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Author Topic: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition  (Read 1585 times)

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Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« on: November 03, 2013, 12:30:04 pm »

Fatalism - Hoops Exhibition 2013

"That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart"
-- Song by Aimee Mann--

So it turns out having a kid involves a lot of rituals that are pretty much meaningless and completely unintended.  They just happen. This is mostly because if I find something that gets the kid to settle down and go to sleep I will cling to it like grim death.  That's how we started listening to rather gloomy and bleak Aimee Mann songs as our twisted bedtime lullabys.

Her songs are quiet and pretty and soothing. It just so happens that the lyrics are pretty dark. We are cool with that.

So anyway, this is how E and I have ended up crooning the chorus to "That's How I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart" every night as we lay in bed.  There are hand gestures  and dramatic facial expressions. It's all a little weird - but we like it. There is something joyful in the fatalistic sentiment.

And that is how I feel about every Razorback basketball season - joyful and fatalistic.

It will be a story that somehow, someway will break my heart.

This isn't true just for the Hogs.  It's true for every team but one.  The individual stories will be different, some with many many highs and some with nothing but lows.  But the endings will be the same, heartbreak.

Every year we come back for more - so it must not be the ending that ropes us in.  In must be the story.

So as far as predictions for this season go I can only tell you that it will be a very interesting story - and the ending will break our hearts.

On to player evals - with the HUGE caveat that this is the first time I have ever seen some of these guys play.

ALANDISE HARRIS - needs a nickname. 3 syllable first names just won't work for me. I'm thinking "Dice" or possible "The Brute" so we can all yell "BRUUUUU" whenever he does something good.

To me he is the biggest X-factor of the season. He looks like he could be really really good.

He is thick - a full grown man. (I realize that could also be the description of a porn star but so be it. )

He has a controlled and smooth - almost professional - offensive game. He is, in short, a finisher. He makes buckets.

His shot is good - he likes the fadeaway a bit much but he shoots it well. He likes to face up from the high post and is a little in love with the bounce. But I am impressed.

Having said that, and PLEASE remember that I have only seen him play once and know nothing of him personally, there is something a little disconcerting about the professionalism of his game.

There is something joyless, almost mercenary, about it. He gave the impression of one of those guys that always puts up a good stat line - gets his points and boards - but never plays for a good team. A Shareef Abdul Rahim if that means anything to you.

If my impression is wrong - and I hope it is - and the guy is a leader and selfless in all the right ways. If he is passionate and wild on both ends of the court- then he is quite simply the key to this team making a leap this year.

Come on Brute. Let's see what you can do.   

---- On the way to the game Ellis wanted to know if "BEE-jay and Maw-shawn" would be there because they are her favorites. Upon learning they wouldn't be she cried - like totally bawled - for ten minutes.  I just let her cry it out then explained that this is our life as college hoops fans.  Just when you start to love guys they go away.  (In the case of the Hogs usually to the D-League or a former Soviet republic.)

COTY CLARK - Speaking of playing with wildness and joy. There are 2 Coty Clarks. One we saw for the first half and one we saw in the second.

Coty 1 is self contained and quiet. Very smooth but also very average. This Coty frustrates me.

Coty 2 goes after every loose ball, runs to the rim for oops, is an asset on the press, looks for and takes shots, tries to swat at everything near the rim.  I love this Coty. I want to give him a slightly too familiar hug.

So I guess that gives us 2 tantalizing front court talents. Let's look at a third.

BOBBY PORTIS - He is and will be very good. He is our best all around player right now. He is smart, he rebounds, he plays defense, he is willing to play in the low block though might prefer facing. He has a wonderful touch.

What he is not is someone who wows you at first glance. He isn't a leaper or a slasher or a phenomenal dunker. As far as I can tell he isn't a rim protector.

I saw a list of comparisons people were making and Kevin Garnett was a popular choice.

Let me be absolutely clear - aside from having really dark skin there is NOTHING comparable about Portis and Garnett.

Garnett was one of the most hyper-athletic, defense first, jumping jack, rim protecting big men of ALL TIME. His offense was always a little unnatural outside of dunking. He evolved into an excellent jump shooter but as a true post was never comfortable. Aside from a decent shot this describes the exact opposite of Bobby Portis.

