The Blue-White scrimmage is in the books and one word comes to mind-WOW! This team is good-really good, with the chance to be great.
It's early and certainly one doesn't want to read too much into a intra-squad scrimmage, but here's a few random thoughts on the action tonight.
1. This team is deep, fast, and relentless. While previous teams under coach Cal have been deep down to seven players, this team has a long bench. That bodes well for tournament play and, given their desire to play an up-tempo style, will have the effect of wearing down the opponent. It will be much harder for opponents to concentrate on one or two guys to shut them down-of course it's up to Coach Cal to push the right buttons in any given situation, but it certainly appears he has more tools at his disposal than he has the past two years.
2. Terrence Jones was a beast! We all saw the promise of how good he could be at times last year, and leaped for joy that he decided to come back this year instead of leap to the NBA. Tonight's performance (52 points on 24-of-31 shooting, 2-4 from 3pt, 16 rebounds and 5 assists while committing just 2 fouls) shows what a smart decision he made to return and, more importantly, what a contribution he will make to this team. I expected Jones to be in the discussion for Player of the Year honors, and he certainly did nothing to dissuade that thought tonight.
3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had a tremendous game in his debut, working on a triple double with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists.
4. Eloy Vargas didn't score much, but his 16 rebounds is a promising sign. There are games when the Cats will need his size underneath and, while not counting on many points from the big fellow, his body and rebounding will be needed at time. It was nice to see him play solid minutes.
5. As expected, the White squad struggled to score at times against the bigger Blue team. Anthony Davis had an impressive game as did newcomer Kyle Witjer who hit five 3-pointers while pulling down 11 boards.
All in all, the scrimmage went as expected, or maybe even better than expected. This team doesn't appear to have the offensive woes that often plagues college teams early in the season. Coach Cal himself said yesterday that at times he is concerned they are playing too well too early. I don't think that's possible, but the Cats certainly seem poised to hit the ground running, pounding opponents, scoring a lot of points, and having a good time!go back