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Kevin

10/24 UB vs Daemen Exhibition

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UB Will have a full lineup for tomorrow's game.

They will only be missing Hardnett who is rehabbing. 

First look of this new team 

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Sucks Hardnetts not playing, was really looking forward to seeing him. From what I read it’s only a sore hamstring so I’m sure he’ll be fine for the first real game. 

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Some observations from tonight:

Graves will be Graves. He’s the quiet assassin. 

Antwain Johnson has the chance to be great. Athletic and can shoot from anywhere. 

Jordan looked confident at the line which will take his game to the next level.

Bertram looked better than he has and will serve a role on this team. I’m glad he is a leader and willing to play his role. Will be interesting to see if he can stay on the court bc he tends to foul bc he’s slow on defense.

Williams/Segu: wow do they look ready to take a sophomore leap. Segu is so unselfish and showed some shooting ability. Including a pull-up jumper off the dribble. Williams is best when he attacks the rim. Looked more under control.

Gabe Grant impressed me with his shooting ability and size. He’s going to be a player.

Can’t wait to see Hardnett join the mix.

Skogman and Gallion looking promising for the future. Their time will come. Of the two perhaps Skogman sees meaningful minutes as a frosh. 

Josh Mballa to me will come off the bench bc the staff may want to limit his exposure bc of the fear of foul trouble. However that said when the game is on the line he should be out there. He is a rim protector and rebounder. 

Nickelberry: wanted to see more of him but was impressed by what I saw. 

Overall we are crazy athletic and deep. If style of play was a concern it looked as though nothing changed. Guys were hustling for the blue collar points and the 3s and dunks were raining down. Here’s to a promising season ahead. Let’s get it!

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Was I impressed.  Wow.  What a great game from this team.  To add to the above, walk on Patrick Moore was playing some hard defense even in garbage time.  That's the sign of good coaching and a player that puts in extra effort.

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That was a lot of fun. Tons of versatile pieces that will give the MAC matchup nightmares. Full student section was good to see.

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- Gallion did not show any freshmen jitters, was very impressed with the minutes he got

- Grant looked fantastic. Hitting all his 3’s and playing big down low too

- Williams is going to be a nightmare for MAC players to defend 

- Segu is an assist machine

- surprised Nickelberry didn’t get more minutes, will have to see how time is distributed once the real games count.

- crowd was very good for an exhibition 

- only complaint is Daeman’s big man was unstoppable, had close to 30 points. Refs calling everything didn’t help but it could be a concern 

- overall amazing effort from the whole team 

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2 minutes ago, UB05 said:

- only complaint is Daeman’s big man was unstoppable, had close to 30 points. Refs calling everything didn’t help but it could be a concern 

If it makes you feel any better he was a D2 second team all-american as a sophomore. Legitimately might be better than any big man in the MAC. With the success of Duncan Robinson, Max Strus, etc. transferring to the high major level after starting D2/D3 I wouldn't be shocked if he ends up at a good D1 team for his senior season

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Looked great offensively. Johnson and grant can really shoot the ball, segu looks like he stepped it up. The concern for me is defense, particularly post defense. Bertram just too slow footed to keep up with a mobile big. Mballa will be the guy to anchor down there, but he looks like he’s very foul prone. I think Hardnett will play time at the 5 too, depending on matchups. They need to work on post defense too many easy buckets and put backs down there for my liking. Other teams will try to exploit this. 

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1 hour ago, Ubbulls84 said:

Looked great offensively. Johnson and grant can really shoot the ball, segu looks like he stepped it up. The concern for me is defense, particularly post defense. Bertram just too slow footed to keep up with a mobile big. Mballa will be the guy to anchor down there, but he looks like he’s very foul prone. I think Hardnett will play time at the 5 too, depending on matchups. They need to work on post defense too many easy buckets and put backs down there for my liking. Other teams will try to exploit this. 

I had the same concerns watching last night. The bigs were frequently out of position and allowing uncontested layups. I was also disappointed by the rebounding effort and the lack of boxing out. I was happy with the offensive movement and the personnel we have on that end but I expect more defensive intensity from a Whitesell coached team.

Mballa is an impressive physical presence but he looks like he’ll need some time to develop and that’s ok. Skogman seemed too slight of frame to defend their big tonight. I hope Hardnett is a strong physical presence because from what I saw last night I could see better post players dictating the game against us this year. We should still be better than almost all (if not all) of the MAC.

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Prior to last night's exhibition, my thinking was that scoring would drop off relative to last year by about 5-6 ppg.  I know I only have one observation,  but I believe the dropoff (if any) will be smaller.  For the top five scorers, I expected a drop-off (as it is hard to replace CJs 18 ppg).  However the performance by Williams and Grant  suggest my expected contributions from them were on the low side, and I think the scoring from top five this year will be comparable to last year.   I also think we potentially get better production from 6-10 than we did last year.  Not ready to totally move to no drop-off (based on one game) - but scoring in low 80s is a possibility now, in my opinion.  As a final point, I did like the nearly 79% FT shooting last night -  if we shoot 70% for the year - this will be 1 ppg more than I had considered.

On defense, I agree with other posts that the interior defense should be a focus area for improvement.  Perhaps, a combination of getting Hardnett back, and working with other bigs can address this.  

Bottom line - I feel even better about UB chances in MAC, and I believe a ranking at or above Kenpom.com of #93 is a realistic probability.

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While i agree with you guys about post defense I also think there is a good chance that might be one of the five best bigs we play against all season. 
 

He could easily play for us and I don’t think a team in the MAC has a true big as skilled as him. 

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I know we should not judge these players or this team after one game but I am going to anyway.  I simply cannot resist.  I am too excited for this team.  First let me be clear I did not see most of the first half.  Here are my thoughts on what I saw last night:

Nickelberry-I was surprised by his lack of minutes.  He looked like a player struggling to adjust to the speed of the game.  He looked a bit lost, especially on the offensive end.  His length is going to be a huge plus for us on the wing.  When he figures it out he is going to be a matchup problem for most MAC teams.

Grant-This guy can really shoot it and will shoot it from just about anywhere.  I liked what I saw from him last night.  He is bigger than I thought and plays bigger on the defensive end.  Grant will be a big part of what we do this year and he will have some games where he goes off from deep.  He will help us to spread the floor with his shooting.

A. Johnson-He may be an even better shooter than Grant.  His stroke is pure and he shoots it quick.  He seems to be more comfortable shooting off the dribble as opposed to the set shot preferred by Grant.  His athleticism is also very impressive.  Johnson is in for a big year for us.

Graves-He looked confident and like our team leader.  He took over the game in the beginning of the second half.  Putting his team on his back to get them going, like a true leader does.  He defends hard and rebounded the ball well also.  I suspect Graves will be in the conversation for MAC POTY.

Jordan-He looked in control of the offense.  He controlled the pace of play and played his usual great defense.  He is going to be a nuisance to all opposing guards all season long.  MAC defensive player of the year this year.

Gallion-I was impressed with what I saw from this true freshman, although most of those minutes were garbage time at the end of the game.  He looks to be a solid player on the defensive side of the ball and has clearly bought into the concept of defending to get minutes. 

Segu-Wow has he made the sophomore jump.  He looked quicker and more athletic.  He has clearly hit the weight room as well.  We have a budding superstar on our hands here in Segu.  He can shoot, has a great pull up game and is very unselfish.  He seems to be at his best when finding his teammates down the court on the break.  I bet 8 of his assists came in that fashion last night.   I see significant minutes played by Segu this year.  In fact I could see his great play putting a damper on some of Jordans minutes, especially with the other strong guard play we have now in Grant, Johnson and Nickleberry.

J Williams-Also appears to have made a big jump similar to Segu.  He looked more relaxed and confident in his game.  He limited his bad shoots to a few last night and defensively was very very active.  Williams will be a HUGE part of this team and the future looks very bright for him.  He becomes more comfortable taking the ball off the dribble to his right and with his jump shot and he could be a MAC POTY in the future.

