My Take | Syracusefan.com

My Take

sutomcat

No recent Cali or Iggy awards; Mr Irrelevant
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Gotta be fast. Tired, long day.

When I heard Judah was not playing, I was really worried we might lose this game. He is our best man defender and his on ball pressure is going to be a key for our man to be successful. Especially given Chance is also out for a while. From all accounts, he is also a really good on ball man defender.

I was way off.

Coach Autry got this team ready from the opening tip and very good man defense was the key for the great success the team had in the first half. Just about everyone played top notch defense that half. Bell and Carey made some foolish fouls but otherwise, we looked really good here. Few fouls, few individual breakdowns. It was really good to see them playing that hard, that cohesive so early in the season.

We looked good on the offensive end too. JJ did a fine job running the offense. Drove to the basket when he had an opening. Found the open man on the perimeter. Looked in control and with the program all game long. His defense was also solid. Don’t think he came out either.

Taylor started at the 2 and was really good early in the game. Found openings around the perimeter, got the ball and drained some 3s. His defense and rebounding were also good. Tailed off after the good start but he looks like he is going to be a reliable outside shooter for us.

Bell started at the 3. Struggled on defense. Made a couple foolish fouls, got 3 very quickly and got beat a couple of times too. Missed a couple of shots too. Played better in the second half and I saw him drive to the basket a couple of times. But he didn’t rebound it great and has work to do defending.

Benny started at the 4. Did well with mid range jumpers off the dribble. Rebounded it well. Played very passable defense in the first half. Second half he got out of sync, really played bad defense and struggled some.

McLeod got the start at center. Won the opening tap, looked smooth when he got it. Finished well but it looks like his shooting range is about 3 or 4 feet. No polished moves right now. But he can throw down a lob very well. Got some rebounds and blocked some shots too. He will be among the leaders in blocks in the ACC this year.

Thought Brown looked really good in limited minutes. Good defender, good rebounder, good finisher. Looks a lot stronger and more confident this year too. Kid is a complete player. Unfortunately, it looked like he had a groin pull and spent most of the game on the bench, icing that part of his body.

Cuffe Jr got a lot of run and played well most of the time. Made a couple of wild turnovers but he got some steals and he looked good shooting from the 3 point circle. Looks like he will be a useful piece.

Carey played a fair amount and would have played more but he fouled out very quickly. Way too anxious to try and make something happen. He looks very raw but you can see he has physical ability. William didn’t play and I am guessing they have already decided to redshirt him.

But the star of the night and the player of the game was Quadir Copeland. He was all over the court making plays on defense and offense. Got some steals. Made a number of terrific passes. When he had one guy to beat to the basket, he took it and beat his guy and scored. Consistently. Won the hustler of the game award for his many dives on the floor to get loose balls. At one point, he knocked it free three times in one extended scrum on the floor. Happy for him because he seems like a good young man.

I think we played zone one or two possessions. Did apply some full court pressure but not a lot.

We pushed the ball up court and tried to run whenever possible. Lots of ball movement and moving without the ball. Almost no iso ball and almost no possessions where we worked the ball for 22 seconds. I have hated our style of play for the last 10 years or so and it was great to see us playing fast again. I missed that so much.

This team looks like it is going to be fun to watch play and develop. Can’t wait for the next game.
 
Good stuff. I rewatched the game already once. The second half was both fatigue at times and then just being a young team but when focused we could get whatever we wanted.

That struck me, they imposed their will in the 2nd half when they needed to. I am honestly not super familiar with any of these players. This was honestly the most I’ve watched in a long time. I’m not sure I watched more than 40 minutes of basketball in the last year. I was impressed with JJ, Copeland, Cuffe, Taylor and Carey. McLeod seems to have some potential.

I can’t wait for the real games. This is a nice feeling. I’m excited to be excited again.
 
Tom, a “My Take” from the VT game? I didn’t see it.
 
Lots of ball movement and moving without the ball. Almost no iso ball and almost no possessions where we worked the ball for 22 seconds.
I missed the first half. What I saw in the 2nd half were a LOT of possessions where we made one pass to a guy on the wing and he tried to go iso or just chuck a 3. It felt reminiscent of JB ball. The ball movement was non-existent. Others in the game day chat agreed so it’s not just me.

Not sure what happened at halftime or if 1 or 2 players sitting out made that much of a difference.
 
