I happened to catch the first two 10-minute periods during the basketball team's scrimmage last Saturday morning. Here are my observations:
--Yancy Gates and Anthony McClain were on the same team and on the court at the same time. I'd be interested to see how much Mick Cronin will use that lineup for his frontcourt this year. He said last week that he could use Gates at the power forward spot and McClain at the center position at the same time, and defensively and rebounding-wise, they might make for a pretty good duo.
An example: Gates missed a free throw during the scrimmage, and McClain was the one to secure the rebound and keep possession for the black team. Later on, Steve Toyloy tried to go up and around on McClain, and McClain, playing solid defense, forced the airball from about 4 feet. Gates and McClain also managed to block a few shots (though I overheard assistant coach George Jackson tell somebody that McClain relies on the blocked shot too much).
Gates looks bigger (taller and wider), but as the game wore on, it looked to me that he got tired. Which definitely limited his effectiveness.
--Lance Stephenson struggled with his shot early on (he missed his first four attempts), but his passing was fantastic. He fed a beautiful ball to Darnell Wilks for what would have been a killer alley-oop (Wilks let the ball go between his fingertips), and later, he found Toyloy in the post with laser-like precision. After starting slow, he blew by Sean Kilpatrick on the baseline for an easy layup.
The obvious NBA-type talent - and his NBA-type body - is there. He just happened to have an off-day shooting the ball.
--Ibrahima Thomas looks thin to me. But just how thin is questionable, because the 6-foot-11 junior who won't be eligible until the Dec. 13 Crosstown Shootout wore long sleeves during the exhibition.
--Scoring totals (through the first 20 minutes)
Black team (19): Deonta Vaughn 5, Anthony McClain 4, Sean Kilpatrick 4, Jaquon Parker 3, Yancy Gates 3.
Red team (37): Larry Davis 11, Ibrahima Thomas 8, Cashmere Wright 7, Lance Stephenson 6, Steve Toyloy 5.