The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 10 – Wisconsin vs Maryland

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 10

 

 

January 14 – Wisconsin vs Maryland

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I got off work the same time as normal, around 3 ish. I ran home really quick and then had to head off to a doctor’s appointment at 4 p.m. I hate going to the doctor’s like everyone else. I especially hate going to the doctor’s when they don’t call you into the back to see you until literally 5 p.m. So yes, the wait was an entire hour.…… We didn’t leave until like 5:35. After the appointment the wife and I picked up the little ones from her parents, we stopped by Royal Farms for gas and an 8 piece of chicken, mac and cheese and western fries with cheese and then finally we went home. Luckily the game was not until 8:30.

I left my house at 6:30 to head to College park. I picked up my credential and parking pass from the hotel on campus and zig-zagged through the back of campus to the garage, which is roughly a half mile from the arena. Not a big issue. I don’t mind walking. It was just tough because of the ice everywhere. I walked like a 75 year old with two replaced hips, just to make sure I didn’t eat it. Being a 27 year old that’s had 3 knee surgeries, 2 slipped discs in my back, 2 kids and I’ve been married for almost 8 years…… I feel like a 75 year old anyway.

 The game started out very bad for the Badgers of Wisconsin. Maryland dominated the first half. They were more aggressive on offense and defense. They held Wisconsin to just 15 points and they were 0-8 from three. Only three players scored. Ethan Happ had 6, Brad Davison had 5 and D’mitrik Trice had 4. For Maryland Bruno Fernando had success in the paint. When he was doubled he would find the open man. He has vastly improved his patience in the post since last season. He still has some moments, but this game was solid. Eric Ayala had a solid half with 8 points and a couple of three-pointers. Jalen Smith had an active 7 points and 5 rebounds. Good start for Maryland as they built a 33-15 halftime lead.

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 The second half was much of the same early. Maryland went up by as much as 21 points. Like I said…. it was early. Then came the onslaught of three-pointers from Wisconsin. Wisconsin made eleven in the second half. Trice made three, Davison made two and Nate “Big Shot-Big Balls” Reuvers made four. Trice and Reuvers were a nightmare for Maryland in the pick and roll. Fernando was out with foul trouble for majority of the second half and Maryland didn’t have an answer on defense for the pick and pop combo. On offense Maryland stopped playing inside and out without Bruno. They ended up just scoring a ton from the free throw line. Wisconsin actually took the lead late 60-59 with two minutes left. They completed the comeback. It seemed like Maryland would just flounder away and just lose it totally in the end. They went on about a ten minute span without a made field goal in the second half. Then with a flair for the dramatic Anthony Cowan made a deep three-pointer with under a minute left to take the lead back 62-60. Maryland would go on to win 64-60.

 Cowan would finish with 21 points, six rebounds and three assists. He also had five turnovers. Sometimes he is just a little wild in the lane. For Wisconsin, “Big Shot-Big Balls” Reuvers had 18 points, seven rebounds. He had two wide-open shots from deep in the last couple of possessions to take the lead but they just didn’t fall. Reuvers was playing out of his mind. I enjoyed watching him hype himself up he drain three after three.  

  

SIDE NOTE – After the press conference, I made the long icy trek back to the garage to my vehicle. I listened to some Sirius XM radio on the way home. As I approached my house, Margaritaville by Jimmy was playing. I then proceeded to eat some fried chicken and cheese fries before going to bed a 12:45 a.m. Amazingly, it was a very good decision. My stomach felt fine at 5:45 the next morning.        

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 9 – Nebraska @ Maryland

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 9 – Nebraska @ Maryland

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 9

January 2 – Nebraska vs Maryland

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I got off work around 3 ish. I drove about 20 minutes or so to my parents house to pickup my kids. The game was a 6:30 start time. Weird start time in my opinion but what can you do. I guess it was due to the Big Ten Network having a game after this one for a nightcap. Anyways, I drive my kids back to my house and prepare to leave for the game. My wife had an appointment in Silver Spring and was on her way back home, which is why I had to pickup the gremlins. I left my house around 4:30 and I arrived at the XFinity Center at around 5:35 or so.

