Wednesday, July 5, 2023

June 29 Practice Notes


The day camp for kids was finishing up before the 4 newcomers started a quick practice session.  The returnees have a break until July 10.  They will travel to Vancouver later this summer to play exhibitions and will get 10 extra days of practice for team-bonding, etc.

My non-expert observations which hopefully don't reveal any "trade secrets":

Oakman can shoot, which was a nice surprise, as he has a reputation for being a defensive stopper in the lane, with limited offense.  One insider said he made 15 consecutive free throws the day before.  His form is good.  The consensus among observers was he is much better than expected.  He is 7'0" and 225 lbs, so he will need to gain 20 lbs of muscle to compete at the Div. 1 level.  This will add toughness to his game.  He's got good footwork and has soft hands, so he can be coached up.  Needs to keep the ball higher to take advantage of his length.  But for a 7 footer, he runs like a deer.

Traore is a beast.  In full court 1 on 1 drills, he just uses his body and leverage to get the ball in the paint and will abuse his defender with his length and strength.  He stays low to keep his defender behind him to receive the interior pass.  I predict many And-1's for him.  He also has a 3 point shot, and can hit them when he stays low and uses his legs to catch and shoot.  If he's too upright, he tends to miss them short, a common fault with many shooters.  Coach Joe really coached him up on that.  He has good footwork and good touch around the rim.  He will be one of the more physical and athletic post players in the Big West.  

Shtolzberg obviously has  a smooth 3 point shot, but he has a really soft touch in the mid range, even the fade aways when he's just shooting around.  He's definitely Div. 1 ready physically, and skills-wise.

Fontenot's 3 point shot was surprisingly accurate and he had good form.  At one point, he made 9 of 10 3's from the left 45 degree spot.  His shot is better than Ajay's shot when he was a true freshman (altho Ajay has elite drives and finishes).  Physically, Fontenot looks like a right handed Ajay, but their games are different.  Fontenot is skinnier, about the same size when Ajay was a freshman.  Fontenot needs to bulk up also, but his skills set suggests he will play this year.

As a bonus, Devearl and Max attended the practice, as did Pimm and Gary Cunningham.  One recruit was there, but no news on him.  The coaches are recruiting to fill out the final one or two slots.  Joe is a relentless recruiter.  Kelly Barsky also showed up to greet donors and the former players.

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