November 6, 2009

Basketball Notebook 11/6

The main difference in the offense this year will be that the Jackets are going to pound it inside in order to take advantage of the twin towers. Head Coach Paul Hewitt commented, "We will probably run more high low this year. When you have players like Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal, you've got to get the ball inside."

While debating who will play at center, Hewitt said, "They are both pretty adequate defensively to play the five spot. Derrick may be a little better on the perimeter defensively so he may end up guarding more forwards."

On getting the ball down low, he remarked, "A guy like Derrick Favors catches every thing in site which makes the entry pass to the post a lot easier. If we throw up a 50/50 ball, he is going to go get it. Instead of a turnover, that turns into a shot attempt."

D'Andre Bell Update

D'Andre Bell missed the entire 2008-09 season after suffering a neck injury when he collided with a teammate in practice. This season Coach Hewitt has already noticed improvement and is expecting big things from his senior leader. According to Hewitt, "D'Andre is getting better and better every day. He is much quicker than he was last year before the injury and I can see where he is moving better. He is quicker with the ball and he used to be able to get a good shot and go by you. Now he just makes one move and he gets by you. He has always been a pretty good shooter from 17 to 18 feet. It looks like he's making more threes this year."

Up-Tempo Game

Tech will look to get after opponents defensively this year in order to create turnovers and transition opportunities. The team will look to push the pace as much as possible. Hewitt says, "The goal of the offense is going to be to score quickly. We will always push the tempo. We should be better on the boards this year which will give us more opportunities to run."

Backcourt Rotation

When asked about how Iman Shumpert, Maurice Miller, and Mfon Udofia will be integrated into the offense, Hewitt responded, "The guys who are performing at the highest level will play. Iman has been terrific so far in the pre-season. Mfon is going to play a lot and Moe is going to play a lot, but he needs to get himself back in playing shape from his injury."

Health Issues

The team has suffered from some minor injuries in the last few weeks, but they are recovering well. "We're pretty healthy," coach said. "Iman practiced half court yesterday and Brian Oliver will get back in today. Moe is coming back from a concussion and a sprained ankle. Everybody has some little injuries this time of the year, but we are pretty healthy."

Western Kentucky Scrimmage

Coach Hewitt was pretty satisfied with what he saw on Saturday. "We established a defensive mind set, which is what we've gotta do and we rebounded the ball fairly well", he said.

The one area for improvement would be their effectiveness getting the ball into the paint. Hewitt remarked, "We did alright, but we can be better. We turned it over a little too much for me, but it was not a bad performance."

On the passing ability of Favors he said, "He is a very good passer, especially out of the double team. He handled that particularly well last Saturday."

Syracuse Upset

Le Moyne College, a Division II school, shocked 25th ranked Syracuse 82-79 on Monday. Coach Hewitt does not think that it will have any impact on his team because they do not take any of their opponents lightly. According to him, "You think about how popular this game has become over the years and it's nothing special in terms of a wake up call for us. Ironically, their head coach, Steve Evans, was a former assistant coach of mine at Siena. I talked to him over the week and he said that he had a good team and I don't think that he expected to beat Syracuse, but he thought that they would give them a run."

Saturday's Scrimmage

He says that this is still a chance to look at the team and play with some different options. "Iman will start and play about five to eight minutes in the first half and that will be it. Mfon, D'Andre, Gani, and Derrick will probably be the other guys that start. After that we'll see." Hewitt remarked.

Three Point Threat?

Coach Hewitt feels pretty comfortable with his shooters at the moment and has a few players in mind that he thinks will step up as the primary deep threats. He said, "I think that we have a group of shooters. Iman Shumpert, Lance Storrs, and Brian Oliver can all shoot it pretty well. Zach Peacock can also shoot it pretty well. I would expect one of those four players to be our top three point shooter."

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