The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 16 – Michigan vs Maryland

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 16 – Michigan vs Maryland

 

March 3 – Michigan vs Maryland

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 Lucky me. Once again I was blessed with the opportunity to sleep in. Remember, I went to sleep at like 2 a.m. My wife got up with the kids probably around 9 a.m. I slept until 11:20 or so. Now, once you have kids you never sleep straight through the night. It’s impossible. There is an internal clock that is always going off at random times. This could be for a number of reasons. I blame it on the times of waking up at 4 to 4:30 to give the kids a bottle; or, when I worked at a liquor distributor and had to wake up around the same time. Nevertheless, I slept in! I woke up and had a shower. I ate some potato soup with the family, and proceeded to watch “The Kitchen”, on Food Network. Look….. I either watch sports or food shows. That’s what I live by. You can judge however you want.

 

I left for the game at 2:15, for the 3:45 tip in College Park. Well it started sleeting basically. So I-295 was a lot of fun. People really can’t drive in any type of weather. It could be too windy, too cold, too hot, too sunny or too dark. It doesn’t matter people suck at driving, especially in this area. I picked up my credential at a location on campus and then parked in the parking garage. The walk was about five minutes or so to the arena. I have arrived. I grabbed a water, two cheeseburger sliders, some tortilla chips, and then made my way to my seat. I was just happy that I was in the building. Keith Sneddon, a communications director for men’s basketball for the University of Maryland, squeezed me in. It was much appreciated. It was Maryland’s 100 years of basketball celebration. There was a ton of legends in the building. Gary Williams, Tom McMillen, Steve Blake, Drew Nicholas, Lonny Baxter, Tony Massenburg, and Melo Trimble just to name a few. It was a huge game and nationally televised. Michigan had their own celebration planned.

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The game was pretty back and forth throughout. Michigan eventually took the lead for good midway into the second half. They started making some three’s late and that is what put the terps away. The crazy part about this game was that both teams starting five’s scored in double figures. Ignas Brazdeikis was the player that Maryland struggled with the most. At 6’7 215, he showed an ability to attack the rim and draw contact, or pull up for jumpers. Darryl Morsell just couldn’t do enough to stop him. Iggy beat him off the dribble regularly. Iggy fed into the crowd big time. They were chanting “you are ugly”, during foul shots. Mark Turgeon had the PA announcer tell the students not to do that cheer. They listened, but were still booing and verbally going at him all game. Iggy was blowing kisses and acted like they weren’t loud enough. He finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. The big Jon Teske had the task of slowing down Bruno Fernando. He made Bruno work and was a real obstacle for Bruno down low. Teske is developing his jump shot and starting to add some range to it. He made one three pointer out of six attempts, but the potential is there. He needs to add some lift and arc to his shot to do so. Zavier Simpson is a player that was transported from like 1940. He is a throwback point guard. Zavier is a past first guard and a lockdown defender. He rarely looks to score. When he does score it’s likely from a running hook shot to the right side of the basket. Now this hook shot is not Kareem’s. Kareem would catch the ball in the post, maybe make a move or dribble and go up. Simpson is literally driving from the perimeter to a specific spot and then kissing the ball high off the glass. It’s some crazy muscle memory voodoo going on there. Like seriously, how much has he shot that shot? (Patrick Ewing reference). Simpson made like three or four in the game and they were all clutch shots near the end of a shot clock.

 

To me the game was attainable for Maryland. The one player that they really ride or die by struggled mightily. Anthony Cowan could not buy a bucket. He was 4-15 from the field and 1-7 from three. That is not going to get it done. He also had 4 turnovers and four fouls. It just wasn’t his day. Bruno was effective like his usual self. He had twelve points, ten rebounds and six blocks. No shot is safe around him in the paint. He can cheat and be exposed in the post at times though. Overall Maryland just didn’t play disciplined enough on defense. They were bad in the pick and roll with Simspon, and Iggy just cut them up on drives.

 

After the game I debated going to the press conference, but it was about 6 p.m. on a Sunday and I had pizza waiting for me at home! I met up with my Dad to give him a ride back to his vehicle back at our church in Glen Burnie. He rode to the game with a group that goes to Maryland games from our church, Faith Baptist Church. We walked to the garage on campus, waited a solid 15 minutes to get out of it and then waited another 15 minutes to get off campus. After all of this and talking about the game with my dad on the ride home, I arrived at my house around 7:35. This big basketball weekend for me was capped off with some truffle fries, pizza and whiskey and coke. SOLID WEEKEND.

 

Side Note – Red Panda was the halftime entertainment. ELECTRIC CITY.

 

 

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 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 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.

