Overall, I think that the game against Vandy was very good. Sure, things were very close for much of the game, and the team looked a bit sloppy at times, but I think most of that can be explained. JTIII admits that he is using these early games to test different combinations of players to see who gels, with whom. I think a lot of the miscues last night can be attributed to this--just different combinations of people who don't particularly fit well together. As the season progresses and Thompson learns who his best combinations are, expect things to go much smoother.
Highlight of the Game: By far my favorite moment last night was Pat Ewing Jr.'s drive down the lane, where he was fouled and had the opportunity for the three-point play. As Ewing walked down the baseline following his shot you could clearly hear him scream "and one." It was a perfect example of the kind of enthusiasm and intensity that Ewing brings to the court. Unlike the Hoyas' opener, I thought that Ewing did a nice job contributing. Not only did he have that great drive, but he also had a nice three pointer on the wing falling away from the basket. That being said, Ewing may be too emotional. At times he plays a bit out of control and it seems to lead to some dumb fouls.
The juniors led the way: Green, Hibbert, and Wallace all looked great. Green had some fantastic passes (as usual) and some great moves down the lane. He really looked like he wanted to be a leader out there; a great development. Hibbert was dominant during the first half. He actually threw some dunks down (which, of course, is what you're supposed to do if you're 7'2). I was a bit concerned about some of the dumb fouls he picked up early. It definitely limited his effectiveness. Plus, I thought he looked a bit sluggish down the stretch. Hopefully, his stamina improves as the season progresses. Wallace took more shots and they looked fantastic. Also, whenever Wallace as the ball in his hands at the point the entire team looks more controlled. The biggest thing I took away from the game tonight was that the Hoyas are a very good team when these three are on the court and they are a completely different team when they are not. Teams will target these three and try to get them in foul trouble (especially Jeff and Roy). It'll be really interesting to see how other players progress to pick up the slack.
The rest: Most players looked much better than they did last week. I though Sapp really stepped up. He did a good job taking the ball to the hoop and ended up getting to take a lot of shots from the charity stripe. I thought he generally looked good handling the ball and I was happy to see him get more opportunities to run the point. Still, I don't feel as "safe" when he has the ball as I do when Jonathan does...but the season's still young. Rivers looked much better. I actually saw some of the "poise" that Diamond suggested he saw in the Harford game. I definitely thing Egerson is a great asset. There was no one thing that stands out in my mind about his performance last night, but I remember thinking throughout the game that he just looked solid. Both Summers and Macklin looked like freshmen, talented freshmen, but still freshmen. They both picked up a lot of dumb fouls. Macklin actually looked a little old-school Roy-ish in the way that he seemed to have trouble controlling his long limbs at time. But you can tell both are going to be contributors real soon. Macklin barely missed a follow-up dunk that would have been huge. Look for both guys to quickly to improve.
The question: Will the Hoyas ever make an alley oop? They have tried to a bunch of times in the first two games and you would think they could be successful given all of the big bodies they have down low. Still, they have had zero luck so far. Maybe next game.
Bring on ODU!