Thursday, July 23, 2009

Darius Smith Can Play

Took in the lone game at the Greater Hartford Pro-Am this evening and watched the Springfield Slamm (featuring UConn freshmen Darius Smith and Ater Majok) defeat the Mizner All-Stars, 104-88.

Majok and Smith didn't get to leave campus until about 15 minutes before the game was supposed to start and didn't arrive at Hartford's Sport & Medical Sciences Academy until about five minutes were left in the first quarter. They didn't enter the game until the second quarter and both looked a bit rusty early on after the long drive. In fact, neither scored a point in the first half.

The latter half was a different story.

Majok looked pretty good, knocking down a few long-range jumpers, making a few nice passes and displaying some impressive athleticism for a 6-foot-10 player. He committed five fouls and made a few poor decisions (at one point dribbling the ball behind his back deftly at midcourt, only to throw away a long pass) but overall was fine. He scored eight points.

Smith was simply magnificent. He scored 15 points on a variety of drives to the lane, a couple of jumpers, even a putback of a Majok missed fallaway jumper:

Smith is quick, intense and energetic. He's non-stop on defense and pushes the ball well on offense. He's an excellent ballhandler and just looks fundamentally sound at everything he does. Smith could stand to get a little stronger, but otherwise, there's a lot to like here.

Here's a couple more clips of Smith (No. 31) and Majok (No. 32) in action:

Smith finished with 15 points to spearhead the win.

Also, Charles Okwandu (normally on the Slamm team) didn't make the trip due to a sore ankle. Jonathan Mandeldove was in the house and said that he's waiting on a grade from summer school to see if he's OK academically. Jim Calhoun told me last week that Mandeldove's status for this upcoming season was "up in the air" due to academic issues.

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