I missed the first half. What I saw in the 2nd half were a LOT of possessions where we made one pass to a guy on the wing and he tried to go iso or just chuck a 3. It felt reminiscent of JB ball. The ball movement was non-existent. Others in the game day chat agreed so it’s not just me.

Not sure what happened at halftime or if 1 or 2 players sitting out made that much of a difference.

Second half they were gassed and it lacked energy. Red spoke to it in presser. Defense lacked intensity. Being down 4 players showed up a little in that regard. Yet despite that they had no problem getting what they needed and guys made plays.

Getting into the lane and kicking out is one of the special parts of the skillsets we have. That said the second half is the tape of what we have to do better.
 
I missed the first half. What I saw in the 2nd half were a LOT of possessions where we made one pass to a guy on the wing and he tried to go iso or just chuck a 3. It felt reminiscent of JB ball. The ball movement was non-existent. Others in the game day chat agreed so it’s not just me.

Not sure what happened at halftime or if 1 or 2 players sitting out made that much of a difference.
Yeah, definitely a tale of two halves. I'd say at least a bit concerning even if they were gassed, which they probably were with a rotation of effectively 8.
 
Yeah, definitely a tale of two halves. I'd say at least a bit concerning even if they were gassed, which they probably were with a rotation of effectively 8.
Westry, Brown and Mintz all should have gotten minutes in the rotation.

Even Brown and Mintz would have taken 40-60 minutes from other guys.

I'm still a little worried the conditioning was a problem, but put those two back in, and nobody is tired.

No way Starling should have to play 40, but Red was sending a message about JJ and his PG skill, I think.
 
Gotta be fast. Tired, long day.

When I heard Judah was not playing, I was really worried we might lose this game. He is our best man defender and his on ball pressure is going to be a key for our man to be successful. Especially given Chance is also out for a while. From all accounts, he is also a really good on ball man defender.

I was way off.

Coach Autry got this team ready from the opening tip and very good man defense was the key for the great success the team had in the first half. Just about everyone played top notch defense that half. Bell and Carey made some foolish fouls but otherwise, we looked really good here. Few fouls, few individual breakdowns. It was really good to see them playing that hard, that cohesive so early in the season.

We looked good on the offensive end too. JJ did a fine job running the offense. Drove to the basket when he had an opening. Found the open man on the perimeter. Looked in control and with the program all game long. His defense was also solid. Don’t think he came out either.

Taylor started at the 2 and was really good early in the game. Found openings around the perimeter, got the ball and drained some 3s. His defense and rebounding were also good. Tailed off after the good start but he looks like he is going to be a reliable outside shooter for us.

Bell started at the 3. Struggled on defense. Made a couple foolish fouls, got 3 very quickly and got beat a couple of times too. Missed a couple of shots too. Played better in the second half and I saw him drive to the basket a couple of times. But he didn’t rebound it great and has work to do defending.

Benny started at the 4. Did well with mid range jumpers off the dribble. Rebounded it well. Played very passable defense in the first half. Second half he got out of sync, really played bad defense and struggled some.

McLeod got the start at center. Won the opening tap, looked smooth when he got it. Finished well but it looks like his shooting range is about 3 or 4 feet. No polished moves right now. But he can throw down a lob very well. Got some rebounds and blocked some shots too. He will be among the leaders in blocks in the ACC this year.

Thought Brown looked really good in limited minutes. Good defender, good rebounder, good finisher. Looks a lot stronger and more confident this year too. Kid is a complete player. Unfortunately, it looked like he had a groin pull and spent most of the game on the bench, icing that part of his body.

Cuffe Jr got a lot of run and played well most of the time. Made a couple of wild turnovers but he got some steals and he looked good shooting from the 3 point circle. Looks like he will be a useful piece.

Carey played a fair amount and would have played more but he fouled out very quickly. Way too anxious to try and make something happen. He looks very raw but you can see he has physical ability. William didn’t play and I am guessing they have already decided to redshirt him.

But the star of the night and the player of the game was Quadir Copeland. He was all over the court making plays on defense and offense. Got some steals. Made a number of terrific passes. When he had one guy to beat to the basket, he took it and beat his guy and scored. Consistently. Won the hustler of the game award for his many dives on the floor to get loose balls. At one point, he knocked it free three times in one extended scrum on the floor. Happy for him because he seems like a good young man.

I think we played zone one or two possessions. Did apply some full court pressure but not a lot.

We pushed the ball up court and tried to run whenever possible. Lots of ball movement and moving without the ball. Almost no iso ball and almost no possessions where we worked the ball for 22 seconds. I have hated our style of play for the last 10 years or so and it was great to see us playing fast again. I missed that so much.

This team looks like it is going to be fun to watch play and develop. Can’t wait for the next game.
Good wrapup as always. Here are a bunch of my thoughts:

The good
  • JJ looked quick and was the best athlete on the floor by a wide margin (maybe Cuffe is close, but JJ is exceptionally quick)
  • Ball movement was good in the first half and thought the defense was solid as well. Some nice dishes to MacLeod for easy buckets. Good looks for taylor, who was aggressive and involved. JJ got a couple nice buckets off the dribble.
  • Played with much better tempo. Feel like we were looking for a bucket by the 15 second mark of the shot clock often.
  • Brown was incredibly efficient and was a factor on both ends. Would not be shocked if he ends up being our second-best player behind Judah. If JJ shows a jumper to go along with his quickness and solid defense, then maybe Brown is third, but those three are our best players. Maybe Copeland too, but holding off on making that claim until I see that kind of impact against better competition. No reason to believe it won't happen, but just need to see it.
  • Copeland, to be fair, was great. Just a very active presence on both ends and my big question with him was how is he going to score -- but he showed he can score in a variety of ways and I get the sense he believes he can hit the three as well, which would make him that much better.
  • Nice game from Benny overall. Nice weakside block at one point (hoping we see that a lot), had a nice switch in the first half that led to a turnover, grabbed some boards. Shot poorly from three, but hopefully what we saw late last year shows again and he's a solid shooter as well. Threes looked a bit flat but not terribly concerning.
  • Cuffe was good. Definitely a playmaker on defense and excellent athleticism. Finished with 11, I think, but could have been 13 if not for a phenomenal defensive play on his attempted throwdown by the Daemon defender. Tip your cap to that kid for making a great play. Cuffe has a scorer's mentality, which is great.
  • Other guys who didn't play as well -- Taylor (played well in the first half then sorta disappeared), Bell (tough game, forcing it a bit), MacLeod, Carey (thought he got hosed on like four of those foul calls) -- should be fine. Don't feel like it was an effort thing. Just a bit ragged, sloppy and trying to figure out their roles/adjust to this level (at least in Carey's case. kid hasn't played in two years).
  • Thought Daemon looked solid and pretty well-coached. So a reasonable test for us.
The not so good
  • JJ playing 40 in an exhibition game? JB would have been crucified for this, even with JJ out. Not a huge deal, but a bit concerning considering we played Daemon?
  • Sure we were a bit vanilla considering it's the preseason but thought the man largely looked like just straight man. Not much in the way of creativity on that end. When you play tough man defenses these days it feels like a zone that is always overloaded wherever the ball is. That man looked more like m2m from the 80s and 90s, which doesn't work as well when teams can spread the floor so much. Will be interesting to see if we get some wrinkles here as the season progresses. That defense could get torched against teams with equal or better talent and solid coaching.
  • We will be going to Judah when we really need a bucket late in a tight game. Not sure who else would get that for us. Maybe JJ or Copeland get there. But when that game got crazy in the second half we didn't really have anywhere to go to settle us down offensively.
  • MacLeod is a nice piece but he's not a great fit for a straight man defense. In the first half he was dropping on most ball screens, which is ok but is going to hurt against shooters. In the second half he had a couple possessions where he got caught on the perimeter and got toasted. We did have nice help behind him, but not ideal. Nice going to the rim on offense, but didn't show much outside of that.
  • Wish we could have seen more of Carey. Not sure he'll be a factor for us, but would have been nice to at least see him log 15-20 mins.
  • Benny played pretty well, but there are just those moments with him where the intensity wains. Grabbed a nice board and had it stripped because he just lost focus. To his credit he grabbed the ensuring rebound, ripped it, and got it out. Also got completely bodied under the hoop by a smaller player on a free throw in the second half. Most of his points came on fade-away jumpers. They were pretty and in rhythm but man, I'm always left wondering how he's not getting a step and attacking the paint/rim against an overmatched team like that.
  • Taylor and Bell are going to play a lot and both will have nice moments. I'm also not entirely sure either bring enough consistently to make us feel like we have a good, consistent, deep rotation at this point.
  • Cuffe and Copeland were pretty loose with the ball. Like both and it's not the end of the world. Should improve too. But worth noting b/c we weren't exactly playing a top-notch defense.
  • Brown should help with rebounding, but being +3 playing exclusively man and only grabbing 6 offensive boards in that game feels not awesome.
  • JJ's jumpers were brutal. Hope that was just a blip.
All in all, interesting first game. Potential there but definitely some work to do.
 
