The first day of summer league action on Sunday at Woodward had a little bit of everything.
There were breathtaking dunks, nasty crossovers, horrendous defense (at times), early buzzers, and plenty of trash talk; but it was Remy Abell's 39-point effort that stood out as the most summer league-like act of the day.
Abell was joined by Jalen Reynolds on Team Ignition. Those guys went up against a James Farr led Clovernook Healthcare team, and came away with an 82-69 win. Later in the day, Stainbroook and Myles Davis helped lead their City Taxx team to a 78-32 win that was called early with 7:52 left to play.
Here's a recap of how each of Xavier's participating players fared in the first day of summer league action at Woodward High School on Sunday:
Remy Abell – 39 points, 13-of-28 FG, 4-of-7 3FG, 9-of-12 FTs, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in 30 minutes.
The 39-point performance is exactly what fans go to summer league to see, and Abell delivered on day one. He got it rolling on offense early with a quick three, a nice and-one finish and another drive to the rim all within the first few minutes, and then he kept going from there. In the second half he was clearly feeling it, and nailed a couple of pull-up 3-pointers. It was an entertaining effort to watch, but there were also a few things that stood out about Abell's play on Sunday. First, his body is impressive; he has a big, strong frame for a guard. He'll never take 28 shots in a game at Xavier, but that size combined with his aggressive style on Sunday made him tough to stop going to the rim. He went through a stretch in the first half where he missed four or five straight makeable finishes that could have easily given him a 50-point game. Also, one of the traits about his game that has been talked about the most is his shooting ability, and he lived up to the hype on Sunday going 4-for-7 from beyond the NBA 3-point arc. He hit one off of the catch and three off of the dribble. Finally, the more I watch him the more I feel that X would be fine if they had to use him at the point guard position sometime in the future. While it doesn't seem like an issue currently, if they were to have any injuries or none of the younger guys step up to fill Dee Davis' shoes next year, I don't think they would have to be hesitant about turning over the reigns to Abell. He handles it well, plays with good pace, has a high IQ and can pass. Of course, none of this mentioned his defense, which is probably where he'll make his biggest impact on Xavier's team this year.
James Farr - 16 points, 7-of-17 FG, 0-of-1 3FG, 2-of-3 FTs, 21 rebounds, 1 steal in 25 minutes.
Farr played really hard in the first half and flat out owned the glass. That may not seem that impressive in a summer league game, but he was working mostly against 6-10 Jalen Reynolds and 7-0 Scott Vandermeer so there was at least legitimate size on the other team. Farr also flashed some nice offensive moves. He's always been comfortable with his jump shot. He missed his only 3-point attempt but made a face-up jumper from the short corner. When it comes to scoring around the basket, he seems to be getting more comfortable with some go-to moves that are successful for him. He finished off a couple of nice reverses, using the rim to protect him from more athletic or taller shot blockers. He also showed patient footwork on a really nice hook shot, and a little more tenacity on dunk attempts. In the second half, his team had a large lead and he slacked off a little more on offense, content to control the defensive glass.
Jalen Reynolds - 15 points, 7-of-14 FG, 0-of-2 3FG, 1-of-2 FTs, 8 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal in 23 minutes.
Reynolds looked like he had some first day jitters. He missed a few jump shots early and then seemed to get a little frustrated. He also had a few early turnovers. Farr did a good job of playing physical with him and keeping him off of the glass in the first half. He had two light bulb moments towards the end of the first half where he realized that it was a really difficult proposition for the other team to keep him from getting to the rim and dunking, so he threw down back-to-back slams. He got it going later in the second half, and had a couple of nice takes to the basket to go with a few awe-inspiring dunks. Outside of his freakish athleticism that led to those dunks, the positive that stood out about his game was that he has clearly continued to work on his skill-set. He did more shooting and ballhandling than any 6-10 man should, but he was actually pretty impressive with his handle and summer league is the right time to work on those skills.
Matt Stainbrook - 21 points, 8-of-9 FG, 5-of-5 FTs, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in 20 minutes.
There wasn't much to take away from City Taxx's ridiculous win since it was a blowout from the start and they were rotating 11 guys in a game that was called with over seven minutes to play. However, in the case of Stainbrook, it wasn't as much about his game as it was his appearance. If there were any lingering concerns about his MCL strain at the end of the season, he put those to rest within the first few possessions. He looks to have lost even more weight already this offseason, and he was moving better than ever out on the court. In fact, most of his points all came off of running the court and getting easy buckets in transition. He outworked his smaller opposition and looked to be in great shape while doing so.
Myles Davis - 7 points, 3-of-5 FG, 0-of-1 3 FG, 1-of-1 FTs, 1 rebound in 16 minutes.
Davis got even less playing time than Stainbrook in that game, and wasn't hugely involved in the time that he was on the court. He scored his points on a college three that was in front of the NBA 3-point line used for the summer league, and two decent drives to the basket, one that resulted in an and-one. Other than that, there wasn't a whole lot to say about this blowout of a game.