I never had a good feeling about playing this Hofstra team. Maybe it was because I talked with Hofstra guys all week to gather info for the preview pieces for this blog. Maybe it was my own negativity manifesting itself into something tangible. Maybe, deep down, I knew this team was mediocre and I was just being realistic with myself. Maybe it’s all of that.
Whatever the case may be, and whatever your lofty expectations were that UD would somehow avoid a backwards step, you can officially curb them into something more realistic, at least for now. I’ll help you get there: this team isn’t that good right now. If you were foolish enough to believe this roster resembled that of a tournament team, well, I have unpleasant news for you – we ain’t that.
This Flyers team will only get better as they play more together. This is a tourney caliber team, need some rare luck with health
— Mark Neal (@ESPNMark) November 17, 2017
I’m not sure how this sports-person came to this conclusion, or why he feels inclined to willingly attach himself to the cancerous tumor that is ESPN, but one thing is very clear: this is not a tournament team on this day of our Lord in 2017. Remember Ball State? Man, that opening night win was something huh!? They played on Wednesday….
For reference, Oklahoma is neither ranked nor projected to be in the top 3 of the Big 12 this year, and they absolutely spanked the Fighting Cardinals like disobedient children on Wednesday night. Realistically, this UD team should be 0-2 to two unmistakably mediocre teams. That’s just the reality we’re in. I don’t think I need to go on, you get the point: curb your expectations closer to realism and start enjoying UD basketball again. The pain hurts much less this way, and frankly, this team deserves your support, like they always have. They’re young, they’re raw, there will be more losses. If you didn’t expect it before, you damn sure can expect it now.
When people spoke about the possibility of Kostas and Matej contributing to the Flyers on a nightly basis immediately, I am quick to remind those fans of one, extremely important, thing: there’s a reason they’re playing at Dayton. Starting with Matej, we finally saw our first glimpses of the clean-shaven Czech, and it was, uh, something. It was definitely basketball. I’m not going to spend time here trying to be coy: Matej can probably shoot but didn’t play defense worth a shit. We knew this would be a concern coming in, and it is. Project #1. Czechie finished with 12 minutes of burn, 4 fouls, 2 points and 2 assists. Meh.
Luckily, we also saw our first glimpses of what could be a promising rookie season from Kostas. In his first meaningful appearance of the year, he logged 26 minutes, finishing with a double-double of 10 points and 10 assists to go along with 4 blocks. He did a lot of “Giannis-type things” people were looking for as well, like utilizing his length around the basket, which was encouraging to see. WITH THAT SAID, that boy needs to get in shape yesterday. About 3 minutes into any appearance on the floor, Kostas looked like Jack Black doing hot yoga.
While you develop that visual in your head: it’s important to note that the minutes from Matej and Kostas last night were at the expense of Jordan Davis, who logged 5 minutes and didn’t really have a chance to do anything. I’m mostly curious to see how this situation plays out. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the play that would’ve had the sweaters in the Arena wetting their Depends. This a Dayton-Ohio-Basketball-Hustle-Play right here people, it matters little that it was unnecessary and he had no chance at the ball:
I BELIEVE I CAN FLYYYY pic.twitter.com/gQqQwmjKHU
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) November 17, 2017
While you hayseeds squabble about how the referees have wronged you on a personal level, I will go on to more constructive things to say that we officially have our first moments of the season where you can bitch/argue about Anthony Grant! Woo hoo! Now were really getting into the weeds of bball season people.
In the final moments of the game, Grant decided to go with what he described as a “shooters lineup” leaving starters Josh Cunningham and John Crosby on the bench. It was a head-scratcher at best, and outwardly wrong at worst. Here’s what AG had to say about it to the boy Jablo:
— Mike Hartsock (@MHartsockWHIO) November 17, 2017
If UD pulls this game out of their ass, we’re probably not talking about this, and I would’ve probably overlooked it, had it not been for the final play call. With the game on the line and a scorching hot DURRELL roaming around looking for more to eat, AG dialed up a play for….1-for-7 X-man Williams. Nothing against X here, but it wasn’t his night, he wasn’t hitting shit, and he shouldn’t have had the play drawn up for him. What transpired was a giant clusterfuck of nothing, which lead to him handing the ball to Jalen Crutcher in an impossible spot, and well, it was not to be:
In and out and Flyers lose 72-69. pic.twitter.com/1hBT1zjMiY
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) November 17, 2017
This recap is getting long and when we have these quick turn arounds no one remembers the game in 2-3 weeks anyways, so here’s some other quick thoughts:
Our offense has no rhythm or consistency, that will come with time.
It’s doubtful you’ll see much Jordan Pierce at all this season.
This game showed you just how hard it will be for UD to get buckets when Josh Cunningham is held in check or in foul trouble.
Justin Wright-Foreman was 100% as good as advertised. He didn’t come off the floor for a single minute and diced the Flyers defense on command. He didn’t shoot very well but it didn’t matter, he finished with 19.
Rokas Gustys got his, like they said he would, to the tune of 10 rebounds, he was a problem all night, especially when Josh was off the court.
The Flyers had absolutely no idea what to do with Eli Pemberton, he got to the line pretty much whenever he wanted and was just feeling himself overall, he had 27.
The Baby D Believers Section:
I put this part down at the bottom so you had to read all of that doom and gloom before getting to the really good shit: our boy DURRELL.
DURRELL put together, yet again, his best performance in a Flyers uniform. He was the straw that stirred the drink all night long, his finest moment coming right here:
DURRELL. BANG. pic.twitter.com/lhSCrBmyXC
— Flyer Faithful (@Flyer_Faithful) November 17, 2017
DURRELL is currently playing with the confidence of a man who just walked out of a threesome with two supermodels. If the Flyers needed a bucket, he made a play to go get it. He was a problem for Hofstra all night, finishing with a career-high (!!) 20 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the field and 4-for-5 from downtown to go along with 5 boards and 3 assists. The Flyers would not have had a chance in this one without the lone senior. Through two games he has 36 points and is 5-for-8 from the land of plenty. Most noticeably, DURRELL is giving no fucks on offense. His reckless abandon for the hoop is must-see TV right now. If nothing else, I would like to look back on the ’17-’18 season as: “The Year Of DURRELL.”
So, were 1-1, get over it. UD has another game in about 5 hours as of this writing, so it will be very easy to forget and move on regardless of what the result is tonight against the Ohio University Fighting Jablonski’s. I encourage you to look at this loss for what it is: a young team who’s trying to figure out how to play together as much as their coach is trying to figure out HOW to play them together, who fought hard and ultimately put themselves in a position to win despite being down BIG early. If your reaction was anything other than that, well, I think it’s going to be a long and unenjoyable season for you.
The boys will bounce back tonight, you must wear red, you must stay LOWD.
(author note: thanks to Matt Allaire and Jablo for the content, on quick turnarounds they help make these articles not suck)