First off, I like the idea of using students to run the production on exhibition games...seems like a way that BTN can broadcast games they really don't want to give attention/money to. And this game showed better graphics work and camera work than the game v. Northern. Plus the play-by-play guy was pretty solid. All that said, the girl who was doing color seemed to not understand her job or the game. If you know her, or you are her, use this to get better...there's plenty of room for improvement- hopefully you get the opportunity to do so.
Alright, onto the important stuff.
USI played Illinois to a 9 point loss- that's a pretty solid effort. And this team only had two losses all of last season and was one of the better D-II teams...They had a quick point guard who LewJack struggled with at times defensively and a couple other players that were skilled, but a bit undersized. In other words, they were a better exhibition opponent than Northern...but the talent gap is still sizable, and the Boilers cruised to a 65-49 victory.
Hummel looked comfortable on the offensive end- especially when motion offense was running through him. He looked comfortable putting the ball on the floor and pulling up. But, he forced a few shots out of the rhythm of the offense. Hummel is a tough match-up at the highest level, and even tougher for an opponent from D-II.
At the 7:25 mark in the first half, the game was tied 16-16...and the game stayed close until around the 4:00 mark when TJohn hit a three then Barlow scored a few buckets that all came from in rhythm of fast breaks or secondary breaks. In fact, Barlow pretty much took charge of the game in a three minute period to end the half that showed how much more-talented of a player he was than whoever USI tried to put on him.
-Terone Johnson looked tired at times in the first half, airballing a three, moving slowly without the ball and making lackadaisical decisions with the ball...But looked quite a bit better late in the second half.
-I liked what I saw out of AJ as he played with a ton of energy and at a high speed. The same thing can be said for DJ Byrd who continues to play in a manner that reminds me a bit of Chris Kramer at times.
-LewJack showed flashes of his quickness and ball handling ability as the game came to him, that he didn't show much of v. Northern.
-Purdue did a great job of not accepting lazy three pointers and looking for shots inside 15 feet. While doing this, they drew some fouls and got to the free throw line with regularity. But there were a ton of missed layups- notably, Jackson, Hummel, Barlow and AJ all left points on the floor by not finishing.
-Donnie Hale led all rebounders with 8. Smith had 6, TJohn had 5, Hummel had 4. Carroll & Marcius need to be more active on the glass; they had a total of 3 rebs.
-Hummel brought the ball up a few times which helped create space in the middle; I think we'll see that look from time-to-time. Barlow and TJohn also brought up the ball when Jackson wasn't running the point.
-In 18 minutes, Barlow had 12 points- a few threes and a couple dunks off of steals. TJohn played 20 minutes and scored 10 points. AJ and Hummel both finished with 8pts.
-Marcius showed great athleticism, energy and footwork in spurts; running the court well, moving well without the ball and creating space while calling for the ball.
-Lawson seems to be the obvious candidate for a redshirt as his ability to play the game doesn't match up with his athleticism quite yet...but physically he looks like a player who is ready.
-Purdue was very careless with the ball at times...something they'll need to tighten up in the next week as the competition gets much better.
-Donnie Hale was active on the defensive end blocking and altering shots especially as guards were funneled to the lane. His length, timing and ability to get off the floor quickly is reminiscent of JJ as an underclassman.
-The defense looked much more like a typical Purdue defense than did the Northern game...Jackson, Barlow and TJohn all provided full-court, on-ball pressure and Purdue did a great job closing down passing lanes, specifically up top.
Next up, the Forces of Good will officially open the renovated Mackey Arena by hosting Northern Illinois on Friday at 7:00...it'll be viewed by hundreds on EsPN3.