Starting Lineup Redux

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I don't know how good Aubrey's mid-range or outside shot is. Most fans felt it was close to non-existent.

I don't recall Geno every sayinig she had the green light to shoot 3's (but not saying he didn't, just that I don't recall). I do recall him referencing he (we assumed he was talking about Aubrey) when he referred to one player saying something like "we told her to go out on the floor and do what she's good at - defend, rebound, and run the floor."

It may well be that she has a decent mid range shot, but as a freshman, with all that was thrown at them, it was overwhelming so Geno told her not to worry about shooting jumpers in the flow of the offense, but rather to focus on rebounds. I HOPE she has a decent mid-range game and plays a lot and scores in bunches. She was the most dynamic player on the floor last season IMHO. Explosive, exciting, active, disruptive, and so fun to watch.
Take all of those adjectives, add in a year of great experience with the nation's best coach and most assuredly a summer of training, practicing and instruction with her family, and you will have to find new ones.
 
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I've been reading these "who starts" threads for a couple of months. As I do, I keep wondering how Geno would react if he were forced to read them as well. I think he would just laugh and shake his head because we, especially me, are just fans and not coaches. If I were 53 instead of 73 I would still be the last person on the earth ever to be selected to coach a college team let alone the UCONN Women's team. I have never coached a basketball team at any level. Yet I have an opinion too..

As Yogi once said, "You can see a lot by just observing". Here's some things that I've observed Geno do and/or listened to him say over the years:

  • He hasn't played with an announced Center maybe since Stef graduated.
  • He never (or seldom) uses terms like PF, SG, SF, W, and PG.
  • He never (or seldom) uses identifiers such as 1. 2. 3. 4. or 5.
  • He expects his players to move constantly and pass, and pass and move, and find the open man.
  • He expects his players to play tenacious defense and to rebound at both ends.
  • He expects his team to play his way (imagine that).

The players he TRUSTS the most to do it his way are going to start and get the most minutes. I don't believe he will select his starters based on our notions of positions, but rather which 5 execute his vision of basketball the best (read trust).

If it were me, I'd start Liv, Anna, Aubrey, Evina, and Paige. Notice the glaring absence of Williams. IMO, she hasn't consistently played like the HS NPOY, she sometimes plays with an absence of energy, she misses too many layups, and she is too selfish. Far too often she has driven a long distance and instead of feeding a far more open teammate, she has taken the ball all the way to under the backboard and then slammed one off the bottom. Fast breaks should be virtually automatic and too often her selfishness has turned the ball over. Having said all that I'm resigned to the fact that Geno will start her.

Bottom line: who knows?
he has read. Said no one knows what they are talking about. Pretty laughed at the Boneyard
 
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The discussion thread called “Evina Finishes Rehab Thread morphed into another Who Starts Next Year Thread” has to my mind lost its focus, so here is another stab at it.

Formal basketball practice is scheduled to begin in around four months, assuming that there will be a full season that starts on time. With the scarcity of sports to watch to entertain us, it is interesting to continue to discuss the contours of the upcoming 2020-21 season with another thread.

The four most experienced players on the team are Christyn Williams, Olivia Nelson-Odoba, Evina Westbrook, and Anna Makurat and the likelihood exists, assuming no injuries and no visa problems due to COVID-19, that they will be starters. I realize that others may have different thoughts.

The fifth starter is most likely to be one of three players, Paige Bueckers, Aaliyah Edwards, and Aubrey Griffin. What are the pluses and minuses for each of them?

Paige Bueckers: plus - a true point guard with great leadership qualities; minus - if she starts, the team will be relatively small, a factor of what could be of major importance in facing teams like Baylor and South Carolina.

Aaliyah Edwards - plus - a true power forward with international experience; minus - if she starts, the team will lack a true point guard, although it is certainly possible that a combination of Westbrook, Williams, and Makurat can make up for that deficiency.