Mballa-I know he only played limited minutes but I was impressed with his game.  He is long and athletic and can run the floor, block shots and finish with either hand.  His game is perfect for the up tempo style we like to play.  He was the only rim protector on the floor last night.  Unless Hardnett can provide the ability to protect the rim, he will be our only interior presence when the games are on the line.  That being said he is going to have to play without getting into foul trouble.  Mballa is going to be a handful in this conference.  I see a multiple MAC defensive player of the year award in his future.

Bertrum-The rumors of him improving are true.  He has gotten in better shape and appears to be one of the team leaders.  But he is still not quick enough, or mobile enough laterally to defend in the post.  He was schooled by the Daemen big on several occasions last night, I know he is a great Division II player.  He is a great kid, who works hard but he is too slow footed for success at this level.  Brock is the type of player Buffalo used to recruit back in the Witherspoon days.  We have taken recruiting to the next level and he is not able to compete with the new recruits.  I do not see Brock playing many significant minutes this season when the game is on the line.  He is simply too much of a liability on the defensive side of the ball.   

Skogman-Looked long but slight.  He struggled to defend in the post similar to Bertrum.  Hard to judge him on one game, especially his first game.  He needs to get in the weight room and to work on his post defense.  I love that he can shoot and will be a large part of what we do moving forwards with his ability to space the floor and bring the opposing big away from the basket with his shooting abilities. 

Whitesell-I liked what I saw from him on the sideline.  He looked comfortable and in control.  The players played hard for him, especially in the second half.  I cannot wait to see his style develop over the year.  The kids on this team clearly care for him.

Team-I have been saying it for a while now, this team is the favorite to win the MAC.  They will have a very balanced scoring attack as we saw last night.  They will push the tempo and defend.  They will be a very fun team to watch.  My only concern is the post defense.  MBalla and Hardnett need to secure the post, if so this team really has no visible holes.  I cannot wait to watch this team develop as they will continue to get better and better as the season goes on.  This team is deeper than last year and has more athleticism than last years team.  I would even say this team has better shooting than last years team.  The future is bright for the Bulls! 

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One thing I found interesting was that at one point Whitesell had a lineup of 3 guards with Williams and Grant as the bigs. I wonder if that  is our version of the "death lineup". 

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Another thing of note, Whitesell seems to have a similar style to Oats on the sidelines. Not as passive as Reggie, not as animated at referees as Hurley.  I like it

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25 minutes ago, MaineBull said:

I know we should not judge these players or this team after one game but I am going to anyway.  I simply cannot resist.  I am too excited for this team.  First let me be clear I did not see most of the first half.  Here are my thoughts on what I saw last night:

Nickelberry-I was surprised by his lack of minutes.  He looked like a player struggling to adjust to the speed of the game.  He looked a bit lost, especially on the offensive end.  His length is going to be a huge plus for us on the wing.  When he figures it out he is going to be a matchup problem for most MAC teams.

Grant-This guy can really shoot it and will shoot it from just about anywhere.  I liked what I saw from him last night.  He is bigger than I thought and plays bigger on the defensive end.  Grant will be a big part of what we do this year and he will have some games where he goes off from deep.  He will help us to spread the floor with his shooting.

A. Johnson-He may be an even better shooter than Grant.  His stroke is pure and he shoots it quick.  He seems to be more comfortable shooting off the dribble as opposed to the set shot preferred by Grant.  His athleticism is also very impressive.  Johnson is in for a big year for us.

Graves-He looked confident and like our team leader.  He took over the game in the beginning of the second half.  Putting his team on his back to get them going, like a true leader does.  He defends hard and rebounded the ball well also.  I suspect Graves will be in the conversation for MAC POTY.

Jordan-He looked in control of the offense.  He controlled the pace of play and played his usual great defense.  He is going to be a nuisance to all opposing guards all season long.  MAC defensive player of the year this year.

Gallion-I was impressed with what I saw from this true freshman, although most of those minutes were garbage time at the end of the game.  He looks to be a solid player on the defensive side of the ball and has clearly bought into the concept of defending to get minutes. 

Segu-Wow has he made the sophomore jump.  He looked quicker and more athletic.  He has clearly hit the weight room as well.  We have a budding superstar on our hands here in Segu.  He can shoot, has a great pull up game and is very unselfish.  He seems to be at his best when finding his teammates down the court on the break.  I bet 8 of his assists came in that fashion last night.   I see significant minutes played by Segu this year.  In fact I could see his great play putting a damper on some of Jordans minutes, especially with the other strong guard play we have now in Grant, Johnson and Nickleberry.

