Sneak-Peak Scrimmage Result: UWM Wins!!!

All I can say is- WOW (that is a very good WOW). As many would suspect, Avo hasn't skipped a beat (and he displayed some sweet passing abilities- that's what impressed me the most). Avo should be the leader of this team- then again there are several leaders and they really do look like floor generals- Avo, Ricky, Deion, Charlie, and Averkamp- even more players may emerge as effective in-game communicators, but these guys were the most visible (-er audible).

I can't really contain my excitement, but I'll try my best to keep an even keel to avoid too much of a huge letdown if things blow up early (like the last 2 seasons). It is so refreshing to see a team that seems so cohesive- compared to last year, you would think these guys are all immediate family.

Eayres' oft-touted shooting ability is for real- he is definitely all of his 340lbs (and 6'7"), but he showed no signs of fatigue and is quick enough to stay with his man (his vertical may be a problem with rebounds- but he'll just have to learn to make effective use of his incredible size to box out his defenders like a Mack Truck).

I was underwhelmed by Porte (of all people!), but I think he was just a little timid- the crowd tonight (400 people?) was probably a regular season game at Olney for him. Once he gets into the swing of things, he might very well be our best post man. He's by far the strongest and most intimidating forward we have- I think he really will be a shot-blocking machine, carom-gobbler, and excellent finisher down low for us- once he starts to play more aggressively- cue the UWM band and the student section......

Kaylan Anderson looks much improved- it was only a scrimmage, but he seemed to play with much more control than in the past two years.

While we knew we had a glut of guards coming in to '08-'09, at the scrimmage tonight, we learned a very funny thing: the forwards- virtually all of our forwards (besides Porte- who we don't need to be outside the arc anyways!) can drain threes with regularity. I kid you not. Haggerty, Meiers, Eayres (especially), Averkamp, and Hill all have a great stroke from the perimeter- 'not sure you can say that (for more than one forward) about 90% of D-I teams. While the freshman big men have a lot of room to grow in order to bang with the best of 'em (they just need to keep lifting religiously and make a daily habit of munching down that Dominos, Palm Gardens/Sandburg Cafeteria fair, and Jimmy John's)- their size will come...

Deonte Roberts had some very nice slashes to the hoop, but seemed to get lost in the mix- I am not concerned though; we all know what Deonte is capable of ("Onte" threaded the needle with a pass that didn't materialize into points but was so "Favre-like" (ya, I made that reference), my jaw dropped in amazement- I didn't see that kind of superhuman court vision from Roberts last season). I figure he will go off for double digits and several assists in the first exhibition- he's one of our best players- and we've got lots and lots of depth.

I know I may be accused of getting hopes up over what was really nothing more than a glorified practice session, but these guys honestly look ready to play in Ames, Iowa right now. The shooting is there with an exclamation point(!). I almost forgot to mention- Tone Boyle is seriously a clone of Paige Paulsen- only he seems a lot more versatile, in that his ball handling skills and defense looked more guard-like than Paige's were. Tone can shoot the bottom of the net out- he has an excellent shot (looks very similiar to Paige's).

He may be our best 3 point threat this year. But with Avo, Ricky, Charlie, Deion, Earyes (yes- Big Jim can sink shots from anywhere on the court- believe it), Kaylan, Haggerty, Meiers, Hill, Averkamp, and Ajami all capable of shooting very well from beyond the arc (which has been moved back by almost a foot by the way), who knows who will be our best? I am excited about possibly having a team 3pt percentage over .360 or so. But that's just window dressing- we obviously need the wins first and foremost.

Pipe dream? Maybe. I guess..... but if tonight is any indicator for what we're about to see this season- Bill Brainard and Darron Sutton will have a lot of "for threeeeeeeee" proclamations from the Cell's media table and the visiting team broadcast booth at each of our away game destinations. Some of the players I've mentioned here in this post may redshirt (unfortunately! ...I'd seriously take 'em all!), but believe me that, to a man- every single guy on our roster can play ball (in the Horizon, and I'm willing to bet in even tougher environments (esp. the veterans- ahh, it feels so good to say that, "veterans")). It's a well rounded team with no immediately visible weak links.

The Panthers will have to work hard on preventing turnovers in the next two weeks. Then again, maybe our defense on both of the teams in this scrimmage was just that good! But I trust Jeter will take care of the handful of miscues and have this squad polished and ready to ball with a vengeance starting with the MSOE exhibition game at the Cell next Tuesday. 7:00pm is the tip-off. Come see the new court, the modified Cell environment (things will be much more packed and exciting- even for lower attendance games), and most of all- come downtown and see what I'm talking about.