Basketball: More from public practice

Just the diehards on hand this evening at Haas Pavilion, as most folks stayed home to watch the Giants.

The 150 or so who did attend the Bears’ open practice didn’t see anything particularly profound — it was an inter-squad scrimmage.

“The key word,” coach Mike Montgomery said, “is patience.”

With this team, you won’t know the players without a scoreboard. And the one they provided Wednesday was no help, either, because the players were wearing practice jerseys whose numbers are not the same as their game jerseys will bear.

Here’s the breakdown of who was on the floor:

   — Five freshmen: Gary Franklin Jr., Allen Crabbe, Richard Solomon, Emerson Murray and Alex Rossi.

   — Three transfers: Robert Thurman, Jeff Powers and Justin Cobbs, who must sit out this season after arriving from the U. of Minnesota.

   — Four returnees who finished the season with the team last year: Jorge Gutierrez, Markhuri Sanders-Frison, Brandon Smith and walkon Nigel Carter.

   — Two returnees who missed most or all of last season: Harper Kamp and Bak Bak.

A few impressions:

Sanders-Frison appears in appreciably better condition . . . Gutierrez looks stronger and Bak has improved his upper body . . . Kamp’s knee appears to be giving him no problems . . . Brandon Smith is trimmer, quicker . . . Franklin and Rossi each hit a couple 3-pointers, and looked comfortable doing so . . . Bak hit one from deep . . .

Solomon is quick around the basket, but will be better when he’s stronger . . . Kamp got the best of him once by snuffing Solomon’s dunk attempt . . . Cobbs is aggressive with the ball in his hands . . . Carter, the walkon guard, hit a couple shots and didn’t back down . . . No one got hurt.

Jeff Faraudo

  • uh oh.

    I, of course, was late, and when I got there the Gold team was up fairly big on the Blue team.
    Before I noticed anything about the score, my first thought was that Monty had simply divided the team up into first team (Blue) and second team (Gold). Here are the rosters for the first 15:00.

    7 on Blue (didn’t see who started)
    PG: Franklin
    PG/SG: Gutierez
    PG/SG: Smith
    SG: Crabbe
    PF: Kamp
    C: MSF
    PF/C: Solomon

    7 on Gold
    PG: Cobbs
    SG: Murray
    SG: Carter
    SF: Rossi
    PF: Bak
    C: Thurman
    PF: Powers

    Looking at these roster divisions, it clearly looked to me like 1st team and 2nd team, right? But the final score was something like 30-13 or 15 in favor of Gold. I don’t know how that happened, exactly, because I missed the first 7 minutes.

    I did see that Rossi looked real comfortable getting ready to shoot long before the ball was in his hands, and then he was quick to let it fly. The kid knows how to play! I also saw Bak hit a 3 and another couple jumpers from 10-15′. Soft touch. Swish. Meanwhile, Blue, I didn’t see any fluidity there, as the point total shows.

    For the 2nd 15:00 span, Monty simply moved 2 players:
    Kamp and Franklin for Murray and (either Thurman or Powers).

    PG/SG: Smith
    SG: Murray
    PG/SG: Gutierez
    SG: Crabbe
    C: MSF
    PF/C: Solomon
    PF/C: Thurman or Powers

    PG: Cobbs
    PG: Franklin
    SG: Carter
    SF: Rossi
    PF: Kamp
    PF: Bak
    PF/C: Thurman or Powers

    …I think that’s right.
    This game was even the whole way. and Blue won by two at the end. Out of a time-out with 20 seconds left and the score tied, Smith stepped forward and hit an opportunistic elbow pull up when the Gold defense didn’t play him hard. Gold missed it’s late opportunity, but at the buzzer (clearly after when play was dead) the ball kicked out after a rebound to Franklin who swished a super long 3 pointer, to no avail.

    What did I notice?
    Bak made a couple late (important) free throws in the 2nd game.
    Nigel Carter looked good.
    Smith had 1 and Gut had 2 pick-and-breaks up top. Gut missed one of the 2 layups. Smith was fouled on his, and, gee…did he make the free throws? I think so.
    Kamp missed a couple jumpers and hooks, but also made a couple lefty hooks.
    Rossi again just setting up and ready to shoot. He’s got size, and is only lacking quickness. I like!
    Solomon should be a fun project/player. He’s clearly got good looking athleticism (which is often not the case with the word “project”). No, he’s just lacking experience to learn/know his game. He’s a player!
    Emerson – same as Solomon. Hit one long shot I saw.

    What didn’t I see:
    Crabbe. Because of the hype surrounding a State Champ and CALIF Gatorade POY, I kept telling myself to focus on him for movement, screens, rebounds, shots, anything. But my eye somehow wandered off him each time, and I left not knowing what he could do, which I thought was a bad sign. Like, impact players make you notice pretty quickly, right? It doesn’t have to be made shots, but the way they move, the way they look for their shots, or teammates, or battle for position. But I just lost Crabbe every time. I think I do recall him making one shot and missing another. But that’s it.

    So, here’s how I’d start the kids now:
    1) Franklin – looked in command and hit a couple 3’s.
    2) Gut – defense, experience. Set the tone.
    3) Rossi – spread D, hit 3’s.
    4) Kamp – warrior can keep D honest down low.
    5) MSF – beef

    2 Bigs to see time this year:
    * Solomon – change up inside for D on taller centers, or to give the others a rest, cover for foul trouble.
    * Bak – another change up inside, perhaps give a different scoring look. When he made was in motion to take his 3 someone called out confidently, “ALL DAY” and it went swish. Think he’s been showing that in practice just a little?

    4 Guards to see time this year:
    * Crabbe – it was just one practice so I’m sure I’m dense.
    * Murray – got game, gonna grow into it, but needs time.
    * Carter – just solid all around
    * Smith – can provide some stable ball handling.

    Thurman and Cobbs are sitting this year.
    Powers is clear to play 2nd semester, as a “mid season” transfer from U of Denver last year.

  • Mitchie V

    Thanks for the notes, fellas.

    Just couldn’t make the long drive from Sac’to.

  • rollonubears

    great stuff. almost like being there! thanks a bunch.

  • Thurman can play this year, he sat out last year.