It was a fun night in Mankato last night. The Wolves scrimmaged in front of about 2000 fans at Minnesota State's Bresnan Areana at Taylor Center. I went to the game with my oldest daughter and we had some nice seats about 6 rows up behind the bucket. We Twittered the game here. A few thoughts:
- It's easy to not notice on TV, but close up from what would be the high-roller seats it's impossible to ignore just what an amazingly high-contact sport NBA basketball is. Some of the screens and rebounds (in a scrimmage, mind you) looked like they could have taken place on a football field. It's also impressive to note just how high these guys go on their jumpers off of screens. Shaddy had a few catch and shoots off a curl where he needed to elevate to a ridiculously-way-beyond-your-average-Y-baller level to get the shot off. The level these guys play at in the NBA, even on a team like Our Beloved Puppies, is amazing.
- Speaking of Shaddy, he has the tools but...well, I think he led the game in scoring but he also argued with the ref...in a scrimmage. Granted, thanks to the nice seats, I can tell you that the ref was, indeed, a dick, but Shaddy should know better. He was vocal during timeouts and he even brought the ball up the court a time or two.
- Final score = 62-62, no overtime.
- Black team: Shaddy, Bassy, Rhino, Mad Dog, Ahearn, and Araujo.
- White team: Big Al, Love, Miller, Foye, Carney, Richard, and Gomes.
- Big Al didn't look hobbled with his knee brace. I still have no idea why he was given the green light to play in this thing.
- Big Al and Love did not see the court together.
- Love had a mixed-bag of a game. You could really tell he was gassed; he was grabbing his shorts early into his rotations. He played some nice d, showing on some screens where he really screwed up the opposing point (Bassy should have been called for traveling on one play). Offensively, he wasn't very good. He missed some easy bunny shots and a tip in to win the game. You could tell his legs weren't in the shot and he was trying to guide everything with his upper-body. On the good side of things, he was getting the types of shots that have to make the coaches smile: mid-range jumpers and hustle looks after tough rebounds. Oh, and he had 2 of his fabled outlet passes to Randy Foye for 4th quarter layups when the game was "on the line". In close games, his outlet passing really could be a big weapon. With opposing offenses clamoring for the rebound, guys like Foye, Brewer, Shaddy, and Brewer should have plenty of chances to get some easy 4th quarter buckets.
- Size-wise, Love is about 1-2 inches taller than Mad Dog. He's about the same size as Chris Richard. He's noticeably smaller (2-3 inches) than the new Brazilian import, Araujo.
- Carney wants Brewer's job.
- Brewer isn't going to give it to him.
- Brewer really played a nice game. He didn't force anything on the offensive end, he played really tough perimeter defense on fellow-Gator Miller, and he ran the floor. This is exactly the style of ball he needs to play during the season. He had a couple of really nice drives to the bucket. He did get rejected by the rim on a (contested) dunk attempt. It was, however, a bad flashback to the last game of the season.
- Brewer's legs are impossibly skinny.
- Bassy will be the starting point by January. He had a bad shooting night (too many jumpers) but he ran the offense beautifully (for a scrimmage) and had several very nice passes.
- Starting lineup in Jan: Bassy, Foye, Miller, Love, Jefferson.
- This team needs to take a lot of 3s.
- Foye had an interesting game. He didn't look that interested until the 4th quarter; during which he scored 14 points while hitting several nice outside shots. He's going to get a lot of good looks from 3 this year.
- The Wolves' sales staff is overbearing and forced. Seriously, can't I just buy a t-shirt for my daughter without having to talk about season tickets after a forced conversation about the Oklahoma Sooners just because I'm wearing an OU cap?
- Whoever was driving the white AMG after the game...well played, well played.
- Players of the game: Bassy, Brewer, Shaddy, and Foye.
- Players who looked like they had a good off-season: Rhino, Richards, and Brewer.
- Rhino-hawk = teh awesome.
- Blake Ahearn = fail. He may be the greatest guy in the world, but he's not an NBA point. If he were 4-5 inches taller, he'd have an amazing career as an off-the-bench 3 point specialist, but he's not a pass-first kind of guy and he relies far too much on fade-aways and out of control drives into traffic to be counted upon for any length of time at the lead guard spot.
- Again, Shaddy has the tools to be a big time player in this league. Can he put it together? I'm pulling for him. I think he has the stuff to be the most improved player this year. Let's go for the trifecta: most improved, comeback (Foye), and ROY (Love). Homerish, I know.
Well, that's about enough for the scrimmage. Remember to check out Hoopus' Twitter page. Oh, one more thing, after the game the players signed autographs for 20 minutes and little Ms. Stop-n-Pop was excited to get Corey Brewer's and Kevin Love's autograph.
Pretty cool for a 10 year old. The Wolves did a lot of work in the local community during their week in Mankato. This team does a lot of good work off the court. From Shaddy's Shoot for the Cure to Ryan Gomes' work with Hoops for Heart Health, these guys are doing things that you want your kids to see.