J Williams-Also appears to have made a big jump similar to Segu.  He looked more relaxed and confident in his game.  He limited his bad shoots to a few last night and defensively was very very active.  Williams will be a HUGE part of this team and the future looks very bright for him.  He becomes more comfortable taking the ball off the dribble to his right and with his jump shot and he could be a MAC POTY in the future.

Mballa-I know he only played limited minutes but I was impressed with his game.  He is long and athletic and can run the floor, block shots and finish with either hand.  His game is perfect for the up tempo style we like to play.  He was the only rim protector on the floor last night.  Unless Hardnett can provide the ability to protect the rim, he will be our only interior presence when the games are on the line.  That being said he is going to have to play without getting into foul trouble.  Mballa is going to be a handful in this conference.  I see a multiple MAC defensive player of the year award in his future.

Bertrum-The rumors of him improving are true.  He has gotten in better shape and appears to be one of the team leaders.  But he is still not quick enough, or mobile enough laterally to defend in the post.  He was schooled by the Daemen big on several occasions last night, I know he is a great Division II player.  He is a great kid, who works hard but he is too slow footed for success at this level.  Brock is the type of player Buffalo used to recruit back in the Witherspoon days.  We have taken recruiting to the next level and he is not able to compete with the new recruits.  I do not see Brock playing many significant minutes this season when the game is on the line.  He is simply too much of a liability on the defensive side of the ball.   

Skogman-Looked long but slight.  He struggled to defend in the post similar to Bertrum.  Hard to judge him on one game, especially his first game.  He needs to get in the weight room and to work on his post defense.  I love that he can shoot and will be a large part of what we do moving forwards with his ability to space the floor and bring the opposing big away from the basket with his shooting abilities. 

Whitesell-I liked what I saw from him on the sideline.  He looked comfortable and in control.  The players played hard for him, especially in the second half.  I cannot wait to see his style develop over the year.  The kids on this team clearly care for him.

Team-I have been saying it for a while now, this team is the favorite to win the MAC.  They will have a very balanced scoring attack as we saw last night.  They will push the tempo and defend.  They will be a very fun team to watch.  My only concern is the post defense.  MBalla and Hardnett need to secure the post, if so this team really has no visible holes.  I cannot wait to watch this team develop as they will continue to get better and better as the season goes on.  This team is deeper than last year and has more athleticism than last years team.  I would even say this team has better shooting than last years team.  The future is bright for the Bulls! 

Couldn’t agree more with this post. Your 100% right about Bertram, just doesn’t have the quickness to keep guy in front. I expect him to get some minutes off bench but I don’t think you can rely on for production. We can play a smaller lineup depending on matchups, but when other team has strong big, Mballa gonna be the guy to rely on. Problem is if he is in foul trouble that makes us pretty thin there, but can’t have everything. Whitesell I’m sure talked about stepping up on defensive side after the game. 

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I think people here are too hard on Bertram to be honest. I agree he probably won't be playing in closing situations because it's hard to imagine it not being the 3 guards + some combination of Grant, Williams, and Hardnett. However I still think he'll provide serviceable post minutes, and he plays hard. It was just a few years ago that we won 2/3 MAC championships with Ikenna Smart starting at center who was not significantly more agile than Bertram. Additionally Bertram had 3 blocks last night which was encouraging and Smart only managed once in his career. While you prepare for your Williams/Segu breakouts keep in mind that Bertram has gotten less than half the D1 minutes in his career than Williams and Segu have gotten because he was stuck behind Perkins and McRae.

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43 minutes ago, trueblue32 said:

I think people here are too hard on Bertram to be honest. I agree he probably won't be playing in closing situations because it's hard to imagine it not being the 3 guards + some combination of Grant, Williams, and Hardnett. However I still think he'll provide serviceable post minutes, and he plays hard. It was just a few years ago that we won 2/3 MAC championships with Ikenna Smart starting at center who was not significantly more agile than Bertram. Additionally Bertram had 3 blocks last night which was encouraging and Smart only managed once in his career. While you prepare for your Williams/Segu breakouts keep in mind that Bertram has gotten less than half the D1 minutes in his career than Williams and Segu have gotten because he was stuck behind Perkins and McRae.