 This was a great matchup for both teams. Nebraska has a veteran team with a lot of talent. It is probably Coach Tim Miles’ best team he has had there. He has senior forward and Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland, senior point guard Glynn Watson Jr., junior forward Isaiah Roby and leading scorer and senior guard James Palmer Jr.

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 For Maryland they have the fifth youngest team in the country. Turgeon made this very clear in the post game press conference. They are led by junior point guard Anthony Cowan, sophomore center Bruno Fernando and a cast of other underclassmen. One of those underclassmen played a key role in the last few minutes of the game.

The game was back and forth throughout. It had the feel of a game that would go down to the wire. Nebraska had stretched their lead out a couple of times but failed to put Maryland away. Their foul shooting was an issue in the second half. They outshot Maryland 23 attempts to 14. This was a road game for them. It’s pretty rare for a road team to have more attempts than a home team at any level. Ask Turgeon about that. Oh and I forgot to mention…. Palmer shot 13 on his own, almost eclipsing Maryland’s total as a team. With all this said…. Palmer is a monster at drawing fouls. He has long arms and is kind of awkward when he drives. He has the strength to take contact and finish through it. He did most of his damage at the beginning of each half it seemed. He is working his way into NBA draft discussion I’m sure. Watson had a solid game as well. He spread the ball around, provided leadership and is just a pest on defense. Roby struggled to get going. He was completely overmatched against Fernando. Fernando would just bully him in the post. Roby is a versatile player on offense. He is an explosive athlete and is still expanding his range. If he can continue to extend his range and get stronger he will be a very interesting prospect. He already has a lot of attention on him.

Fernando was an absolute monster in the game. It was like if your 35 year old uncle was playing against you as a 10 year old. Like if your uncle was like 6’4 210 and you were like 5’5 140. There was no chance. No matchup for him in the paint. With that said, Bruno struggled at times. Nebraska dug down hard in the paint with extra defenders and forced him to pass out. Every time he put the ball on the floor a defender was swiping at it. Fernando didn’t have great hands today. Was he getting fouled, maybe, but you can’t have 6 turnovers. So when he wasn’t turning it over, he was scoring in very close range or rebounding everything. He finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds. Pretty impressive stat line overall.

The underclassmen I teased earlier was Jalen Smith. Smith had a bad first half. He lacked intensity and physicality. He seemed slow to react to everything. The second half was different. Smith had more intensity and more assertiveness. In the press conference after Coach Turgeon said he was getting on him and so were the assistant coaches. Not only them but Fernando as well. Like I said earlier Fernando is a monster. When Smith made a few plays in the second half Fernando would get in his face and shove him in his chest to pump him up. Now, Smith is a quiet guy. He doesn’t show much emotion. Bruno is the opposite. Smith is about 215 pounds and Bruno is probably 250. Bruno looked like he was going to snap “Stix” in half. Stix is what Smith goes by due to his thin physique. So hopefully Bruno will be a bit more gentile next time, but hey it worked. Stix scored the last seven points for Maryland, including a game winning floater with 3 seconds left.

 

SIDE NOTE : Food for the game was ok. Three chicken tenders, a mini cheeseburger slider and some tortilla chips. My pastor Tim sat next to me for some of the game. He is a Maryland season ticket holder. We chatted about Maryland lulls in offense and how Palmer was doing some work on the terps. Great game to see, but he seemed to be feeling like it would be a lack of execution in the end that would doom the terps. This has been the case since Melo Trimble left. Melo made clutch shot after clutch shot. No one has done that since. Well someone did tonight, so have a little faith Pastor!

The Life of a Freelance Scout

The Life of a Freelance Scout- Game 8

Seton Hall vs Maryland

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 8

 

December 22 – Seton Hall vs Maryland

 I left my house around 3:30 for a 5:30 tip-off. My morning consisted of waking up at 6:30 on a Saturday…. Already not ideal. The flooring company came to put in our new lvt flooring in the basement and hardwood in the living room. I was not fully prepared. I was unaware that I would have to pull-up all my surround sound wiring in my man cave in the basement. I was not too happy. I still have not set that back up haha. So, hopefully this toilet flooding fiasco is behind us now. I’m sure you will be happy if there’s no more updates on that front. During this time frame I dropped off some Christmas stocking donations that my wife was able to fundraise through her job and give them to Sarah’s House, which is a homeless mission that helps house the unfortunate. I also watched the Goonies with the wife and kids and made a last second run to McDonald’s. Pretty interesting Saturday overall.

