Wednesday, November 30, 2005

 

Post-game UNC Thoughts

Big win for the Illini last night, and I agree with those that say a win at UNC is a win at UNC, no matter how pretty it was. I liked how certain guys really stepped up, and here are my thoughts:

1) Brian Randle, wow. If he hits threes like last night, watch out. Now he just needs to stop holding people on defense. 4-5 from the field, 2-2 from downtown, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 20 minutes. If he plays 25-30 minutes last night, I think the Illini would have won in a rout. Even had Dickie V gushing over him, I hope his family taped the telecast.

2) Rich McBride has become an assist machine. I'm shocked to see him leading the team in assists so far. Rich has become much closer to the player we all expected coming out of high school. Was great to see him drive into the lane, hit a pull-up and get fouled. 12 points, 5 assists and solid defense in 33 minutes. If we get that consistent production from Rich all year, this team will be better than I expected.

3) Augie is still putting up numbers while making it look like he's not trying that hard. He's become one of those guys that you feel like could just dominate if he totally set his mind to it. 13 points and 13 boards, 4-6 from the field and 5-6 from the free throw line in 38 minutes (great job staying out of foul trouble). Would love to see him get more than 6 field goal attempts (12-14 would be ideal). 3 assists and 3 steals is also very impressive.

4) Dee is struggling some and taking shots out of the offense that he's never done before. He's a great open-court player but just not a great half-court player, even at this stage of his career. He knows he needs to score for the team to win, and hopefully his shooting percentage will increase over the course of the season. Still, could not have been more clutch with his rebound off Jamar Smith's free throw miss and then stepping up and hitting two big foul shots to clinch it. On the season, Dee's shooting 37% overall, 28% from three point land, 63% from the line and has 24 turnovers to 23 assists. Those numbers need to get better, and will, but right now I could see a comparison between Dee's senior season when he came back and Frank Williams' final season when he came back.

5) Shaun Pruitt had his moments, hitting 2-2 from the field and contributing 2 rebounds in 18 minutes. Was surprised that he didn't play more, though he did pick up 3 fouls.

6) Bench had its moments, led by Jamar Smith. What a quick release he has. Not sure he's gone t-shirt-less before, but he is really skinny. Surprised he only played 14 minutes, although he did have two turnovers to go with his 9 points. I suppose his defense is continuing to lead to bench time, but IMO I'd like to see Jamar get a lot more minutes than Frazier. Marcus Arnold had a nice game, especially in the first half. 4 points, 2 boards and 1 steal in 15 minutes. Going with the Patrick Ewing look with the knee pad, apparently. Carter's gotta be in the doghouse, 8 minutes of PT. Got 3 rebounds and a steal but credited with 2 turnovers. IMO, lack of strength is a big contributor to Carter's and Smith's turnovers. Chester Frazier? If you can't say anything nice...now at 23.1% from the field and 11% from 3-point land on the season. I hope there were some senior point guards watching the game last night that can see an instant starting job available next season.

Overall, not the prettiest game but a very intense atmosphere that was a good early season test. I think if this game was against a more veteran ACC team on the road (Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland, BC, etc.), Illinois would have lost. But the Illini got a break by the schedulers in looking for a rematch of the championship game, and they walk out of Chapel Hill with a win.

Xavier's 22 point win over Purdue just looked a lot less impressive after last night. What is that odor coming from West Lafayette? Keady stayed about 3-4 years too long and his poor recruiting has killed that program. Painter's got playing time to sell but his freshmen, with the exception of Spates, don't look like they've got the potential to be an upper level Big Ten team by the time they get to be juniors and seniors.

Comments:
how many airballs did Nate Minnoy shoot last night?
 
Don't know on airballs, didn't watch much of the game (flipped over during Illinois-UNC timeouts), but Minnoy did have 7 turnovers to 0 assists last night. Minnoy will end up being a decent scorer b/c Purdue doesn't have anybody else, but he's very limited in what he can do on the basketball court.
 
Ginyard impressed me for UNC.
I bet a co-worker that Frasor transfers after his sophomore year.

Pruitt-at least he's taking the ball to the rim.

I thought last night was Marcus Arnold's best game. Active on the board, hustled.
 
Ginyard was good, very athletic but a little loose with the ball. That will get better as he gains strength. A better shooter than I thought he'd be.

I didn't talk about Frasor yet, but I was impressed with him last night. In high school, I saw a slow shooting guard. Last night, I saw a slow high major point guard but one with good instincts and a guy that did pretty well in his first game. Wish Weber didn't stop recruiting him after Jamar signed. While I love Jamar, Frasor has a more well-rounded game right now and can clearly play the point guard position. Can you imagine if we had Frasor instead of Frazier?

I love Pruitt, just wish he would get more playing time sometimes. He's a guy that is confidence and touches away from averaging in double figures.

I agree that last night was Arnold's best game. He's a pretty solid backup.
 
Frasor is a smart player...always has been. But, he is not a PG at the high-major level. He has trouble guarding...and he can't get his own shot. A more athletic Sean Harrington...that doesn't shoot it as well.

Purdue was astoundingly bad.
 
Butts, who would you rather have, Bobby Frasor or Chester Frazier? Be honest.

Also, can we please do double or nothing on the Jamar Smith bet...I've got Frasor staying at UNC all 4 years, you've got a transfer?
 
As a backup, I would rather have Chester....I want my backup PG to be a good defender. If I had to start one of them for a prolonged period, I would take Frasor....until Chester improves his offense....I can't see him playing major minutes as a starter. Quite honestly, I don't see either as a starter at the school they are at....I expect Illinois to bring in a PG in the spring...I also think Meachem will run the offense better than chester...but Chester can defend.
 
Will Meacham start over Frazier next year at PG assuming we don't bring in a stud PG in 06?
 
I would still take Smith over Frasor. Frasor is slow, not a true PG and couldn't defend a athletic 2g which is only what he will ever be. Smith has a great stroke, fluid, quick enough and has good hops. We will be raving over Smith long after Frazor is picking up splinters on the bench. And, I would rather have Chester as my backup PG than frasor.
 
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