pic via @pennington_jl
Let’s get to a few quick points about the final exhibition test for the Cats, a 122-54 win over Dale Brown, his suit, and his Dillard Bleu Devils. Off we go…
—The star of the night was almost certainly Terrence Jones. After the Canada injury and frustrating first exhibition, some had wondered when we would get to see the game that made Jones one of the pearls of this year’s recruiting class. Well, wonder no more. The Portland native notched a double-double, leading the team with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and looked every bit the part of a player who can have an All-SEC type impact by the time the season is through. He also blocked six shots, tops on the team, and the combination of the defense and rebounding he showed tonight will be huge for the Cats, particularly for any period of time that they might be without Enes. A coming out party for Jones and one to get excited about.
—In a sentence that will probably be repeated after nearly every game, Brandon Knight was great once again. Twenty points, six assists and perfect from the line on the night, Knight looks more like the leader of this team each time he gets on the floor. With as ready for the big-time as Knight’s game appears to be, it’s tough not to fall victim to hyperbole when talking about him. That said, he is a flat out stud. I cannot wait to watch him light people up for real.
—Jon Hood gets his own bullet point tonight, despite his best effort to make me not like him after Redick-gate. Still, Hood had a very strong game, putting up 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting and channeling his own inner JJ to go 4-of-6 from downtown in just 18 minutes. The Madisonville native did exactly what the team will need from him this year, showing an aggressive streak and scoring touch that can make him very valuable coming off the bench this year. Let’s hope there’s more where that came from.
—Cal noted that the team did a good job of transferring the lessons from this week’s practice, notably playing tougher, to the game tonight. That can’t be illustrated any better than in the rebounding department, where several players had good nights. Darius Miller grabbed eight, and if he can continue to rebound like he has in the preseason, it will make a huge impact for a team that is a little short on height, especially in the potential absence of Enes Kanter. Jorts also continued to play well on the glass with seven boards, and DeAndre Liggins and Stacey Poole both grabbed six. Rebounding will be mostly by committee for this year’s squad, and if the effort tonight (albeit against Dillard) can continue, it won’t be the huge worry that it otherwise could be.
—If the team shoots the way it did tonight (11-of-19 from outside), they’ll be tough to beat. They’re not a great three-point team, but are better than last season and good enough that outside shooting will make a positive impact at times for the Cats this year, rather than being a constant concern.
—Jarrod Polson got himself a bucket tonight. Big ups.
That will do it for the exhibition season folks. Real basketball awaits us in a week, but before that remember to check in here over the weekend for all the Charleston Southern football talk you can handle. There will be a liveblog for the game tomorrow, and plenty more throughout the day. Come back and see us and, as always, Go Big Blue.