 I arrived at the game around 4:45 or so. Traffic wasn’t too bad. Weird timing for a Saturday game, but I guess since it was close to the holidays it made some sense. I was hoping for a solid meal, but ended up eating some chips and salsa. Which is fine….. Once again can’t complain about free food.

 

The game was pretty competitive. It was back and forth most of the time. Maryland led by 4 at half, 34-30. In the second half Seton Hall dropped 48, on a Maryland squad that seemed to pride itself on defense. The final was 78-74 Seton Hall with a big W. Myles Powell for Hall is a legit problem. His isolation game is at a different level than any player on the court. He has an explosive burst to him, a deadly crossover dribble to keep defenders off balance. Once he gets by the defender he draws a lot of contact and can finish through it. He gets to the foul line over 6 times a game and currently shoots 87%. That’s a winning formula right there. The other bright spot for the pirates was Myles Cale. Cale was very good. He went off for 23 points and was 3-4 from three-point land. He was very aggressive. He has a strong build at 6’6 210. He can spot up or take the ball to the basket. Has some length that allows him to get his shot off against taller interior defenders. Between the two of them they scored 50 points and went 16-16 from the foul line…… Once again that is a winning formula.

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Maryland was led by its two big fellas, Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith. Fernando scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half. Seton Hall did a good job blitzing him with double teams in the second half forcing him to pass. Fernando is still developing his feel on offense when it comes to passing out of double teams. He has made some strides recently. Smith had 14 points and 8 rebounds on the day. Smith just doesn’t get involved enough. The guards for the Terps need to take advantage of these two big men. Both are future NBA bigs and it would be a shame to waste that talent. Fernando and Smith should be touching the ball every possession, but that is definitely not the case.

 

I was sitting next to an Eastern Conference NBA scout during the game. We chatted about the lack of “identity” on Maryland’s part on offense. How they avoid using their big men to their advantage. I told him that they don’t always play on the court at the same time as well. He was pretty dumbfounded by that. Especially since Fernando and Smith compliment each other well. Fernando is a force in the post and Smith has the ability to hit an occasional three-pointer. We both agreed that basketball is a simple game, yet it seems players, coaches and whoever else seem to complicate things that are very straight forward. PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS. DO WHAT YOU DO WELL. DON’T PLAY THE WAY YOU OPPONENT PLAYS.

 

SIDE NOTE – During halftime of the game I was watching the Redskins and Titans game. It was a huge game for both teams who were trying to stay in playoff contention. Of course the Redskins threw a late pick and ended their chances. I am a Ravens fan so I was rooting for the Titans to lose to help us out. Not so fast. Blaine Gabbert to the rescue for an injured Marcus Mariota.

 

I left the Maryland game a few minutes early to get home to see the Ravens play the Chargers at 8:20. Nothing like Saturday night football around the Holidays. I sped down I-295 as fast as legally possible! Yeah it’s possible to legally speed. Around Maryland/DC anything within 7mph over the speed limit is acceptable. Any more than that and you are playing with fire (everyone does on the Baltimore/DC beltway). I was excited, my wife Kelly was making buffalo chicken dip. I called her on the way home and little did I know we were out of buffalo sauce and had no chips…… So, I had to stop at Food Lion on the way home. It was worth it as the Ravens smashed the Chargers. Phillip Rivers is the most entertaining QB of all-time. His reactions to every penalty or lack thereof is just great entertainment. God bless his wife as she is pregnant with their 9th child! The Ravens now sit in the driver seat to make the playoffs and win the AFC North over their rival the Steelers. 

