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The PTL Lifestyle, Game 5

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Game #1: Iowa City Ready Mix/Vinton Merchants 88 (2-3), Monica's/L.L. Pelling 76 (1-4)

This was the game we had been waiting for, the game matching Monica's/L.L. Pelling, featuring Devyn Marble, and Iowa City Ready Mix/Vinton Merchants, featuring his cousin, Steven McCarty Marble.  Yes, this game was for all the Marbles.* 

  • Gabe Olaseni looked much improved in this game.  He took a jump shot with reasonable form (even though he missed) and showed more confidence in general on his moves inside, including one very nice drop step finish. He didn't do a ton on offense -- 4-6 from the field, 2-3 from the free throw line, 10 points -- and does have a weird habit of shooting one-handed, but he looked much more comfortable in this game.  In any event, offense was not where he made his mark.  He blocked at least three shots while I was watching (no stats are kept on blocks in summer league, unfortunately), but altered many more, both at the rim and on the perimeter.  He displayed his shot-blocking prowess on one play in particular: Devyn Marble made a nice move and elevated high for a jump shot (a shot that is usually released high enough to be uncontested), but Olaseni rose right up with him and deflected the shot.  As a rebounder he still has a long ways to go -- he couldn't establish great position and took a few bad angles -- but as a shot-blocker he is already quite an annoying presence for the opposing team.  
  • Speaking of which, it may be time to start thinking of nicknames for the lanky freshman.  I took to writing "Ola" instead of his full name to save time, so I was thinking one nickname could be "The Spanish Word for Hello".  Other possible nicknames: "Ola-D, Ola-Da", "Mistah Kottah, the Shot-Swattah", and "The London Fog."
  • Blocked shot aside, Devyn Marble had another good game for Monica's/L.L. Pelling, who were missing Devon Archie once again as well as Duez Henderson.  He shot 15-30, went 2-7 on threes, and finished with 33 points.  He didn't get to the line much, though (1-2).  And if you think the players don't care that much about summer league, there was some major league woofing at the refs in this game.  On a couple of occasions Wes Washpun tried to launch himself into Olaseni on drives to the basket, but Olaseni went straight up and no foul was called, leading to shrieks of disgust from the Monica's/L.L. Pelling players.  Didn't seem like fouls to me, though.
  • Bryce Cartwright was very smooth running the offense for his IC Ready Mix/Vinton Merchants, but it was notable that the opposing team was leaving him uncovered on jump shots.  And mostly with good reason -- he did not shoot well from distance (1-7 from three).  But what he did do well was what he always does well: run the pick and roll.  It's nice to see a little better up close how he accomplishes what he does in the P&R.  From what I could see, he uses picks very well, hewing very close to the pick man (with and without the ball) and getting his shoulders around the pick as soon as he can.  Then, crucially, he just sees the man in time and space well and delivers the ball on the spot, usually with a bounce pass. 
  • Watching Cartwright in the pick and roll made me think: if a player manipulates the pick and roll perfectly and threads a precise bounce pass through the waving arms of two defenders, leading to a wide-open layup that only an idiot would miss, why does the guy who makes the layup get credit for the shot?  Wasn't the skill that made that shot possible all in the setup and pass?  And not in the sense that an "assist" made a shot possible -- I mean when the pass, for all intents and purposes, was the shot.  Jarryd Cole shot 57% from the field last year on twos last year and Cartwright shot 42%, but how many of Cole's shots were layups from Cartwright's passes?  He made 92 of 161 twos last year, but what if 20 of those were credited to Cartwright?  Then Cole's FG% drops to 51% and Cartwright's jumps to 46%.  Or look at Amare Stoudemire's or Shawn Marion's shooting numbers pre- and post-Nash -- the impact of the point guard is evident.  To bring things back to the game, this is one reason that Cartwright's poor outside shooting is not quite as terrible as it seems -- he compensates in other ways.  Of course, if he could shoot and do all that other stuff, that would be ideal.
  • There was a brief scary moment in this game, where Cartwright got knocked to the floor in the paint (by a Marble elbow), and lay prone on the ground as several players jumped over him for rebounds.  He thankfully wound up with just a bloody lip, and returned to the game not long after.
  • It was perhaps not a coincidence that Marble's team made a spirited comeback while Cartwright was out, but that the comeback petered out when he returned.  Marble did his best to will his team back into the game, playing harassing defense and sinking a late three, but it wasn't quite enough and Monica's/L.L. Pelling lost by 12.
  • McCurry's/Gatens 87 (2-3), Jill Armstrong 72 (2-3)
    I only saw a few minutes of this game, but the main thing I noticed was the presence of a certain sleepy-eyed, foul-prone senior, Andrew "The Brom" Brommer.  Here are the first notes I took about Brommer:
    • Bromination is back! Oglesby gives him a nice pass on the break
    • Brommer draws a charge!
    • Brommer finishes a post move!
    • Brommer with a circus shot that misses badly
    • Brommer denies entry pass causing five-second call
    • Brommer commits unnecessary reach in
    • Brommer subbed out.
    That's the guy in a nutshell, n'est pas?  John Bohnenkamp reports that Brommer is still recovering from surgery on a bursa sac in his right knee, and that the only difference Brommer noticed was a tendency toward earthboundedness:

