Last night pretty much summarized what you should expect from a young, talented team. There are plenty of positives to take away from the game, but nearly as many negatives as well. There were some absolutely incredible plays, and then there were some not-so-hot plays.
It was just one of those games, y'know?
But while I am incredibly disappointed in the outcome, it is a good kind of disappointed. It certainly wasn't I would have expected over the off-season, when I was preparing myself for this season. I would have expected some 20-odd turnovers, a plethora of missed shots and, in general, plenty of stupid, freshman mistakes. But that isn't what the game was like at all. And while there certainly were some freshman mistakes, and we aren't a veteran team yet, it is obvious that this team is far more advanced than most teams would be with the same sum of experience for the relevant players. As silly as it is to say, we are a really good team. An awesome team, even.
It wasn't all positive, though. There were plenty of not-so-hot things that went down as well, although, as most seem to understand, they are mostly completely understandable, considering the immense lack of college basketball experience on this team and the fact that it is still only late November.
So, in an effort to get the bad news out of the way first, here we go with the negatives.
Sherron Collins. Uh, who thought that was coming? The first half was great, and it is becoming increasingly clear that we need Sherron's go-getter attitude out there on the court to score (well, at least him or Tyshawn Taylor, as he has a similar attitude, but he deserves to be on the plus side of the ledger; by a longshot). But his two straight turnovers midway through the second half directly led to Jonny Flynn jams, and it ended up being the distinct turning point in the game. A 61-50 lead quickly evaporated after that, and it was all back-and-forth from there until Andy Rautins nailed a three late in OT. But that's a story for a different bullet point. Getting back to Ron-Ron, he forced way too many shots as well. I understand we aren't capable of running the offense we've run the past two years or whatever, at least currently, because we aren't developed enough as players, in general, to effectively execute that system. But that doesn't mean we should run the isolation NBA game, where Sherron brings the ball up, makes a couple dribble moves and then pulls up for a 18-footer. Yay. And while that is fine if he gets the ball with 4 seconds left on the shot clock, it isn't quite as enjoyable to watch with 28 seconds left. So, yeah, I love you Ron-Ron, but let's cut that whole part out. Please?
Free Throws. Now, obviously, this is a gimme. Of course, we have to work on our free throws. And, honestly, who doesn't this early on in the season? Not to make excuses or anything. Still, it would be nice to be able to consistently make the freebies, and we need at least one guy to be the knock-em-all-down guy to give force the ball to late in games with a lead. Sherron Collins would probably be candidate number one, but he has yet to prove anything definitively. And with the holes in Brady Morningstar's game, which we'll get to later on today, it would be nice to have him be the sharpshooter from the free throw line.
- Quintrell Thomas. Dude looks lost out there on the court, at least on offense. He has succeeded Cole Aldrich as the designated screen-setter, but the difference is that is about all Quintrell is capable of doing as of right now. He is having trouble getting into good rebounding position and has shown absolutely zero ability to be an offensive threat. Honestly. I still do think that he is Darnell Jackson's clone, only not the senior version of D-Block, at least not yet. Just remember, Darnell wasn't exactly the greatest player his freshman year either. So, stick to it Quintrell, I certainly haven't given up on you yet, but don't be surprised as your playing time decreases.
And now, to the positive side of the ledger. There are plenty of players that belong on this side, that I don't really want to get into player-by-player stuff. So, don't get all angry if some 'positive' doesn't get listed.
Tyshawn Taylor. Are you kidding me? I mean, seriously, are you kidding me? Who knew freshman are this good, this early? And it isn't just his whole driving game, which is incredible. He can get to the whole, right now as a true freshman in early November, against some pretty damn good defenders. That is incredibly impressive. But, more impressive is his defense, and he is already being assigned the opposition's best defensive player on the perimeter. Of course, he didn't play incredibly well against Johnny Flynn, but not many people do, and I'll give him a one-time pass.
- Morris twins. The improvement is incredibly visible, and they are exactly what the doctor ordered as far as the low post game goes. Cole Aldrich is great, obviously, but we needed at least another body down low to provide some competent offensive production and plenty of rebounding. Both Markieff and Marcus are providing, but Marcus has shownup to be the much better player so far, at least for what we currently need. Both have oodles of potential, and I am incredibly excited to see what each can do.
OK, that's all I got. It is Thanksgiving, after all. Check back later for some other assorted basketball thoughts as well as some Mizzou preview content.