Texas looked good at times against a much more talented opponent in Melbourne United. Melbourne did some things on offense that Texas’ youth hadn’t seen before.
It was a game of runs. Texas would go on one, then MU would take control of the game. Texas would cut it to single digits, then MU would hit several threes. This back and forth went on until the game finally ended.
Here are three thoughts on this morning’s matchup:
Thought 1: Three players stuck out…
Three players, Matt Coleman, Mohamed Bamba and Andrew Jones, looked like they were able to handle the higher level of play and athletic ability Melbourne United presented them with. The rest of the team had a lot of trouble facing players that were big, strong, fast and experienced in the game.
Bamba is going to be Bamba. Texas doesn’t mind him going ISO with anyone, though I’m sure Shaka Smart would prefer those ISOs be closer to the basket. Even if they aren’t, Bamba has a mid-range and outside game that can keep defenders honest at the very least. He looked good this morning, and once again was the center of attention for most in the arena.
Jones’ ability to find people on the drive is a huge factor in Texas’ success this season. He can dribble, shoot, and score in transition, but when he’s doing what he does in the halfcourt, he’s got to have the vision to set others up. The Bamba-lob will be there, but defenders will be on the lookout for it. He’s got to find players like Roach, Coleman and Osetkowski who can help him once he’s gotten into the lane.
Coleman’s one-on-one dribble ability stood out to me. He was able to get around some of the on-ball defenders and do some really neat things in the lane, both passing and scoring. Today, he got a good lesson on ball security against a tough professional team.
Thought 2: Shorter bench
Though this whole trip is an amazing learning experience for the team, the real learning needs to be on the floor from those who are going to contribute. Jase Febres, Royce Hamm and Jericho Sims have all received good chunks of minutes, with Sims seemingly getting the most.
Those players rotate, but the starters seemed to stay on the floor for much longer periods of time on Wednesday. Osetkowski seemed like he never left the floor. Roach plays a lot and is very active during those minutes. Eric Davis still hasn’t done anything special in my eyes, but doesn’t look like a deer in the headlights like he did for much of last year. Jacob Young made some freshman mistakes as a sophomore.
I bet the team is a little more tired and a little more beat up than they have been all summer. They have a day to rest up before going back at it on the 18th… at 4 a.m. I bet they need it.
Thought 3: Roach
Kerwin Roach looked weighed down last year at times because ball-handling was not his forte, and he had to do it so much.
Without having to facilitate the offense, Roach can facilitate himself. He can move (really quickly) to a spot and take jumpers, something he did with moderate success this morning.
Don’t forget, he’s a tremendous athlete. The commentators noticed that fact as well. He made several athletic plays, including a nice reverse and-1 layup.
Roach is a guy who looks much better in his role because of Coleman. If Coleman plays at a high level like he did at times this morning, Roach and the rest of the two guards will, too.