The comparison that comes to my mind is Keith Lee (without the legendary jerry-curl).

They both have slightly odd, vaguely insect-oid, frames. They both rely on intelligence, vision, passing, positioning and touch.

I'm looking forward to the Bobby Portis era and make no mistake - that is what the next 3 years will be.

--- Ellis has a bit of a misconception about the mascots.  She is convinced they are her friends and are at the game just to see her.  She hugged them and tried to fight off other kids trying to say hi to them.  That's my girl.---

MOSES KINGSLEY -  Not totally what I expected. He ain't skinny. He is, in fact, kinda ripped. He is the proto-type rim protector and rebounder. Offensively he is nearly useless outside of rebounds. He doesn't have touch or sense around the rim - or doesn't seem to.

The first thing he needs to develop is backside or pick and roll alley-oop skills. If he can get 3 of those a game he won't be a liability and will earn minutes. Nice future. Sketchy present - particularly with the polish of the 3 guys I already talked about.

--- We had kind of a bad hair day.  When I say "we" I mean Ellis because at this point I'm pretty much bald and all hair days are bad.  E is saddled with a single Dad who tries to manage her increasingly unmanageable hair.  We usually resort to pony tails. Tonight she had sort of a top-knot pony and she looked like a cast-off villain from "Enter The Dragon". ---

JACORREY WILLIAMS: Now we get to the pair of intriguing sophomore tweeners.

Jacorrey is sporting an early faux-hawk/fade and I like it. There is much less of the exuberant, hyper puppy that we saw last year. I'm actually starting to see him as a guy that could start for a good team at the 3. His handle is good and getting better - if too lefty dominant. His shot is mechanically sound aside from a tendency to angle himself with his left shoulder too far forward instead of getting truly square to the rim.

The evolution of their respective shots will likely determine the playing time and contributions of both Williams and Qualls.

MICHAEL QUALLS - Had one 3 that was decisive and smooth. I didn't get a look at his handle. His energy and enthusiasm are infectious, as is the mayhem that follows him. I truly believe he could become a very good 2 - but as of now his ability to consistently produce from that position is in question.

I like him at the 3 but don't think that he should replace Harris or Clark. He should be fun to watch.

--- Davor Rimac friended me on Facebook because he read one of my blogs and liked it.  Is it weird that I texted all my friends about this and that they were every bit as excited as I was? ---

RICKY SCOTT: At this point we move from the intriguing upside and even potential dominance of our front court to our much maligned - just hope and pray for competence - back court.

Ricky started and I understand why. Mike wants size at the point so he can play Ant at the 2. I get it. And I love Ricky, I really do.

But all my experience watching college basketball tells me that Ricky's evolution as a college basketball player is over. At this point he is what he is. And he is a high intensity point who pushes the ball well and can penetrate but can't gather to finish, isn't an instinctive passer, has limited floor vision, will never be even an average shooter at any kind of volume. He is an average to above average defender but hardly a game breaker on that end.

DRAKE WADE: Much of the above applies to Drake. Except he IS a potential game breaker on the press and he IS a competent 3 point shooter. But his insistence on shot faking and trying to drive when he is utterly unable to elevate limits his usefulness.

I have given a lot of thought to how I would utilize Drake. It goes something like this.

He should be 1st backup at the 2 AND the 1 - getting 20 plus minutes a game.

When playing the 2 he should have orders to NEVER take more than 1 dribble - should catch looking to shoot and if it isn't there move the ball.

When playing the 1 ( and I'm not sure he can, his handle is iffy) he should concentrate on pushing the ball and looking for quick hits, the occasional 3, and try to avoid mistakes.

There you go Drake - that's how you have a big senior year.

---- The other night Ellis was in her Halloween costume and I told her she looked like "An angel straight from heaven". She tilted her head at me like I was an idiot and said "Dad-dee ... Angels don't come from heaven. They come from Mexico - like butterflies and cheese dip." ---

KIKKO HAYDAR - Ok, let's set aside all the feel-good undersized walk-on stuff and concentrate on what exactly Kikko's role on a D-1 college basketball team is.

