It’s been a long time since we last saw some college basketball, and after fawning over hours and hours of tape analyzing last year’s rookie class, we’re back at the beginning. A new season. New prospects. New players to watch. College basketball is back. Time to dive back in.
For the college notes, I can’t do thoughts on every game that happened last night because there are way too many games. I’m sticking to a couple of limited thoughts on a variety of games on the main takeaways I had from last night.
- Marvin Bagley III had a very strong debut, putting up 25 points and 10 rebounds. While it was something to expect from a top-tier prospect, one thing to keep watching for throughout the remainder of the season is the number of fouls Bagley draws. He shot 1-4 from the line and that needs to improve going forward.
- Michael Porter Jr’s debut went almost the opposite of Bagley’s, as he only scored two points in two injury-shortened minutes. The Missouri medical staff said that Porter just tweaked his hip and that he was held out for precautionary reasons. Hopefully that’s all it is and that he has no lingering problems.
- Everyone will want to focus on DeAndre Ayton‘s Arizona debut, and he didn’t disappoint, posting 19 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocks. However, I was really impressed with Allonzo Trier. The junior guard was viewed as an inefficient, isolation gunner coming into the season, but he was incredible. 32 points on 10-13 shooting, 2-2 from three, and 10-11 from the free throw line. The free throws are the most impressive thing because if he can get to the line like this, he’ll be a dangerous scorer on any level. He needs to cut down on the turnovers (4 compared to 4 assists), but he gets a pass tonight.
- Excellent game from Bruce Brown, who put up his second career triple-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists. The most impressive thing was his solitary turnover in 31 minutes. There’s been some debate about who the best Miami guard prospect between Brown and Lonnie Walker, but Brown’s experience seems to be the edge right now.
- Texas just went out and dominated Northwestern State. Mo Bamba played well, scoring 15 points on nine shots and shooting 3-4 from the line. He’ll have the most impact on the defensive end (his 7’9″ wingspan isn’t exactly a secret), and his four blocks in 21 minutes seems like an indicator on what is to come.
- Took me a while to get to Michigan State, but their two big prospects came to play last night. Miles Bridges had 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in 27 minutes. Jaren Jackson Jr. had 13 points, 13 rebounds, and six stocks (that’s steals and blocks combined) in only 21 minutes. Other than his stock numbers, Jackson Jr. shooting 9-10 from the foul line is a great sign. Shots will fall eventually, but good free throw shooters will always be able to score when they need to.
- Mikal Bridges didn’t have the best showing in his season debut, shooting 0-5 from three and 2-8 from the floor. His perfect showing from the foul line is a good sign that the shooting is just a slump (anyone who watched him last year would know this is the case). He remains this draft’s best 3-D prospect.
- Strong games from Devonte’ Graham and LaGerald Vick. Graham had 10 points and 12 assists with only three turnovers, while Vick put up 23 points on 8-12 shooting and 4-7 from three. Kansas will lean on Graham this year as the new version of Frank Mason, aka the senior guard leading the team, and it looks like he’ll be able to fill that role well.
- Golden Gopher’s Jordan Murphy put up 35 points and 15 rebounds. As a 6’6″ player essentially playing power forward, I don’t know how sustainable the rebounding numbers will be over the remainder of the season. And while I love the 15 free throw attempts, I’m more impressed by the 59% from the field on 22 attempts. He’s not on our big board, but he might find himself a spot very quickly.
- Kevin Knox didn’t have the best debut on the offensive end (he shot 3-13 from the field and 1-4 from three) but he looked good on defense, putting up four steals and a block. Like I said above, the shots will start falling eventually, so I’m more encouraged by free throw shooting and the defense than the poor scoring numbers.
(Image from Arizona Athletics)