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Notes from the Texas Tip-Off Scrimmage

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NCAA Basketball: Texas at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Longhorns hosted their annual open scrimmage for fans at Gregory Gym tonight, having fun competitions (dunk - Kerwin Roach II won, 3-point - Eric Davis Jr won, dance...yes, dance - a fan beat Andrew Jones in the finals) before playing a 24-minute scrimmage. If you’re like most Longhorns fans, you didn’t go; Gregory Gym was maybe 23 full, for a free event, on a Wednesday night. Malik Jefferson showed up, but he could’ve brought the rest of the football team and they would’ve had plenty of room in the upper deck to spread out. This shouldn’t surprise or annoy me at this point, but the fact that you could fill up Gregory with students for Taco Tuesday and not Texas basketball makes my eyes narrow and eyebrows furrow at the professed Burnt Orange faithful. Ah well, I’m sure they’ll sell out The Drum for Northwestern State, right? I watched the scrimmage on my DVR thanks to spending the night trying to resurrect my Nexus 5x after it shit itself this morning, but here are some of the things I saw.

Mo Bamba put up 17 & 11 and didn’t really look like he was working; this was in a 24-minute scrimmage against dudes who have been guarding him for months. What’s impressive about him — other than him blocking shots most humans are incapable of reaching — is that they didn’t have to run a ton of plays for him to generate offense. He made a three, threw down some dunks, and grabbed rebounds no matter who was guarding him. Bamba is going to be fun to watch.

Eric Davis looks like he’s ready to take on his role as a 6th man. He stroked the ball with a confidence he lacked last season, and if he can produce instant offense from the perimeter this year he’ll be a valuable piece for Shaka Smart and company. His non-shooting decisions with the ball in his hands were questionable, but that won’t likely be a big part of his role if the squad remains healthy.

Andrew Jones’ shot looks quicker than last year, which is good if he can make threes at a reasonable rate.

Matt Coleman pushes the ball down the court well. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, at least until the PTSD flashbacks from last season kick in again.

Jericho Sims has a ton of athleticism but is still suuuuuuper raw. He gets burned on defense regularly and will likely struggle against teams with a decent scouting report. He has a lot of potential, but he may not effectively tap into it until next year or the year after.

Dylan Osetkowski was good despite dealing with a right wrist injury. Maybe my favorite moment of the night was seeing the look on his face when Bamba blocked his shot, pinning it against the backboard, you could see Dylan just sort of accept his fate even before he landed back on the ground. I’m going to guess that is not the first time this has happened to him playing against Mo.

Eli Long made his only Texas appearance of the season this year as he’s redshirting this season. He’s definitely confident with the ball in his hands, and should at the very least be a good secondary ball-handler next year.

Roach dunked over his mom and it made Sportscenter.

Overall there were some positive developments, and some things we didn’t see tonight that we are likely to see more of in the regular season (hello, trapping press!). If you want to learn more about what this team is likely to do this year, Smart Texas Basketball 2017 comes out on Amazon & iTunes on Monday. The list price is $4.99, but for our loyal Barking Carnival readers we have a special one-time price of $4.99.