First Night Observations (Did everyone get in who made the long trip to First Night?) | The Boneyard

First Night Observations (Did everyone get in who made the long trip to First Night?)

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I was pleasantly surprised at how large the crowd was. They announced that it was a full house. I hope that everyone who traveled from a distance got in.

It was a very entertaining evening. My son who is not a big hoops fan enjoyed the event.

Andre Drummond - The last time I saw kid his size (6-10 270-Plus) that moves like him was...well...never. I was hoping he'd throw full court run - foul line take-off dunk, but he missed both attempts. He is every bit of what he's been described; big, powerful, athletic, punishing, etc. He is going to give us a season of highlight worthy dunks. I'm not one who gets all that excited about those season mix-tapes, but Drummond's has the makings of one for the ages. Kids his size usually don't have a lot of hops and don't get as high above the rim as one would expect. AD almost bent the rim with his shoulder. If he turns out to be a teachable player and JC can get him to play with a high motor, he has the chance to dominate. As JC said, he's got a lot to learn.

Before I saw him live I wasn't expecting him to dominate this season, but after seeing him, the the possibility is there. All he has to do to learn to dominate most games is to work hard at establishing post position within dunking range and his teammates getting him the ball there. Few defenders are going to be able to stop him without fouling. Picture a more athletic college version of Shaq. Having a coach like JC who's going to draw up a lot of plays to get him the ball deep, is there much doubt that he's going to get as much out of AD that he can give? Dominating big men can be neutralized when they don't have a physical frontcourt partner, but he will have Alex next to him much of the time. Those two should be able to set a lot of screens to free up the other. Unless teams have two physical bigs to switch off, one of them is going to have a match-up advantage and you can guarantee the bigger defender is going to be on AD. If teams try to double from the perimeter on him, that will open up a lot of opportunities at the perimeter on AD's side. Add to this, his handle and athleticism, how effective he will be with the pick-and-roll. Oh, and he's a good passer, so if defenders try to close off his lane, he's going to find his teammates.

IMO, the only thing that is going to slow AD is AD. If he doesn't play hard, gets into frequent foul trouble, and/or doesn't play focused, especially on D, it will open up more PT for teammates who will be gunning for minutes. I've heard that AD is raw offensively, lacking post moves and struggling at the line. So by no means am I saying he's a complete player who is going to dominate night-in, night-out. Consistency is always a struggle for young players, but the potential for him to give us dominating moments and performances is there.

Ryan Boatright - I've said all along the kid has eye popping hops for a li'l guy and he didn't disappoint. He's got a fun personality to go along with his athleticism. While AD has the makings of being the most dominant player on the team, Ryan might be the most important newcomer. In college basketball guard play is arguably the most critical ingredient. They're the ones that get the bigs the ball or begin the play that eventually gets the bigs the ball. If teams can successfully pressure the guards, it can disrupt the half-court offense, force turnovers, eat up a lot of clock and force difficult shots. Bazz can't play 40 minutes so Ryan learning the offense quickly and playing the point at a high level will be critical IMO. I think he's cut from the same mold as Bazz and comes in with a great deal of maturity for his age, but he's the biggest and most important question mark for this team.

Other than a lay-up line that all the players participated in, most of them sat around and watched just a few participate in the 3 point shooting and dunk contests. So there's not much to report.

Daniels really struggled in the 3 pt contest. He has long arms so his stroke at first glance didn't look quick and compact, but he does have a nice snap at the end of his release. Before the contest began he hit a few in a row and looked promising. Then once the competition began he airmailed the first two long and I wonder if the butterflies got the best of him. JC commented that he's a much better deep shooter than what we saw, so I'm not about to draw any conclusions.

Giffey might have been the biggest surprise of the night. He was draining threes and won the contest in a landslide. He doesn't get his shot off all that quickly, at least during this competition. I'm not sure how effective he'll be with a defender in his face, but as a catch and shoot option, he might be an important weapon for this year's team. Niels is just one of those players you can't help but root for. I hope he has a break-out season.

Alex participated in the dunk contest. Alex still doesn't get as high above the rim as I would like, but we all know when he plays with a high motor, he's going to get it down on both ends of the floor. If he can just learn to be better balanced and square up to the basket better, he's going to have a very good and improved season.

Roscoe also participated in the dunk contest. He had a nifty dunk. I think he went under his leg and threw it down. Because he's so long, smooth and gets pretty high above the rim, it didn't wow the judges. So all we got was one dunk and that was it. Roscoe has a huge ceiling, but needs to improve his handle, ability to create off his dribble and learn to see the court better (i.e. find open teammates more quickly and execute good passes) to up his game for the next level. More consistency with his deep ball and learn to take advantage of his length and improve his midrange game will also be important.

