Forgive me for the lack of details in this post, but so much was going on at once!
Flight Night started strongly by using the newly installed video board to play a 3-5 minute video which involved Coach Preston being disappointed in Scrappy the Owl. Scrappy looked deep within himself and went through a mascot transformation because he wasn’t believed to be tough enough. When the video ended, the new Scrappy was unveiled as he ran onto the basketball court. The crowd seemed to enjoy the video and the video board added a whole new element to the fan experience throughout the entire event.
The player introductions had a new twist because there was a shadow screen that the players/coaches could dance/pose behind for five seconds before being introduced and running out from behind it. I thought it brought a very nice new dimension to help hype the opening lineups, and I hope they use it again.
The first basketball related event was a three point shooting contest. There was really too much going on to keep track of in this event but Nicole Adams teamed with Yonel Brown to take on Bria Young and Cole Hobbs. Adams and Hobbs appeared to be the better shooters on the night. I don’t recall them ever announcing individual totals, which was one of the only negatives of the night.
The next event was the dunk contest. Nigel Pruitt and Jordan Montgomery were the challengers against the heavy favorite Markeith Cummings. It really wasn’t much of a contest as Cummings threw down some nasty dunks, and I believe each one only took him one try. Montgomery almost landed an insanely difficult between the legs reverse dunk but was denied by the rim. Video of Cummings’ attempts can be found below the post.
All four freshman got some exposure to the fans in the individual drills, which should be good for them in the long run.
The women scrimmaged five on five for eight minutes with Lisa Capellan and Nicole Adams being the standouts. Adams appears to be a natural shooter and scorer, so look for her to take on a bigger role now that Taylor Mills has moved on.
The men’s team took the stage for the final event.
Black Team: Yonel Brown, Nigel Pruitt, Cole Hobbs, Markeith Cummings and Willy Kouassi
Gold Team: Delbert Love, Jordan Montgomery, Bernard Morena, Aaron Anderson and Andrew Osemhen
Hobbs started the action with a long distance three ball followed by a steal and a dunk by Pruitt for the Black team giving them a 5-0 advantage. Montgomery missed a layup for the Gold, and the Black came back the other way as Markeith Cummings took it to the basket for two. Bernard Morena missed a reverse layup for the Gold and Yonel Brown took it up court, dropped it off to Nigel Pruitt who nailed a triple to put the black team up 10-0. Montgomery missed a three and the Black team came the other way with another Cole Hobbs three pointer to give them a 13-0 lead. It was pretty much over at that point as the black team went onto win handily.
Nobody was playing at full speed so it’s impossible to get a read on much. If the offense looked great then conversely the defense must have looked bad, etc. I was looking for the details more than the overall picture last night.
What I did learn
1. Willy Kouassi is going to be a problem for opposing teams next year. He showed off some of his offensive skills but he has a long way to go, however he controlled the paint on defense.
2. Cole Hobbs is exactly what was advertised. Quick release and no hesitation. If he can hit 40% from three this year, it will open up the offense in a big way.
3. Nigel Pruitt is pesky and aggressive. I had some doubt about whether he could contribute as a freshman, but he showed enough tonight for me to start to second guess myself. You could see the potential in this kid.
4. Bernard Morena displayed his excellent athleticism when getting to the basket. He needs to fix his outside shot while he redshirts this season.
5. Jordan Montgomery is going to be a nice player, guaranteed. He showed better handles than I thought he would as a freshman and with his high BBIQ he will continue to get better, and fast.
6. Andrew Osemhen showed something tonight. He went right after Willy Kouassi by backing him down and hitting the shot with his back to the basket. He also had an excellent bounce pass in the paint to Aaron Anderson for an easy basket, plus he chased down an offensive rebound earlier in the game. He needs to keep improving but right now he could see 10-12 minutes a game if he plays like this once the games count.
7. There are zero doubts about the abilities of Anderson, Cummings and Love so I’m not going to touch on them. I also don’t have many apprehensions about freshman Yonel Brown.
8. Nobody stood out in a negative way during the scrimmage, and that’s always a plus.