Aubrey Griffin - plus - a strong rebounder and disruptive on defense; minus - has not demonstrated a jump shot and she could well be more effective in coming off the bench. She is probably the longest shot for the starting five.

A complication. What if one of the four most experienced player suffers a serious injury? UConn has been comparatively fortunate in this regard recently. The answer depends, of course, on whom is injured. If ONO, she would probably be replaced by Edwards with the hope that Piath Gabriel can come in to provide some effective minutes. Since Makurat, Westbrook, and Williams in some ways have similar games, then Griffin or one of the other two freshmen might take on leading roles. If Bueckers is the 5th starter, then Edwards would probably step into the starting lineup. If Paige is injured, then perhaps the point will be handled by committee, one that includes Nika Muhl.

Another possible complication. What if a player, practice player, coach, manager, etc. tests positive for COVID-19? Will the person be treated in a matter similar to someone contacting the flu or will everyone on the squad be quarantined and games postponed or canceled?
New to the boneyard and possibly a bit jaded from watching P. B. so much in high school, but hard to fathom a starting line up that does not include her, if she stays out of freshman doghouse. Luv her game!
 
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hoophuskee, a fair point about the first 3 bullets. It sounded good to me as I was typing but it was late in the evening for me and I realize I could have made my point more clearly. That point is simply that we as fans have been focusing on labels. I don't think Geno does. We have been focusing on who has the requisite size to play PF whereas Geno is going to play the best player he can at that position (of those who have not already been determined at other positions). I still remember 5'-11" G Gabby saying in an interview, "Coach says I'm a Post so I guess I'm a Post".

Of course, Geno wouldn't be reading these threads. That's why I wrote, "If".

I think your Meg example emphasizes my point. He didn't say, "Meg, your the PF". To defend the opponent's 2nd best inside player he's going to assign the best defender he can regardless of whether she's 5'-11" or 6'-4". I think Aubrey fits that bill. She's a tenacious defender and while she doesn't quite have Gabby's "ups" for example, she plays well above other women of the same height.

Your CW comment is exactly what I meant when I wrote that she has been inconsistent/ In my mind she needs to play much better than she has through her 1st 2 years.
My point was I don't think any top ranked coach will talk to media and reference a 1/2/3/4/5. We as fans do it so we can communicate better online. Geno doesn't have that problem. :)

As for CWill I thought she was terrific for a frosh but ofc want to see her play better and hope she can be an all-america 1st teamer eventually. Her game comes down to her shot.

As for Geno-- I'm with you 100%. He is the GOAT WCBB coach. What separates him from many, many coaches is that he loves offense but won't stand for lackluster defense. On the flip slide, many other coaches it's in their nature to slow the game down while others get too caught up in new wave 3point gunner basketball and don't place much effort on defense. Auriemma thinks out-of-the-box on offense and follows through on it.

When UCONN runs an "Auriemma offense" it's a thing of beauty. I just hope his this team's offense can run where it won't matter much with positions. But for example, if Aubrey starts and she can't shoot - just like last year-- then she is probably the PF. Just because Geno isn't specifically calling the position as a PF, we can see what is Aubrey is doing. So, if she can't shoot then on offense she is an inside player only. And if she is playing with Liv- she's mainly a PF. We don't have to hear Geno say it - to know it.
 
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"Who starts" will likely become a less important issue as time goes on for UConn. In the past, we typically had a strong bench that evolved over time. Wasn't unusual to have future All Americans like KLS and Collier working hard just to get minutes. The past few years, for many reasons we had a team that was thin at both the 4/5 and point guard positions. Predict with current recruiting, we will get back to becoming a typical Geno team where match ups and practice performance translate to minutes and who starts becomes less of a focal point.
 
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Williams is a head scratcher when she’s on she could be one of the best players in the country. The problem is she’s too inconsistent it sounds a little like Megan‘s sophomore year. Hopefully she’ll make the steps that Megan did and become a much more consistent well-rounded player. If she does that Gino will have a variety of good problems finding positions for everyone. If she doesn’t she will find herself splitting her time with more than one upcoming player.
 
