|Wait, this kid is only a freshman?? That future is looking |
pretty bright right about now.
Now, before I say anything else, major Kudos go to Adams State. They were tough, talented, athletic and had some serious heart. They came to play, not just show up and roll over, and they kept fighting all game. After seeing them play, it's no surprise they beat Utah on Friday.
With that said, the Aggies were their own worst enemy for a hearty amount of this game, but when it comes to the early parts of the season, having a whole load of film of things NOT to do can't be the worst thing to happen to this team. The offense was out of sync, passing lanes were getting cut off all over the place, balls were getting dropped (lol), and outside of run made to start the 2nd half, USU never really got any momentum together. For all of that, I support it.
Build from it, learn from it and fix it.
There were bright spots still. Brady Jardine was spectacular again. He shot well, he rebounded well, he defended well and most of all he was a leader. One play in particular stood out when USU had just a two point lead midway through the first half. Adam Thoseby missed a jumper and Jardine brought down the offensive rebound, kicked into F-you mode, took it to the hole and threw it down with authority. All of this right when the team needed both a big play and somebody to take charge. Oh, and he finished with a double-double.
Morgan Grim was assertive down low too, especially early on. He wasn't thinking, he was just reacting, and when guys are at that point, that is when they flourish in Stew's system. Despite his shots not falling, Preston Medlin was a steady, solid and calming presence on the floor tonight. And his shots will fall when it counts, so there's zero worry there.
Really everybody with experience in Stew's system stood out tonight. Pane was a little up and down, but still got his despite being in foul trouble for pretty much the entire game.
Maybe the biggest thing about tonight though was Steven Thornton. Replacing Mitch Bruneel in the starting lineup, Thornton basically littered the stat sheet playing starters minutes. Six points, nine rebounds, three steals, one assist and only one turnover isn't too shabby for anybody, let alone a freshman. Most of all, he just looked like he belonged, and even though having freshman as starters can be risky, it pays off down the road. Back when Thornton was getting recruited, rumor had it that the coaching staff really wanted Thornton, and it's showing now. A guy with his athleticism and skill who buys into Stew ball is an asset, so we could really be on to something here.
Also in the "called it" department, a certain player on the team has been speaking very highly of Thornton all offseason, predicting that he'd be a solid player already this season. Not going to go naming names right now, but major kudos to that guy for calling it. The kid is living up to the hype so far.
All in all, there's only so much that can be said about a sloppy exhibition game. There were bright spots, there were concerns, but at the end of the day it was exhibition. This team is young, they're inexperience, but the talent is there, and Stew brings teams together as the season goes on. If/when things all start to click with this team, they're going to be good.