Bama prevailed 73-68 over UAH last night in double OT. I watch the entire game on the rolltime.com stream(which worked fantastically, I hooked my laptop to my tv and it looked like a standard definition broadcast). All of the following concerns could be partially because we were playing UAH and didn't want to show too much and UAH clearly wanted this win, but still a few thoughts/impressions from the game:
- Trevor Releford is already our best player, and he needs to realize it. He lead us in scoring with 22 points, but most of that came late. For most of the game he seemed content to dribble down the floor and let other players create. We need him to take control of the offense. His quickness is on par with pre-injury Ronald Steele, and he has the moves to use that quickness. His jumper is silky smooth, and he stepped up late and calmly hit two huge 3's when the ball was swung around to him. We will need him to be aggressive in looking for his own shot or penetrating the defense to get open looks for other players. Which leads into...
- Somebody has to step up and knock down an open 3. No one on the team looked very confident shooting, and we consistently passed up open looks. Ben Ebeln's man was playing 6 feet off him when we was squared up at the 3 point line, and the entire UAH defense was sagged back like a middle school defense when half the guys can't throw a ball from the line to the rim. Charvez David and Andrew Steele did not play, and they might help some on this. But when left open, Eblen and Mitchell both seemed apprehensive in taking a open look, and when they did shoot, neither one looked comfortable with their stroke. This will have to improve if we're going to do any damage in the SEC.
- Our post play on offense is uninspiring. Green and Hines both looked like they'd bulked up some, but other than one quick drop step for a dunk by JaMychal, I don't remember them scoring off of an entry pass, and there were several very ugly shots. They were doubled sure, but they tallest player on UAH was 6'8", and they started four guards. They didn't seem like they knew where to look when they did need to pass out of the double team, and they got only 3 offensive rebounds between them.
- I liked the defensive intensity considering it was a scrimmage. They didn't seem to really give up on any plays, and the guards played aggressive throughout the game and Senario had 5 steals by himself. Our big guys got abused some chasing people all over the perimeter on back cuts and help D, but that won't be an issue when they are facing other SEC teams who won't be playing all those guards.
- Carl Engstrom is a huge work in progress, but you can see the potential. He didn't play after halftime, but he looked even more lost than the others trying to defend the perimeter, and I'm sure even though it was a scrimmage Grant didn't want to lose, so thus the benching. The one time their post guy went up against him Engstrom blocked his shot, and his long arms are sure to alter some shots this year. He also ran the floor pretty well for a big guy. We didn't even look his way when he posted up, but that will come with time, he has the physical tools to be a good player.
- I was excited about seeing a Alabama jersey with Durant on the back of it after seeing Kevin dominate the NBA last year, but I don't see Kendall contributing much this year. His defense is just bad, he reached in at dumb times, and I don't see him getting much playing time on a Anthony Grant team with the emphasis we place on D.
- Senario Hillman is as confidant as ever, and it seemed like it was just a poor shooting night for him. He just missed several open looks, but hit a couple of tough shots and the team seems to be OK with him taking jumpers. His form looked good, so for now I'd say it's possible for him to finally be a good shooter, which combined with his explosive ability could make him tough to stop. He spent the whole night guarding their PG as well, who was lightning fast, and still had energy to hustle after playing 47 minutes last night. I think Grant likes him a lot Senario could be a very good player for us this year.