Written for your enjoyment by: Raff
I just returned home from the Blue White Scrimmage and I've got to say I was encouraged by what I saw. Obviously with all the departures from last year and Jean Cajou out for at least the first semester the outlook hasn't been that rosy. But today was a good day.
As of right now it appears that Josh Castellanos and Julian Norfleet are the starting backcourt and both freshman demonstrated why today. They both knocked down open jumpers and played well throughout. Castellanos seems ahead of Lamar Trice for the starting point guard duties. Trice didn't have a bad day, but Castellanos clearly showed more. I still have some concerns about the backcourt - and I remember the days of starting of two freshmen, I think you have to go back to Landy Thompson and Chris Sumner but I was certainly encouraged.
Castellanos won't win any form awards with his jump shot, but it hit the bottom of the net often enough to satisfy me. And I kinda thought of Castellanos as the type of point guard that the departed Milan Brown would have liked offensively. Someone who runs the show and gets everyone involved and never really tries to do too much. I'll be honest the jump shot surprised me, it was better than advertised.
I knew Norfleet could shoot it and he didn't disappoint me. He made just about everything he looked at early on. He missed a few later but he made a very good first impression. How much more he can do will become the question as to how good a player he becomes at this level, but he can definitely shoot it.
Pierre Brown was absent from the scrimmage part of the evening. Perhaps he had a class, not sure. He was on the floor for some of the practice time before the two 10-minute game action scrimmage sessions. From that I sort of suspect that he is part of the starting unit, but I can't be sure.
The other three starters with the White team were Shawn Atupem, Kristian Krajina and Danny Thompson. I'm expecting that Brown replaces one of them. My sense was that it was Thompson, but Krajina definitely had the better evening of the two.
I said yesterday I wanted to see if Krajina had regained the shooting touch he seemed to lose last year. He knocked down some outside jumpers and that was nice to see. I think that he may be a key for this team this year. I think that they need somebody else who can make an outside shot and he is the most likely candidate for me.
Atupem was very good as well. He scored from several different spots, the high post, the low block, the baseline and he looked good doing it. At times in the NEC last year he was virtually unstoppable without a double team, I didn't see anything to think that has changed a lot this year.
The biggest surprise for me was that Raven Barber didn't seem to be a part of the starting unit. Barber did make some nice plays when he got the ball on the low block and showed his ability to score from there, but there did seem to be a desire to move the post players away from the basket a little bit more and that didn't seem to be something Raven was as comfortable with yet.
Evan Cleveland, the other recruited freshman, didn't make quite the impact. But he does have nice size and he does seem to understand the game of basketball. Transitioning from a post player in high school to a wing at this level could be difficult this quickly. But Cleveland might prove to be the most capable backup for Brown on the wing, particularly defensively.
Again I thought it was a good showing. The Mount has a closed scrimmage with Coppin State over the weekend. I'd like to be a fly on the wall for that one. Coach Burke said he thought it would give his team a sense of where they're at. I think he's probably very accurate on that. I'd like to see so as well.