Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gopher Basketball is finally here

Perfect timing.  With baseball season ending, it is time to turn to college basketball and the Gophers start tonight in a preseason exhibition against the hated Bulldogs of UMD.

The team has certainly been in the news lately, and for all the wrong reasons, but now it's time to hit the court and I can't wait, although my excitement is a bit tempered because the two guys I really wanted to see play are both suspended/being held out of games.  However you want to word it, it sucks.  But there is still plenty to look at tonight

- Ralph Sampson.  Tonight begins his march towards All-American status.  Reports are that he is in incredible shape and has put on quite a few pounds of muscle, as well as that his mid-range jumper is coming along nicely.  He had some nice post moves last year, although unpolished, and if he's spent the time working on his offensive game could be an incredible inside/outside weapon.

- Colt Iverson.  What's his role?  Offensive weapon?  Defensive stopper?  Big time rebounder?  Warm body?

-  Lawrence Westbrook.  L-Dub was a big-time weapon at times last year, but had a tendency to disappear just as often when he was needed.  It will be tough to tell from one game against a lesser opponent, but he needs to be focused all season, every game.

-  Al Nolen.  Excellent defender, good at taking care of the ball, not an offensive threat whatsoever and it sounds like he still might not have found a jumpshot.  If he can't keep defenses honest from the perimeter, when does he become more of a liability than a weapon?

-  Justin Cobbs.  It sounds like Cobbs can shoot it, based on his runner-up finish in the three-point contest.  What about the rest of his game?  With Mbakwe and White out, he becomes the new guy I'm most interested in.

-  Rodney Williams.  But I didn't forget about Rodney.  No question he's an incredible athlete, what about the rest of his game?

-  Blake Hoffarber.  Is his shot back?

-  Devoe Joseph.  Now that he doesn't have to worry about playing the point, how high can he go with his offensive game?  We got a taste a couple of times last year, now back at his natural position what is the limit?

-  Damian Johnson.  Has the offensive game caught up with the rest of him, not that it would need to for him to be the team MVP.

-  Paul Carter.  He becomes even more important with those two clowns not playing, and the reports are he will be much improved this year.

-  Team nerd.  With both Travis Busch and Kevin Payton gone, who fills the role of the team nerd?  You know, the guy who stands at the end of the line for intros and does the weird handshakes and jumping butt bumps or whatever you call that thing people do?  Since I'm going to the bar before the game, I'm guessing I'm going to miss this part.  Bummer.  My money is on Cobbs, dark horse Joseph.

-  The Team.  How do they react to all that's gone on this week?  Come out focused and destroy UMD, or wander around going through the motions?

So you see, despite it being a meaningless game, there is plenty here to look at.  I don't have the time nor inclination to do a preview of the Bulldogs, but if that's your sort of thing the esteemed blog From the Barn has done the research.


WWWWWW said...

FYI Folks - the NBDL is having it's draft tonight and you can catch all the action at 6pm on the NBATV Channel.

I'm seriously considering not going to the game now so I can watch.

Anonymous said...

good call... Cobbs was the nerd