Westry, Brown and Mintz all should have gotten minutes in the rotation.

Even Brown and Mintz would have taken 40-60 minutes from other guys.

I'm still a little worried the conditioning was a problem, but put those two back in, and nobody is tired.

No way Starling should have to play 40, but Red was sending a message about JJ and his PG skill, I think.

JJ can absolutely fly up and down the court. He hounded the ball handler well too. When we get Chance back you have Judah, JJ, Cuffe, Copeland and Brown who can really lock their guys up.
 
Good wrapup as always. Here are a bunch of my thoughts:

The good
  • JJ looked quick and was the best athlete on the floor by a wide margin (maybe Cuffe is close, but JJ is exceptionally quick)
  • Ball movement was good in the first half and thought the defense was solid as well. Some nice dishes to MacLeod for easy buckets. Good looks for taylor, who was aggressive and involved. JJ got a couple nice buckets off the dribble.
  • Played with much better tempo. Feel like we were looking for a bucket by the 15 second mark of the shot clock often.
  • Brown was incredibly efficient and was a factor on both ends. Would not be shocked if he ends up being our second-best player behind Judah. If JJ shows a jumper to go along with his quickness and solid defense, then maybe Brown is third, but those three are our best players. Maybe Copeland too, but holding off on making that claim until I see that kind of impact against better competition. No reason to believe it won't happen, but just need to see it.
  • Copeland, to be fair, was great. Just a very active presence on both ends and my big question with him was how is he going to score -- but he showed he can score in a variety of ways and I get the sense he believes he can hit the three as well, which would make him that much better.
  • Nice game from Benny overall. Nice weakside block at one point (hoping we see that a lot), had a nice switch in the first half that led to a turnover, grabbed some boards. Shot poorly from three, but hopefully what we saw late last year shows again and he's a solid shooter as well. Threes looked a bit flat but not terribly concerning.
  • Cuffe was good. Definitely a playmaker on defense and excellent athleticism. Finished with 11, I think, but could have been 13 if not for a phenomenal defensive play on his attempted throwdown by the Daemon defender. Tip your cap to that kid for making a great play. Cuffe has a scorer's mentality, which is great.
  • Other guys who didn't play as well -- Taylor (played well in the first half then sorta disappeared), Bell (tough game, forcing it a bit), MacLeod, Carey (thought he got hosed on like four of those foul calls) -- should be fine. Don't feel like it was an effort thing. Just a bit ragged, sloppy and trying to figure out their roles/adjust to this level (at least in Carey's case. kid hasn't played in two years).
  • Thought Daemon looked solid and pretty well-coached. So a reasonable test for us.
The not so good
  • JJ playing 40 in an exhibition game? JB would have been crucified for this, even with JJ out. Not a huge deal, but a bit concerning considering we played Daemon?
  • Sure we were a bit vanilla considering it's the preseason but thought the man largely looked like just straight man. Not much in the way of creativity on that end. When you play tough man defenses these days it feels like a zone that is always overloaded wherever the ball is. That man looked more like m2m from the 80s and 90s, which doesn't work as well when teams can spread the floor so much. Will be interesting to see if we get some wrinkles here as the season progresses. That defense could get torched against teams with equal or better talent and solid coaching.
  • We will be going to Judah when we really need a bucket late in a tight game. Not sure who else would get that for us. Maybe JJ or Copeland get there. But when that game got crazy in the second half we didn't really have anywhere to go to settle us down offensively.
  • MacLeod is a nice piece but he's not a great fit for a straight man defense. In the first half he was dropping on most ball screens, which is ok but is going to hurt against shooters. In the second half he had a couple possessions where he got caught on the perimeter and got toasted. We did have nice help behind him, but not ideal. Nice going to the rim on offense, but didn't show much outside of that.
  • Wish we could have seen more of Carey. Not sure he'll be a factor for us, but would have been nice to at least see him log 15-20 mins.
  • Benny played pretty well, but there are just those moments with him where the intensity wains. Grabbed a nice board and had it stripped because he just lost focus. To his credit he grabbed the ensuring rebound, ripped it, and got it out. Also got completely bodied under the hoop by a smaller player on a free throw in the second half. Most of his points came on fade-away jumpers. They were pretty and in rhythm but man, I'm always left wondering how he's not getting a step and attacking the paint/rim against an overmatched team like that.
  • Taylor and Bell are going to play a lot and both will have nice moments. I'm also not entirely sure either bring enough consistently to make us feel like we have a good, consistent, deep rotation at this point.
  • Cuffe and Copeland were pretty loose with the ball. Like both and it's not the end of the world. Should improve too. But worth noting b/c we weren't exactly playing a top-notch defense.
  • Brown should help with rebounding, but being +3 playing exclusively man and only grabbing 6 offensive boards in that game feels not awesome.
  • JJ's jumpers were brutal. Hope that was just a blip.
All in all, interesting first game. Potential there but definitely some work to do.

