There's a little more that you can take away from this game than the previous two... but not a ton. I'll say I like this team like I haven't liked a Utah team in a very long time it would seem.
A bunch of thoughts:
1. For the first time in a long time there are multiple scoring threats on the floor.
2. Delon Wright seems to be the complete package and happy with that. He seems to be just as happy shooting as he is dishing out an assist, getting a steal, blocking a shot or getting a rebound. All things he seems to do well. Amazing body control and not the typical athlete you see at Utah... ever. I'm not saying he is better than Bogut or Andre or whatever, just that he is a true athlete. But he has great awareness on the floor and is seemingly always looking for the best option for the team, not just him... and he easily could be a 'just him' type of player. He has this amazing ability to get to the rim and if you take away one side he'll seamlessly glide to the other side and it happens in a nanosecond.
I expect to see double doubles and triple doubles from him consistently.
3. Loveridge is solid and a leader on the floor. Much improved ability to create his own shot. How much that will make a difference remains to be seen against real competition.
4. Lenz is a different player out there this year, I'm happy to see what I'm seeing. I'll put one provision here, I'm still worried that I'm getting excited about this like I did with Thyroid last year, only to realize that it just meant he was good with really bad competition. However he has a soft touch, good floor awareness, seems to know how to get board. Great game tonight for him.
5. Taylor proves he can be a scoring threat tonight, small but a good leader. Still not 100% satisfied with his decisions, Kodiak was on him a lot tonight with some foolish things he did. If he keeps it up he'll get exposed in the PAC-12, if he tightens it up he'll be very good this year.
6. I'm wondering if Tucker will be one of those Bryant Markson type players in that he isn't the star but can compliment a star very well like Markson did with Bogut.
7. Pricenton Onwas seems to struggle a bit out there, not sure why.
8. Kind of disappointed in Olsen, I wanted him to have a big year, but I think he may have regressed a bit. Doesn't see a ton of minutes out there and when he does he seems lost, doesn't dominate like he should in these types of games. Maybe he plays to his competition, but I was excited about his prospects.
9. Van Dyke is warming a bit on me, but he plays like a frosh and also you can sense he is wondering why he isn't hitting his shots out there. But he plays hard and he'll sort it all out... only in time to lose it all on a mission. Go on a mission Parker, it is just basketball.
10. Ahmed Fields - Don't know why he reminds me of Erkle (Urkle?) not much to report there either other than he can not hit a foul shot and I know why: He doesn't even look at the hoop until he is starting his shooting motion. They showed it on camera a bunch of times and same thing the whole time. Looking down until he is starting to shoot. Gotta fix that.
11. Something a little concerning about defense to me right now, can't put my finger on it. It doesn't seem to be as lock down as I like and might be because it is a victim of the more uptempo pace we've been playing? I don't know. Need to watch more but UC Davis got some uncontested shots off that they should have, particularly for how 'not good' they are.
12. Mullet grabbed the bottom of his shirt and walked up to the free taffy bin and shoveled in about 20 handfuls while a frightened teenaged girl there to monitor the taffy was at a loss as to what to do.
13. There been far less Aggie jokes this week than there were of GeoDucks last week. I wonder why?
So, my take in general on the team is... we'll probably make the NIT, but hope springs eternal and you wonder if this team can't surprise. If you shut down Loveridge and Wright you've got Lenz and Taylor and Tucker who can score and vice versa. We might be a tough match up for a lot of people out there. With the guys coming in next year this team could start turning some heads.
I'm interested while at these games in trying to isolate what is going out outside of their poor competition and I like most of what I see. I come home feeling positive. I sit down and watch the top 10 teams play and realize we are still pretty far away... or maybe I'm just seeing what an accomplishment it really is to be that type of an elite team. I've always maintained that there is typically a big drop off from the top 5 in any sport from the rest. When you think of the elite level of ball we used to see... ah we didn't even appreciate what we had.
Also, this was probably the first 'game day' atmosphere I've felt in the JMHC in the Kodiak era. Attendance was better but still very poor, but the people there were excited to be there and not just killing time.
Finally, Taylor had one spectacular put in when he got fouled... failing forward to the ground and somehow flipped it in like he practices it (if he were Robbie Reid he'd probably claim he did).
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