otherwise have only caught glimpses, saw a few games last year, and keep up by reading the articles and posts.
1. Jitim Young. Great quickness and power to the basket. And every time he was running after the loose ball against PSU's PG, I almost felt badly for the PSU guy. It was like a senior linebacker against a frosh cornerback.
Jitim plays with heart as we all know. The funny thing is that he is not particularly vocal on the court. He seems to make his impact through toughness, heart, power, and determination. He is quick and has hops, but is not a super-skilled or super-athletic player.
We will miss him big time, but great that he's been part of the NU family. The point broadcasters made about someone wanting him to be an RB was dead on.
Could you imagine Jitim vs. Jason Wright in the backfield. Talk about heart and all that is good about college sports.
2. Mohamed Hachad. This dude has the most upside on the team, maybe including VV. He has an almost miraculous handle, great vision, great athleticism, definite flare, and good feel for the game. He gets a little out of control, but much better. His touch around the basket is good, but his jumpshot is average at best.
If he can put on some muscle, continue to improve, and get to high 30's from 3 point range he has the chance to be 1st team all big ten and get a look in the NBA. Very talented dude.
3. T. J. Parker. When this guy is feeling good and aggressive, he looks impossible to stop from driving. Has to be one of the quickest players in the conference, if not the country.
Excellent handle, plays with heart, nice touch around the basket, good in transition. Only major weakness, as we all know, is jumpshooting. If he can make his jumpshot consistent and play aggressively, thereby drawing fouls, he has a lot of upside as well. Probably too small for the NBA unless he can develop a jumpshot, in which case he's tough to guard for anyone.
4. Vedran Vukusic. Great passer, great shooter, most natural b-ball player on the team. Most talented on the team by many measures. Needs to be more aggressive and become the man.
Maybe he's letting Jitim be the man this year. Next year, I hope he becomes the focal point of the offense, so he can pass from the high post, or shoot or drive.
Needs to get himself mentally set to be a star, because he has the ability. Awesome dunk and awesome alley-oop pass. Both could make ESPN. If he continues to improve, he could also get a look in the NBA.
5. Davor Duvancic. Excellent shooting, looks much more comfortable and coordinated than in the past. Plays hard, definitely a significant contributor. I'm impressed by his overall improvement. Think he could be solid for us as a senior forward.
6. Ivan Tolic and the rest bench. Didn't see enough of them to really say.
Overall. This is a tough game to gauge because PSU is the least talented team in the big ten. But this is the first time I've seen NU play a big ten team and clearly look like the more athletic, talented team. I'd say that we have four very solid big ten caliber players.
JY and VV could start for anyone. MH could start for anyone when he's on his game. TJ is a fun PG to watch and if he can play consistently and get his jump shot to even average, he could be one of the best PG's in the conference by next year.
The best comment by ESPN was about how Welsh-Ryan has a Cameron-Indoor feel. There are so many parallels between NU and Duke outside bball that I love to hear that. ESPN also showed our McDonald's All-American transfer, which has to get other recruits thinking.
Our 1-3-1 defense looks smothering at times. Love it. Our set offense did not impress today, but our transition offense rocked. We got outrebounded in the first half, but some of that was just bad bounces. Can't wait to see what Michael Thompson can do.
We will be a big team next year with Thompson, Vukusic, Duvancic, TJ, Tolic, Hachad. If we can pick up the slack for Jitim's heart, we will be tough to beat for anyone in the conference next year. This year, let's make the NIT our goal.
Right now, I just hope Seacat is fine. [He is]
Beat 'em All!
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