I hereby submit that role is starting point guard. He is the most natural full court offensive point we have, the most natural chaos inducing defender, the second best passer , and the best leader by example of the options we have at point.

Oh yeah - on a team in DESPERATE need of consistent shooting - he has a quick release and is the second best shooter on the team. 

He hasn't shown an ability to penetrate and finish - but neither has anyone else.

My biggest worry is that my preferred backcourt (hint: it will contain another shooter) will be too small to defend the perimeter adequately.

ANT BELL: Wasn't great. But his game has matured. He is taking good shots. And he has the potential to make 40% on high volume shooting from 3. If his defense is even adequate he has to start. He has to start and play a ton of minutes until we find out if he can do it or not.

We need to find out because if this team is going to be good it simply has to have a guy that can pump in easy points and he is the only candidate on the team.

---- At one point in the game E told me she wanted to be a cheerleader.  I gently explained that was fine - but that she was born to be a ball player. She promptly got up and went to sit with the Pom squad. Sigh - I might have to suck it up and take her to some Women's games. ---

DEE WAGNER: Seems to lack confidence. Doesn't do anything well that Kikko doesn't do better with the exception of penetrating and dishing. If he can take that part of his game to the next level I will completely reconsider. But at his size, with a shot that I don't think can be fixed, I think he has to be out of the rotation for this year.

KY MADDEN: Didn't play due to suspension. He could potentially change my thinking at the PG spot. His court vision and sense, his ability to pass, his instinct to set up plays 2 or 3 moves in advance are by far the best on the team and are exceptional at any level. But his quickness, athleticism, shooting, and ability to get any sort of separation are far below average for D-1. At least they were last year. If he can improve in those areas then he could be a starter and an asset. If he can't then he just can't help. We need to find out early which it will be and set the rotation accordingly.

And that is about it. Since we are pushing 2500 words already I will spare you my predictions.  I will just say that college ball is still a guard's game and we are far from exceptional in that area.

I am, as always, joyful and hopeful about this season. But I know it will end in heartbreak.  Let's just hope its a good story in between.

I have to work Tuesday and can't go to the game but I will be there Friday for the opener. Until then -

(For adorable pictures of my child please see the blog - I am too lazy to remember how to post pics here)


OMG!! I knew I forgot someone.

FRED GULLEY: Didn't make a huge impression but he is the type of guy you only notice against good opponents.  He is our best perimeter defender.  Probably a top 5 perimeter defender since the Nolan era began. (Beck, McDaniel, Shepherd - then Gulley/Brewer)

I love his defense.  It makes me warm inside.  If he was on a differently constructed squad - one that had 3 shooters on the floor - he would be my starting point and he would end his career here as a fan favorite.  Unfortunately he is on a team that sorely lacks shooting.

I haven't really seen him shoot this year.  If he can consistently knock down a 3 then the PG picture dramatically changes.  He goes to the front of the line.  If he is, as he has been his whole career, more or less a non-threat from outside, then I think you go with Kikko or Ky if he has it all together.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2013, 07:59:55 pm by vector4dz »


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Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2013, 03:50:08 pm »

Love it!  And your evals are spot on!

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Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2013, 05:25:02 pm »

Very good read, agreed on all of your assessments, especially the drake wade backing up the 1 and 2 spot.


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Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2013, 05:47:02 pm »

  Seattlehog, I do so much enjoy your writing and thanks for reminding me to check out your blog. Go Hogs.

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Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2013, 10:21:37 pm »

Very enjoyable read thank you!  :razorback:


Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 02:17:00 pm »

Waaaaaay GLAD to get YOUR writing skills back Sir...

You do a great job, game after game Seattlehog


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Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 02:43:24 pm »

Wow.... very impressed... thanks for the blog, I'll be sure to ready every week.

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Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2013, 07:25:40 am »

Why don't you go ahead and stick in the addition about Fred Gulley.


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Re: Seattlehog - Hoops Exhibition
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2013, 08:00:35 pm »

Why don't you go ahead and stick in the addition about Fred Gulley.

Done :)
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