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 6 & 7

The Charm City College Classic
Morgan State vs Towson
Loyola Chicago vs Maryland
#charmcityclassic #theyoungveteran

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 6 & 7

 

December 8 – The Charm City College Classic

 

Morgan State vs Towson & Loyola Chicago vs Maryland

Being a forward thinker I asked my wife to drop me off and pick me up from this event in downtown Baltimore at the Royal Farms Arena or The Chicken Box, as some people say. Pretty self explanatory there….. The arena is shaped like a box and Royal Farms sells chicken (you’re welcome to all the slower thinkers out there). I did not want to deal with parking in the city and paying anything either. The other option was to take the light rail from Glen Burnie to Baltimore. It doesn’t cost much, but it’s a process to park there and load and wait and do it all again to leave, then get back in my vehicle to drive home. It’s much easier when you have capable loved ones willing to help out (thanks Kell, Winnie and Junior).

So the even was extremely well run by Charm City Charities. Checkout charmcitycharities.org   They are a non-profit organization that looks to help the local youth by providing academic support, athletic training, overall wellness and mentorship.

I see this event really growing in the next few years. Maybe they can get a two-day tournament out of it. Maybe a whole weekend. Get 8 local teams, not including Maryland, because I doubt they would agree. A lot of the local teams play each-other anyway so why not do it all in one weekend and make some magic happen for the city of Baltimore. One of these days Maryland could have a showcase game at like 8 p.m. vs a Virginia, Villanova, West Virginia or someone who is somewhat local to draw a good crowd. 

Shout out to BJ Smith, who is the starting shooting guard for the DMV Warriors of the ABA. This is the local pro team in Maryland that I scout for. BJ is an entrepreneur. He has his own clothing line, does tattoos, wellness and health products etc. He was volunteering with Charm City Charities to help organize and contribute to the event. His website is beyondthebasicbrand.com

It was also good to meet local media and college basketball fanatic Stephen Hiegel. He is a good guy and just started his website last season. His website is JustCollegeBasketball.com

 

IMG_3122The first game was Morgan State vs Towson. Two pretty contrasting styles of play. Towson is very methodical and a bit clunky at times on offense. That seems to be there identity recently. They are a very physical team, but lack in playmaking ability for teammates. Morgan State is a smaller, yet feisty team. They play around 10-12 guys, with 8 of those getting pretty significant minutes. Coach Todd Bozeman will not hesitate to chew one of his guys out and yank him out of the game real quick.

Towson played a decent first half. They attacked the basket well and got to the foul line. They controlled the tempo and flow of the game. The second half was a different story. Morgan employed a full court press and that gave Towson fits. They couldn’t handle it. Towson has lacked point guard depth the past few years. Tobias Howard had 6 turnovers of his own and he is the Tigers only true point guard. Morgan did a great job pressuring the ball. This was led by senior, point-guard Martez Cameron. Cameron is the engine for Morgan. He keeps things flowing and under control. They like to play fast and he is the one steady veteran presence to make sure the chaos is organized. Cameron had 14 points on the day, but his presence was felt more than just that. Freshman guard Sherwyn Devonish-Prince Jr. led both teams with 19 points. Prince is a scorer. That’s what he does and that’s all he looks to do. He can pass a little but he is not developed in that area yet. For Towson junior shooting guard Brian Fobbs was the brightest spot. He is a cold-blooded scorer. He is a big-bodied physical guard that can bully his way to the basket or step out and hit the three. Fobbs will fare very well in the Colonial Athletic Association for Towson.

The second game was Maryland vs the Fighting Sister Jean’s or Loyola Chicago. This game was pretty competitive until Maryland pulled away late into the second half. The defense was key for Maryland they held Loyola to just 41 points. Clayton Custer and Marques Townes were held to 9 points a piece. Big man Cameron Krutwig had 12 points and 8 rebounds. Custer the leader of the Ramblers was out of sync the whole game. He never really got it going and Cowan did a solid job defending him. Townes struggled shooting the ball and only found success when he drove to the basket, which is his best skill. He probably thought twice before doing so against Maryland’s size. The Terps had 13 blocks on the day and forced 19 turnovers….. so, that explains the rough day for Loyola right there. Krutwig had some success but overall missed some easy ones and seemed bothered by Bruno Fernando’s intensity on the defensive end. Despite 5 turnovers for Cowan he forced the pace in the second half and ended the game with 17 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Maryland was in control majority of the game. There never was much of a threat of a run on Loyola’s side. Maryland was playing very good defense and Loyola was struggling to make any type of shots.

