Basketball finally arrived on the Palouse with Midnight Mayhem in Bohler Gym. In front of a packed house, the men's and women's basketball teams put on a show tonight and gave us a glimpse of things to come.
The format consisted of a men's and women's three point contest, an eight minute scrimmage and dunk contest to cap the night off. It was entertaining from start to finish and well worth the time.
So, about that men's team. It sure looks like this is the squad Ken Bone wanted. Athleticism? Check. Willing and able to run the floor? Double check. Ability to jump out of the gym? You have no idea.
Patrick Simon won the three-point contest, taking down fellow newcomer Faisel Aden. Simon has a nice stroke and showed off the range we all expected in the contest. Aden has a bit of a funky stroke that creates some side-spin, but it works for him.
The best leaper on the team is still Marcus Capers. The best dunker on the team might surprise you. You winner of the dunk contest tonight was freshman Dexter Kernich-Drew. The kid looks goofy and unathletic on the surface, but man can he jump. Using a minimal amount of effort, Kernich-Drew was getting head-high with the rim. His winning dunk was a sweet one-handed 360, the second he pulled off on the day.
The funniest moment came during the first round of dunks. Kernich-Drew brought out a short kid -- maybe 5'6 -- and dunked over him with ease. Capers, up right after Kernich-Drew, brought his own prop to the party -- 6'11 Steven Bjornstand. Capers got up and over him with ease, one-upper the freshman.
You other finalist in the dunk contest? None other than freshman Dre Winston Jr. Like I said, this team is athletic and bouncy. All of them, with the exception of walk-on Ben Loewen, can dunk with ease and put on a show.
Brock Motum, DeAngelo Casto and Steven Bjornstad all put on some noticeable weight -- in a good way. If he gets healthy, Bjornstad gives the Cougs another body to bang around in the low post.
Casto also hit a three. It looked about a million times more natural than Aron Baynes' three a few years ago.
Aden looks so smooth handing the ball. His passes were on point and he can get to the bucket or show-off a nice mid-range jumper. Look for him to run the point at times, giving the Cougs another capable ball handler. He also has the smallest ankles/legs I've ever seen. I'm scared they're going to break.
Speaker of guys that can run the point, hello Dre Winston Jr. He's small, both in height and weight, but my goodness is he quick. Winston showed off a quick first step in the scrimmage, showing off the ability to change gears at the drop of a hat when need. Backup point guards do grow on trees.
Simon is bigger than you think. Listen at 215, he actually holds his weight better than Motum and looks built enough to handle a bit of a pounding. He looks like a face-up guy, but he also looks mature enough to come in and compete right now.
Kernich-Drew is my new favorite player.
Klay Thompson -- remember him? -- opened the scimmage with a Capers (tm) tip-dunk, threw down an alley-oop a few possession later and ended his night stroller down the court and hitting a pull-up 30 footer. Ho-hum a typical Klay Thompson night.
Reggie Moore clanked back-to-back dunks on alternating possession. Still, he looks like he added weight that should help him with the rigors of the Pac-10 season.
Abe Lodwick: Also bigger. He also added a Lincoln-esque beard. Whatever works for him.
Casto almost brought down the backboard on a reverse dunk. Catching the ball in step, his momentum carried him past the hoop, forcing him to throw it down behind his head, causing the backboard to shake back-and-forth. It's gonna happen.
If you want to know if they can play defense, tonight isn't the night to ask. After a few possession of All-Star game defense, Ken Bone stopped the game and reminded them there's a defensive aspect to basketball. Still, it's a scrimmage and it was a glorified dunk contest.
I forgot one last note on uniforms. The women's are new this year and there's one subtle change you'll notice if you look closely at the white uniforms. On the back, in a faint silver/gray, the uniforms have the Coug logo laid under the numbers. It's large, but it's subtle enough that it doesn't dominate the uniform. Very cool.
- The women get top billing tonight. They put on a show and deserve some love for the work they put in.
- The ladies have some shooters this year. Shooting from the men's three-point line, freshman Sage Romberg showed-off a sweet stroke and was raining threes. That continued in the scrimmage later in the night.
- The size June Daugherty recruited up front was evident in the scimmage. 6'8 Jessica Oestreicher is healthy and used her exception size as an advantage. Her footwork may need some work, but simply having that size down low can't hurt. Carly Noles and Hana Potter also played in the low-post and did well.
- Jazmine Perkins can flat play. Shes quick, smooth and can drive to the hole and finish. Perkins was fun to watch run the point and strung together some effortless passes that were right on the money.
- I watched Katie Grad play in high school and came away impressed. Tonight, she showed an ability to slash, pass and finish in traffic. A back-court of Grad and Perkins should be a fun one to watch.
- Daughtery's girls can get out and run. They were up and down the court in the scrimmage and showed no hesitation driving the lane. They all showed off excellent vision and passing in transition, making for an exciting game
- Want to know about the men? Read on after the jump.
That's it from Pullman. If nothing else, these guys -- and gals -- will be fun to watch. The athleticism is apparent right from the start, even though some of these kids may not look the part -- I'm looking at you Dexter. One month til real basketball!