This game vs. Toccoa was much better for me as a fan than the game vs. Carver. I also think Toccoa would beat Carver if they played each other. Tonight had more ball movement, more consistency, more players making shots (as opposed to just CY3 and Rodgers). Our point guards had 14 assists and 2 turnovers, while last game the entire team had 14 assists combined.
Tonight the Owls set D1 records for points in a game and threes in a game. Granted it was vs. Toccoa Falls, but we've played similarly bad teams for the past 15 years, and in that regard, a record is still a record. You could take the walk-ons from this years team, and they would have rotated in as starters last season. You could have also set cardboard cutouts as defenders last year, and our team couldn't have hit 18 threes, so that is encouraging.
In my last post, I said I saw this team having 8-10 wins, I'd like to revise that ceiling to 8 to 12 wins. Assuming all goes as planned, I think this year is the get on track year, and next year will be "our year". Nobody will say that outloud, but that's how I see it.
Spencer Rodgers: This dude does it again. He comes off cool as a cucumber, and you can tell he knows how to play the game. He should be all conference and just having him on the court will make life easier for everybody else. Obviously all teams will not be Toccoa - so I want to see what kind of dog he has in him when things get tight in crunch time, or can he create for himself with a solid D1 defender in front of him. I think the answer is yes.
Kasen Jennings: The point guard started today, and I think he's going to make a run at the all-freshman team in the ASUN (along with Youngblood). He has good handles, plays within himself, and took care of the ball today. Also has + size for the position too, which will be huge for matchups.
Terrell Burden: 8 assists in 16 minutes with 1 turnover. Did his job and got his teammates involved. Same statement as last game: I'd like to see how he does vs. bigger and stronger defenders, but he's looked good from his injury.
Alex Peterson: It's hard to tell a lot from a big when you play a dribble drive offense and are playing against inferior bigs. Like I said the other day, I need to see more from him. Reminds me of a longer, slightly more athletic Lockley. He had one play where he hustled back on defense to knock the ball away. This play won't show in the box score, but I noticed.
Chris Youngblood: He is oozing with potential. Solid shooter, who can hit from anywhere on the floor. He is going to have to show he can put the ball on the floor eventually, and if he can't, that's the next part of his game he'll need to develop. You can tell he is a smart player with a solid feel for the game, and will be playing big minutes this season.
Jamie Lewis: The former big time prospect knocked down a few shots and dished a few assists. I don't see Jamie Lewis being the star of this team, but if he plays within himself, he will be a big piece.
Armani Harris: Not a big game numbers-wise for him, but I like him. He also flushed one today, and looked fully recovered from his injury. I'm gonna call him the garbage man because he does the dirty work. He's the type of player who I can see having double doubles and you don't realize until the game is over.
Cole LaRue: I liked him when I first saw him, and I am liking him more now. He got the start today over Antonio Spencer, and I would say it was earned and not just giving him starting experience. I'm doing my best to look into the future with him, and I see his potential as a stretch 5. If he can improve his outside shot and nail those threes, and can handle the athleticism/size of the D1 game, he will be a future starter and a 15/7 type big. Confidence is sometimes a big part of the battle, and when he had the ball he was not afraid to back down his man and turn his shoulder. Shows a good feel and a nice Day 1 skill-set for a freshman big man in the ASUN. Let's see how he can bang with the big boys when the bullets start flying.
Antonio Spencer: I see him as a 10 minute per game option. I'd rather rotate Peterson, Harris, and LaRue. We'll need Tone to battle against Asadullah at Lipscomb and other bigger teams, but I'd rather use the other more skilled bigs when matchups dictate it.
Brandon Stroud: I said the other day I didn't think Stroud was ready, and he shouldn't play until he's ready. He came out today shooting the ball much better, looked more relaxed and in-control. I still don't think he's as Day 1 ready as Youngblood, Jennings, or Larue, but I think he should get some minutes when the match ups dictate it as long as he can prove the game isn't too fast for him and he can knock down his shots. He is a long player, athletic, and has a decent base skill-set. Very high ceiling here.
Mayson Quartlebaum: I'd say he's the least ready of the freshmen, at this point. He looked better than he did vs. Carver, and nailed an open triple on a quick pull which was nice. I just feel like there's too much thinking at this point for him and too many better options at this point. I'd like to use the film from these games to help him develop in practice a bit and see where he is in a month.
Glenn Robinson / Kenny Burns: Our two walk-ons who played. Honestly think we could have substituted these guys for some of our scholarship guards last year, and we wouldn't have been any worse off. I love having walk-ons for depth...remember when we played with 7 guys last year?
Bottom line: We laid the type of beating on a far inferior team that I've been asked for for FOREVER. It doesn't mean we'll be able to carry this type of performance over vs. the big boys, but would you have more confidence if we beat this team by 30 or beat this team by 60? Exactly. I have more confidence in the players now that I've seen them in action, and I'm sure the players have more confidence in themselves. Good job by the coaches to schedule these cupcakes, along with another cupcake after UAB/Creighton, in case things go sideways. I don't value these two wins as wins, I value them because we got better from game 1 to game 2, and the young team gained confidence in themselves, in the coaches, and the system.