Friday, November 26, 2010

Fresh(man) Start To The Season

Gannon's 2010-11 regular season is off to a grand start after an 84-71 whipping of Cedarville in the first round of the Gary Miller Classic. After the game I couldn't help but look waaay ahead with excitement to the 2012-13 season. Yes, I know that's totally jumping the gun -- thinking ahead 2 years after just 1 game -- but the quality performances of GU freshmen Kelvin Agee (17 points, 7-for-13 FG, 3-for-7 3FG) and Stephen Battle (13 points, 6 rebounds, 6-for-8 FG with one of them a resounding slam) was the highlight of the evening for me.

Agee has a smooth stroke plus athleticism, isn't afraid to shoot, and can even finish inside. He worked hard on both ends of the floor all evening long, harassing Cedarville's leading scorer Matt Harner into a 5-for-17 shooting night. Battle is strong with two pogo sticks for legs. He frequently skied above everyone else on the floor to grab rebounds and contest shots. He even hit a 19-footer from the top of the key and showed a decent mid-range jumper. Two years from now, Agee and Battle will be juniors while Tanner Furno will be a senior. That's a pretty good nucleus to build a program around.

It will be interesting to see how Gannon's 8-man rotation performs Saturday night in the championship game vs. old GLIAC foe Northern Michigan (3-1 this season despite being outscored by their opponents 300-295). Both GU and CU were dragging down the stretch in tonight's game, and I'm sure the Knights will be sore at shootaround tomorrow. I don't care how hard they've been practicing the last few weeks. There's nothing quite like the game's intensity ... and the morning after.

Other thoughts on the Gannon/Cedarville game:
* Of course the Knights weren't perfect, but they looked like they were in control most of the game, executing their motion offense and rotating correctly on defense. Last year, especially in the early season, everything was helter-skelter. I thought guards Steve Piotrowicz, Kareem Brown, and Anthony Clagett did a nice job handling the ball and making sure the Knights got good looks.
* How about I've already mentioned six guys who played well for GU, and I haven't even talked about the solid evenings by seniors Travis Brannen (15 points, 6 rebounds, 7-for-12) and Danard Crouch (8 points, 5 rebounds, 3-for-3 FT, and just 1 TO). The 8 who played for the Knights looked like they will compete in the PSAC this year.
* This was the first-ever game I've attended with my Droid smart phone and, to quote former GU broadcaster Steve Bohen, "Wow!" does that enhance the game experience. I logged onto the live stats for the game periodically to stay updated on the details of the game.
* Because of that, I was stunned when I saw in the final stats that the Knights outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 38-30. I know when I looked at some point in the second half, GU was being outrebounded by 5. They really dominated the boards down the stretch.
* John Reilly is a really classy guy. I shook his hand before with game -- with just 7 minutes left in warmups -- and he engaged me in a conversation about my family, Bud Elwell, Bob Dukiet, and this year's team. He's clearly focused on winning, but that doesn't interfere with friendships.
* Speaking of classy coaches, I was told that former GU boss Jerry Slocum, whose Youngstown State Penguins are off to a fast 3-1 start, drove in to Erie today to pay his respects to the family of Bud Elwell at Brugger funeral home.
* I have a really sweet Northern Michigan long-sleeve T-shirt in my closet. Should I bust it out for the championship game just to mess with some people?

11 comments:

  1. 4 posessions and run and gun... can we make a couple of passes next time down the floor?

    somebody needs to show these boys the movie Hoosiers....

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  2. I should have gone to the prep game....

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  3. a little heat and then settled down...

    Defense not really up to par...

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  4. Well one down 25 to go ... still no answers in my book..

    Agee - solid game, whate will happen come PSAC
    Battle - Ditto
    Brown - is his trigger finger sore?

    Maybe the answers will come against NM....

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  5. Great game (after the sickly start) by Gannon. Our passing (with the exception of our 6'6 and 6'9 wannabe point guards) was absolutely beautiful. Love that Kelvin is obviously the "go-to" guy but will always look for the open guy before hoisting the shot. Crouch has unbelievably improved from last season. This is one of the first game I can remember that the scoring was so spread out; great teamwork and unselfish play! Battle is going to be great after he gets the freshman kinks out (have to remember he's going from being a 6'3 point guard in HS to a 6'3 power forward against big and strong Division II level opponents). Brown was exactly what I expected after reading about him; shoots alot and hits about 30% of that "alot". He's smart and I like that he gets into the game emotionally; whether playing or on the bench. I loved the chemistry of everyone that played; brilliant!

    Biggest thing I see that I like about this team compared to last year... When they were called off the court they slapped 5s with the person coming in. They cheered on the bench, they cheered on the court. There were no heads hung low when called out or the guys who didn't play a second sleeping at the end of the game. Love it! Great start to season and hope it carries over and they hang on to it!! Go Knights!!

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  6. Great to hear the boys are off to a great start!

    cc3- when I was at the gu vs. berhend scrimmage, I noticed a lot of the same support and sportsmanship from the entire team. when talking to some members of the women's squad, they had nothing but praises for the boys and said this group legitimately WANTS to practice, spends their free time practicing and they all want to be around each other. what a breath of fresh air!

    also, random side note- did I miss the memo that Steve Bohem retired?? I was under the impression we'd be calling the women's games together again this season.

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  7. Hey y'all settle down. That was the first game for a team looking to integrate 7 new players into their rotation. They were facing an opponent playing their seventh game already. I thought that was a more than representative effort.

    Of course, there were plenty of flaws. I'm not really sure if Furno is hurt because he was nowhere near as active as he was most of the time last year. Brannen struggled during the first half, although he did pick it up in the second 20 minutes, and that WAS a team he should have had success against, seeing how much bigger and stronger he was than most of the Yellow Jackets.

    Defense was pretty good until Cedarville figured out GU's help concept and started drawing off-the-ball defenders out of position, then getting the ball to the open man. GU's weak side help under the basket was lacking in the second half, too.

    Cedarville was a pretty smart, well-coached team. GU's D did wear them out a little at the end, I thought.

    Still, I was more than satisfied with GU's game. I guess there wasn't all that much reason to worry about the offense, even against a zone, which few college teams play.

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  8. Not surprised that Coach Slocum made the visit. He and Bud shared many non-work-related interests, including McDowell football in the mid-90's. I remember first seeing the two of them far from the madding crowd at Norwin High School, Jerry watching his son, Aaron, while Bud watched his grandson, Jason. I'm guessing Jerry got a taste of Bud's wit and charm, while Bud had a chance to experience Jerry's intensity.

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  9. Some big names with no minutes?

    Ramon Smith
    CSW - name is tooooo long
    Alvin Tucker - ? Redshirt?

    injured and "inside" scoop?

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  10. I saw gu scrimmage behrend and Ramon smith and Dennis rumph both didn't play until the "scrub squad scrimmage". Smith was nothing to give much attention to however Rumph dominated. I know it was against Behrends 5th string but he showed he did not belong in that group. I'm very surprised he's not playing, but I'm not the coach. Clinton Springer-Williams got a little bit of playing time with the main lines in the scrimmages, however, the majority of his time came in the "scrub squad" scrimmage. He did nothing in all 3. He has no jumper (at least then) and was only good for layups.

    Tucker, Blanton and Eisenman are all redshirting this year b

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