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Williams is a head scratcher when she’s on she could be one of the best players in the country. The problem is she’s too inconsistent it sounds a little like Megan‘s sophomore year. Hopefully she’ll make the steps that Megan did and become a much more consistent well-rounded player. If she does that Gino will have a variety of good problems finding positions for everyone. If she doesn’t she will find herself splitting her time with more than one upcoming player.
She had a bad year, it happens, there is a reason why the saying "sophomore slump" exists. Despite struggling shooting from the perimeter, she still managed to average 15 and 5 last year. I expect Williams to have a tremendous year, I can see her easily averaging 18pts 5rbs 3ast this season.
 
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She had a bad year, it happens, there is a reason why the saying "sophomore slump" exists. Despite struggling shooting from the perimeter, she still managed to average 15 and 5 last year. I expect Williams to have a tremendous year, I can see her easily averaging 18pts 5rbs 3ast this season.
As a junior and the most experienced UConn player being a 2 yr starter, she will need to take the lead and average probably in the 20-22 pt range with that 5 maybe 6 rebound average. I also think Anna will need to average in that 18 pt range with 5rbs and 5 asts. On any given night, Anna can get the 3ball going and get well into the 20-25 pt range.
 
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As a junior and the most experienced UConn player being a 2 yr starter, she will need to take the lead and average probably in the 20-22 pt range with that 5 maybe 6 rebound average. I also think Anna will need to average in that 18 pt range with 5rbs and 5 asts. On any given night, Anna can get the 3ball going and get well into the 20-25 pt range.
How many times has UConn had two players average 22 and 18 points a game? And with a deep bench? Not going to happen, and it doesn’t need to happen for us to be good.
 
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How many times has UConn had two players average 22 and 18 points a game? And with a deep bench? Not going to happen, and it doesn’t need to happen for us to be good.
True. There may be nights where they both get the numbers being suggested but the scoring will be spread out, especially with a full court press/ half court trap defense. To get those numbers as an average CW and Anna will each need to take 16 plus shots a game. Meg shot .477 from the field and averaged 15 shots a game which was about 25% of our shots and about 20 points a game. CW and Anna had lower FG%s. They would probably need to take about 50-55% of our shots( average was 62 shots per game last year) to get those numbers. That would make us a very easy team to shut down with the ball going to them constantly and not being passed again. I agree that CW is the likely leader and is going to have a big year and Anna as well, but I see a deep team with substitutes at each position with a lot of passing and assists and spread out scoring and most of our offense coming off of defense, especially in league play, as opposed to our set half court offense. If you get out in front in transition with next year's team, whoever is in at the time and has the ball on the break, Evina, Anna, Paige, or Nika, they will find you.
 
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How many times has UConn had two players average 22 and 18 points a game? And with a deep bench? Not going to happen, and it doesn’t need to happen for us to be good.
You can count the players who have averaged 20 for UConn for a season and still have fingers left to eat a burger.
 
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Then please shed your wisdom on the average breakdown for each player to make sure we are averaging at least 80 a night? Where do the points come from?
 
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Then please shed your wisdom on the average breakdown for each player to make sure we are averaging at least 80 a night? Where do the points come from?
Five players averaging 15. ONO Williams Makurat Westbrook Bueckers & Griffin are 6 who can average 15 and several of them are capable of more. The other 5 points are up to the other freshmen. Scoring will not be an issue for UConn for the next several years.
 
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Five players averaging 15. ONO Williams Makurat Westbrook Bueckers & Griffin are 6 who can average 15 and several of them are capable of more. The other 5 points are up to the other freshmen. Scoring will not be an issue for UConn for the next several years.
I don't buy it. Bueckers as a freshman will be focused on facilitating. ONO has not proven she can consistently stay on the floor long enough and exert the energy down low needed to average 15. That's why I believe Williams and Makurat need to be at around the 20 mark.
 
