The Van Buren Boys

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Greg Monroe = Awesome

I suppose the jury will remain out on any freshman who has yet to see Big East action. With that caveat, let me at least tentatively proclaim that Greg Monroe is very, very good. Seeing him today felt similar to the first time I saw Jeff Green play. Like Green, there is not a single facet of his game that stands out. And yet, he rarely makes mistakes and simply makes those around him better. Monroe made a very good choice by selecting Georgetown. Our offense highlights his outstanding passing and frequently has him at the top of the key with the ball in his hands. Now, I love Roy Hibbert, but what a difference from last year! Greg can drive down the lane; he can fire a pass to a cutting guard; he can step back and hit the outside shot. And I don't cringe when he chases an opponent's guard on the perimeter!

Greg also showed great discipline on defense by keeping his feet planted against smaller players. We'll have to see how he stacks up against bigger teams in the Big East, but I would doubt there was anyone watching today who honestly expected him to be this good. The offense today looked as smooth as I can recall seeing it in recent years. Of course, Drexel was not a fearsome foe, but they aren't terrible either. We may all have to adjust our expectations for this season upwards.

I'm not sure much needs to be said about the game. It was a blowout from whistle to whistle. The most interesting aspect was watching the players. Here are my initial thoughts.

The Good (Greg Monroe aside)
  • Chris Wright had an outstanding game; lots of assists and drives to the hoop; knocked down a three. I don't recall a turnover.
  • Austin Freeman was also great. He hit a nice three and exhibited his upper body strength taking the ball to the hole.
  • Jesse Sapp was solid as always. His shot looks just as good as it did last year and he made no mistakes.
  • Omar Wattad was a pleasant surprise. Sure, he made some unforced errors, but he showed poise and confidence and even hit a three. Omar will be a serviceable sub for years to come.
  • Jason Clark showed some nice things. He is quick; his shot looks good; and his arms are freakishly long--should make him a very effective defender.

The Bad

  • Dajuan Summers simply wasn't having a good day. He disappeared for stretches, missed fairly open outside shots, and didn't take the ball inside. Not his best performance.
  • Nikita! Wow. Not. Good. At. All. And I loved this kid when I saw him play in Kenner. His outside shot--which looked automatic at that point--was not falling, and he made some very bad decisions on offense. That said, if I were JTIII, I'd keep him out there and tell him to keep shooting. Let's see how much of this is a dearth of confidence.

The Questions

  • I don't know what to make of Henry Sims. He had some nice blocks, but seems content to flit around the perimeter jacking up shots. He also looks too skinny to me to bang down low in the Big East. I'm not sure what we can really expect from him this year, but he is someone I could see blossoming under JTIII's tutelage.
  • Julian Vaughn must be injured. I can't think of why he would have been the only player to sit on the bench today.

All in all, this game has gotten me excited and optimistic for the 2009 campaign.


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