The Billikens won 94-38 tonight, and it probably wasn't even that close. Let me first caveat this by saying there's really only so much you can take away from an exhibition against a Division III opponent.
Nonetheless, here are some of my thoughts:
1. A 230-pound Grandy Glaze looked extraordinarily agile out on the court. He dedicated himself to fitness and nutrition and lost 25 pounds over the summer. He noted postgame that shaking his sweettooth (a love for chocolate), fried foods, and finding a girlfriend were a major part of his success. He got out on the break for three big dunks, including two off steals and run-outs. Those were definitely not plays you would've seen him make a year ago.
2. Senior Dwayne Evans showed again why he will be one of the Atlantic 10's top players. He scored 14 points and corralled six rebounds, but more impressively -- he played within the flow of the offense and didn't force too much. The Bills will need him to be a leader both on-and-off the court this season in order to reach the expectations that they have set forth for themselves.
3. In their first collegiate action, freshmen Reggie Agbeko and Tanner Lancona showed well. Agbeko was very active in nine minutes of playing time, grabbing five rebounds (including three on one possession). Lancona had a couple nifty up-and-under moves and should be a nice option off the bench for Jim Crews to point to.
4. I thought Jake Barnett looked far more polished and improved on the offensive end tonight. He wasn't nearly as hesitant as he was at times a year ago and nailed three triples, including one from well behind the arc.
Other quick observations:
-Mike Crawford struggled to get into a rhythm during his time on the court. One has to think he will be a redshirt candidate with so much talent at the guard position for the Billikens this season.
-Austin McBroom, a transfer from Central Michigan, was very active defensively. Lauded for his sweet shooting stroke, it was actually the other side of the ball that garnered my attention. He was up in his defender and is perhaps one of the quickest guards side-to-side that I've seen in recent memory. He injured his ring finger on his left hand near the end of the game, but it appeared to be a slight dislocation. The trainers popped it right back in at the next timeout.
-Mike McCall and Jordair Jett were their usual selves. They didn't do anything too flashy, but of course they didn't have to. It'll be interesting to see this backcourt tandem grow throughout the year.
Dwayne Evans on Reggie Agbeko: "Reggie's a beast, man. Those rebounds were tough, too. It wasn't like wide open. He was snatching it down. You'll see a lot more good things from him."
Crews on Glaze's evolution: "Grandy loves to play. He's got that energy. There will be days that Grandy's here working out at 5:30. I'm not kidding. Literally, it's incredible. He really gets after it. The lightyears that he's coming from the day he stepped on campus -- it's off the charts."