 There was one interesting point in the second half. It was after a timeout during an inbounds set for Maryland. Cowan found himself a wide-open three pointer right in front of Loyola’s bench. He ended up missing the shot, but I’ll be darned if it didn’t look like wild-man, Loyola coach Porter Moser almost caressed Cowan or whispered sweet nothings into his ear as he shot. Moser was so close to him it was wild! Refs were telling Moser to stay behind the coaches line all game and he would oblige while sweet-talking back to them. He is a coach oozing of passion for the game. He has put his time in before the success of last season. It was much deserved. He has no one but the good Lord and Sister Jean to thank for that.

  

SIDE NOTE – My toilet flooded recently. We had to get a plumbing company to come out. Well guess what….. It happened again Tuesday night, while I was on the toilet. You’re welcome for the visual.

This was after I had the stomach flu all day Monday. Mind you this was after eating almost a whole family size bag of crab chips with my son Junior, some popcorn (this popcorn is a special mix… spray butter, salt and vinegar chips and cayenne pepper sprinkled on), eating 6 chicken wings that were dry rub garlic parmesan (these were fresh then frozen then un-frozen and sat in the fridge for a few more days), while also having a few big cups of whiskey and coke and watching Home Alone 2……. It was the perfect storm. There were a lot of regrettable decisions made in that eating session.

It was no joke. I couldn’t get out of bed until around noon on Tuesday. I had to call out of work for 2 days.

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 5

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 5

Virginia @ Maryland
and some other interesting events

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 5

 

November 28 – Virginia @ Maryland

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 Before departing for the game I had to drop my 2 little ones off at my parents. I have a 4 year old daughter named Winter and a 3 year old son named Junior. I took them to Pop and Mim’s house so they could go to Awana (a church ministry for little kids). They always have fun there, so it’s a win-win for this guy. My wife Kelly, wasn’t home she had to go see a client. She is an important person unlike me. So I left my parents at around 5:40, and arrived inside the Xfinity Center around 6:45 ish. Not bad for I-295 traffic. I arrived hoping to be one of the earlier guys from the media/scouting crowd…… Should’ve know better.

This is an old ACC rivalry game. There was a ton of media from neighbor Virginia and Maryland had plenty as usual. Also in attendance were 39 different scouts from 24 NBA franchises, according to Assistant Media Relations Director of the University of Maryland Sean Ellenby (via Twitter)…… So, no I was not early enough. It was packed. Probably the most packed it will be all season due to Virginia being in such close proximity. The chairs were basically touching each other in the media section. And it was almost shoulder to shoulder of people when seated…..

Very entertaining game and I’m glad they credentialed that many people. I have been declined once, but they accidentally sent me a credential for the Indiana @ Maryland game a couple of years ago. Yes, that is the game where OG Anunoby had that massive dunk that looked alien-like. I had a stupendous view from the student overflow section and I had to stand the whole time…. Even so at least I got in!

 Food for thought – Sardi’s was catered. It was lunchmeat sandwiches, salad, pasta salad and cookies. Solid spread and no complaints for this guy, especially when its free food.

 As far as the actual game…. Virginia just executes everything. They are so efficient on offense and defense. Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome made 8 of 16 three’s between them. Many off them Guy was running like a madman off screens like JJ Redick, or like Rip Hamilton except from downtown. He would curl off the screen, square up and let it fly. It was super fast. I was very impressed with how he worked off the ball. Jerome was just a constant calming presence. He never gets rattled, plays under control. He can score with a floater in the lane or hit the deep ball as well. He also is a solid defender. Has the size at 6’5 to guard and switch if needed. Both of these guys in the backcourt will continue to carry the torch of high energy pests and efficient players that Tony Bennett cranks out on a yearly basis since he has been at Virginia. Virginia’s best overall player and a clear 1st round NBA prospect is DeAndre Hunter. Hunter is 6’7 225 with a nice frame and good length. He is a smooth player. He can handle the ball, shoot the three and understands the game on offense. He makes backdoor cuts and see’s the open man as well. Very good defender (who isn’t on Virginia), solid rebounder and just a constant mismatch. Hunter is the player Virginia has not had during these past 5 seasons or so of great success under Bennett. His athleticism and range of skills is just superior over other Virginia guys.

