Exhi Takeaways: Simmons

In retrospect, woefully overmatched Simmons College may have been a perfect first test for this extremely made over Cardinal squad.

Tony Branch’s team was just pesky and well-drilled enough to expose flaws. Without ever being a legit threat to win the game and shake U of L’s still formulating confidence.

Baby steps are in order.

Nervousness was obvious.

Louisville turned it over their first three possessions of the game. Then did it again first three possessions after intermission.

I thought nervous and sloppy because of that. Dennis Evans used the word jittery. It was obvious.

U of L had coughed it up 12 times with 7:27 still to play before the half.  But only once again before the break. The team calmed down somewhat after that flurry early in the 2d. It provides helpful teaching moments during film study.

 * * * * *

I’ve had my eye on fellow Motowner Curtis Williams.

I’m advised he’s been a fierce competitor in practice since his arrival on the Belknap Campus. Takes no quarter.

As with many kids, especially a Michigan Mr. Basketball runner-up with a sweet stroke from outside, he’s always been the go to, think score guy.

I’m told several weeks ago, Kenny Payne had him start running the point in practice. And that, let’s say, CW was somewhat peeved to learn that his coach wanted him to learn how to distribute the rock to others.

But, as seems to be the wont of this willing, listening gang, he started acclimating.

Williams has a handle. Plays with confidence.

So, his three assists last night are as telling about his future as 5 boards or 5/6 (3/4) marksmanship. Though such netting and boarding are not to be ignored.

So, yeah, Detroit Breakdown, Motor City Shakedown. In Red & Black.

Which is not to mention one very basic, very old school maneuver I loved. The way he blocked out a FT shooter the way it used to be taught. Instead of just putting out an arm and hedging, Williams got in front of the shooter, stuck his butt in his gut, preventing any chance the guy could grab his own carom.

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To borrow a phrase, Dennis Evans future is all in front of him.

He is so raw.

And skinny. Spindly. With, I’m advised, some balance issues, he deals regularly with the training staff to correct.

But he is sooooooooooo loooooong. Usually keeps the ball high. And when he’s close to the hoop, he looooooooooves to jam. Quickly, very quickly, and without a smidge of hesitation.

He does need work at the charity stripe.

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Which leads me to this.

Evans was 1/4 and that’s with a mulligan on his first trip when there was a Simmons lane violation.

One of those misses was wider right than the 49er’s who missed the game winner last Sunday in Cleveland.

Buuuuuuuuuuut . . . the rest of the squad, those guys were 22/25.

There are a lot of aspects of last night’s exhibition that need to be taken with a grain of salt due to the quality of the foe. But Free Throw Shooting is the same regardless of the opponent or venue, and we don’t need Coach Norman Dale and a tape measure to prove it.

 * * * * *

Again, as with last week’s scrimmage, the ball moved. Constantly. Guys were always looking to take it the hoop. And kick it out when appropriate.

8/19 from Treyville indicates shooters got the ball where and when they could shoot it.

On a number of blind passes on fast breaks, the fellows filling the side lanes, running the wings, were where they were supposed to be to receive the ball.

 * * * * *

Sometimes it just a peripheral moment that switches one’s focus.

My wandering mind’s anyway.

So, when I saw former Male High guys Michael Bush and Larry O’Bannon sitting together courtside, I started to take notice of another former Bulldog, current Card Kaleb Glenn. Who intrigues me.

Physically, he appears the sturdiest and most cut of the Cards. But he’s been kind of an afterthought.

Yet he had a telling segment early in the 2d.

He drilled a kick out corner three to push U of L’s advantage to 58-31.

Next trip, he drove the baseline strong to the cup, and got hammered. But finished, with a shout and flex, then completed the +1.

 * * * * *

From such heartening beginnings good things this way come.

Next: Kentucky Wesleyan. October 30.

— c d kaplan

One thought on “Exhi Takeaways: Simmons

  1. Well, at this moment my take away from the Simmon’s slashing is the Cards are quite athletic, quite tall, quite frenetic to the point of creating turnover jet fuel, quite removed from understanding the science of basketball, and quite the non-finishers. The bigs have great potential. Let’s hope they can be coached up to the point of realization.

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