ off. Casey and Chris had some heated battles after that.`
- It is not an overstatement to say that Curtis Borchardt is dominating right now, at least on offense and the boards. Though I saw just one blocked/deflected shot today, Curtis grabbed every imaginable rebound. He really is irreplacable, and probably the best barometer for this team. Let's watch and see the team's winning percentage when he is healthy and finishes the game.
- Plenty of work on zone defense. Speaking of "D," the best quote of the day from Monty was on this subject. "You guys are just waiting for them to miss shots. I don't think you can exactly call that defense." Intensity picked up dramatically late in practice, and Monty gave deserved kudos.
- The guys on this team are very down on themselves for underperforming in Chicago. Part of that was recognition of all that went wrong, and part was the sick winning percentage they've experienced the last couple years. Very good thing there is a two-week break between games.
12/5 Hoops Practice Notes
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