    “The only thing I can feel different is I can’t jump as high as I used to,” Brommer said. “But I feel like that will come back the more I play.”
    I also saw Eric May make a few nice pull up jump shots (although he shot 5-15), which was a welcome sight, and would really expand his game if he could reproduce it next year.  Apparently Josh Oglseby had a very good game after I left, going 7-14 from the field and 4-9 on threes for 18 points.

    Coach's Corner/Two Rivers Bank 121 (5-0), Falbo's/Culver's 114 (3-2)

    I only saw the first half of this game, and wish I had stayed til the end, because it apparently was a great one.  See Hawkeye Drive here and Hawkeye Report here for highlights.  It came down to the wire, and Hawkeye Drive has great video of Melsahn Basabe taking the ball all the way up the court and making a short jumper to tie the game as time expired in regulation.   But Hubbard's Coach's Corner/Two Rivers Bank team held on in the extra period, bringing their record to 5-0.  The half I saw was plenty entertaining in its own right, a match-up between Anthony Hubbard's undefeated team and the stacked Matt Gatens/Basabe/Aaron White team from Falbo's/Culver's.  I'll just run things down in bullet fashion:
    • No point guard for Falbo's/Culver's (Andre Murphy was out), which meant that usually Gatens would bring the ball up, although sometimes White or even Basabe served as point guard.  Gatens looked fine, White okay, Basabe a little shaky.  No one was harassing him all that much on the dribble, which was good, because his dribble on the break was super high and not all that steady.
    • The really striking thing about this game was Hubbard's defense.  He seemed to guard pretty much everybody, but mainly got matched up on the taller players White and Basabe, and acquitted himself just fine.  He's just a very strong guy, and  did a great job of forcing those guys out of position and then slapping at the ball when they went to make a move. Basabe and White both got a few shots up over him, but he showed himself to be a versatile defender.  He was key on offense for his team, too (13-23, 8-11 FTs, 2-5 on threes, 36 points, 6 assists) but his defense was astonishingly good.  I have no idea how the offense will work for these Hawkeyes next year -- there are too many people who need the ball in their hands to succeed (Cartwright, May, Marble, Hubbard) and too few great shooters -- but defensively, it could be exciting.
    • If you ever wanted to see Basabe play shooting guard, this game was your chance (Hawkeye Report's highlights do a good job of showing it).  This must be something Basabe is working on, because he made a habit of posting up, so to speak, on the wing near the three point line, then working his man off the dribble.  He had a great game -- 14-24, 9-10 FTs, 36 points, 20 rebounds -- and even made a three-pointer, so you can't argue with results.  I don't know if I relish the thought of Basabe iso-ing on the wing like Tracy McGrady next year, but if a reliable jump shot comes out of all this summer work, Basabe would suddenly become a very, very tough cover.
    • Hubbard had some nice spin moves and tough finishes in traffic on the break for and-ones.  He has that Dwyane Wade ability to initiate contact and make it seem foul-worthy, which is a plus.
    • Aaron White had a middling game, going 6-18 from the field, 6-6 on free throws, and 1-5 from three for 19 points.
    • Gatens had another solid game: 9-17 from the field, 6-7 FTs, 2-6 on threes, 26 points.
    * In other words, not just for one side of the Marble family, but for both branches, i.e. for all of the people named Marble.**
    ** Which of course is a play on the phrase "all the marbles," as in a game for high stakes.***
    *** And not referring to the 1981 film ....All the Marbles which I haven't seen, but which looks like quite a saucy picture featuring Peter Falk, Mean Joe Greene, and female wrestling:****
    **** For an explanation of the origin of the phrase "all the marbles," see here.*****
    *****For more examples of excessive footnoting, see here.