IMO, Muss may change up some after the TX exhibition game. It may change due to practice this week, but without the ability to see practice, I think it may change to something like this:
Brazile (only because of his performance in all games but the TX exhib)
IMO (without watching the game), Kamani and Walsh exhibited the most toughness in the game. Toughness HAS to improve going forward. Had he had a good 2nd half, I might have penciled Mahki into the lineup because of his really good 1st half.
Kamani was our leading rebounder in just 13 minutes of play with 6 boards (18 for 40 minutes). He scored 6 points. He also drew 6 fouls, which was double anyone else on the team. Kamani also had a block and only 1 TO. He was the only Razorback player who wasn’t “minus” in +/- for the game (at +1). It seems to me that he deserves a start after that performance.
I like your 5 there. I think Walsh earned it in the TX game. Which five started in the exhibition?
Muss emphasized turnovers and rebounds in his recap of the exhibition so possibly anyone could earn playing time in practice based on those areas. I could see a smaller lineup also if 4 of our outstanding guards earn it in practice. You have to think Kamani and Brazile should be able to get rebounds though.
Turnovers are the killer. I don’t know who handles the ball great.
The only players with double digit minutes that had just 1 TO were AB, Kamani, and Mahki. Walsh played about 8 more minutes than those 3 and had just 2 TOs. He also did well.
Walsh and Kamani were also our best rebounders with 5 and 6 respectively. Jordan was also our leading scorer with 14 points on 6 of 8 from the field including 2-3 from the arc. Those 2, and maybe Mahki were the only players that appeared to play to their skill levels.
The first four listed plus Graham. I like Graham, but in this game, he played like he did in Europe. Muss only gave him 5:44 minutes
Graham. It sounds like Muss will continue to seek ways to motivate him. His comments regarding Graham’s footwork and moves indicate he will continue to look for the motivational key but limit his time until he plays to Muss’ level of expectation. Surprising that he finished the year improving to the point of achieving All PAC 12 status. Any thoughts about what seems to be holding him back?
I’d guess defense, rebounding, and toughness. I hope Muss can bring some toughness and board work out of him, because with his skill set, he could help this team a lot. Hopefully, he doesn’t turn out like Vance Jackson, who Muss seemed high on when he came here out of the Portal. He was also a 6’9" player with a nice offensive skill set who just couldn’t quite reach Muss’ defensive and rebounding requirements.
My thoughts exactly, Larry.
I don’t know who will start but I do know who will be the first person on the bench… that will go to the first person who turns the ball over.
Interior toughness. Also, I asked Eric about Graham last Thursday and he mentioned, unprompted, that he needs him to work on defense and defensive rebounding. That’s it.
Im not so sure about that. Nick Smith led the team in turnovers at Texas. Like I said in another thread nicks turnovers is the least of my concerns. Yes he has to correct that but it isn’t unexpected for a freshman and if it is a symptom of him being aggressive then I’m ok with that. He needs time on the court at this level to play with more maturity.
Now I’m not one to make excuses for anyone so if muss wants to bench anyone with the first turnover I’m cool with that too. But mental mistakes sort of come with the territory of being a true freshman. We can expect them to play smarter as the year goes. However there is absolutely no excuse for not playing hard. We can expect them to play harder, not just as the year goes, but like yesterday. I definitely expect muss to bench anyone not playing hard defense or rebounding.
Brazile had a couple momentum killing turnovers early against TX. Being there in person you could see his frustration. Got to get him confident and playing strong like he’s capable as this team needs him.
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