Off The Boards by Jack Scheuer – December 18, 2013 Edition

Off The Boards

By Jack Scheuer

December 18, 2013 Edition

You probably have observed, there’s been a noticeable increase in the length of games this year due to two developments. One is obvious, the constant review of plays which, as disruptive as they may be are necessary evils. It’s the old story that getting the call right is the main objective, even though there is much irritation. One idea might be to just do replays in the last 5 or 10 minutes of a game, but that’s for down the road. The other reason for the longer games, in my opinion, is the fault of the many talented freshmen now on the scene, most of whom were McDonald’s All-Americans. While in high school these kids were better, stronger and quicker than their opponents, and scored frequently by driving to the hoop. But now that idea doesn’t work nearly as well. So, we frequently see 1 on 2, or even 1 on 3 fast break attempts, or drives down the lane into traffic, usually resulting in a charge, blocked shot or turnover Whistles are blowing more than ever, and many more free throws are being taken. (The Kentucky-N.Carolina game, loaded with freshmen, was endless.There were 88 attempted foul shots). Hopefully, as they gain more experience, we’ll see these young guys playing smarter, and the games will flow a lot smoother.

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Big time city action at Hawk Hill tonight. Drexel, playing well, will be out to prove they can still win despite losing the talented Damion Lee. St. Joe’s wants to show the Villanova beat-down was an aberration. One sidelight is a very interesting matchup that has 2 players who are mirror images. Drexel’s Frantz Massenat is a smart combo guard who can shoot the 3, is an excellent passer and plays good defense. And that descripton sounds exactly like the Hawks’ Langston Galloway. St.Joe’s won 63-49 last year. This one will be a lot closer.
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LaSalle continues to have trouble passing the basketball. The Explorers, who average only 12 assists a game, had just 7 in their loss to Villanova. The Wildcats on the other hand are handing out 17 per contest. Michigan State is tops nationally, averaging a robust 20 assists a game. Last season’s worst team at passing the ball was Nebraska, assisting only 9 times an outing. The Cornhuskers finished at 15-18.
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Trivia Time: Who is the Division One all-time leader in assists? Answer at the end of the column.
One man’s opinion on Final Four participants: Arizona, Michigan State, Florida and Gonzaga. Arizona because they have the best team; Michigan State because Tom Izzo is the best coach; Florida because Billy Donovan is the most underrated coach, and Gonzaga because of the law of averages.
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This and That: Indiana’s talented 6-11 center Noah Vonleh, is the youngest of the new phenoms. He just turned 18 in August…. Philly’s own John Salmons has made the NBA rounds. In his 12 years in the league, he’s been with 5 teams including Sacramento . Especially Sacramento , a team he’s played for 3 different times….Reggie Theus Jr. is playing at S. Carolina, and Billy Donovan Jr. is with his Dad at Florida….. LeBron is the best player in the world, but right now LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love are playing better than anybody….Most underrated player in the NBA just might be Atlanta’s Al Horford, who never seems to have a bad game….Don’t look now but Jrue Holiday is having an excellent season. Scoring well and 5th in the league in assists…. Even without Brad Stevens, Butler looks as tough as ever under new coach Brandon Miller. Villanova visits the Bulldogs on New Years Eve….DeMarcus Cousins is living up to his reputation. The Kings’ center has 7 technical fouls, tops in the NBA.
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Answer to Trivia Time: Duke’s Bobby Hurley handed out 1,076 assists.

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