A quick post here because, surprise, I'm heading out with one of my kids to go to another gym for another tournament!
Read on for more from GU's Kraziness in the Kennel.
I’ve covered a million games and I actually remember a lot of ’em. I’ve covered a ton of scrimmages, exhibitions, pre-season games and the like and only one vaguely sticks in my mind. The Seahawks beat the 49ers about 12 years ago, but I can’t recall the score. Can’t recall any single play.
What I’m getting at is Saturday's first public viewing of the Zags provided a glimpse of the team, but hardly anything substantial in the way of conclusions. Still, it was mostly entertaining and interesting to see the newcomers in action.
--The first 10-minute scrimmage had what I expect will be the Zags’ starting lineup (suited up for the Blue team): Meech Goodson, Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray, Elias Harris and Rob Sacre. The group jumped in front 14-7 with the starters scoring all 14, except the final two coming on a Manny Arop bucket. The Red clawed back and took the lead twice, on G.J. Vilarino's free throw and David Stockton's field goal, before the Blue tallied the last six points. Harris scored his first points with 1:45 left and Bouldin had his first basket with three seconds left.
There were a number of shots taken early in the shot clock, but one Red possession warrants mentioning. The unit worked the ball and the shot clock down before finding Gibbs open on the left wing. He buried a 3-pointer.
“That’s the ones that you clip and show them: this is what it’s supposed to look like,” head coach Mar Few said.
Few, by the way, sat at the scorer’s table while his assistants handled the bench coaching. He jotted down some notes and at one point motioned to Gray to slow down after an lob pass from 45 feet hit the back iron and bounced out of bounds.
“We’re going slower than we have in the past,” Few said of the process of integrating so many newcomers into the fold. “Last year’s group was way farther ahead, but that’s the way it is with so many new guys.”
Few reiterated that he likes the youngsters. “They’re going to be good, I don’t’ know when, but they show flashes of it here and there. Getting them to be consistent will be the biggest challenge, but they’re going to be good. The big guys are coming along well. Elias had a good afternoon, Sam and Kelly have been very strong. Manny has had a good couple weeks, (but) he didn’t play great tonight.”
The newcomers have impressed the veterans.
“It’s much different,” Bouldin said. “I spent all three years with Jeremy (Pargo), Josh (Heytvelt) and Micah (Downs) – those guys are like my brothers and best friends. It was a lot different, but I have just as good of friendships with Steve and Rob and some of the new guys. I think it’s going to be a fun year. We have a long way to go, but I think we’re going to make it.”
Of Saturday’s scrimmage, Bouldin said ‘E’ (Elias) probably stood out the most.
Gray said the newcomers are doing fine. “It’s been a lot easier to integrate them because they’ve worked so hard, they’re not holding anything back. They’ve been aggressive and willing to learn and they go hard in practice. It makes it easier to teach them the concepts.”
The newcomers are willing learners.
“It’s important we listen to the coaches and veterans on the team because we have to learn,” Harris said. “We have to learn every practice and they have a lot more experience.”
--Bouldin appears to be settling into his leadership role comfortably and Few wants the other experienced players (Sacre, Meech, Gray and Will Foster) to step up as well.
“Matt did a nice job tonight,” Few said. “We’re still trying to squeeze a little more assertiveness and leadership out of Steven; maybe it just manifests itself in different ways.”
--As mentioned in the scrimmage article last night, the newcomers don’t hesitate to put up shots.
“They’re taught to be aggressive,” Bouldin said, “and we like that. They come in with no fear, that’s how I came in. You want to come in and make a name for yourself. I wouldn’t say they were forcing anything, but I would say they’re not afraid to shoot it.”
--Yes, that was Will Foster shooting free throws right-handed. The change came recently in practice. He displayed better form right-handed so the change was made. He actually shot both of his free throws all right-handed (he didn’t even brace the ball with his left). He made 1 of 2 free throws and scored five points.
I’ve heard he shot left-handed for years after a coach asked him way back what hand he shot with. Foster casually answered ‘left’ and that’s the way it’s been until recently.
--Leaving the building I happened to meet Bol Kong in the media room. He was watching a football game on TV with ice on his injured ankle. He didn't participate in the scrimmage. He was hurt at a recent practice when Foster fell on his leg. Kong tested his ankle earlier Saturday but said he "couldn't get much push." He hopes to return this week.
--GU opens with a Nov. 2 exhibition against