The four teams playing tomorrow at UD Arena each had allotted practice time Saturday afternoon. Unlike the dog and pony shows on Thursday, these were work sessions, closed to press and public. Afterward, there’s a press conference for each and the locker rooms are open.
U of L’s was jammed with cameras and my brethren trying to get a scoop. Which is impossible, because everybody else can hear everything, but it’s so loud in such a close space that little registers.
The most salient observation I can offer is how many of the players were iced up. Earl Clark had both knees on ice. Andre McGee had his right knee and left calf iced. Terrence Williams’ vexatious wrist and hand were on ice.
Meanwhile Jerry Smith stood off to the side when not being inundated with questions, watching the Memphis State game. Jared Swopshire was walking in circles, looking for some space amid the tumult. He was not successful.
At the official press conference, it was stunning that Smith knew so many of Siena’s stats. That their point guard has a 4 to 1 assist to TO ration. That the Saints had 24 offensive boards against Ohio State. He expressed hope that the Cards will have a homecourt advantage and that lots of fans will drive up for the game.
Other than that, he and cohort Preston Knowles added little to what we already know. Knowles did explain, rather articulately, how they tweak their press, depending on how the opponent attacks it.
During his time at the mic, The Rick confirmed that all stayed up and watched the overtime games that ended CBS’s Friday night coverage. He said the fact that Siena played two overtimes will be “no factor.” He offered how similar both teams are in their method of attack and that Siena reminds him of Villanova, and would be a middle of the pack team if they played in the Big East. He extolled the virtues of hero Ronald Moore, who, he said, “has the same assist to turnover ration as Levance Fields, and he is a lot faster.”
He talked bout the recuitment of Samardo Samuels and TWill. How the former lived in abject poverty near Montego Bay, and learned the game on an uneven cement court with baskets of varying height but neither correct.
He talked about how TWill’s life was chaotic during high school, and that he lived with different people from week to week. He first encountered the U of L star at an AAU tournament in Vegas. That he was tipped off about the kid with “Jordan like athleticism.” That in the first game he saw, Williams was awful. But the next time, he was “blown away.” He called his senior star a “freak athlete,” and said his hand and wrist were okay.
He lamented that U of L is “not a real good free throw block out team.”
— Seedy K