While the usual take-every-observation-with–boulder-of-salt condition applies, these notes from the 2013 edition of Marquette’s Haunted Hoops scrimmage should be even more questioned than usual. Instead of having a straight 5-on-5 scrimmage, Buzz Williams decided to truly get something out of it and held a pseudo practice.
Yes, it was in a full-court scrimmage setting, but the rules were altered based on his desired circumstances, whether that meant switching players around on teams, starting at a given score instead of 0-0 or wherever they were prior to the timeout, and even playing a bit of make-it-take-it. All in all it made for a very disjointed scrimmage, but probably a more impactful one for players and coaches alike.
The initial teams consisted of what a starting lineup might look like with Derrick Wilson, Jake Thomas, Steve Taylor, Jamil Wilson and Chris Otule on one team an John Dawson, Todd Mayo, Deonte Burton, Juan Anderson and Davante Gardner on another. (Jajuan Johnson was a sub for the first team). After that the only constants were Otule and Gardner on separate teams along with Dawson and D. Wilson, for obvious reasons.
Without further elaboration here’s the good stuff.
All eyes were on the point guards Wilson and Dawson with Duane Wilson on crutches and out for the foreseeable future. Neither was particularly great, but both had decent moments. Dawson showed some vision with a nice quick pass to Gardner inside the paint and did hit one pull up in transition. He had a bit of difficulty when pressed in the back court, fumbling it a few times and turning it over at least once. That’s to be expected from a freshman, though. What was most impressive was the quick cuts and bursts he showed with the ball in his hand. That’s the biggest difference with him and Derrick. Derrick attacks in a straight line and either goes all the way to the bucket or stops and kicks out. Dawson was able to mix some lateral cuts in with his drives. Now, don’t get me wrong, he’s not all of a sudden a starter over Derrick, but I do believe he will see more than nominal minutes.
As for Derrick, the worst part was getting called for two 5-second violations 35 feet from the basket in a three possession span. That can’t happen, ever. It wasn’t as if Dawson was riding him, either, it was just lack of concentration. I don’t remember him hitting a jumper, which is also worrisome, but he didn’t take more than one or two. It’s not all negative. Derrick had a beautiful finish off the glass over a defender and made some great entry feeds. This may seem basic, but with two dominant post men, this is vital to the team’s success.
Here’s the nice entry feed to Otule.
Finally here’s a great pass threading the needle in traffic.
There’s no scientific way of quantifying when a player has “it,” but Juan Anderson is darn close. He was everywhere on offense and defense and was one of, if not the most, vocal player on the court. This is far from the kid from Cali that came in two years ago skinny as a post. He is more physical and got into it a bit with Jamil Wilson when he took a shot to the face. He hit a few threes and then did this. Brace yourselves.
Another player who has “it” (at least on offense) is Jajuan Johnson. Buzz said it. The players have said it. Anyone who has seen him play has said it. Just watch the spin move he puts on Mayo.
He’s not a finished product and still gets lost on D, but he can create off the dribble better than just about anyone on this team. He has a knack for the basket as well. Watch how he slows down in transition to prevent his lay-up from getting blocked. Great stuff.
Staying on he “it” train, I’m not sure what the final stats will show, but Jamil Wilson still isn’t playing up to his potential. He will have flashes on and off, but that killer mentality hasn’t quite set in. He definitely played with more intensity than he has the past two scrimmages, but his length and athleticism aren’t being tapped to the fullest. Again, he scored a bit and had some wow plays. Maybe my standards are too high. I do like this semi fade though.
Todd Mayo was quiet except for a three here and there, Jake Thomas hit his first three and pump faked the rest of the night after missing his second, Steve Taylor played well both on the interior and hitting some longer shots. Deonte Burton glides to the basket and overpowers defenders once there. Watching him develop will be fun. He still gets caught out of position at both ends, but he makes the game look easy.
As for the two big men, you know exactly what you’re getting. It’s a pleasure watching them battle down low. Obviously the big talk in preseason is having them on the court together, but it’s a challenge to practice this in a scrimmage with no other bigs on the roster. This mid range shot will play a big factor in having this lineup be successful.
Oh, and Davante dunked. He’s done it before so it’s not a shock, but try not to smile.