I watched the streaming telecast on SWX, the cable version was about 20 minutes behind. I’ll try and write this for those who didn’t get to see the telecast. Please forgive my military style reversion to bullet statements, but I’m trying to maximize information and minimize words.
The telecast was opened by Dickau and Heister and it was truly nice to hear them together again.
The first event was a short video, I assume compiled by former TSSF writer and now Gonzaga video coordinator Steven Karr. Introduced by Coach Roger Powell, it started with last year’s loss to Arkansas followed by highlights from the Few era.
Heister and Dickau interview Drew Timme, Anton Watson and Brian Michaelson between the events. The interview highlights were Timme looking forward to playing in Texas, Watson’s value without scoring but he wants to score more and Michelson generally talking up the strength of the team.
Dickau pointed out the biggest weakness of this year’s team is Hickman being the only true point guard.
The first basketball event was the skills challenge featuring Sallis, Strawther, Huff and Watson. Watson missed three free throws and two treys, being the only player to not advance to the second round. Strawther ending up winning the event, barely, over Sallis. Both he and Hunter looked very sharp on the night.
The second event was the three-point contest; Harris against Bolton then Hickman against Smith. The telecast didn’t announce scores and it was hard to follow, but Bolton and Smith made it to the final. Again, the final was hard to follow, but what I did see was impressive. Bolton and Smith looked very sharp with Bolton winning. I have no idea by how much. During the contest, Watson was being interviewed and said Dom Harris would be cleared to play on Monday, he sat out the scrimmage.
No dunk contest this year (bummer), so straight into the scrimmage. White team starters were Bolton, Timme, Smith, Brooks and Gregg with Perry and Eagle on the bench. Blue team starters were Reid, Sallis, Strawther, Watson and Hickman with Mitchell and Huff on the Bench.
The White team won the 15-minute event 38 -36 with Ben Gregg hitting the winning basket with an assist from Bolton. Sallis had a chance to win it for the Blue team, but his three at the buzzer hit the front of the rim.
I don’t have a complete box score, so I’ll go player-by-player and give a brief account of my impressions:
Drew Timme: Looked very sharp, hit a game opening three and dropped a couple of nice mid-range shots over Reid. Only played a few minutes.
Julian Strawther: Today’s best player; a couple of very nice threes, some aggressive drives to the rim and a couple of good rebounds.
Rasir Bolton: Looks very sharp and really works well with Smith. Very quick but doesn’t hurry. Some very nice passes and his stroke looks great.
Malachi Smith: Everything you expected; big body, good shooter, smart.
Kaden Perry: Looked impressively healthy, very bouncy and aggressive on both ends of the floor. You can tell he hasn’t played in a while and his timing is slightly off.
Colby Brooks: Very Impressive, strong athlete and great finisher. Will get a lot of interest in the transfer portal should he decide to go that route.
Abe Eagle: Not many minutes, but had a nice post move towards the end of the scrimmage.
Ben Gregg: Actively hunting his shot, Heister commented on the bigger body and summer in the weight room. Made a nice three and the game winner and looked to me as the presumptive 4th big.
Efton Reid: Legitimate 7-foot, 240 lbs. Had a nice dunk but didn’t do much else tonight.
Hunter Sallis: Not tentative at all, nice take to the hole, great assist to Reid. Very impressive.
Kellen Mitchell: Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t remember him playing.
Braden Huff: Bigger than I thought, seemed a bit tentative, not looking as good as Gregg or Perry......Yet
Anton Watson: As per usual, made a three with an offensive rebound and a putback, clanged other shots. Great D and a great assist to Strawther.
Nolan Hickman: Huge offensively, I counted three Treys and strong drive to the rim. I don’t remember a stand-out assist and Dickau and Heister felt his ability to distribute will increase as the season progresses.
An overall fun event as usual. Even this early, there were some scary good plays. Smith and Bolton will kill it, add Strawther from behind the arc and I can’t see how anyone can double-team Timme. Hickman and Sallis no longer looked like freshman and will provide quality minutes.
BRING ON TENNESSEE!