Friday, October 30, 2009

It Was Guard's Night Out

ISU's men's basketball scrimmage Thursday night was a showcase for the little man -- Sherrod Baldwin (right) and Broderick Gilchrist both looked smooth at the point, Amorrow Morgan was his usual explosive self on the wing, and Phyllip Taylor, who will not play this year because of academic issues, may have been the best player on the floor.

Baldwin, who has developed a funky-looking shot off the side of his hip, showed a new shooting range in draining several threes and scoring 25 points while splitting time between the Black and Orange squads. Gilchrest, meanwhile, looked like a natural in putting it up from beyond the arc. The JC transfer finished with 21 points. And Taylor showed an offensive game rarely seen in his spot appearances last year, putting up 23 points. After the game, ISU Coach Joe O'Brien told the Journal if the season started tomorrow (and the exhibition season does start Tuesday against UC-Colorado Springs), he'd start Baldwin at the 2 guard with Gilchrest at the point and Morgan at the small forward.

While the guards made the biggest impression, the Bengal bigs didn't get many touches on Thursday night. With Felix Caspari quitting the team and Demetrius Monroe out with an injury, ISU's depth in the low post is a concern as well. Seven-footer David Busma had 10 rebounds Thursday, but he remains a work in progress on the offensive end of the floor. Chron Tatum has a nice face up jumper, but at 6-4 1/2, he's going to be the object of some mismatches on the defensive end of the floor. Rolando Little showed the athleticism we've all heard about with a couple of follow-up dunks and shot blocks Thursday night, but he doesn't have an established post-up offensive game.

Big men, it seems, always take a while to get into the rhythm of the game each season. I'm not overly concerned about ISU's front line at this stage, but the Bengals are certainly short of depth there and they'll be placing a good deal of focus on better integrating the bigs into the offense before their exhibition opener Tuesday night.

Women's Notes

I ran into Bengal women's coach Seton Sobolewski at the scrimmage and he told me the Bengal women have been struggling with colds and sickness, as well as a few minor injuries. He's impressed with the talent of his large freshmen class, but noted the newcomers have a ways to go to understand his motion offense, and to figure out how to compete on a daily basis at this level.

Sobolewski said 6-0 C Ashleigh Vella from Australia is probably the freshman most ready to compete at this level. She had 24 points in an intersquad scrimmage on Saturday, where she lined up against fellow freshman Shannon Byrne, because regular C Oana Iacovita hurt her back warming up. Sharp-shooter Morgan Wohltman has also impressed Sobolewski early on.
With the early signing period beginning Nov. 7, Seton said he expects to sign at least three players, including one from southeastern Idaho.

The Bengal women open their season Nov. 13 at St. Mary's in California.

--Brad B.

And thanks for being a Bengal fan -- it ain't always easy, but it's always fun.

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