 The reason Maryland stayed in the game was big man Bruno Fernando. Fernando is just and issue in the paint. He scored on Jack Salt several times. Salt is a solid interior defender. Fernando needs to be encouraged to be more aggressive. He needs to touch the ball more often. He either scores the ball or gets fouled almost every time. He’s shooting near 80% from the field and seems to have improved his foul shooting. One thing he needs to sure up is he always goes for blocks and that is what opened the door for the big man from New Zealand (Jack Salt) to score on several put back dunks. Bruno will figure this out in time.

This game was a good confidence boost for both squads. It was Virginia’s first road test and Maryland’s first big test overall. Each team can be encouraged by a well-played game overall.

 

So, towards the end of the game I got a text from my wife saying there was bad news and she would tell me when I walked to the car after the game….. So after the press conference I made my trek through the parking lot and my wife tells me our downstairs toilet overflowed pretty bad and leaked sewage and other nasty stuff. Yup. This was not cool, but hey I wasn’t home and my parents helped clean it up. So, I was appreciative of that for sure. I thought….. Yah know, I really dodged a bullet here…… And then Thursday night it happened again when I was home with the kids and it spread out in the office and living room….. It was way worse than Wednesday night. It also flooded the kids play room downstairs. I had a plumber come that night from like 9:45pm to close to midnight. He didn’t help. He was more of a handy man jack of all trades….. I guess. So a professional company didn’t come to help until Saturday afternoon. This was after I called 6 different people/companies. Everyone is “backed-up” (see what I did there) apparently. The culprit ended up being BABY WIPES. Never flush those bad boys trust me. It only cost me $520 total bones after all. But in the end I am supposedly getting new flooring now thanks to home owners insurance. So that’s a positive.

 

I failed to mention before this second flood that I was using the leaf blower in the yard and then filled the gas tank back up. My daughter distracted me inside the house for a minute. Then I went back outside the garage and started the blower up…… I forgot to put the cap back on the gas tank and spewed gas all over myself and my driveway. My washer and dryer were full of course. I then had to get down into my boxers throw a trench coat on and splash water on the driveway to clean it. Then I showered the kids early and then myself as well. My garage and my driveway still reek of gas. Little did I know on this night this was just the beginning of my problems.

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 4

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 4

American vs UMBC

Sam Iorio game winner against UMBC

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 4 

November 24 – American @ UMBC

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The next day after my trip to College park to see Marshall vs Maryland, I made the short trip to see American University vs UMBC. UMBC was coming off a successful trip to the Bahamas, where they went 2-1. They had wins over High Point and Air Force. There loss was against South Dakota. UMBC was 4-2 on the season. American was 2-1 on the season, with wins over George Mason and New Hampshire. Their only loss was to Northwestern.

This game was a back and forth affair. UMBC led most of the way but faltered to execute on defense down the stretch. Sa’eed Nelson, the quick and craft point guard for American consistently shredded the defense. He got to the rim at will and also found his teammates regularly. He found teammate Sam Iorio for the eventual game winning 3, with under 2 seconds left.

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Nelson is a problem at the college level. If he can hit the three consistently, he will have a shot in the NBA G-League and for sure a legit chance to be a solid pro overseas. The junior point guard had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Iorio does a little bit of everything for the Eagles. He is the leading rebounder on the team and provides a 3 point threat, as well as playing solid defense. He had 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Stacy Beckton Jr. had a solid game also. He chipped in 14 points and 4 three-pointers.

For UMBC it was a disappointing finish. They had the game in hand, but let American score 46 points in the second half. Max Curran had a nice game. The slender built junior, had 20 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and a highlight dunk over Marvin Bragg. Sometimes the skinny tall guys can extend and yam over the broader shoulder fellas.

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This dunk is a different one. This is actually the game tying one late in the second half.

