Friday, January 2, 2009

Golden Eagles Defeated the Wildcats

College basketball is a frustrating sport to watch too. Bad execution and poor rotations on defense are just some of the gripes I have for the college game. However, the college game does have dramatic moments in it's history such as last years NCAA championship game between the Memphis Tigers and Kansas Jayhawks. I watch college basketball from time to time to check-in on some NBA prospects.

The Marquette Golden Eagles defeated the Villanova Wildcats 79-72. Dominic James, Wesley Matthews, and Jerel McNeal proved to be too much for the Villanova Wildcats. They accounted for 60 of the 79 points scored for the Golden Eagles. The Golden Eagles pick n rolled Villanova to death. The Wildcats just didn't have the quickest to match the golden trio of the Golden Eagles. The trio dribble penetrated with little resistance until Jay Wright decide to use the 2-3 zone. Eventually, Marquette burned Villanova when that scheme was used. Villanova really didn't have any answers for how to stop the Golden Eagles. When the trio wasn't scoring, Lazar Hayward was cleaning up.

Scottie Reynolds had another subpar game for the Wildcats. He had four turnovers to go with his one assist and 15 points. Reynolds played ok in the first half and terribly in the second half. He might have been trying too much to make the big play instead of the right play.He was forcing shots and drives to the basket which probably accounted for his turnovers because those drives resulted in offensive fouls. Dominic James did a heck of job defending him. The only reason the Wildcats were in the game was Corey Fisher. The Bronx native was getting to the foul line and rebound the ball well for a guard. Though the Wildcats lost this game, their future is bright as their players continue to get healthy and finding their rhythm such as Shane Clark and Dwayne Andersen.

As for players who are leaving this year for the NBA, those players would be Dominic James, Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal, and Daunte Cunningham. Dominic James could be a solid back-up, possibly earning a starting point guard spot. He has good quickness and explosive for player his size. I think he could be a Jameer Nelson-lite. I don't think James has the scoring ability of Nelson, but they have similar physical tools. James utilizes the pick n roll really well and can finish at the basket despite his diminutive stature. There are holes in his game that needs work. The most obvious hole is his free throw shooting. James is only shooting 49% this season. That percentage is horrible. That might be putting it mildly. He has good form and probably should use his tippy toes more on his shot. Shot-selection, turnovers, and lacking the ability to pass with his left hand are other holes in his game. His shot selection is bad and that probably has much to do with the system at Marquette. Most of the time, the plays are designed off of one-on-one play. I think he'll clean that up pre-draft camps. Turnovers will also subside once he gets out of the system. His passing ability with left is lacking, especially off a lefty dribble. He can defense. That part of his game cannot be denied right now. His size might be detrimental at times, but he competes at that end of the floor and hard.

Jerel McNeal seems to be the most polished of the prospects in yesterday's game. He can shoot the three, has a good mid-range game, and dribble drive with either hand. McNeal loves to attack the basket, though he doesn't finish at the tin that well. He has improved acrossed the board throughout his years at Marquette. Defensively, well, he was the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year as sophmore. McNeal can get it done as an explosive scorer off the bench. He could be used as a point guard, I think. His ball-handling would have to improve, but I think he can do it. NBA teams are starting to use two guards as their back-up point guards. The holes in his game are not that pronounce. He does have to improve his ball-handling and his decision-making, maybe his passing ability, too.

Wesley Mathews has NBA ready body but lacks the athleticism. He is probably average athleticly, but has a mature game. He does need to improve his ball-handling. Matthews needs to be able to use his left hand to dribble and finish at the basket. He did not use his left at all in this game, at least for a worthwhile move. The Golden Eagles forward is a good stand-still shooter. He barely gets off the ground to shoot the ball. Matthews has a good mid-range game. He does takes advantage of his opportunities especially when his defender is over playing him. His defense is ok. His lack of athleticism hinders him at that end of the floor, but does competes as hard as anyone. He'll probably be a good role player.

Fran Fraschilla compare Daunte Cunningham to David West. I don't know where he gets that comparison from. Sure David West was raw when he got Xavier and improve during his years in college, but David West was a fluid athlete at Xavier. His game was a bit more polished than Daunte Cunningham; ok, tons more polished. Anyway, Daunte Cunningham will probably end being a Leon Powe. There is nothing wrong with that. Plenty of teams could use a Leon Powe.

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