Ok, here’s the thing, folks. Let’s just get this out of the way now. Dyshawn Pierre will NEVER be able to duplicate his performance against Boston College. It’s just not going to happen. As soon as we all accept that, we can move on with our measured expectations and pointless lives. To put things in perspective, former Flyer Shawn Haughn once went 8-for-8 from three and his career ended rather inauspiciously.
Currently Haughn is a principal at a high-school in Centreville. This should concern all of us. The only people that embark on a career in education these days are guys/gals looking for sweet, unsullied under-aged tail. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. Just know that Homeland Security has probably already flagged any trips Haughn might take to Thailand in the near future.
This isn’t a knock on DP3, h/t to whomever came up with that yesterday, but the simple fact that he is an inexperienced freshman, just three games into his career. His body is still changing, people. And let’s not even discuss White Poison this early in his career, just know that the more Pierre excels the bigger a concern this becomes.
Our fearless leader has chimed in and tempered expectations in a rather succinct manner:
“I’ve been trying to find lineups that work,” Miller said. “Tonight, before we knew it, we had chemistry going. I wasn’t going to mess with that. It doesn’t mean Dyshawn isn’t going to struggle here in two days and Devon Scott’s not going to get in and help us win the game. That’s really important for everyone to understand. Everyone’s time comes in different stages.”
This isn’t Kentucky (not yet! Am I right?); UD is not the type of program that will rely on its freshmen to win the day. Pierre, as well as Jalen Robinson, Devin Scott and Khari Price, are going to alternate all season between looking like A10 All-Freshmen and guys Archie picked up at the PAC hours before the game (It’s still the PAC to me, damnit!) .Contribute, yes. I think it’s pretty clear that for Dayton to enjoy a successful season the freshmen are going to have to provide valuable minutes. The good news? It seems like the current freshmen are good enough, and have a decent feel for the game already, that poor performances will be fewer and far between as the season progresses. That’s the hope anyway.
The freshmen get another shot to set the world on fire, as UD takes on the Auburn Tigers/War Eagles/Plainsmen in tomorrow’s fifth-place game of the Charleston Classic.
Tony Barbee went through a tumultuous season last year. He kicked two players off the team, saw two more transfer out of the program and watched guard Varez Ward leave campus under the cover of darkness after being investigated of point shaving by the FBI. I’ll take a rape inquiry every offseason to avoid that type of turmoil.
The Tigers managed to eke out a 15-16 record last season, finishing tied for tenth in the SEC. There is some encouragement for this year, as Auburn returns three of its starters, welcomes two junior college transfers and a freshmen class that is by far the most highly-regarded of Barbee’s tenure. The program seems to be headed in the right direction, which given the Tiger’s recent track record is the only route they could have headed in. The biggest obstacle to a successful season for Auburn is its offense, which continues to struggle, averaging just 58 points a game thus far. Defensively, the Tigers are ahead of schedule, holding opponents to a mere 60 points an outing.
Frankie Sullivan, a 6’1” guard, is Auburn’s main offensive weapon. He is quick, explosive and can create opportunities off the dribble. Sullivan comes into tomorrow’s game against UD averaging 19 points a game and 4.7 rebounds. Shot-selection is an issue, as the streaky shooter is often the only offensive option on the floor. Joining Sullivan in the backcourt is Josh Wallace, a 5’10” senior from Pensacola. Wallace is the team’s main distributor, finishing last season with an impressive 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
Up front, Rob Chubb (aka Big Vanilla), a 6’10” center, is a solid player. He averages just under a double-double, nine points and nine rebounds per game. Starting along Chubb are Allen Payne, a junior from Cincinnati, and Shareif Adamu, a junior-college transfer. Payne is the more talented of the two, more active offensively and on the boards. Adamu has a name that ensures suspicion.
Noel Johnson, a transfer from Clemson (which is a weird choice since Auburn is basically Clemson without a lake), is someone Tiger basketball fans – yes, plural – are excited about. His production has been underwhelming so far, just five points a game, but he remains a solid perimeter shooter capable of stretching the floor. Asauhn Dixon-Tatum is a seven-foot junior-college transfer who led the nation in blocks last season. Not an offensive threat, Dixon-Tatum will swat the shit out of somebody tomorrow. And you’ll like it.
Does a basketball team from the south have a guy named Shaquille on its roster? Of course it does. Shaquille Johnson, a 6’5” freshman, is said to have freakish jumping ability. Apparently he has a lot of awe-inspiring clips on You Tube. I didn’t verify. Jordan Price, 6’5”/230, is Aubie’s most heralded recruit. Ranked the #11 shooting guard of last year’s class, Price can do it all. Handle the rock, pass said rock, and even put it in the basket when called upon. Price can supposedly play anywhere from the one to the three position depending on his whimsy.
“A witty statesman said, you might prove anything by figures.”
This one smells like a game Kevin Dillard will want to watch again with his kids someday. “Kids, your father wants you to watch his game against Auburn again!” Dillard’s wife will yell down the hall of their three-bedroom ranch, her voice echoing off the faded, yellowing walls. After a few minutes it will become apparent that the kids won’t be joining their father on the couch after all. Wounded, the old man will stare absently at the screen, wondering where it all went wrong and if there’s any way to fix it. He’ll stand, adjust his shirt over a burgeoning stomach, and turn the television off. “I think I’m going to go for a walk,” Dillard will say to no one in particular.
Flyers win 72-61.
Tom Blackburn is a proud U. o' D. alum. He loses faith in humanity one day at a time, but not in you, you seem like you are all kinds of alright. Charter member of the T-Man fanclub.