I would disagree completely.  Ikenna Smart was significantly more agile than Bertrum especially laterally.  Bertrum does not have the foot speed to compete at this level, never will.  All you need for evidence is to look at him trying to cover the big in the post last night.  All he could do is foul to prevent giving up an easy bucket.  Yes he got three blocks, in garbage time of the game against the second string for a DII team.  I like the kid, like his leadership but he is physically overmatched playing at this level.  If this was the whetherspoon era, he would be our starting center, but those days are long gone. 

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This isn't related to the game really but it doesn't need it's own thread and ties into the praise for Grant's play last night:

This athletics program is turning basketball into something really special in Buffalo.

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24 minutes ago, MaineBull said:

All he could do is foul to prevent giving up an easy bucket.  Yes he got three blocks, in garbage time of the game against the second string for a DII team.  I like the kid, like his leadership but he is physically overmatched playing at this level.  If this was the whetherspoon era, he would be our starting center, but those days are long gone. 

We can agree to disagree on the agility because neither of us can be proven right, but Bertram's last block of the night came two mins into the second half on a D2 all-American. So the block point was factually incorrect. Additionally if you don't think Smart hacked away in the post you remember a different Smart than me. His BEST season at UB he committed 7.5 fouls per 40 minutes.

Edited by trueblue32

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Smart was way more mobile, but didn’t play much ball before college—in case we somehow forget this fact we heard every single game. 🙂

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51 minutes ago, trueblue32 said:

We can agree to disagree on the agility because neither of us can be proven right, but Bertram's last block of the night came two mins into the second half on a D2 all-American. So the block point was factually incorrect. Additionally if you don't think Smart hacked away in the post you remember a different Smart than me. His BEST season at UB he committed 7.5 fouls per 40 minutes.

We will need Brock to play 6-8 minutes a game and spell Mballa. He will need to rebound and do his best to hold his own on defense. I think he will be able to do that. He looks slimmer and more agile than previous years. If Mballa gets in foul trouble vs. a bigger team might need him more. My guess is we will go with smaller lineups when that happens though.

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Everyone has good points here, Brock can be a solid utility player that if needed can provide rest minutes for the other bigs. Hardnett compares his style of play to Chris Webber if that helps anyone imagine what he’ll provide for us

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Sischo is an extremely legit player...would be a productive player for most, if not all, mid-majors. Not many teams at our level gear defense towards a player like him and we might only see a few better post offense bigs all season. I wouldn't be concerned.

Other than that, no complaints from me. Will be interested to see how the minutes get handed out once the games matter. Counting Hardnett, we should be 10 deep without much of a drop-off. I'm most excited for Johnson...just think he is a total game changer. In MAC play being able to throw him, Graves and Jordan on the floor at the same time will be a nightmare to defend. Segu looks much more confident and should definitely be a major player. Love the athleticism of this team.

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I was pretty damn impressed watching our boys last night. They looked like they were having fun and working as a cohesive unit. I feel like the defense needs a little cleaning up, but honestly, I don't know that it was really that bad. Mballa and Bertram got some good blocks, Johnson and Grant had some really active hands allowing for a good amount of steals, and Jordan was as impressive as always.

On the offense side, they looked, dare I say, better than last year. Good strokes from the 3, decent free throw shooting, including 4-5 from Jordan, and nice dribble drives with tenacious finishes. It looked like they were never giving up on a shot, which really kept the second change points high.

I'm really excited to see us play this year. I think we are going to seriously turn some heads and possibly be ranked all year again 🙂

Time will tell though

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Sure, we all love Brock. But he is not quick-footed enough to defend against other big men under the basket. Nor does he consistently make what many would call high-percentage baskets. Regardless, I think he has a role on this team, as others here have said, playing 5-6 minutes/game spelling Mballa.

I'm curious though...who does Brock practice against, someone with his size and with talent approaching Daemen's big man, that would help in his development? 

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