The good news is most everything you pointed out as not so good Red also pointed out. As for JJ's shooting- his first couple misses looked good just didn't drop. When he has Judah getting him open so he can get set he will be better I think. He's going to get space to shoot as he is a problem to stay in front of.

I'm not as worried about rebounding. A big part of not dominating there was very few misses by Daemon for a long stretch when we got sloppy in the second half then playing Benny at the 5 while red was experimenting a bit. There's a lot to work on. Most of the things of concern can be improved.
 
didn't watch or listen (daemon who ?) sooo... just glancing at the box.
major minutes for the back court in a gimme game . why ? lotta fouls. carey fouls out in 8 minutes . why ? rebounds 35-32 .treys 8-25. meh. 9 blocks nice. looks like Qcope had a solid game and we managed to hold preston shumpert scoreless.
maybe i can catch a replay someplace. nah. NEXT !
 
  • JJ's jumpers were brutal. Hope that was just a blip.
reading last year about how his injuries messed up his shoulders and his shot...and hearing this...is not a promising sign.

Second half they were gassed and it lacked energy. Red spoke to it in presser. Defense lacked intensity. Being down 4 players showed up a little in that regard. Yet despite that they had no problem getting what they needed and guys made plays.

Getting into the lane and kicking out is one of the special parts of the skillsets we have. That said the second half is the tape of what we have to do better.
hmmm...very intense practices...and a bunch of early injuries...hopefully pushing very hard early pays off later in the season...and doesnt lead to any lingering issues i.e. health and depth
 
reading last year about how his injuries messed up his shoulders and his shot...and hearing this...is not a promising sign.


hmmm...very intense practices...and a bunch of early injuries...hopefully pushing very hard early pays off later in the season...and doesnt lead to any lingering issues i.e. health and depth

Where JJs jumper the jury is still out on... his defense and playmaking paired with ability to play the point looks to have taken a big step forward. We need all of the above but he looked good in almost all aspects.
 
Gotta be fast. Tired, long day.

When I heard Judah was not playing, I was really worried we might lose this game. He is our best man defender and his on ball pressure is going to be a key for our man to be successful. Especially given Chance is also out for a while. From all accounts, he is also a really good on ball man defender.

I was way off.

Coach Autry got this team ready from the opening tip and very good man defense was the key for the great success the team had in the first half. Just about everyone played top notch defense that half. Bell and Carey made some foolish fouls but otherwise, we looked really good here. Few fouls, few individual breakdowns. It was really good to see them playing that hard, that cohesive so early in the season.

We looked good on the offensive end too. JJ did a fine job running the offense. Drove to the basket when he had an opening. Found the open man on the perimeter. Looked in control and with the program all game long. His defense was also solid. Don’t think he came out either.

Taylor started at the 2 and was really good early in the game. Found openings around the perimeter, got the ball and drained some 3s. His defense and rebounding were also good. Tailed off after the good start but he looks like he is going to be a reliable outside shooter for us.

Bell started at the 3. Struggled on defense. Made a couple foolish fouls, got 3 very quickly and got beat a couple of times too. Missed a couple of shots too. Played better in the second half and I saw him drive to the basket a couple of times. But he didn’t rebound it great and has work to do defending.

Benny started at the 4. Did well with mid range jumpers off the dribble. Rebounded it well. Played very passable defense in the first half. Second half he got out of sync, really played bad defense and struggled some.

McLeod got the start at center. Won the opening tap, looked smooth when he got it. Finished well but it looks like his shooting range is about 3 or 4 feet. No polished moves right now. But he can throw down a lob very well. Got some rebounds and blocked some shots too. He will be among the leaders in blocks in the ACC this year.

