From Phog Blog reader and former Rockchalk.com contributor Brian Wenner, aka BandJawhwk comes this wonderful summary of the recent pickup game. I enjoyed it, and I hope you do too. Well, the kids and the adults put on a show, that much is certain. A truly awesome shooting display from Kirk, Billy and Steve about made it a blowout but strong inside play from Kaun Giles and Wright combined with the shooting of Case and Chalmers made the final respectable. Considering that the kids were playing the equivalent of a low level NBA team I was very impressed with them
A few thoughts on each player.
Case: Have to start here, the kid is stronger, faster and was shooting off the dribble and off some tough passes to handle, it's so hard to tell from a glorified pick up game but don't be surprised if this kid bails us out a time or two this year, just flat stroking the ball.
Chalmers: Our starting PG, no ifs ands or buts about it. Silky smooth jumper, great handle and absolutely fearless. Took the ball down the lane and nearly dunked on the entire alumni team before he got mauled. Best part of the game was watching him and Hinrich go at it. Kirk got the best of him but the kid really played some great d and you could see his competitive fire on every possession. Kaun: After last week's pickup game I was pretty down on Sasha, he just looked slow and plodding. What a difference a week makes. Besides absolutely posterizing Ostertag he scored on Greg, Nick and Manning on turn around moves in the lane. He played solid defense on all the big men, even Drew who is a nightmare for a big guy to guard. (I can't get over how much Drew has filled out)
Wright: Didn't play as much as I had hoped he would but what a talent this kid is. Enjoy him guys cause he won't be here long. His ability to break down a defender and find the open man is sensational. He scraps for board and has that Greg Gurley ability to be in the right place a lot. Made a three, maybe two but his game is clearly inside the stripe. This kid is going to be SCARY good.
Giles: Was great to see this kid finally healthy. Didn't shoot much but rebounded like an animal and had some nice passes. Giles starts ahead of Moody and with Kaun next year in my opinion. He got pushed around by the alumni bigs a lot, but there are no players like Gooden and Collison on our schedule next year.
Robinson: Love his game, needs to play under control more. Really opens things up for his teammates and I can see that his penetration and dish to Chalmers for a three will be a common theme this year. If RR ever finds his outside shot, look out. I project him as the starter with Chalmers (Case as the dark horse)at least until Stewart is available.
Stewart: Wow. Tenacious defender, great body, the kid looks like a grown man. His jump shot looks great to me, hopefully it transfers into real games. Tremendous athlete, strong rebounder, team player. We're gonna look back at getting this kid as a steal in a year or two.
Downs: Looked like a kid that just got here this week.:-) Butter shooting stroke but not a true jump shot, wonder if his size will counter this because if not he may have trouble getting his shots off. Good handle, shot well early, got tired IMHO. Saw no evidence of any prima donna syndrome, seemed to go out of his way to congratulate teammates and he and Julian worked very well together when they were on the floor at the same time. Hawkins: Hope he enjoyed his PT last year.
Matt K: A big body, not much more but could be useful against big, bulky teams.
Vinson: Solid game, has been shooting very well in both games I saw. If we weren't so stacked at guard I would think he could get some time.
My 9 year old Daniel loved the game and is hard at work creating the freshmen in his March Madness game...anybody know what numbers they are going to wear? Self had a nice speech about how great it was that we had millionaire alumni that flew in from Portland, Seattle, Cali, Arkansas, New Jersey and other far flung places on their own dime to play today. I guess I had always assumed that KU paid to get them there but I think it's great seeing them all come back. I wish Paul and Raef would follow suit, in a couple years the alum may need them to win.
My other observation from this game is that the players we have will dictate a much faster tempo this year if we rebound well. Bill built this team to do two things, shoot from every position and move the ball quickly. I'm more stoked than ever for next year. We may have a rough time of it in Maui, but by the end of the season no one will want to see us in their bracket.