Jimmy Carter got video and will post soon. I will give you my observations from Wednesday’s workout at the new practice facility as he loads it onto the server.
First, I was interested to listen to Trey Thompson before the practice. He sounds more confident and he showed that again Wednesday with another beautiful swish on a 3-pointer in the scrimmage portion of the open workout. He promised that it’s not where he’s going to hang out in games, but his range is there. It’s impressive.
Thompson said he’s at 270 and wants to be at 265 for the start of the season, but he’s pretty svelt at 270 and it appears to be a good weight for the big man.
Thompson played the center spot for one of the team’s in the scrimmage and did well. It’s fun to watch him continue to develop.
There is little doubt that this team is improved. Darryl Macon is a joy to watch. He bombed a three when Robert Glasper gave him an inch, but he spent most of the scrimmage dishing to open teammates. He’s smooth and polished at the point and is a very good defensive player.
It’s clear that this team has talent at the four position, something it did not last year. I would not be surprised if Dustin Thomas isn’t a big contributor at the four. Some think of him as a three, but I like him more as a four. He’s gained strength and is polished with the basketball.
Brachen Hazen showed a strong finish around the basket and is going to help this team. I’m thinking his more of a three position player. He’s still gaining strength and needs more time in the weight room, but he’s going to be a nice get for this team.
Jalen Barford is a beast. He’s going to shoot a lot of foul shots because he goes to the basket with force. He was fouled several times in the scrimmage, although fouls are not called.
Dusty Hannahs looks stronger. I think his time in the weight room this summer has done him some good. He’s strong with the basketball. He’s always good at finding an opening for his shot, but he might be able to finish a little better after contact.
The athleticism across the board is apparent. Length and quickness is improved. It’s fun to watch them go at each other and it is intense.
I was interested as Mike Anderson stopped practice at one point and went to the video board on the end of the court to show them something that was happening on a fast break that last year’s team was able to do. He pointed out the mistakes they had just made with some positive feedback from the video display. I loved to see that interaction with Anderson and his players and the use of the new tools at his disposal.
Of course, this team is still blossoming. How Macon develops at the point is a key to the season. It’s clear that he’s the top man there, although Anton Beard is a good one, too.
It’s also clear that Manny Watkins has improved his shot. There were two-man drills that were competitive. Each two-man team had to make seven shots at each of the eight baskets around the court. Manny and Dusty won the drill both times as far as I could tell. If Manny can hit those shots, it changes the way the team will be played defensively and will make Moses Kingsley an entirely different offensive force. It’s fun to contemplate that change.
I’ll be back at practice Thursday when they move to Bud Walton Arena. These last three days have been at the practice facility.