Games like the one played Sunday morning are crucial to the development of this team. We played a team with just as much talent as we have, if not more, on the road. USC will make the NCAA Tournament. Probably as a 3/4/5 seed. They are a very good team, and are led by two freshmen (O.J. Mayo and Davon Jefferson) who are insane talents.
Plus, we shot pretty poorly as a team. Especially Brandon Rush, who couldn't hit an open shot if his life depended on it. It is all a part of his rehabilitation, and I am glad he is playing at all, but seriously. Brandon. Come on.
Even after a whole year of covering them last season, I have yet to settle on a post-game method of recapping the basketball games. So, for right now, I am going to just copy the method of Conquest Chronicles, considering that is who we played...
- Mario Chalmer's three-pointer with 25ish seconds left was insane. Actually, more than insane. Shot-of-the-year possibly. Anyone know how far back he was? 25 feet? 26?
- Super had an up-and-down game though, playing like crap in the first half on offense (like 4 turnovers, only 3 points) but led the team in the second half to victory. But his defense was a constant all game, he is just an incredible on-ball defender. Most of our team is, specifically the guards, but Super stands out more than most.
- Player of the Game award, despite Super's big game, goes to Darnell Jackson. I am loving him more and more every game, as he quietly steps up and picks up the slack left over from the more hyped Darrell Arthur and Sasha Kaun. He should start the rest of the year, he is without a doubt better than Sasha (more on him later), and he is playing better than DA right now. He is usually dependable from the FT line (more on this later too...), makes the shots he is supposed to and is a beast of a rebounder. Speaking of...
- The key sequence of the game was the minute we took off the clock thanks to Rodrick Stewart's two offensive rebounds. On the same possession. He is the most improved player on this team from last year, hands down, and is really capitalizing on the playing time he is getting because of Brandon's injury. He has earned a clear-cut spot in the rotation even after SC comes back, mostly with his improved defending and scrappy rebounds. I love 'em.
- Finally, the biggest positive of them all, the team defense. We have one of the best defenses in the country, in the same discussion as UCLA and Southern Illinois. It is a joy to watch us play defense, especially when we start throwing up shots on the offensive side of the ball (ugh...).
- Darrell Arthur looked lost at times out there, and tried to do too much. He is the most talented front court player on this team, but he didn't play like it Sunday. He is still learning, and the more PT the better, but come February he needs to be improved. Or we will struggle even more in our half-court sets.
- Speaking of, our half-court offense sucks most of the time. Unless we are hitting our 3-pointers, we can't get anything done. DA could do a lot to improve that, but as of now it needs some major work.
- Sasha Kaun sucks. I don't want him to play more than Cole Aldrich any more. He doesn't do anything while he is out there, just takes up space and forces the announcers to talk about his retardedly stupid haircut. I have a serious problem. I jump on people, and I don't stop. I have a major anti-crush on Damon Huard, and Sasha is getting to the same point. Hopefully it stops, and soon.