It was the first scrimmage of the year so the offense looked inconsistent and ball movement was far too deliberate and slow. There were plenty of lazy passes as well and turnovers which is expected. Alex Caruso led the scrimmage with 16 points with a couple of three-pointers and some great finishes at the rim. If you ask me, he's the best player on the court right now. He also had his usual 2-3 steals. Plays solid defense. He's just a good basketball player.
The other big positive storyline was the success that Jamal Jones had attacking the basket, something he didn't do much of at Lee College. He finished strong and got the bucket a couple of times, but he also forced the defender to foul and send him to the line...and he hit nothing but net on seven free throws. If he can consistently get to the foul line, then A&M has its go-to scorer.
If there was a down note, you'd have to say it was J-Mychal Reese who still struggled in the half-court and caused too many turnovers. He's pretty good in transition and attacking the basket, but he didn't look much improved as we were being told. Maybe it was a bad first scrimmage, but it seemed like I was watching the same Reese from last year.
It's the same story for Jordan Green. He showed some nice moves and improved quickness, but he once again can't seem to finish it off at the basket. It still appears to be a confidence issue.
Fabyon Harris looked solid as usual. later in the scrimmage he was running the offense much quicker and doing some nice things as a distributor. He's got a point guard mentality now, where he was more of a No. 2 guard last year.
Kourtney Roberson looks about the same. He does some nice things around the basket and he's a valuable big body in the middle, but he still struggles with his back to the basket on offense. His hands look beter as some guards fired in some hot passes to him and he handled them and got the easy bucket.
Shawn Smith is athletic and plays with a nice energy level that plays well on defense. On offense, he does some nice things, but he's the guy that will put up the occasional bad shot and force the action too much at times. He's a very good finisher in transition. He'll definitely be in the rotation.
I really liked both freshmen Tavario Miller and Davonte Fitzgerald. Miller will always be a role player. He's just a high effort, great rebounder. He finds the ball in the paint even though he's only 6-foot-7+. He's one of those guys that won;t have a great stat line, but he'll get dirty for you in the paint and make things happen. I liked his energy level. Fitzgerald has a very nice outside stroke and he hit a couple of difficult mid-range jumpers. He has a chance to be very good in time, but he will contribute immediately. At 6-foot-7 on the wing, he had a very strong rebounding game, something that surprised me. He'll shoot the three-ball, but he'll also go to the rim when the opportunity presents itself.
Dylan Johns was a tough one to evaluate. He found himself turning the ball over 3-4 times when he first came in off the bench. He was a little overwhelmed. He missed a dunk on what was going to be a very nice play. He runs the floor well for a big man. On a couple of occasions, Roberson was isolated on Johns and tried to back him down and make a strong move to the hole and while it wasn't pretty the kid showed decent footwork and a little toughness to keep the bigger and older Roberson from scoring on both opportunities. I don;t think he'll be a big impact in 2013-2014, but he's not a stiff. There's potential there.
Antwan Space stepped out and hit a long 3-pointer. He's very athletic, but he seems to want to play away from the basket as much as he wants to play in the paint. He'll play a lot, and probably start at some point, but I'd like to see him do more of the little things in the paint.
Overall, I thought both split squads played adequate defense. You expect some missed assignments and easy baskets in the first scrimmage, but when analyzing the big picture, I think this team has a chance to be pretty good defensively.
I know it's risky to base a rotation from the first scrimmage of the season, but here's my rotation after tonight.
PG - Fabyon Harris
SG - Alex Caruso
wing - Jamal Jones
SF - Antwan Space
PF - Kourtney Roberson
PG - J'Mychal Reese
SG - Shawn Smith
wing - Davonte Fitzgerald
SF - Tavario Miller
PF - Dylan Johns
Hop's Hoop Scrimmage Notes and Analysis
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