Another solid early season for ‘The Boys’. After winning the photo at the wire, in the Baruch game, The Boys put on a clinic in passing, finding the open man, and used stifling ‘D’ to crush UMass-Dartmouth, in a game that, after a brief UM-D run, cut it to 25-22, was a blowout. Notable about that was the discipline on the floor- it never looked like ‘garbage time’. The Panther Express continued to roll in the next four games, and with the exception of some really shaky work early on, by the zebra crew @ Union (which The Boys overcame with their defense) they went to the break 6 and 0, with only one game @ Pepin.
Midd is now up to #5 nationally and in with perennial D3 heavyweights. (Williams is #2, although not sure this edition of The Eph-men is as good as last year’s.) So far we’ve found out that Sharry is a ‘Horse’ getting double-doubles every night. Locke, ‘TheBigFella’, keying the ‘D’ down low with his shot blocking and intimidation altering how opponents attack us, has been very effective even though he has been less than at tops because of injuries, etc.. Figure with the break & his work ethic that he’ll be ready for the New Year. And there’s plenty of horsepower and firepower from others, who in our leaner times would’ve been a sight for sore eyes. Ryan Wholey, always solid on the boards, has a new confidence in his game that somehow arrives when guys hit their senior season. Jamal Davis, always explosive, finds the right moments to exhibit that trait, which always does psychological damage in a close game. Jake (Wolfin) & Nolan (Thomson) look like they’ve been together longer than Bird & Dennis Johnson. More maturity with better ball decisions and game speed recognition, coupled with Jake’s outlet bombs – have only seen a few that match his talent in this area- and Nolan’s ‘lock-down’ ability make the Panthers very solid on the perimeter. Lynch definitely stronger this year adds solid inside presence on both ends. Added is Joey Kizel (frosh-north Jersey), a true point, who’s already making solid contributions.
And we’re going to need all of them plus, every night with our schedule. New D3 stats have The Boys 1st in FG defense, 1st in team blocks and 2nd in scoring defense. Have seen a lot of the NESCAC so far. Williams still very good, but blending; Wesleyan, better, especially if their ‘O’ is on; Triniity: lacks shooting ability but they’re not scared of Pepin as evidenced by their near upset in the quarters last year; and Amherst. Hixon has reloaded. Waller is healthy again (and quick), Meehan is still running the show, and Toomey (their new frosh G) is good and will grow into really good. Haven’t seen Bates or Bowdoin- that’s almost impossible. But it’s clear that winning the NESCAC and being home opens a lot of doors. Plenty of work to be done. Think we’ve got the right kids –again- to think about the Promised Land. Be well. Hope that everyone has health and prosperity in the New Year.