A wise man once said, “New is always better.” This is universally true, except with new seasons of The Office. New cars smell awesome. New puppies will even melt Blackburn’s cold, dark heart. You get the point. Perhaps nothing in life epitomizes the thrill of “new” quite like the promise of a young Dayton basketball season. Middle aged and old Dayton basketball seasons tend make us want to forget them quicker than we forgot Mystikal had a verse on “Move Bitch.” But new seasons? It’s like the first time Donoher heard “Call Me Maybe”, a true pants off dance off.
As custom dictates, a whole bunch’a white people gathered in UD Arena on the third Saturday in October to watch the world famous Red and Blue game. Here is what they saw:
Kicking things off was the women’s skills contest, which was really just some of the players shooting jumpers. I don’t know what happened. Then the women had a scrimmage. A lot of missed layups happened.
Finally, after nearly an hour, we got to the good stuff. My foolproof analysis:
- Kevin Dillard is still damn good at basketball. Devin Oliver and Matt Kavanaugh look like slightly better versions of what they were last year. I would expect these three to do what they do all season.
- Josh Benson looked great. The knee may still be recovering, but he hasn’t lost any of his quickness or bounce. I feel comfortable saying if he stays healthy, he will push for a spot on one of the All-A10 teams. Looks like he is trying to broaden his mid-range jumper game. I don’t think he made any, but he shoots them with confidence. Something to keep an eye on. He showed quite a bit of vocal leadership on the floor as well.
- Khari Price, apparently pronounced like “Kyrie”, looked solid. He is quick and has a good handle. Played within himself and didn’t make any glaring mistakes to the untrained eye. Hit a three.
- Jalen Robinson is a highly skilled, outside-in player. At one point late in the scrimmage he made consecutive nice cuts to the rim for buckets, and followed with a nice dribble drive to draw a foul. I think he’s certainly capable of getting minutes right away.
- Devon Scott is a large human being, and extremely athletic to boot. His skill level isn’t as high as Robinson, but he showed pretty good basketball IQ and toughness. Early on he showed great vision with a pass to a cutting Benson for a bucket. He should get some minutes early, and will battle on every possession.
- Vee Sanford and Matt Derenbecker were fine, didn’t show anything great nor give any real reason for concern. Perhaps they were knocking off some rust. Derenbecker couldn’t hit a shot, but it’s only one day. Hard to get a feel for them at this point.
- Jordan Sibert is a player. When you have a transfer or a redshirt sitting out, they tend to really play well in the Red and Blue. Sibert was probably the second best player on the floor behind Dillard. He should be an impact player from day one next year.
- The Big French Kiss and Dyshawn Pierre both sat out. Pierre had crutches. Given what we know about UD injuries, the amputation is probably scheduled for Wednesday.
All in all, it was what you would expect. The basketball was less than stellar, but they’ve had one week of real practice. There is definite talent on the roster, though. I can see them becoming a team that lives in the paint and at the rim. All four bigs who played showed they can work off each other, the big-to-big passing was probably the most eye-opening thing I saw. I would say everyone on the roster is capable of attacking and finishing at the rim, with the possible exception of Khari Price. There are certainly no Josh Parkers or Luke Fabriziuseseses on this team.
Before I go, let it be known that everyone’s favorite redhead female was spotted in the audience. So we have that going for us, which is nice.