On August 1st, a bunch of Gaels fans went into a McKeon and saw a bunch of kids play basketball in a practice that was open to the fans.
As I was sitting there in the bleachers, I thought to myself “November is really far away.” And after that, I thought “I shouldn’t put too much stock into what happens at this game. There are still three months to go.” So here is a quick take on what went down.
After some shooting drills, the Gaels played four ten minute games versus one another. There were two players that really stood out: Jordan Guisti and Brad Waldow. In a recent poll of West Coast Convo writers, Brad Waldow was ranked as the top center in the league. While the national media swoons over Karnowski of Gonzaga, Brad Waldow will be the best center in the league. He has lost some weight, and looks a lot quicker than ever. His athleticism was in full display as he dunked whenever possible and made balanced, fade away shots in the paint. At one point, he hit a fade away jumper as the buzzer rang. His defense was also very good as the graduated Kyle Rowley faced Waldow (Hodgson hurt his knee and did not play).
Jordan Guisti was by far the best guard on the court. Playing against Holt, Guisti swarmed Holt as soon as he crossed half court and made sure Holt could not initiate the offense. Guisti also used his speed to drive in the paint, draw contact, hit the shot, and hit the ensuing free throw for an and-1. His first 9 points were all and-ones. I wrote about it in the preview, but now, more than ever, I think that Guisti should play most of the minutes at point guard, with Holt playing the two. Also, in all WCC games, Guisti / Holt will be the best defensive combo in the game. If Levesque can stay out of foul trouble, and Waldow can play up to his potential, with Guisti / Holt playing, the Gaels will be one solid defensive team.
As far as the newcomers, everyone looked as good as advertised. There were a few plays where Garrett Jackson looked out of position on defense, but he made up for it on other plays with his athleticism. In fact, this could be the most athletic Gaels team to-date. Pineau and Hermanson looked like they belonged, but I still believe that they should redshirt. Chris Reyes could be a solid backup, but I’d like to see him have a really good trip to Australia. Trevean Duffy did not participate in the games.
The one takeaway from this open practice is that the Gaels will be more athletic. The offensives weren’t as efficient as Saint Mary’s fans are accustomed too, but its only August and the defenses knew what plays were being run against them. Lastly, as one of the members of the Gaels athletic department told me, “It’s only practice.” November can’t come soon enough.