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I don't buy it. Bueckers as a freshman will be focused on facilitating. ONO has not proven she can consistently stay on the floor long enough and exert the energy down low needed to average 15. That's why I believe Williams and Makurat need to be at around the 20 mark.
My crystal ball is too clouded to see in that level of detail.
 
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I don't buy it. Bueckers as a freshman will be focused on facilitating. ONO has not proven she can consistently stay on the floor long enough and exert the energy down low needed to average 15. That's why I believe Williams and Makurat need to be at around the 20 mark.
If you want 80- this should be comfortable.

From the center (14 points)) Liv averages 13 and Paith averages 1 point per game.
From the PF (14 points) Aubrey averaged 6.4 as a frosh. Why can't she average 7 as a soph? Why can't combination of Edwards and Mir average 7? Such as Edwards 4.5 and Mir 2.5?
From the Wing (25 points total) From CWill and Anna
From Evina (14 points)
From Paige (11 points)
From Nikki (2 points)

I thought you were one of the posters who thinks they should go 10 deep? Highly doubtful they go 10 deep in big games. But they will have quite a few comfortable wins which the bench scores in blowouts.

Expect overall better defense than last year and more steals. That will lead to a few more fastbreaks and easy baskets. And last year they only had one pg (Molly Bent wasn't much of a pg and AM was not one and she won't be one.), yet this year they may have as many as 3 (even during blowout time UCONN will have a pg.). This means a player that might normally just average 2 points a game can average 3. Or a player who might average 11 a game can get to maybe over 12 ppg. The defense and the quality of several pg's which leads to better passing all adds up.

**Expect the numbers of ppg to change quite a bit in big games. Less bench and more star-power. OFC we as UCONN fans think all of our recruits are going to produce. They are not. Some will struggle. You can't afford to play the struggling ones in big games where a play or two can be the difference in a big game.
 
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True. There may be nights where they both get the numbers being suggested but the scoring will be spread out, especially with a full court press/ half court trap defense. To get those numbers as an average CW and Anna will each need to take 16 plus shots a game. Meg shot .477 from the field and averaged 15 shots a game which was about 25% of our shots and about 20 points a game. CW and Anna had lower FG%s. They would probably need to take about 50-55% of our shots( average was 62 shots per game last year) to get those numbers. That would make us a very easy team to shut down with the ball going to them constantly and not being passed again. I agree that CW is the likely leader and is going to have a big year and Anna as well, but I see a deep team with substitutes at each position with a lot of passing and assists and spread out scoring and most of our offense coming off of defense, especially in league play, as opposed to our set half court offense. If you get out in front in transition with next year's team, whoever is in at the time and has the ball on the break, Evina, Anna, Paige, or Nika, they will find you.
One of my favorite years to watch (when available in Indiana before I stumbled onto the BY) was when Kia Nurse, KLS and Collier would rotate on who was the top scorer (others would occasionally break out as well. It had to drive the opposing teams nuts to game plan for that. I believe it will be that way this upcoming year, and as an added wrinkle, they (opposing team) won't know who is actually going to start until introductions. This is a very good place to be in the "space-time continuum."
 
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If you want 80- this should be comfortable.

From the center (14 points)) Liv averages 13 and Paith averages 1 point per game.
From the PF (14 points) Aubrey averaged 6.4 as a frosh. Why can't she average 7 as a soph? Why can't combination of Edwards and Mir average 7? Such as Edwards 4.5 and Mir 2.5?
From the Wing (25 points total) From CWill and Anna
From Evina (14 points)
From Paige (11 points)
From Nikki (2 points)

I thought you were one of the posters who thinks they should go 10 deep? Highly doubtful they go 10 deep. But they will have quite a few comfortable wins which the bench scores in blowouts.

