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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Red & White Scrimmage

Without the hoopla of a midnight madness event, this year's public Red & White Scrimmage was a relaxing, albeit brief, first look at the team.
The running clock made for a quick, low-scoring affair that the White squad won, 45-36. I was surprised because it seems like the more talented team usually loses. The White, in this case, consisted of Hughes, Bohannon, Nankivil, Gavinski, Evans, Bruesewitz and Smith, which seemed like a better bet than the Red's collection of Leuer, Jarmusz, Taylor, Wilson, Markolf, Berggren, Valentyn and Fahey.

General thoughts: Treys were dropping for both sides to start the game. It was encouraging until everyone started gunning and the percentage plummeted. A few bad passes were scattered throughout as well. I only counted a small handful of fastbreaks in the whole game. Defenders seemed to be switching on ball screens more often than usual, rather than trying to fight through the pick.

Since the only players I had not seen before were freshmen Bruesewitz and walk-on Dan Fahey, I did not watch anyone in particular. A few players -- Nankivil, Evans, Wilson, Berggren -- stood out anyway.

Trevon Hughes :: #3
Hughes had a couple assists and a couple turnovers, but looked totally in control as you might expect. What I really liked watching from Hughes was how he was crashing the boards. Pop swished a half-court shot on his first try to quickly end a post-game fan contest.

Jason Bohannon :: #12
Tried to get his midrange game going, with some success. Scored a quiet 10 points.

Keaton Nankivil :: #52
Nankivil performed well again this year and hopefully that confidence will carry over into the regular season. The Madison Memorial grad led all scorers with 13 points (5-of-8 FGs), including two 3-pointers. He got the White out to a good start early on, used his quickness to blow past Markolf for a reverse and did not hesitate to pop his jumper. Cleaned the glass decently; also noticed how low he made his center of gravity when guarding Leuer.

Jon Leuer :: #30
The big guy looks to be in great shape, but always seems to struggle in this showcase. This time, it was a 2-for-11 shooting performance. I think he should make his baseline turnaround jumper from 10 feet his go-to move. He did have a nifty pass to Fahey amongst the trees that resulted in a layup.

Tim Jarmusz :: #24
You know the story here: solid competitor, can stroke it from deep when he decides to shoot. Except this year he avoided dumb passes and the 3-pointer he nailed was right in Bruiser face with a quick release. I liked it.

J.P. Gavinski :: 44
Still just along for the ride. Got more minutes than Markolf, but showed me even less than last year.

Wquinton Smith :: #2
Another guy who looks more comfortable out there, but didn't do anything besides hit one 3-pointer.

Brett Valentyn :: #15
Only player who did not score. Showed some bounce on a warm-up dunk though!

Jordan Taylor :: #11
I was a little disappointed in Taylor. His shot was off and he picked up a number of fouls, continuing last year's trend. Taylor was outplayed by the senior guards, thus the game's outcome.

Rob Wilson :: #33
Wilson's aggressiveness stood out in the game. I remember after making a 3-pointer, he then took Smith to the block and totally abused him for an easy lay in. His added weight will help him finish and absorb contact. True, he missed a lot of shots too, but he is what he is.

Ian Markolf :: #50
Markolf really does seem to be a decent athlete for such a giant. He showed real effort on his defensive positioning. I still hold out hope that he logs some meaningful minutes before he's done in Madison.

Jared Berggren :: #40
Berggren was impressive in a couple ways. First, he knows how to put the ball in the hoop. He can score with a variety of moves in the paint. Secondly, we got confirmation that his footwork should be solid enough on the blocks to play defense for Bo Ryan. He was active in fronting the post. Needs work on going after rebounds from what I recall.

Ryan Evans :: #5
We learned the more about Evans than any other player, since he played so little in last year's scrimmage. Evans forced his way into the limelight with two second half dunks that were the high point of the night. The first was an alley oop from Hughes. A few seconds later, the second came a run out break where a bad outlet pass forced him to the far wing, allowing Leuer to catch up. No problem -- Evans flushed it over Jon's head with authority. Beyond that, he has the same nose for the ball that you see in Jarmusz, which resulted in a number of rebounds. His handle is still waaaay too sloppy, which might keep him from getting many minutes. Evans showed the potential to disrupt passing lanes and start a break off a turnover. Still, he forced too much offensively. His other highlight was making up for a moment of laziness in transition by hustling back on defense to block a Jarmusz jumper.

Mike Bruesewitz :: #31
Bruiser did not stand out too much, but then, I don't think that will ever be his role. He is a very smart player, twice using a reverse layup to keep bigger defenders at bay near the rim. Bruesewitz also blocked a fastbreak lay up by Wilson, though it might have been goaltending. But that play was a compliment to his hustle. He looked comfortable on the floor with everyone, willing to mix it up as we've all heard.

Dan Fahey :: #10
Slipped behind the defense to convert a great pass into a layup, but Fahey hardly played in the scrimmage.

Per Wisconsin's agreement with adidas, the team will wear updated uniforms this year. The baggier look is a net gain, in my opinion, mostly because of the sharp-looking dual piping down the side of both jersey and shorts. I was not a fan of the adidas stripes and motion W in the neck area, however, and I dislike the return of red (or white) patches on top of the shoulders.

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