One of my favorite things to do is show up to Horns basketball games 60-90 minutes early, grab a Hat Creek cheeseburger, and watch the guys go through drills.
You see a lot of things that you can't pick up during a telecast or even watching the game, because guys let their guard down a little bit. Here are a few observations from the shootaround and the game:
1) J'Covan Brown has a very sweet stroke. It is pure, smooth, and he has a quick release. It is good that he has a quick release because he can't jump. He got denied by the rim on a dunk in the layup line type dunk drill, and it wasn't like a miss, it was the top half of the ball against the rim.
2) We had an alleyoop drill. I haven't seen Texas do this before. We had managers throwing the alleyoops. We ought to let the players do it. I think this is good. I think it is obvious from the game that it has been a point of emphasis, and I like it.
3) Jordan Hamilton also has a sweet stroke, but he has a little wind up in his stroke that slows him down a bit. When he tries to shoot it quickly, he isn't nearly as accurate. It shouldn't matter a whole lot in college because of his size.
4) Gary Johnson spent a good bit of the shoot around shooting threes, and he was using a little more shooter friendly form than his normal high clipped release. It gave him a little more arc on his shot. Last year he would spend the whole shootaround knocking down elbow jumpers. By my count, he went 12-20 including a couple of 4-5 in a row runs from two spots.
5) Shawn Williams did drills with the post group. So, did Damion James which isn't particularly noteworthy except that he was with the guards last year. Shawn also has a fundamentally sound stroke, but he has a very wide base. This usually means he isn't going to get his shot up quickly.
6) Clint Chapman was MIA from the pregame and not on the bench during the game.
7) Doge looked more comfortable shooting the ball, and his release was higher, which is good. He did not make many shots.
From the game:
1) The veterans didn't try to force anything. This is a good sign. The presence of the young guys offensive prowess may be enough for everyone to relax and play within themselves.
2) Defensively, the young guys were out there giving max effort. I did see that Jordan and Avery both lost their men off the ball a couple of times. It was like they lost focus when their guy was standing still. Avery's ungodly speed allows him to get away with this, but Jordan can't. Barnes mentioned this post game, and I think that this is one limiting factor in Jordan's playing time.
3) Shawn Williams didn't seem to have the same problem. He is going to see more playing time because he is taking care of business on the defensive end. Also, 6 rebounds in limited playing time is pretty impressive. I like Williams alot, though I don't want to toss his salad like ipowers does.
4) It is tough Gary Johnson that Wangmene is a little better fit in the lineup because he doesn't need the ball.
5) Speaking of Wangmene, the dude is ripped. He has added some serious upper body strength since last year.
6) Avery Bradley doesn't jump, he levitates. Also, judging by the shootaround, the two dunks we saw in the game weren't full jumps. He has more ups than he showed in the game.
7) J'Covan was real amped up. I think he will settle down a bit after a few games. His temper is probably going to get him a technical at some point. Barnes pulled him when he started to show it after consecutive non calls on drives to the basket.
8 ) At some point I was lamenting our offensive performance when I looked up and we had a 25 point lead on 50% shooting.
9) We are going to need to play alot of four out and one in to open the lane for our perimeter guys. There just isn't much room with Damion and Dexter both in the paint.
10) When we play an up tempo team our offense will look better because the floor will open up.
11) Avery Bradley can enter the ball into the post. Justin Mason even had a nice entry into Big Dex.
12) Dex is a monster. The more touches he gets, the better for the Horns.
13) Damion does not want to wait until December to be the Horns all time leading rebounder.
14) Lexi Wangmene has stone hands.
15) I love sporting venue vendor nachos.
16) Lexi Wangmene and the freshman desperately need playing time.
17) Jordan Hamilton's wrap around in traffic then crossover to the goal was pretty sweet.
18) Barnes is going to ride Hamilton until he gets what he wants on defense.
19) Damion James looked very relaxed and in control.
We will learn more about this team when they are challenged. That probably does not happen until USC or Michigan State. I think the fact that we could play so poorly on offense and put up 89 points on 50%+ shooting is one helluva good sign for the season.