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…..
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
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.