Friday, November 7, 2008

Undefeated, Baby

That's right, Gopher hoops is 2-0 after last night's 92-62 victory over whoever Northern State is. Neither game counts, but they all count in my heart and really, isn't that what matters?

Score looks good, boxscore looks good, and I tried to watch, but between a late start on the feed which was choppy, laggy, and blurry and trying to watch the game as well as watch The Office and other assorted television programs with the misses, not to mention keeping Wonderbabytm occuppied, it was a little difficult. Although I'm usually shy about giving my opinions when I'm not fully informed, I'm going to bravely struggle through anyway, for your entertainment and information.

It's obvious already that this is going to be the strength of the team. Not only are Joseph, Westbrook, and Nolen the best players on this team, they are also the best scorers. Not only can they score, but all three of them can score either from the perimeter or driving to the rim, where they all excel at dishing it off when needed as well. Add that they are the best defenders on the team, except for Damian Johnson, and this is where success will come from. Even Hoffarber is showing a little more drive to the hole ability, albeit against sub-par competition but at least he's trying. I think it's clear that there isn't a single player from a Division III college in Minnesota or South Dakota who can guard any of these guys.

Kevin Payton actually got a few minutes and looks like he's probably a really nice person.

I wrote last time that neither of the JuCo wing guys, Carter or Bostick, were very impressive against St. Cloud State, and tonight one of them changed my opinion and the other one left me very concerned. Carter was awesome tonight, showing the athleticism and ability that made him the talk of the early practices. He led the Gophers in points (17) and rebounds (7) and added in 2 steals, 2 assists, and a blocked shot and just generally looked like a different player from the Paul Carter who showed up on Monday. I'm going to chalk that first game up to nerves, and hop on board the Carter train.

Bostick is another story. Right now, he's looking more like a Monson recruit than a Tubby recruit. I expect him to get his shit together, because I don't think you win the JuCo Player of the Century or whatever he won by sucking like this, but it is a bit disheartening to see him play like this against to sloppy teams who can't stop Travis Busch. He did grab six boards and showed some good athleticism and defense, so there is definite promise here, but he needs to get his offensive game in better shape.

Other than Carter, the other dude who really made a big leap from the previous game was big ole Ralph Sampson III. He showed a pretty awkward hook shot, but most hook shots look a little awkward so I'm cool with it. He used it twice that I saw so I think he feels pretty comfortable with that move. Once he had the defender way overplaying him to that side and could have/should have done a drop step the other way and would have had an easy dunk, but he's young and that kind of footwork and game will come in time, I'm not expecting the Dreamshake right out of the box - we'll leave that for Busch. Overall he was more active and aggressive, and ended up with twelve points in fourteen minutes, not bad considering he was under the weather.

I never really noticed Iverson. He only played 15 minutes, and as I said I wasn't exactly watching really closely so I only saw him in for one stretch when he copied Sampson's awkward jump hook which missed. He ended up with six points and shot four free throws, so I'm going to take that as a sign of being more assertive on offense. I have a lot of confidence that these guys will develop just fine and form some sort of Twin Towers kind of thing and not become the next Kyle Sanden and Kevin Loge tandem. (side note: Grandslam, who used to write the golf posts here, now works with Kyle Sanden. I haven't figured out how to work this into a bit yet, but rest assured, I will.)

In conclusion, this has nothing to do with anything, but watch it anyway: