Summer League – Week 4


by: Griffin Bennett

Mondays are turning into a full-fledged purple and gold party. The crowd has grown larger each week to the point where even the mezzanine level above the court was almost full. Former UW/Seattle greats were in the house as well; Nate Robinson, Tre Simmons, Will Conroy, Jamal Crawford, and even Eldridge Recasner were on hand. It was great to see how this community rallies behind these players and supports them all. The Seattle Summer Basketball League has quickly turned into a weekly block party. All that’s missing is a barbecue and some cold drinks. Next week, maybe.

I showed up at halftime for the first game which featured Andrew Andrews, Martin Breunig, Desmond Simmons, and Seattle U’s Clarence Trent. While I obviously can’t comment on the first half of action, here are my notes from the second half. For those that care (I don’t), the UW squad lost by 3.

Andrew Andrews:

I don’t know what Romar is thinking by asking this kid to red shirt before practice even starts. Double A is impressive as both a ball handler and as an off-guard. At the very least, Romar should allow the point guard battle to last until the season ends before declaring anyone as a red shirt. I don’t know if this situation is based on promises or conversations that happened during the recruiting process but Andrews has too much skill to be forced to sit on the bench all season long. I can’t wait to see how this situation plays out.

Martin Breunig:

The Germanator continues to impress this summer. His pump fake is very effective and he can drive and finish with authority. I continue to believe that Martin will play some effective basketball this year for the Dawgs. His defense, however, left something to be desired. It’s hard to judge what percentage of their total defensive ability that the players are using during these games. Breunig got beat several times to the basket and made some bad fouls. He looks like a big small forward and could certainly use some more pounds on his 6’9″ frame. I’m personally very excited to see Breunig play this year.

Desmond Simmons:

I’ve talked about how these pick up games aren’t the ideal situation for a player like Dez but he proved me wrong tonight. He was all over the loose balls and rebounds on Monday. He even showed off his shot by draining a few threes. He’s an exciting guy to watch and will surely be one of the players that helps the team keep their high-tempo style going. I now see why his teammates have been talking him up for the last year.

Clarence Trent:

Same ol’ CT. Love to dunk it hard but smashes it off the back rim often. I miss the guy and his receding hairline.

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The second game was really the main event. It featured one team that consisted of Hikeem Stewart, Tony Wroten, Terrence Ross, Jernard Jarreau, and Shawn Kemp Jr. while the other team included Isaiah Thomas and Aziz N’diaye. You could really feel the crowd’s excitement to see Wroten and Thomas go head-to-head. Here are my notes from the game. Once again, for those who care, Thomas’ team won by a landslide.

Hikeem Stewart:

For the third week in a row, it’s hard to judge Stewart’s game with Wroten playing the point and Ross alongside. I just haven’t seen him touch the ball enough to comment accurately. Maybe that’s a comment in iteself; he doesn’t touch the ball much. Andrews has impressed me far more than Stewart but Andrews is the main guard on his team. The jury is still out on Hikeem Stewart.

Tony Wroten:

It was a difficult night for Tony. You could really tell that he wanted to impress against his friend and mentor, Isaiah Thomas. From the very first possession he took it straight at Thomas. Unfortunately, Thomas’ craftiness and “veteran” ability proved too much for Wroten tonight. Thomas was constantly in Wroten’s ear as he tried to get inside the freshman’s head. It was quite effective. It wasn’t like Wroten went catatonic or anything but his shot was off all night and he through away many passes. In the low-light of the night, Wroten attempted an off-the-backboard pass to himself for a dunk but Aziz undercut him and Wroten landed very hard. The entire gym went silent as Wroten looked to be in serious pain. After a minute or so, he stood up and seemed be okay but he sat out the rest of the night. I wiped the tears off of my cheek and the game went on.

Terrence Ross:

It was also an off night for the sophomore star as he kept looking at his finger on his right hand as if it were bothering him. He was constantly shaking it during the entire game and his usually perfect shot seemed to be way off. Of anyone on the team, Terrence is allowed to have an off night during a summer league game. Not to go completely without a highlight, T-Ross had the dunk of the night as he took off from free throw line-esque distance  and slammed it home. The kid can jump.

Jernard Jarreau:

He played hard off of the ball all night similarly to Simmons in the first game. He had a few nice tip ins and rebounds but his lack of strength holds him back. With Breunig playing so well early on, JJ seems like he could really benefit from a red shirt this season. His upside is certainly there and he could still impress before the season starts.

Shawn Kemp Jr.:

He had a great power slam to start the game against Aziz that peaked my interest, but he ran out of steam and was on the bench for most of the second half. He is built like his father but isn’t quite there in terms of conditioning. He could make a solid fourth option down low this year as he gets back into shape. The rebounding, strength, and toughness is already there.

Aziz N’diaye:

It was Dunk Fest ’11 on Monday night. He easily had 15+ dunks by my count. Thomas was a superb passer and fed the seven footer lobs all night long. Aziz showed no signs of any lingering problems from his foot surgery from the beginning of the summer. He was quick footed and was running the court with ease. While most of his points came off of dunks, his one non-dunk that I can remember was a poor hook shot that wasn’t even close. All in all, it was a net positive for Aziz. His size and strength are clearly visible and he continues to develop his touch around the rim. He’s headed in the right direction.

Isaiah Thomas:

Can he still come back? While it was probably the right move for him, we would all be kidding ourselves if we thought that this year’s Husky squad will be better without him. Watching him play is always a treat and I still think that he can make it in the NBA going forward. He was not only exciting below the rim but he threw down two dunks.

For those of you that haven’t made it out to North Seattle Community College yet, I highly encourage you to make it out soon. It’s a fabulous scene that is insanely fun to watch. With that said, it only makes you want the season to start even more. Is it November yet? Bow Down.