Senior Joe Sherburne did his normal thing contributing a steady presence on offense and defense. He could still be more aggressive at times though. He had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. Arkel Lamar also was not as aggressive as he may need to be. Junior point guard K.J. Jackson filled the stat sheet with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists and 6 steals. Problem is he shot only 1-10 from the field. Brandon Horvath the other slender man on the team(see what I did there?), who also yams on people from time to time, had 14 points and 8 rebounds.

Overall the issue was UMBC could not stop the penetration from Nelson. He carved them up and American passed the ball very well in the second half. They could be more of a factor in the Patriot league than people originally thought.

Food for thought – UMBC had breakfast food in the media room. I chose to pass. I ate a muffin and had some water….. Very basic I know…… But I did get carryout Indian food for dinner from Tandoori Kabob in Pasadena. Spicy ginger chicken with garlic naan. Well worth the price.

 

 

 

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 3

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 3

 

November 23 – Marshall @ Maryland

JonElmore

This was my first trip to College Park this season. The traffic was fun as usual. Only took me an extra 15 minutes or so than if there was no traffic. It was pretty cold too, like low thirties range. I’m just glad I had a solid parking pass so I didn’t have to walk as far. That’s not always the case, since the priority normally goes to the “Big Dogs”. Maryland always takes good care of the media and I have always been treated well also. Not to mention they have solid catered food every time. This time was Chick-fil-A….. always a crowd pleaser.

I also was blessed with a seat with the NBA scouts so that was cool. One ex-NBA player was in attendance. He showed up a few minutes into the game. It was none other than local Eleanor Roosevelt high school product Delonte West. He has not been in the news in the past couple of years, after the rumors of him having some issues and possibly being homeless. I did not speak to Delonte. And to the chagrin of my pastor and friend Tim that was there in attendance, I never asked if Gary Williams recruited him to go to Maryland. If I see him again maybe I will spark a conversation, but this time I didn’t want to bother him! I’m not sure exactly why he was there but there is a player on Marshall (Jarrod West Jr.) with the same last name. Either way Delonte was just enjoying a game of basketball very quietly.

So the game was extremely one sided. It was supposed to be close. Maryland won 104-67. They led by over 40 at a point. Marshall loves to get up and down the court. They are led by Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks. Coming into the game they averaged 44 points a game combined. Well this night they had 16 total. Elmore struggled with his shot and really had an issue with Maryland’s length. He made many passes while in the air leaving his feet. Some were on target but several were tipped leading to loose balls or turnovers. Elmore has a great feel for pick and roll play and is a solid shooter off the dribble and from 3. Tonight was just not his night. C.J. Burks showcased an ability to score off the drive. He finished a few tough layups off the glass using his length to convert. Burks has a quick first step and also is a solid a shooter from 3. Both of these guys are candidates for the Portsmouth Invitational. Almost certainly not drafted. They could have very successful careers overseas or get shots in the NBA G-League.

 Side note Jannson Williams could be a guy to keep an eye on. He came into the game averaging like 5 points. He finished with 21 and eventually fouled out. The 6’9 forward showed an ability to hit the 3 off the catch and shoot as well as finish some alley-oops at the rim.

 Maryland thrived in this high octane game. Maybe we will see this more often. It would be exciting for the fan base and would also showcase the squads athleticism. Maryland was hitting from 3 point range as well. If they can shoot anywhere near as well as they did they will be a factor in the Big 10. Eric Ayala was impressive and showed confidence in his shot. Something he was struggling with earlier in the season. Anthony Cowan was his normal spark plug self. He had countless wide open lanes to the baskets for lay ups. It was like Marshall just parted the Red Sea for him. Bruno Fernando showcased his best pro skill all night. He had 16 rebounds. He boxes out well when focused and he can elevate better than any player on the floor for rebounds.

 This game was supposed to be like a 6 or 7 point game. Marshall is a very good team and on this night of Chick-fil-A and a Delonte West sighting, they were no match for Maryland.

 Maryland will have a much different style game on its hands when Virginia come to town Wednesday night. We all know Virginia is a grind it out, slow pace, methodical type of team. They are the polar opposite of Marshall. It will be very interesting to see how Maryland responds.

One last thing…… Turgeon did not seem thrilled that the Terps drew Virginia in the ACC – Big 10 challenge….. but, hey at least it’s at home.