Hoop Thoughts

College Basketball commentary with Seth Davis

Davis_seth
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  • 03:13 PM ET  11.04

Some people spend their leisure time reading novels or taking long walks. Me, I like to read box scores. Here, then, are a few Hoop Thoughts from a perusal of box scores from assorted exhibition games that have been taking place over the last week:

Butler 77, DePauw 45. I promise I will spend the entire season as a one-man p.r. machine for Gordon Hayward, but I feel compelled to note that he had 11 points (five for 10 fg) in just 20 minutes for the Bulldogs. It's also interesting that Shawn Vanzant got the nod at point guard over Ronald Nored, who started there for most of last year. Nored had five assists to just one turnover, while Vanzant had two and one.

Duke 128, Pfeiffer 70. Duke 84, Findlay 48. There was one lineup change from game one to game two. Freshman forward Mason Plumlee started against Pfeiffer (18 points, 12 rebounds in 19 minutes) while senior Brian Zoubek got the nod against Findlay (nine points, nine rebounds, 15 minutes). Another freshman, Ryan Kelly, had 18 points and five assists (to zero turnovers) against Pfeiffer. Also worth noting: Kyle Singler was five for seven from three-point range combined. That's a very positive sign for a team that is lacking perimeter depth.

Florida 95, Saint Leo 46. The Gators got more than two-thirds of their points from freshmen and sophomores. You have to wonder how well a young team like this will hold up through the SEC, but the talent is there. Exhibit A is freshman guard Kenny Boyton, who had 22 points (five for nine three-point shooting) and might challenge John Wall for freshman POY honors in the league. Sophomore point guard Erving Walker added nine assists to zero turnovers -- just another day at the office for him. I'm a little mystified why the team's lone senior, Dan Werner, only had six points on four shots. Either he needs to be more aggressive, or the young'uns need to do a better job finding him. Finally, Tel Aviv native Rod Tishman chipped in three critical points off the bench. You know I gotta give some love to my fellow MOT.

Gonzaga 94, Alberta 53. Mark Few
said he wants to figure out what his new guys can do. Well, he got some nice numbers from his newbies in this one. Freshman forward Sam Dower had 15 points and fellow frosh Mangisto Arop had 12 rebounds. It's a bit of a concern that center Robert Sacre, who missed all but five games last season with a foot injury, only played 11 minutes (11 points, five rebounds). Is Few trying to bring him along slowly? Finally, it was a little alarming to see Steven Gray, who's supposedly one of the best shooters in the country, go two for 10 (one of six from three), but he's entitled to an off night.

Illinois 95, Missouri Southern State 67.
How long until one of the freshman guards, D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul, supplants Alex Legion in the starting lineup? Richardson had 14 points (five for eight fg) in 19 minutes, and Paul had 13 points (seven for 10 ft) and five rebounds (!!) in 17 minutes. Legion, the transfer from Kentucky who never looked comfortable last season, had six points in 16 minutes and did not take a foul shot. Meanwhile, Demetri McCamey looks like he's intent on being a suitable replacement at point guard for the departed Chester Frazier. He had seven assists and three turnovers to go along with 16 points. The only question with McCamey in the past has been consistency, not ability.

Kansas 107, Fort Hays State 68. Bill Self figured there was no sense delaying the obvious: Freshman guard Xavier Henry was in the starting lineup. He had a respectable 14 points in 20 minutes, though someone with his size and athleticism should be getting more than one rebound. Interesting that junior guard Tyrel Reed got the starting nod over Tyshawn Taylor. That had nothing to do with Taylor’s role in Fightgate, but rather because of what Self deemed to be subpar performances in practice. Taylor responded well with 15 points, five assists and three turnovers in 21 minutes. Must be nice to have so many players that you can bench a guy for not going hard enough in practice.

Kentucky 74, Campbellsville 38.
Sophomore Darnell Dodson was moved into the starting lineup to replace suspended freshman John Wall, and he made the most of the opportunity, chipping in a game-high 19 points. The greater concern is that the Cats shot three for 14 from three-point range, which I assume was not attributable to Campbellsville's intimidating perimeter D. I'm not overly concerned that Patrick Patterson only had four points, but he also had six turnovers (to zero assists). Is that due the difficulties adjusting to the dribble drive motion that I wondered about two weeks ago?

Maryland 75, Indiana (Pa.) 54. The Terps were also woeful from behind the arc (two for 13), but at least they were 13 for 16 from the foul line. More importantly, they got solid contributions from the two freshman forwards upon whom they will rely this season. James Padgett started the game and had eight points (four for five fg) and four rebounds in 22 minutes, while Jordan Williams came off the bench to have seven points and six rebounds in 18 minutes.

Oklahoma 93, British Columbia 53.
We already knew Willie Warren could score (23 points in 28 minutes), but how about five assists and zero turnovers? A nice surprise for Jeff Capel, who is also is not wasting time bringing along his freshmen. Both Tiny Gallon (10 points, nine rebounds, 23 minutes) and Tommy Mason-Griffin (12 points, five assists, three turnovers) started the game. Another freshman whom I had never heard of, 6-4 guard Steven Pledger, added 14 points (four for six from three) off the bench. These Sooners might be young, but believe me, they can go.

Seton Hall 89, Carleton 62. I've called the Pirates my number one sleeper team in the country, mostly because of the arrival of transfers Keon Lawrence and Herb Pope. Both put up good numbers in their first exhibition. Pope had 15 points (six for seven fg) in 18 minutes, and Lawrence had 13 points (five for five fg) in 30 minutes. On the flip side, it's never a good sign when your starting center, John Garcia, gets just one rebound in 20 minutes, especially in an exhibition.

Syracuse 97, Cal-State LA 54. LeMoyne 82, Syracuse 79.
It's embarrassing when the home team loses an exhibition, but it's not without precedent. (Michigan State lost to Division II Grand Valley State in 2007 but still made the Sweet 16). Even in the loss, Jim Boeheim has to be happy that transfer Wesley Johnson put up 34 points (12 for 23 fg) and seven rebounds, a considerable improvement on his eight-point outing against Cal-State LA. Syracuse lost to LeMoyne mainly because they played horrible defense -- especially in the second half, when LeMoyne shot 54.5 percent -- but at least that's correctible. It's also interesting that Boeheim started freshman Brandon Triche over Scott Jardine at point guard in both exhibition games. Jardine had 28 assists and  one turnover in the two outings while Triche had six assists and two turnovers combined. You've got to think it's only a matter of time until Jardine is anointed the starter.

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