Thought Brown looked really good in limited minutes. Good defender, good rebounder, good finisher. Looks a lot stronger and more confident this year too. Kid is a complete player. Unfortunately, it looked like he had a groin pull and spent most of the game on the bench, icing that part of his body.

Cuffe Jr got a lot of run and played well most of the time. Made a couple of wild turnovers but he got some steals and he looked good shooting from the 3 point circle. Looks like he will be a useful piece.

Carey played a fair amount and would have played more but he fouled out very quickly. Way too anxious to try and make something happen. He looks very raw but you can see he has physical ability. William didn’t play and I am guessing they have already decided to redshirt him.

But the star of the night and the player of the game was Quadir Copeland. He was all over the court making plays on defense and offense. Got some steals. Made a number of terrific passes. When he had one guy to beat to the basket, he took it and beat his guy and scored. Consistently. Won the hustler of the game award for his many dives on the floor to get loose balls. At one point, he knocked it free three times in one extended scrum on the floor. Happy for him because he seems like a good young man.

I think we played zone one or two possessions. Did apply some full court pressure but not a lot.

We pushed the ball up court and tried to run whenever possible. Lots of ball movement and moving without the ball. Almost no iso ball and almost no possessions where we worked the ball for 22 seconds. I have hated our style of play for the last 10 years or so and it was great to see us playing fast again. I missed that so much.

This team looks like it is going to be fun to watch play and develop. Can’t wait for the next game.
Great write-up as usual Tom, but I had to laugh at the visual of Brown icing his groin on the bench. I don't think I've ever seen that in any sport. He'd need 2 seats so he could spread his legs far enough to get an ice pack stuffed in there lol.
 
Where JJs jumper the jury is still out on... his defense and playmaking paired with ability to play the point looks to have taken a big step forward. We need all of the above but he looked good in almost all aspects.
i read an article (or watched a video - can;t remember)...his HS coach was talking about how he is the best shooter he has coached and the article said injuries last year messed with his shooting and JJ said hes still tryng to get back to that...

I just wonder if it is physical issue lingering that is preventing his shot from being what it was...or if it is just getting back to form...
 
Where JJs jumper the jury is still out on... his defense and playmaking paired with ability to play the point looks to have taken a big step forward. We need all of the above but he looked good in almost all aspects.
Yeah I’m not pouring dirt on JJ’s jump shot. Just noticed how bad the results looked in one game. But, to your point, quality defense, excellent quickness and ball-handling and he at least appeared to be healthy, which probably should be the most important takeaway at this point
 
i read an article (or watched a video - can;t remember)...his HS coach was talking about how he is the best shooter he has coached and the article said injuries last year messed with his shooting and JJ said hes still tryng to get back to that...

I just wonder if it is physical issue lingering that is preventing his shot from being what it was...or if it is just getting back to form...

All his jumpers last night were on the bounce or not in rhythm I'll just add which makes it hard to judge. When he gets some looks to where he is set.. like we will see as teams sag on Judah we should know more.

With that said if teams can't stay in front of him and won't sag on D I'll take the easy two, a kick out or a couple FTs just as well. A couple of times last night the defender did sag and JJ still smoked him using quickness and the strength he has added on.
 
Second half they were gassed and it lacked energy. Red spoke to it in presser. Defense lacked intensity. Being down 4 players showed up a little in that regard. Yet despite that they had no problem getting what they needed and guys made plays.

Getting into the lane and kicking out is one of the special parts of the skillsets we have. That said the second half is the tape of what we have to do better.

Loved the action through the high post.
 
Good wrapup as always. Here are a bunch of my thoughts:

