- Jun 8, 2006
Midnight Madness is Friday at 11pm EST...and will be shown on ESPNU....rumors of Lil Wayne performing too? Monroe, Gilchricst, Deshonte Riley and otherrecruits will be in attendence. As far as Kenner League goes, there were no big surprises, just expected improvement from players.
My introduction to this years squad...
Jessie Sapp - Our best guard, yeah I said it. Minus the Vandy game...he was GREAT down the stretch. Everyone talks about JWall being thepoint, but Sapp took those duties over and let John play on the wing and look for a jumper. Jessie makes great decisions, a better passer than expected. He isa throwback a guy who coulda been a Hoya in the 80's, a tough kid and plays hard nosed D. His jumper isn't pretty but it gets ok results. He is alittle slow too, but he manages (see UNC). The thoughts of Freeman or Wright taking his job can be forgotten.
Johnathan Wallace - Steady as they come. A 4 year starter now. This was a kid told by JT3, you come with me to Gtown, you're not gonaplay. He's proved everyone wrong. One of the best shooters in the country now. Doesn't force the issue, not a playmaker but he knows the offense andgets the ball in the right spots. Hopefully he continued his work on creating his own shot. He showed the ability to do so in the OSU game. He is small andlacks strength/athleticism.
Dajuan Summers- The X factor this season. Has got to take his game to another level and fill in for Jeff Green. Nobody should expect him to be Jeff, but hewill need to score and rebound more. Things that he needs to improve on are ; body control, his handle and perimiter D. He can go inside and out and really hasa nice stroke. He is a star in the making.
Patrick Ewing JR - He devolped as a basketball player so much last year. He's just not an athletic kid anymore. This will be his 3rd year learning theoffense and I see him taking more of the Jeff role than anyone. He should he can pass and play on the perimiter along with going inside. Love his intesity.Still torn on whether he should start or remain the 6th man.
Roy Hibbert - A man on a mission, Will be incredible this year. He finally after 3 years is a well conditioned and coordinated athlete. Now the focus is juston his game, which is damn good. Not your typical 7'2 guy, he understands the offense. NEEDS to stay outa foul trouble, nothing good comes from trying tocheck guards on the perimiter. I'd like to see the rebounding numbers go up. One thing I love about Roy is he steps up to the competition.
Austin Freeman - I really look foward to seeing him play. He's the biggest recruit since ?..Anthony Perry? Let's hope his career goes a little better.This will show JT3's "Princeton on Steroids" with players like this. From what I know, he can score, not a selfish player though. Just seeing hisdeamenor, it reminds me of Jeff. I think he might start depending on how he picks things up early on.
Vernon Macklin - X Factor #2....I'm perfectly content with Vernon on the offensive side at this point. No it's not pretty but he has the little hookand gets garbage points. The real work here is on defense, just always outa position. I'm fully expecting a much improved Macklin and he will come off thebench and contribute. Hopefully he hit the weights too.
Jeremiah Rivers- Why everyone hated him last year, I don't know. He was a freshman point guard in this system coming off an injury. He's our bestperimiter defender and one of the best in the country. His offense needs work, but he doesn't kill us last year. Without him we lose @ Cincy last season.
Chris Wright - The foot injury is going to put him behind. Everything I've heard about him is great though. A playmaker who can get in the lane and alsocan shoot. Like Freeman, it's going to be fun seeing such talented guys in this offense.
Tyler Crawford - I say for the first part of the year, he is a real contributor. He got lost in the shuffle after getting sick last year. But, this kid knowsthe offense, knows his role and play's D. Plus he is the leader on this team.
Omar Wattad - Not expecting anything. Seems like a good kid.
Nikita - People have been saying he's better than what was thought of. Again I can't see any contributions coming. Maybe someday he has a DJ Owens typerole. Or maybe just the new Sead?
If I had to pick a lineup as of now
But Ty and Marc were starting early last year..so things are bound to change.
Coaching Staff- After losing 2 assistants, pick up one from Xavier and one from Pitt. And Burke is great.
