"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Monday, November 12, 2012

Value Add picks Jamil as SOG - but it is close as MU shows balance in 84-63 opening win over Colgate

In a scene that may be familiar later in the season, the player with the biggest numbers on the court (Colgate's Murphy Burnatowski) was wearing an opposing jersey, but MU showed the incredible depth that should characterize this team.  Burnatowski torched MU for a 20/10 game, much as he did to Illinois in Colgate's home opener, but MU prevailed 84-63 with 11 players adding Value according to Value Add.

Mount St. MarysValue AddDef SubTotal ValueKey Notes
Jamil Wilson, F9.8-1.711.515 Pts on 7 shots, only 1 DR
Trent Lockett, G4.7-4.39.07 Reb & 5 St
Juan Anderson, F4.9-2.67.57 DR & 2 St
Davante Gardner, F6.0-1.07.014 Pts, 4 OR
Junior Cadougan, G5.4-0.15.52 treys, 3/0 Ast/TO
Jake Thomas, G2.2-1.33.54 DR, 1 ST & 4 Ast
Vander Blue, G3.2-0.13.32 of 8 shooting; 2 TO
Derrick Wilson, G2.70.02.75/0 Ast/TO
Chris Otule, C2.4-0.22.65 of 5 FG, but 0 Reb held down
Jamal Ferguson, F0.5-0.91.41 Stl plus 2 of 3 FG and 1 Reb
Steve Taylor Jr., F0.9-0.11.02 of 3 FG, 1 Reb, but 4 Fouls

Another thing that may happen this year is a lot more discussion over who the Stud of the Game was on a given night. The opener Sunday started with Jamil Wilson looking everything like an NBA prospect - draining two quick treys en route to a very efficient night in which he scored 15 points on only seven shots.

However, while J. Wilson is very deserving, we noted this off season that defensive rebounding was the one thing that could destroy MU's season this year as the team was already one of the worst in the country last year and has now lost one of the top rebounding forwards in the country in the Dallas Maverick's Jae Crowder.  Davante Gardner, J. Wilson and Chris Otule all had very poor defensive rebounding numbers in the past, although at least Otule has been able to box opponents out to give teammates a chance.  Sunday Gardner grabbed just 2 defensive rebounds, J. Wilson 1 and Otule 0.

We did give kudos to Buzz for getting two of the top defensive rebounding guards in the country in transfers Trent Lockett and Jake Thomas, and both of them grabbed four defensive rebounds in the opener.  When you add Lockett's 7 overall rebounds and 5 steals, he could be considered as a potential Stud of the Game as well and actually that defense gives him the 2nd highest Value Add of the game behind only J. Wilson (www.kenpom.com says Lockett's freshman season is the most similar to Matthews freshman season, so if he can match Matthews' senior year as a 6-foot-5 3rd guard it would be a huge boost).

However, the nicest surprise of the night was Juan Anderson, who had a disappointing year last year after being the top rated player in the incoming class.  With defensive rebounding being the one area of concern, Anderson's 7 defensive rebounds helped clean the glass and with two steals and good offense, it would be hard to argue with him as the game's top player even though Value Add leaves him slightly behind the top two.  Anderson did go down holding his shoulder on one play, but thankfully came back into the game later.

Davante Gardner, who Value Add projected as the top returning player, was next at 4th in Value Add behind more dominance on the offensive glass with 4 offensive rebounds en route to 14 points.

Granted it was against a weaker defense, but Junior Cadougan and Derrick Wilson combining for 8 assists and 0 turnovers was a great sign, as was the fact that freshmen Steve Taylor and Jamal Ferguson both got into the game and hit two of three shots and grabbed a rebound - with Taylor in particular looking like he is big enough to help take care of the defensive boards.  However, Ferguson snuck ahead of Taylor in Value Add due to a late steal and dunk at the other end.

The only disappointment of the night was that there were no signs of Vander Blue's reportedly improved shot.  He went 2 of 8 from the floor and turned it over twice, and with Todd Mayo out for at least the first semester, we have to hope Blue can explode as many anticipate.

It is only one game, but overall a lot of nice balance and hopes that the new players can take care of the defensive glass.  Tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 8 p.m. CT Marquette will host Southeast Louisiana in the second game of the season.

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