Here is an excellent FanPost recollection of today's post-game thoughts by NIUHuskies#1Fan. We had a lot of the same thoughts as we watched the whole game sitting next to each other. We played a ranked NAIA team in Feed-Hardeman today for our first exhibition game and beat them 84-72.
Our starting five was Sean Kowal, Lee Fisher, Sean Smith, Jake Anderson, and Michael Patton.
This team started off the first half very lackluster and was not playing up-tempo or aggressive at all. That is why i feel they were losing at halftime. I'm not sure i would have wanted to be in that locker room at halftime. They came out the second half ready to play their game. Jake Anderson bullying defenders and taking it to the hoop. This team seems to lack shooters. Unless they improve their shooting ability, we're going to have to rely on being aggressive and taking it to the rim.
I was very disappointed by Kowal's play. He is very weak on defense. None of their big men had any problem scoring all over him. He even got posterized by #2 on the opposing team. He turned over the ball too much and missed a lot of close, easy shots.
Lee Fisher is high-energy. The kid is an absolute hustler on both sides of the ball. He was very aggressive getting rebounds. Looking at the post-game stats that was evident by his 13 rebounds. He's a very nice player for a walk-on. I could see him earning a scholarship with his play.
Sean Smith didn't play that much. I'm surprised he even started considering i thought he had a shoulder injury. Couldn't tell if his game is improved or not since he played so little. What i did see of him he looks the same as last year.
Jake Anderson was quiet the first half and then came out ready to play in the second half. He needs to always be aggressive by taking the ball to the hoop because this is going to open up opportunities for the rest of the team. I'm not sure he is good enough of a shooter to settle for jump shots.
Michael Patton was average. He did a decent job running the point, controlling the ball, and not turning the ball over.
Outside of Lee Fisher's play, the player i am most excited about is Mike DiNunno. This guy is an absolute baller. He has such a quick release that defenders have a hard time blocking his shot. He shot the three-ball well and even his misses were still on target. He's very quick with the ball and he has a lot of potential to become our #1 point guard if he does a better job not making bone-headed turnovers. He made a couple nice passes when penetrating the paint.
Bryan Hall lived up to the defensive hype. He's always all over the opposing player making it hard for them to get by him. He did a good job running the point in the little time he was out there and doesn't make mistakes.
I was hoping to see more of Tyler Storm. He was very quiet in the first half and in the second half it seemed like he wanted the ball more. Even though he missed his three-point shots they were still on target. He does a good job handling the ball and has good speed. Looks like he also bulked up since high school. He wasn't as skinny as i expected him to be.
As for Keith Smith, if he's 5'5" then i'm a giant. No way he's a legit 5'5". He's very small. His basketball shorts were down to his ankles. Speaking of which, can we get DiNunno and Smith some smaller uniforms? He easily pick-pocketed the ball a few times but he got trucked a couple times on defense. I don't know about him yet.
Also, Jeremy Landers did well in the short time he was out there. He hit some key open shots from the corner in the second half.
Overall, my concerns are the lack of depth in the post, lack of shooters, and mistakes handling and passing the ball. I'm afraid our defense in the paint is going to be very weak this year. Sean Kowal seems to get tired easily so they had Lee Fisher playing the 5 most of the time. Fisher is quick, athletic, and aggressive but i don't see him doing a good job guarding other big men. Although, he was no worse than Kowal on defense. The other concern is handling the ball. We need to do a better job but who knows if that improves with all the youth and inexperience.