JT3 - his extension was as huge as anything we've done off court since hiring him and before that pops. He's top 5 without a doubt. Can recruit, coachand is a class act. The only complaint I have of him is not being able so far to make adjustments in the first half.
As a whole...
I don't know who is going to be the 5th starter, whether it's Pat or Freeman. Dajuan is going to need to score the ball more. I think we'll beefficient on offense again and be very tough on D. Anything less than a Final 4 is a dissapointment. And I like our chances, a lot. Roy is in for a huge, hugeyear.
Ultimately it'll be Dajuan, Pat, Freeman and Vern who decide how far we go. That's a collective effort to replace what Jeff brought plus a few newthings that Vern and Freeman can provide. (I think Dajuan one day can exceed Jeff as a player)....Sapp, JWall and Roy are proven, consistent players to me.
My biggest concern...just Dajuan stepping up to the plate. He'll be the guy if Roy isn't on the floor who will have the ball in clutch spots.
Our backcourt which was picked on preseason last year will be great and if Jessie and Freeman are paired at times with a frontcourt of Dajuan, Pat andRoy...that is the strongest and most physical lineup you can put out in the country. I love the versatility of this team. A lot of guys who can do a lot ofdifferent things.
It should be a balanced attack, with Roy being the first option. When he was on the block, it was a wrap towards the end of last year. Teams will have todouble him, and we'll need to hit the open shots.
Our schedule sets up for a quick start, but dropping one at Bama, Memphis or even at ODU shouldn't get people upset. We saw a slow start last year, once weget a rotation set and every comfortable, we'll be fine. And if the tournament schedule falls just right, we could end up cutting down the nets, and notjust at a regional final.
"How can the Hoyas still have the No. 1 frontcourt after losing Jeff Green to the NBA? Because Summers, Green's replacement at the four, flashedfuture-star potential during the '07 NCAA tournament and should have a strong sophomore campaign. There's also the matter of a certain 7-2 monstrosityin the paint. With Greg Oden gone, are there any centers left -- anywhere -- to match up with Hibbert?" -Luke Winn
"There may not be a more complete team in the nation -Athlon Magazine
"No. 3 is a little bulk and a midrange game away from being unguardable at the college level," an NBA scout said after watching Summers score 20points against North Carolina and freshmen Brandan Wright (14 points), Ty Lawson (five points) and Wayne Ellington (five points). "He was the bestfreshman on the floor tonight."
Just makes me estatic where this program has come from so shortly. I had written an article online about 5 years ago online about how we'd never returnwith Esherick. I wish I could find it.
11/10: WILLIAM & MARY
11/21: at Ball State
11/28: at Old Dominion
12/05: at Alabama
12/15: RADFORD 
12/22: at Memphis
01/05: at Rutgers
01/08: at DePaul
01/14: at Pittsburgh
01/19: NOTRE DAME
01/26: at W. Virginia
01/30: at St. John's
02/02: SETON HALL
02/05: S. FLORIDA
02/09: at Louisville
02/16: at Syracuse
02/18: at Providence
02/27: ST. JOHN'S
03/01: at Marquette
03/12: Big East Tourn.
I see 23-24 wins, a 1 or 2 finish in the Big East
Our talent has caught up to the coaching, only going into the 4th year. That should be a scary thought for the rest of the Big East. Just wait till Henry, JClark, Braswell and Greg Monroe (I love our chances) show up..
HOYA PARONIA IS BACK. The garden filled with Hoyas fan last March was a beautiful sight. We're about to run college basketball, again.
Lmbassclown, Deadset, typer, DoubleJs and others chime in now if you like or I'll just make sure this doesn't fall off the 20 pages by start of theseason.
Sound fairly confident don't I? Why not....
Oh and Go get em in Seattle, Jeff
"Back for some unfinished business" - Roy Hibbert
"The National Championship flag will fly in this building." -Coach John Thompson Jr., HBO, 2005
Fear Is Back. Dominance Is Next.