 

The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout

November 9 – Veteran’s Classic @ Navy

 Getting to the game was fun….. It was raining the whole way down Ritchie Highway as me, my Pops, Mr. Ken and Ms. Jen were conversing about basketball and other things. When we came to the split off of Ritchie to go left towards the Bay Bridge and towards the Naval Academy base or to go right towards downtown Annapolis, we didn’t realize we had to get over to the left until the traffic was too bad and the rain, so we were forced right. No worries we thought….. It should only add 10 minutes tops right? Wrong! (insert Donald Trump debate gif)

 This made us go the back way through downtown Annapolis which is annoying with a bunch of weird traffic patterns, one way streets and of course a traffic circle; because, no trip is complete while making wrong turns without a traffic circle. So we eventually get to one of the entrances of the base and enter. The entrance is literally located on a back street past some cobblestone area near the docks in Annapolis. Crazy old school town. But whatever we made it…… We thought……

 The naval base is super confusing and its dark due to day light savings time kicking in the weekend before. Its only 5 ish mind you. Wichita State vs Providence tip is at 6. We have plenty of time. Heh. Not so fast. Lets get turned around in the base and get blocked off by construction and get caught to where there is only one-way roads. Sounds good to me. Its around 5:15 or so after getting turned around multiple times, we find this other road that is a back-road that leads us in between a few buildings next to a few dumpsters and back to where we entered the base. The Naval officer that gave us directions when we entered gave us very fast and convoluted directions. Thanks, we appreciated it. So we turned back around and saw a few extremely poor lit signs that zig-zagged us through campus and to the parking deck next to the arena. We had finally made it. It was roughly 5:30. Doesn’t sound to bad does it? It sucked. Only a 30 minute detour, but hey at least I wasn’t driving. Thanks Mr. Ken!

 P.S. if anyone ever tries to invade the Naval Academy Base, hah good luck you’ll have no clue where you’re going. And did I mention we even had a map…..

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First game Wichita State vs Providence

 Wichita 83 – Providence 80

Other than the amazing human that was the Providence fan behind us, the best two players on the floor were Alpha Diallo of Providence and Markis McDuffie from Wichita State. Diallo is a point forward. Solid pro-ready frame. He could develop into a big lead guard. He has the vision and is a good catch and shoot player from 3. He plays tough defense on and off ball. On the other hand Markis McDuffie was the other NBA prospect. McDuffie has a slender build with good length and will need to get stronger. He struggled to shoot from three and mid range early on. He then caught fire later finishing with 32 points. McDuffie has a solid catch and shoot 3, although he has somewhat of a hitch in his shot. He is a plus athlete and can drive the ball to the basket as well. He is a plus defender that is very active.

 Side note about the Providence fan. He loved using the word “Bloody”. “Get the bloody ball!” Get the Bloody board!”. Classic New England accent as well. He also tried to explain to his significant other that Providence is playing an NBA style defense…… They were playing zone the whole time…… So yeah….. Very informed basketball guy.

 Second game Maryland vs Navy

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Maryland 78 – Navy 57

So in this game Navy hung tough for about 32 minutes until Maryland pulled away for the comfortable win. The intriguing players for Maryland were the two big men. Bruno Fernando and Jalen “Sticks” Smith. Both NBA draft prospects had the size advantage but struggled to get involved with the slow pace Navy played with. Bruno has an NBA frame and some offensive skills, yet he never seems to showcase his mid range jumper. His best skill is his rebounding. Smith was in foul trouble in the second half and never checked back in after like the 10 minute mark. Smith alters and blocks shots. He also has 3 point range on the catch and shoot. He is a modern 4, but will need to fill out to be a 5. Time will tell but he will probably be a one and done. Anthony Cowan led the way with 24 points, scoring many on late breakaways to blow the game open. He will be looked on for leadership for this young team. Darryl Morsell was the one that really changed the momentum of the game. He forced the ball inside with his driving ability instead of settling for outside shots like his other teammates. Morsell is a physical energetic player, this game fit him perfectly against a smaller physical mid major squad.

 For Navy John Carter Jr. played well chipping in all the categories. No not that John Carter….. He garnered 8 rebounds as a 6’4 freshman against a much bigger Maryland team. Hasan Abdullah did what he normally does playing extremely tough on ball defense and be a steady point guard. George Kiernan struggled to get involved. He was overmatched all night but will be relied on heavily in the Patriot League. Overall Navy just could not score to keep pace.

 Shout out to the Navy fan behind us that was crackling like a rooster all game and saying that Maryland’s team was not disciplined after a technical foul. You gave our heads a piercing ring each time and for that we say thank you.

 Oh yeah when we left the game, we left the base in the matter of 60 seconds, crossed a bridge and were home in the matter of 30 minutes. Better than getting lost in the base for over a half hour alone. Also you can’t park at the academy unless you’re driver has a DOD government card if you don’t. Something like that. Anyways good times to be had going to a game there.