In an effort to augment some of what they've talked about, I wanted to pass along some paraphrased comments we've received from a few sources we're very lucky to have. Folks who are close to the program and get to see some things first hand.
From Denton Cooley Pavilion...
- This isn't really news but Avery Bradley has been the most impressive player. Gerry Hamilton might argue as he loves Jordan Hamilton like Trips loves the Juarez Donkey Show but our sources seem to feel if they were choosing first in a pick up game, Avery would get the nod. Obviously no knock on Hamilton as we are clearly moving into an embarrassment of riches sort of thing here. Otherworldly was another word used to describe him. Not TJ Ford quick but gets past people almost at will. Royal Ivey couldn't stop him. Also has a huge vertical (...just seems to hang in the air...) and he will need to hit his free throws because he'll be at the line a lot this year.
- Jordan Hamilton was very impressive. Didn’t look as big as he's listed and didn’t look as big as Damion James (get more reps with Todd Wright). He's a super-athletic player (deceptive leaper). Very quick release and accurate from 24 feet. Athletic enough and big enough to get a rebound and go the distance, though he'll have some trouble grabbing the tough rebound in traffic (a la Damion). Did toss down a few dunks in traffic. Decent ball-handler but definitely needs to work on his off hand. Not necessarily one-and-done. Barnes thinks he has a ton of room to grow.
- Varez Ward is even quicker than he was last year, a serious athlete. Still not a threat from 15 feet out. Been working on the mid-range game. Also gets in the lane at will and must learn to finish at the goal. Free throws and distribution need to be his focus for improvement.
- 25 minutes a game max for Dexter Pittman is a real likelihood but he's an absolute man when not being zoned.
- Matt Hill has shown continued improvement, finishing some contested shots at the goal.
- Clint Chapman is still showing flashes of potential but needs to get consistent, hasn't been able to really get it all together.
- J'Covan Brown has blown everybody away. A true 6 assists a game PG. He has a remarkable floor sense. Knows where everybody is and sees all the angles. Perhaps more importantly, he seems to be a really good kid and is well-liked by his teammates. He's hitting his classes and getting his shit done. Obviously the pressure gets ratcheted up in season but so far, so good. It's debatable how much anybody can affect the NCAA Clearinghouse but DeLoss was personally monitoring this situation. J'Covan will be the pointguard.
- Lots of conjecture about DeLoss' timetable for retirement and the possibility that Mack takes over. Suffice to say, Rick Barnes thinks this will be a net-positive as respects attendance as Mack might be just the guy who can sell the bifurcation of donation/ticketing for football and basketball.
Hope that was interesting. If you have any specific questions, let me know and I'll see what I can do.