I think Daniels also participated in the dunk competition. Since only Boatshow and Drummond were the only ones that moved on to the next round, the other participants only threw down one dunk. I seem to remember Daniels missing his first attempt and then had to execute a simple attempt. I seem to remember that he did get plenty far above the rim. As long as he handles real game pressure, he's going to be fun to watch develop over this season and hopefully the following one as well.

Similar to Daniels, Lamb was one round and out. I think he might have also missed his first more difficult attempt then followed it up with an easier one. And like Daniels he gets way above the rim with those Stretch-Armstrong long arms. I with they still did the scrimmage. I would have liked to see what everyone has been talking about how dominating Lamb has been. I'm among the long list of fans who expect Lamb to have a huge season.

All in all it was a very entertaining event that really ignited my excitement for the upcoming season. Game one can't come soon enough!
 
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Thanks for the great effort with your post. Interesting thoughts and observations.
 

UCweCONN

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I was going to take my daughters but we couldn't leave until 4:00. The traffic was so bad we turned around and went home since we wouldn't have made it there until after 6:00. That just sucked. I should've taken a half-day and pulled the kids out of school.
 

huskyharry

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Great post, DM as always! Those of us 3000 miles away really appreciate it...particularly given the awful ESPN coverage
 

Dogbreath2U

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Thanks for the great effort with your post. Interesting thoughts and observations.

That was no effort for DM. Keeping it to one short paragraph.....now that would be an effort!!!!! ;)
 
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Very good read. I don't think Daniels was in the dunk contest though. Atleast I didn't see him on ESPN3. And Roscoe threw down a nice windmill, Drummond was the guy who went through the legs.
 

CL82

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We missed the autograph session (the line was past the SU, almost by the math Science building) but got in via the South gate.

Dog's description was spot on. A couple of observations...
It was a great show. Really a lot of fun and put together pretty in a pretty slick manner.
Took a look at the ESPN3 version, it played pretty well. Great recruiting tool.

Drummond is something behold. You don't get a sense of how athletic and powerful this kid is until you see him in person. Agree with Dog that he has a chance to dominate. He's the real deal.

Don't think that Jeremy missed his first dunk. I think he suffered from being the 1st contestant. Judges were holding back a bit.

Man Boatright gets up there. It was very impressive.

Crowd chanting 'Kemba Walker' hoping that he'd take the mic. Pretty cool. A lot of heartfelt affection for a great player.

Ray Ray loves all things UConn. His speech showed this but his little side comments and the laughter show it more. Seems like yesterday he took that MSG shot against GT.

I got lucky and took 84 instead of 91. I heard there was a pretty big accident there. We made it, just barely, but we made it. A lot of fun. Well worth the hassle. I also saw my first game at the Rent this weekend. It is a surprisingly nice facility. Great UConn weekend!
 

BUHusky

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Thanks for the post DM, but I was at Gampel as well and you got a couple things wrong as walker11 pointed out. Daniels did not participate in the dunk contest, only the 3 point contest. Also, Roscoe's dunk wasn't between the legs, but rather a windmill. Also, I don't think Roscoe got that far off the floor for his dunk, something Kemba chided him for during the judging.

Great event nonetheless. I'm glad to read that Calhoun actually had fun for once at one of these things, but I can imagine how pissed/nervous he was when Joe D decided to extend the dunk contest an extra round.
 

TRest

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We showed up at 6:45 with 6 people and were able to find seats upstairs about 8 rows from the top. It was not absolutely full but very close. Great vibe, took my mind off this realignment crap.
 
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Thanks for the post DM, but I was at Gampel as well and you got a couple things wrong as walker11 pointed out. Daniels did not participate in the dunk contest, only the 3 point contest. Also, Roscoe's dunk wasn't between the legs, but rather a windmill. Also, I don't think Roscoe got that far off the floor for his dunk, something Kemba chided him for during the judging.

Great event nonetheless. I'm glad to read that Calhoun actually had fun for once at one of these things, but I can imagine how pissed/nervous he was when Joe D decided to extend the dunk contest an extra round.
I never let little things like facts get in the way of a good story. Yeah, I don't know why I though Daniels was in the dunk contest. I knew there were just 5. I just can't count. Drummond's under the leg dunk was pretty impressive for someone his size.

Just a fun entertaining evening. I'm now ready for the real deal.
 
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