Just a bats flying around my belfry as we get into the heart of the basketball season:
Just how good can the Zips be if point guard Alex Abreu played some offense in the first half? Pretty darn good. Part of the reason that the Zips get off to slow start is that it looks as if coach Keith Dambrot wants to get his big men working on the offensive end first. “Part of it is coaching. If I want to get him off early, I can get him off early” Take note: Abreu has gone scoreless in the past five first halves of games. That nearly cost UA against Kent State and Buffalo.
Chauncey Gilliam has been money of late. The senior small forward has given his team some valuable minutes off the bench. In fact I have little problem saying that in the Kent and Toledo games he was a huge part of why the Zips won. Gilliam shook off suspect behavior after the Ball State game to come through when his team needed him. It’s a big change from the reaction he had leaving the court after just getting a few minutes against NIU.
The win against the Bulls last weekend goes down as the signature victory of the season thus far. Down by 20 with a little more than nine minutes left in the first half and they actually came back? The game is the embodiment of everything wrong with the team – the sluggish starts – and right with the team – the ability to have multiple players come up huge when necessary. They’re going to need more of the latter and less of the latter for continued success this year.
The Zips bench played huge Saturday night against the Bulls. In Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer, it looks as if Dambrot hit on a couple of players who can contribute every year they wear a Zips uniform. Right now he has a luxury. If McAdams is off, Kretzer delivers in vice versa. If they can continue that and Gilliam brings a degree of consistency, along with back-up center Pat Forsythe, they should be in good shape.
Speaking of uniforms, the Zips unveiled some serious black ones courtesy of Nike. The team will break the new jerseys out against the Ohio Bobcats this Saturday, just in time for a national TV audience.