I think it's difficult to tell a whole lot about a team by watching a scrimmage, because it's impossible to do well in certain areas without doing poorly in others. Also, remember Justin Jonus put up 30 something points in this game a couple of years, so lets keep some perspective.
That being said, the most encouraging aspect of this game was Senario Hillman's 3 point shot. I spoke to a friend of mine before the scrimmage who has been able to watch a couple of practices, and he told me that Senario has greatly improved his shot. That was evident in the game. More important than his effectiveness, his form appears much improved over last year. He has a good follow through with good rotation, and it's one fluid motion now. I still think he starts at the 2, but my friend said he thinks Hollinger will start at the 2. We shall see.
I posted after the earlier BBQ/practice that Ron Steele looked like the Steele of old. While he didn't appear hurt, he actually looked a little rusty during the scrimmage. Torrance played very well, driving in and creating offense. He's still a little inconsistent on his decision making at times. We have several guys who can and will shoot from the outside. Andrew and Ron Steele, Hillman, Hollinger, Gee, and Brock are all capable of getting hot. It was a very fast paced game with a lot of shots taken from the perimeter. While we shot the ball well, we didn't defend the perimeter at all, and that has been a concern in the past.
I was kind of disappointed in our big men. We missed a lot of shots from close range because nobody wanted to finish strong. Too much finesse on the block, taking shots while moving away from the basket, etc. On the positive side, Yamene actually caught the ball consistently.
Another positive is our free throw shooting. Most of you remember how awful we were in this area last year, but I think we made 41 of 49. In particular, Green has a very nice looking free throw for a big man, so he should be much more effective at the line than Hendrix was last year. We shot a lot of free throws because we committed a lot of fouls. We had 3 players with at least 5 fouls, so this is another area we will need to improve on defensively.
I know it's nitpicking, but one thing that bothered me is that when our guards shoot the ball from the corner, they tend to stand and watch their shot. If the defense gets a rebound, there's a good chance they will have a fast break the other way because our guard is now at the farthest point on the floor from the other basket. If we are in a crash the boards situation, they should follow their shot, otherwise, they need to get back on defense.
Again, it's hard to tell much, but it looks like we will try to get up and down the court more, and shoot more 3's. If everyone has an off night shooting, we could be in trouble, and I fear this could cause us problems on the road.
It's time for my annual rant about the poor marketing of our men's basketball team. Other schools have a midnight madness which creates excitement and is a lot of fun for the students. I recall when Coach Gottfried first came here, he spent a lot of time talking to students in dorms, etc, to convince them to come out and support the team. In previous years we've held several open practices, which allow people in the community to come out and see how hard the guys work and develop an appreciation for all that goes into the team. Some schools have open practices or scrimmages before or after a major football game, when many fans and alumni are in town.
What do we do? We close all but one practice and only allow a select few (who are already donors anyway) to attend that one. We have our intrasquad game at 4pm on a Sunday. I understand not wanting to compete with college football and the homecoming activities on Saturday, but I would imagine a lot of our alumni probably spent Saturday night in Tuscaloosa and returned home Sunday morning. Some of those people probably would have been willing to stick around for a morning or noon tipoff. Of course, I stuck around, but I'm thinking most people from Birmingham had already returned home, and certainly those from farther away did too. It's time we start doing something to market this team to people outside the city of Tuscaloosa.
The first exhibition game is Thursday night, at 7pm against Faulkner. Come out if you can. RTR!