Expect overall better defense than last year and more steals. That will lead to a few more fastbreaks and easy baskets. And last year they only had one pg (Molly Bent wasn't much of a pg and AM was not one and she won't be one.), yet this year they may have as many as 3 (even during blowout time UCONN will have a pg.). This means a player that might normally just average 2 points a game can average 3. Or a player who might average 11 a game can get to maybe over 12 ppg. The defense and the quality of several pg's which leads to better passing all adds up.

**Expect the numbers of ppg to change quite a bit in big games. Less bench and more star-power. OFC we as UCONN fans think all of our recruits are going to produce. They are not. Some will struggle. You can't afford to play the struggling ones in big games where a play or two can be the difference in a big game.
I believe all of your estimates are conservatively low, but accurate through mid-January 2020. Nicely spelled out HH!!! I do not believe CoViD 19 will cancel many games at all for the UCONN women. Limits on fans at games may be in place from time to time.

My wiild-___ guess is that this team of ten players will average 91.6 points per game, and my guess will look bad until January 2021 until they go to "afterburners" and score in the 100's for 7 of 10 games through Valentine's Day...
 
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As a junior and the most experienced UConn player being a 2 yr starter, she will need to take the lead and average probably in the 20-22 pt range with that 5 maybe 6 rebound average. I also think Anna will need to average in that 18 pt range with 5rbs and 5 asts. On any given night, Anna can get the 3ball going and get well into the 20-25 pt range.
Considering there have ONLY been 5 players in the history of the UConn program to ever average 20pts or more in a season, I highly doubt that Williams will do so this year! There is also NO chance that Makurat comes close to averaging 18pts a game, she will be around 13pts tops!
 
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I believe all of your estimates are conservatively low, but accurate through mid-January 2020. Nicely spelled out HH!!! I do not believe CoViD 19 will cancel many games at all for the UCONN women. Limits on fans at games may be in place from time to time.

My wiild-___ guess is that this team of ten players will average 91.6 points per game, and my guess will look bad until January 2021 until they go to "afterburners" and score in the 100's for 7 of 10 games through Valentine's Day...
There was a discussion about getting to 80. I just felt comfortable identifying how comfortable it can be to get to 80.

I was just having fun with the number "80." But I'm with ya that I think it highly probable they will have a a very potent offense.

However I've read some posts in the past and I almost get the feeling some think that UCONN is going to press nearly every game for nearly a full game. If anyone thinks that, it's not reality. It's a fantasy basketball video game that they're playing on their computer.

Geno is not going to look to embarrass the opposition. In the 2nd half if you are up by 30, you aren't going to keep pressing. And at others times later in the game you aren't going to keep pushing pace with your stars. Even in some games you are going to significantly slow the game down. Sometimes your bench players are just "off." And when you abide by sportsmanship, you aren't going to press for near 40 minutes if the game is a blowout early on or a blowout in the 3rd quarter etc. These are types of reasons why sometimes scores will be down.

And you're not going to have your stars only play 25 minutes a game or less unless they have injury concerns or they are being punished in some isolated manner for a game or two.
 
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Westbrook was in the gym today working on her 3 ball and knocking them down, if she can do that consistently I think she will lead the team in scoring, I also think she will lead the team in shot attempts.
 
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There was a discussion about getting to 80. I just felt comfortable identifying how comfortable it can be to get to 80.

I was just having fun with the number "80." But I'm with ya that I think it highly probable they will have a a very potent offense.

However I've read some posts in the past and I almost get the feeling some think that UCONN is going to press nearly every game for nearly a full game. If anyone thinks that, it's not reality. It's a fantasy basketball video game that they're playing on their computer.

Geno is not going to look to embarrass the opposition. In the 2nd half if you are up by 30, you aren't going to keep pressing. And at others times later in the game you aren't going to keep pushing pace with your stars. Even in some games you are going to significantly slow the game down. Sometimes your bench players are just "off." And when you abide by sportsmanship, you aren't going to press for near 40 minutes if the game is a blowout early on or a blowout in the 3rd quarter etc. These are types of reasons why sometimes scores will be down.

