Monday night’s exhibition game against Division III Muskingum wasn’t much of a first glimpse of the Kent State men’s basketball team; unless you consider hoodies and t-shirts a first glimpse. Tyree Evans, Frank Henry-Ala, Chris Singletary, Anthony Simpson and Rodriquez Sherman were all out for the game. Here is the press release on the first four:
"Kent State junior guard Tyree Evans (Richmond, Va.) and junior forward Anthony Simpson (Rockford, Ill.) will not dress for Monday night's exhibition with Muskingum due to a delay in the final certification of their eligibility as transfer students. They are being held out of competition while the process is completed to fully ensure Kent State's full compliance with NCAA rules and regulations.
Junior Chris Singletary (Chicago, Ill.) will not dress as a result of his on going suspension. He will be in uniform for the Golden Flashes next game on Nov. 17. Junior Frank Henry-Ala (Pasadena Calif.) is serving a one-game suspension due to a violation of team rules."
Sherman is expected to red shirt this season with a bum knee.
In the last year, Singletary has been arrested for an Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of alcohol, OVI, (Jan. 26); Driving under DUI suspension (April 7) and resisting arrest/loud noise disturbance violations (Aug. 31), according to Portage County Court Records. He did sit out a game last year against Western Michigan because of the OVI.
Frank Henry-Ala was charged with an OVI on Aug. 16.
November 17 is the season opener, meaning neither player will miss a meaningful minute. Head coach Geno Ford is hopeful that Simpson and Evan’s eligibility issues are settled before then.
Now that that is out of the way, let’s get to some on court issues. Here are my thoughts from last night:
Al Fisher looks great
With six minutes and thirty-nine seconds remaining in the first half Fisher had already accumulated 14 of the Flashes 26 points. He was nearly a one man show on offense. His outside shooting looked very crisp and his patented floater in the lane was still just as good as it was last year.
Fisher, like many of the players on the team, also looked a bit fuller and stronger physique wise.
He finished the game with 21 points on 8-11 shooting in 23 minutes, but the best news was just two turnovers. Now this was against a Division III team, but it was a good start.
Mincy does too
That tenacious defense Jordan Mincy brought last year hasn't missed a beat. Mincy will be a leader on this team. His defense just needs to rub off on the rest of the group.
The post will be an adventure
It is no secret that the frontcourt will pose problems for the team this year. Julian Sullinger and Brandon Parks are the only two players returning with experience there.
Sullinger looked solid, but unspectacular, in his 23 minutes (8 points, 4, rebounds and four assists). While I have always enjoyed Sullinger’s game, he is not a player who I would want to depend on as much as KSU probably will. The undersized Sullinger, in my opinion, is a role player.
Parks is supposed to be vastly improved this season and making a huge impact on the team. He scored the first basket of the game. He still has a lot of work to do. I didn’t see anything out of Parks last night that I didn’t see last season. It was just a lot of the same I expected from him.
It looks like he has been trying to develop a couple of low post shots, to mixed reviews. A couple times he went up strong and delivered baby hooks. Other times it was downright ugly, like when he tried to stretch his range with it.
One aspect of Park’s game that bothered me was on defense he sometimes overplayed his man at the top of the key, leaving the post wide open. Muskingum didn’t have the personnel to exploit this. Miami, and Tyler Dierkers, will if it is still a problem by then.
He also finished the game with three fouls in 15 minutes.
Parks isn’t going to be a superstar. He isn’t drastically changed. He is what he is. An able big body, who will have to be a presence down low and give valuable minutes.
Greene is a nice addition
If there is any player who unexpectedly caught my eye last night, it was freshman Justin Greene. He is still very raw, but show flashes of plenty of talent. Out of the players on the court last night I would say he is already the best option on the post.
His 11 points and nine rebounds, just barely missed a double-double. Six of his rebounds were on the offensive glass too.
The best part of his game is he seemed to know his limitations and played within his means. He also seemed to have good energy on the court.
By the time Greene’s eligibility is used up (at least four years from now) he will be a very good player for Kent State. There has been some talk that he should red shirt this season, but I don’t see how that is possible.
Post play this season is going to be virtually non-existent unless Anthony Simpson is a Haminn Quaintance clone when and if he actually plays. Kent State, from what I saw last night, can’t afford to red shirt Greene. He is currently one of their best options at a thin position.
Wow. What a terrible, terrible performance from Rashad Woods. Watching the scrimmage I felt as if Kent State was playing a game at the M.A.C. Center. Woods was also playing a game on the court, but it seemed like a completely different one from the rest of the team. I think it was still basketball though at least.
It led to some pretty interesting discussion from the media on press row. One media member referred to him as a REC league all-star.
So sad. Woods is incredibly talented and arguably one of the most athletically-gifted players in the Mid-American Conference. But, as one person on press row said: playing basketball is more than being the best runner and jumper.
There were a few instances last night where Woods got the ball on the block, used his quickness – and his po-go stick legs – to just blow by defenders for impressive shots that he couldn’t finish. His athleticism is freakish, but it just never seems to add up to much.
For the rest of the game Woods tried to lead the fast break out of his power forward position, hoist NBA 3-pointers and have no connection with the rest of the offense.
I hope Woods can put it together quickly and I hope last night was just a bad night, but who knows. That decision is up to him.