Practice flew by today. The staff spent the early portion of practice installing some of the offense which meant less live action and competition.
The biggest takeaway from the day was the play of freshman point guard Quentin Goodin. While day one saw Goodin constantly being stopped and corrected, he was excellent during Tuesday's practice.
The most impressive part of what Goodin's doing is that he's able to go full speed and make plays while also remembering the smaller details that he's being taught.
I also thought Tyrique Jones had a better day on Tuesday. He was more active and used his athleticism more to make an impact. He is a bull when crashing the glass, which led to some great battles with Trevon Bluiett during a boxout drill.
Scout.com's head national scout Evan Daniels was in town on Tuesday to take in practices at Cincinnati and Xavier. Here are some quotes from him after stopping by the Cintas Center.
On his biggest takeaway…
"I think the biggest takeaway is just how good their guards are going to be this year. When you can roll out a trio of Edmond Sumner, Trevon Bluiett, and JP Macura, that's a heck of a group. I'm not sure Chris Mack is trading his guards with anyone in the country.
On JP Macura…
"One thing that really stood out to me about was JP. While I don't necessarily think he had a great practice, you could tell that he was buying into being an upperclassmen and really taking on a leadership role. I noticed four or five times during practice where he was pulling guys aside and making sure they were in the right spots or knew exactly where they needed to be or how a play was supposed to be run. That stood out in my mind. You can tell that he's an older guy now. He's going to be relied upon to do quite a few things, and you can just tell that he's bought into a leadership role."
On the new guys…
"With such a loaded group of guards, upon first glance it may seem hard for Quentin Goodin to see the court as a freshman. But after watching practice today, I don't know how he doesn't play and help them. I think he can give them good minutes. He's physically ready. He has a powerful frame. He's strong and quick. He's a good athlete. And I thought he played with a sense of confidence you don't see out of all freshman, so I was really impressed with him."
On Chris Mack…
"I like how Chris coaches. He has a good balance between getting on guys and holding them accountable, but at the same time teaching them in a positive way. I thought they ran a pretty impressive practice."
"The biggest thing with Xavier is that their guards are so good they're going to be able to compete and/or beat anyone in the country. I think the biggest question mark will be their post play and their depth. They're a little thin right now and need some bodies. Obviously, they hope to have Myles Davis back and that would probably solve a lot of the depth issues. I think this is a really good team that is going to compete for a Big East title and have a chance to make a really deep run in the NCAA tournament."
I watched the big men during skill work today. They were working on a variety of post moves with Allen Payne and Cullen Barry defending them one-on-one. All of them started slow, struggling to finish. As they continued, I thought RaShid Gaston looked the best out of the group. What really stuck out was his strength and lift to finish off his moves. Last year, his feet were much heavier. He's moving quicker and getting off the floor much better now from what I can tell.
Here are a few highlights from the limited live action segments of practice.
Halfcourt Four-on-Four ?
- Jones had a strong offensive rebound and stickback ?
- Jones rejected Macura on a drive
Fullcourt Four-on-Four Baseline Touch (working on transition defense)?
- Bluiett put Jones on skates and hit a jumper?
- Gaston had a putback
Five-on-Five Fullcourt (starting with a free throw and playing one full possession against a scout team defense while working on offensive actions that were installed earlier in the day)
?- Bluiett came off a down screen action and nailed an open three from the top of the key
?- Stainbrook hit a three from the right wing
?- Goodin made a great read and found Bluiett open for a three on the right wing
?- Bernard split a double team on a ballscreen and then dropped off a nice assist to Jones ?
- Goodin made a quick move off the catch to get into the lane and finished with a floater