The good
  • JJ looked quick and was the best athlete on the floor by a wide margin (maybe Cuffe is close, but JJ is exceptionally quick)
  • Ball movement was good in the first half and thought the defense was solid as well. Some nice dishes to MacLeod for easy buckets. Good looks for taylor, who was aggressive and involved. JJ got a couple nice buckets off the dribble.
  • Played with much better tempo. Feel like we were looking for a bucket by the 15 second mark of the shot clock often.
  • Brown was incredibly efficient and was a factor on both ends. Would not be shocked if he ends up being our second-best player behind Judah. If JJ shows a jumper to go along with his quickness and solid defense, then maybe Brown is third, but those three are our best players. Maybe Copeland too, but holding off on making that claim until I see that kind of impact against better competition. No reason to believe it won't happen, but just need to see it.
  • Copeland, to be fair, was great. Just a very active presence on both ends and my big question with him was how is he going to score -- but he showed he can score in a variety of ways and I get the sense he believes he can hit the three as well, which would make him that much better.
  • Nice game from Benny overall. Nice weakside block at one point (hoping we see that a lot), had a nice switch in the first half that led to a turnover, grabbed some boards. Shot poorly from three, but hopefully what we saw late last year shows again and he's a solid shooter as well. Threes looked a bit flat but not terribly concerning.
  • Cuffe was good. Definitely a playmaker on defense and excellent athleticism. Finished with 11, I think, but could have been 13 if not for a phenomenal defensive play on his attempted throwdown by the Daemon defender. Tip your cap to that kid for making a great play. Cuffe has a scorer's mentality, which is great.
  • Other guys who didn't play as well -- Taylor (played well in the first half then sorta disappeared), Bell (tough game, forcing it a bit), MacLeod, Carey (thought he got hosed on like four of those foul calls) -- should be fine. Don't feel like it was an effort thing. Just a bit ragged, sloppy and trying to figure out their roles/adjust to this level (at least in Carey's case. kid hasn't played in two years).
  • Thought Daemon looked solid and pretty well-coached. So a reasonable test for us.
The not so good
  • JJ playing 40 in an exhibition game? JB would have been crucified for this, even with JJ out. Not a huge deal, but a bit concerning considering we played Daemon?
  • Sure we were a bit vanilla considering it's the preseason but thought the man largely looked like just straight man. Not much in the way of creativity on that end. When you play tough man defenses these days it feels like a zone that is always overloaded wherever the ball is. That man looked more like m2m from the 80s and 90s, which doesn't work as well when teams can spread the floor so much. Will be interesting to see if we get some wrinkles here as the season progresses. That defense could get torched against teams with equal or better talent and solid coaching.
  • We will be going to Judah when we really need a bucket late in a tight game. Not sure who else would get that for us. Maybe JJ or Copeland get there. But when that game got crazy in the second half we didn't really have anywhere to go to settle us down offensively.
  • MacLeod is a nice piece but he's not a great fit for a straight man defense. In the first half he was dropping on most ball screens, which is ok but is going to hurt against shooters. In the second half he had a couple possessions where he got caught on the perimeter and got toasted. We did have nice help behind him, but not ideal. Nice going to the rim on offense, but didn't show much outside of that.
  • Wish we could have seen more of Carey. Not sure he'll be a factor for us, but would have been nice to at least see him log 15-20 mins.
  • Benny played pretty well, but there are just those moments with him where the intensity wains. Grabbed a nice board and had it stripped because he just lost focus. To his credit he grabbed the ensuring rebound, ripped it, and got it out. Also got completely bodied under the hoop by a smaller player on a free throw in the second half. Most of his points came on fade-away jumpers. They were pretty and in rhythm but man, I'm always left wondering how he's not getting a step and attacking the paint/rim against an overmatched team like that.
  • Taylor and Bell are going to play a lot and both will have nice moments. I'm also not entirely sure either bring enough consistently to make us feel like we have a good, consistent, deep rotation at this point.
  • Cuffe and Copeland were pretty loose with the ball. Like both and it's not the end of the world. Should improve too. But worth noting b/c we weren't exactly playing a top-notch defense.
  • Brown should help with rebounding, but being +3 playing exclusively man and only grabbing 6 offensive boards in that game feels not awesome.
  • JJ's jumpers were brutal. Hope that was just a blip.
All in all, interesting first game. Potential there but definitely some work to do.

Carey isn’t strong enough to play more than 10 min a night. If he can’t rebound vs D2 kids, he’s not going to be able to rebound vs HM competition.

Concerned about 3 point shooting and 3 point defense. Offense, besides running a bit more, had pretty similar half court sets to last year. Defense wasn’t an earth shattering change besides switching to man. First game but not sure how much significant conceptual change so far outside of substitution patterns and lineups.
 
JJ can absolutely fly up and down the court. He hounded the ball handler well too. When we get Chance back you have Judah, JJ, Cuffe, Copeland and Brown who can really lock their guys up.
modern man defense is all about providing great help. Virginia doesn’t have lock down defenders, but they are all on the same page.

Jury is out on whether red can be a tactician and coach these guys up.
 

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