Kendall sent us this great review - thanks Kendall! He sent photos, too, but
we're having a problem uploading them earlier. They're here now, of course. Click on them for full-size!
|Battier On D!|
My sons and I went to Salt Lake City last Thursday to see Toronto and Memphis play in the Rocky Mountain Review. Chris Carawell was playing for Toronto and Shane Battier for Memphis.
Chris started for the Raptors and played a solid floor game against Phoenix. He only scored two points while we were there but shut down whomever he guarded. Toronto led until the end of the game, when substitutes allowed the Suns to take the game. Fred Vinson (formerly of Georgia Tech) made a clutch 3-pointer for Phoenix to seal the victory, even though he had done nothing offensively while Carawell guarded him.
I fear, however, that Chris will have to show more offensive potential than he did during that game to satisfy the NBA scouts.
While the Phoenix-Toronto game drew to a close, Shane could be seen, talking with the print and television media. He was clearly the player they wanted to interview.
Memphis looks to him already as a leader. He was the captain who met with the officials before the opening tipoff.
Shane started the game against the Chicago entry, manned against Tyson Chandler, the 7-foot high school phenom whom the Clippers drafted and then traded to Chicago for Elton Brand.
Two of the first three Chicago possessions, Chandler beat Shane down the floor. The result was a dunk and a foul. Thereafter, Battier dominated the high schooler, who fouled out in frustration.
Although Shane had apparently shot well from the 3-point line earlier, his long-range stroke was off during this contest. His 5 or 6 3-point attempts netted nothing. He still ended with 12 or so points, mostly mid-range jump shots and free throws drawn on drives to the hoop.
On offense his chief contribution in this game was ball-handling and assists. He had double-figure assists, and several times was the middle man on the fast break, passing to team mates for easy baskets. This was a facet of his game rarely if ever seen at Duke. But Jason Williams and Chris Duhon are better point guards than anyone playing for Memphis (including Will Solomon).
Otherwise, it was a typical Battier game: several strips and steals, two or three blocks, a bunch of rebounds. The game was well into the second half before he picked up his first personal foul. NBA officials must be in on the pro-Battier conspiracy that Maryland fans cry about.
In many ways it was a bravura performance by Shane. A local radio station polled observers, including scouts, former NBA coaches and Chris Monter for an all-tournament team. Shane was a nearly unanimous choice (Zach Randolph was the choice for outstanding player).
It remains to be seen how Shane's offensive game will stand up to the regular season. But he clearly brings so many other skills and qualities to the court that he influences the game without having to score 25 or 30 points.
Also present for Shane's game was Trajan Langdon, whose Cleveland team was not scheduled to play that day. Trajan signed lots of autographs, including one for my youngest son. We didn't see Chris Burgess, who was there as a spectator last year.