And you're not going to have your stars only play 25 minutes a game or less unless they have injury concerns or they are being punished in some isolated manner for a game or two.
Last year Meg played 34 mpg and CW and CD almost 36 minutes per game. We had no bench. The starters may not play 25 mpg this year but it will not average 35 either. I expect around 30-32 with maybe one or two at 33-34. One thing that can happen this year is substitution regularity such as resting a starter at a given time in each half or even each quarter except in big games or close games. I just see that happening in order to see your freshmen and give them game experience and also because of position back up. While we certainly won't FCP the entire game unless we have to, I think you will see a lot more of it this year as well as the half court trap which can simply be doubling an offensive player in a weakened position on the floor. How do you press and trap over an extended period of time with 6 or 7 players like last year? Very difficult. But with 10 players, and each position having a back up, you have more options. The increased activity on the defensive end last year went hand and hand with the increased movement on the offensive end which included more passing for the Geno offense and hence the revitalization of the team at the end of the season. Geno likes to score in bunches early and take the game over and of the freshmen, if they don't start, Paige, Nika, Mir and AE are all "press-worthy" players that can come in with Piath being athletic also.
 
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There was a discussion about getting to 80. I just felt comfortable identifying how comfortable it can be to get to 80.

I was just having fun with the number "80." But I'm with ya that I think it highly probable they will have a a very potent offense.

However I've read some posts in the past and I almost get the feeling some think that UCONN is going to press nearly every game for nearly a full game. If anyone thinks that, it's not reality. It's a fantasy basketball video game that they're playing on their computer.

Geno is not going to look to embarrass the opposition. In the 2nd half if you are up by 30, you aren't going to keep pressing. And at others times later in the game you aren't going to keep pushing pace with your stars. Even in some games you are going to significantly slow the game down. Sometimes your bench players are just "off." And when you abide by sportsmanship, you aren't going to press for near 40 minutes if the game is a blowout early on or a blowout in the 3rd quarter etc. These are types of reasons why sometimes scores will be down.

And you're not going to have your stars only play 25 minutes a game or less unless they have injury concerns or they are being punished in some isolated manner for a game or two.
I understand the argument for the "easy 80" and from whom/position the points will reasonably be scored. You make a very clear explanation.

My point is that the talent that will be sitting on the bench (only five can play at a time) will be making their case for more playing time when they are in the game. When they get more playing time together - whether with some or most of the starters, they will be working on being tough defenders within the half-court, jumping the passing lanes, blocking shots, and getting steals. Hustle plays generate more hustle plays, just like when Stewie was here, positive examples by the leaders teach the "youngsters" to hustle and attempt to win each possession on offense and defense. It's an attitude that is contagious.

Geno/CD can (and probably will) shutdown "primetime" by having the PG dribble around to burn time, but the defense will still be smothering. The UCONN attitude IMHO is that "we have worked hard to build this lead, let's not let it slip away!" Every possession and defensive effort are opportunities to learn for our young team. I believe they will learn quickly and be efficient and effective come January, 2021, such that very few teams will be able to hold them under 100 unless Geno, CD, et. al, shut them down. I envision that the "starters" will not play much in the 4th quarter [due to "blow outs"] against teams that are not in the top 25, but the UCONN second team will still be better than their opponent's first team. This will drop the "starters" minutes down to around thirty-ish, but as you said, 25 minutes for the starters is unrealistic, and the starters minutes will build again at tournament time.

Yes, they may score less than 80 from time to time, and they may have a bad game against one of the best teams in the nation (but still win 68-67 in OT), but that is why they call in an average...add 'em up, and divide by the number of data points..... I will never complain about the score (or lack thereof). I enjoy the variety of ways they continue to win. I, for one, will never get tried of them winning, as they are winners all!!!

The bottom line, I do not think scoring will be a problem for this group of women as they each become confident of their "piece of the puzzle" in the scheme of UCONN women's basketball.
 

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