Ok folks, loyal followers should remember how this works. Some quick thoughts, then my favorite feature of the entire blog.

The first thing to keep in mind when looking at the first game of the year, especially with a young team, is that you can't read too much into it. The Blue Devils will be a much better team in March than they were Friday night, and Friday night's team wasn't bad. The trapping defense was excellent for the most part and the Blue Devils did well on the glass against a significantly bigger team. Some of the freshmen showed great promise, and David Simmons looked to be a much improved player.

There were also some bad things. The offense was stagnant at times, and the shot selection was surprisingly poor at others. I know Howie Dickenman says this is a good 3-point shooting team, but taking good ones is the key to making that shoot-at-will approach work. 3-for-14 from three doesn't cut it.

Also, during the key stretch of the game, Yale's 20-5 run early in the second half, Central missed some easy shots. Robby Ptacek's 10-footer  and a hook in the lane by Joe Efese come to mind. I'm not blaming those two players for the loss, but using those shots as examples.

With that said, let's go man-to-man.

Joe Efese: Five boards in 20 minutes. It was a tougher performance, but he must get better offensively. He's not a young guy anymore, it's time to put it together.

Ken Horton: Dickenman said that anytime Horton fails to shoot when open from three, Horton is hurting the team. Tonight, he couldn't help from long range, going 1-for-8 from three. I'm not a jump shooter, but his form appeared off tonght. It wasn't the usual smooth motion, it looked like his timing was off. Perhaps that's why his shots were short. I'd still like to see him get some more mid-range jumpers as well, maybe one or two steps in from that open three for an open 17-footer.
But, here's how good Ken Horton is: His bad game was 21 points, 9 rebounds, 4 blocks.

Kyle Vinales: The main reason I began my post by talking about keeping an even keel. Vinales is going to do some amazing things this year, But he's also going to do some incredibly frustrating things. Vinales showed the explosiveness to be able to turn the corner in the weave, made some outside shots, and showed the type of moxie one has to have to be a floor general. And he makes free throws.
He was also a defensive standout, flying all over the place for five steals. Loved the energy he provided.
The seven turnovers, however, are a problem. Those will come down, especially since a couple were on dropped passes and the like.
My main point here is don't expect this every night. He's going to have bad games as well.

De'Angelo Speech: I love his defense and his energy, but he remains a man without a true position. I still see him as more of a spark plug than a point guard. But since I just told you not to overreact to one game, I can't.

Robby Ptacek: Just didn't quite seem into the game. Didn't do much else besides shoot, and didn't take very many shots. Also, only 1-for-2 at the line.

Adonis Burbage: 4 points and 4 boards in 10 minutes. I really believe you'll see more and more of this kid as the year goes. I like his presence. Good things just seem to happen when he's out there.

Shelton Mickell: He was active, putting a few numbers in every column of the stat sheet. Didn't quite seem comfortable. Not saying he was nervous or scared, but he didn't seem comfortable. That will come. His skill is obviously there.

Malcolm McMillan: This year's innings eater. If he can make some shots, he can be more than that.

David Simmons: Welcome back Mr. Simmons. Some rebounds, a new jump shot we haven't seen out of him much, and a block. Also, he made two fantastic long passes, including one from his stomach that traveled some 30-40 feet and hit Vinales in the hands for what turned into a big 3-point play. I'll be interested to see if he gets more minutes as the year goes.

My proposed starting lineup for the Niagra game: Vinales, Ptacek, Speech, Horton, Simmons.

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