These are contemporaneous observations I texted to Gaucho fans during their first official preseason practice on September 30, 2021.
Zach Harvey has a knee brace. Looks fine.
Calvin Wishart looks fully recovered from hip injury.
Harvey looks like a bigger Jaquori McLaughlin. He's built like a linebacker--very athletic.
JPL is fast and springy.
Ajay Mitchell is bigger and stronger than Ajare Sanni. Sanni still has that sweep jumper.
Mitchell looks like a Gonzaga-type wing (Jalen Suggs? Doesn't have the jumper yet). He's a point guard? Wow. He's also very attentive on defense. He's a pass-first pg.
Early practice focus is clearly on defense.
David Pickles is bigger and more athletic than his older brother.
The walkons are athletic. Crazy.
Sekou Toure is practicing, although he is sitting out some drills.
JPL is having fun! He's more vocal.
Comparisons to Destin Barnes and Zach Harvey are unwarranted. Harvey is more talented offensively and athletic.
JPL is learning the 2 position as well.
We're missing a lot of free throws on the first break. Better on later breaks.
I love how the staff coaches up the walkons just as hard as the starters. No one gets the superstar treatment.
In 2 on 2 drills, Wishart is on JPL. They're going hard at each other.
Drills are mostly for defense. Makes sense--first practice.
Sanni is not doing full half court defensive drills?
Walkon Henry Hartwell just scored on a Miles Norris/JPL double team. lol
Drill: before 10 seconds on shot clock, no switch on defense. At 10 seconds, switch.
Norris looks bigger. Working on improved rebounding.
JPL with a steal. Wishart on floor with a steal.
Hartwell looks like a tough and skilled walkon.
Ariel Bland is athletic, but freshman-tentative.
Redshirt decisions made in November.
Robinson Idehen is very vocal. Just got a steal.
Mitchell pays attention to coaching instructions. He's very defense-oriented. Wow.
Cole Anderson drives into middle of lane, pulls up for 10 footer. Bucket. Twice.
There is very little drop off from starters and 2nd team of Mitchell, Harvey and Anderson. Athletically, no drop off at all, with the exception of JPL, who's athleticism is off the charts. Coach Pasternack says JPL is the most athletic player he's ever coached, including at Cal and Arizona.
Jay Nagle looks more confident. Cans the baseline 3! Nagle gets two offensive rebounds in a row.
Mitchell goes into the sidelines with a save. You're going to love Mitchell.
If we lose 4 games I'd be surprised. Damn. Can't believe I said that.
Looked at a couple unnamed boosters. We just nodded at each other. We're good. At least we should be as the season progresses. The talent is there.
Washington State, St. Mary's, UCI. Who else? This team is different.
Some of our walkons start on Bob's teams.
We have high major depth.
Jakov Kukic takes baseline and scores on Idehen.
Harvey takes baseline. Finishes.
We have more talent than last year, in my opinion.
Mitchell has game. Needs to finish and shot is not stable yet.
JPL can turn a corner even when covered. He's leans in to create a driving lane.
JPL is abusing defenders and talking smack. Coach sidelines him. lol
Wishart hits top of the key 3.
3 on 3 drills. Some major battles.
Players get along with each other and even team managers. Good chemistry.
Harvey strong arms against double team, including Idehen. And 1.
JPL scores the other way. In 8 seconds.
Sanni gets bloody nose from an inadvertent elbow. Stuffs in bandage. Back at it. lol
Harvey with offensive rebound. Finishes.
JPL finds Robinson. Turns it over.
JPL turnover. Bland steals. Tomahawk dunk. Wow. Bland is third string and he just did that.
Harvey is warming up.
Sanni to Idehen. Finish.
Phoenix fast break drill. Harvey finishes. Harvey will be fine.
Amadou Sow is more vocal on defense.
Harvey assists. Kukic finishes--against 1st team.
JPL is fastest running lines. Norris is 2nd fastest. He's 6'10". lol
Harvey will be in the rotation.
Sow playing some at the 4. Adding perimeter shot. He will play with Idehen and Kukic at the 5 sometimes.
Anderson is not just a 3 point shooter. He has a midrange jumper too.
I enjoy watching this. D'Antonio offense?
Anderson cans 17 footer. lol
Catch and shoot drill.
Toure back in.
Chicago 4 man drill.
Coach Pasternack is not yelling as much on screw ups.
Thumb up Magic.
I've never seen this pace before. Ever.
Sow And 1 over Kukic.
Norris in the right lane take. Just like against Creighton.
Wishart cans corner 3 with feed from Sanni.
Mitchell with steal and left hand layup.
The second team is winning this pseudo scrimmage. lol
Norris with the fade away jumper. Count it.
No full court pressure. Pick up at halfcourt.
Wow. Mitchell dumps to Kukic finish. Against first team.
Sow to Robinson high-low. Mitchell blocks attempted dunk! Foul, but damn.
Hartwell is decent.
Sow pushes. Then receives in paint. Cans midrange jumper in the lane.
Sow turnover. 2nd team is good.
Talking to University of North Texas coach. Says Joe is a good guy and nice to let him watch. He's from the Baylor coaching tree. Says they are good also, and central Texas teams won't play them. He says UCSB looks really good. lol Pace is at a different level he says.
Coach Pimm is there also.
Kukic is playing the 5.
Second unit includes Kukic, Bland and Idehen sometimes. Every player has to defend multiple positions.
Now working full court press. Hmmm...one of the coaches says it's just for show. lol Goal is to trap on inbound baseline.
Our 4 man is at point on the full court trap. Looks like a 1-2-2, even tho there are man defense principles. Norris at the point will be a problem for opponents.