Rob went to practice and sent us these notes.
It was run differently from a normal practice because K knew there would
be a LOT of people there (jam-packed on the side of the stadium where
people were allowed to sit). Thus, there were two straight hours of
Generally, the practice was like how a lot of the London trip sounded: a
lot of energy, very intense play, lots of sloppiness, and a lot of players
doing well in spurts but no one dominating or playing consistently well.
One thing Coach K told us afterwards is that the main thing that will be
different in real games is pacing--he plans to speed things up in real
games and utilize his bench to wear teams down. He mentioned that team
weaknesses included having no dominant players and youth, while strengths
included chemistry, camaraderie and depth. That depth also made it
possible for some players to sit out particular games during the practice
The way it worked was there would be a scrimmage of 10-12 minutes
(official clock & ACC officials), then a situation scrimmage. For
example, the score would be 60-60 with 5 minutes left, and the teams would
play that out. The most interesting of the scrimmages was that scenario.
The White team was Sanders, Horvath, Ewing, Redick & Duhon. Blue was
Dockery, Randolph, Buckner, Melchionni and Williams. The Blue team
actually dominated early on because White was just plain missing.
Buckner hit a three, Dockery hit a floater and Shav came in for a super
dunk. Blue was up 70-62 with less than 2 minutes left. Casey then faked
out Shav and got a three point play and Dock then charged at the other
Then came a great play. Nick missed an open three, Duhon stormed in to
get the rebound and passed it out to Ewing. Dan had a shot, but he saw
that JJ had an even better shot...which he buried. Shav then missed 2
free throws but Dan turned the ball over. Shav atoned by hitting a 15'
jumper to give his team a 72-68 lead with less than a minute left. Dan
hit a couple of freebies with about 40 seconds left to make it 72-70. All
Blue had to do was get a good shot at the end of the shot clock. But
White played great defense and Buckner put up an ugly shot. Duhon got
the board with about 8 seconds, zoomed up the court, found Ewing open for
a three, who nailed it with about a second left. The crowd went nuts!
Now for those all-important general player impressions....
Sanders: Casey played pretty well. He took (and hit) several 15-17' wing
jumpers with confidence. He was pretty good from the line. He blocked
several shots, including sending back a Dahntay floater. His defensive
timing was much better and he was aggressive on the boards. He also
missed close-in a few times (including a dunk) and had some turnovers. He
looks like he can help but is still wildly inconsistent.
Horvath: Much, much better on the defensive end, greatly improved as a
rebounder. Much bigger as well. K said that he's been the most
consistent player over all. He's taking threes with confidence though
they're not necessarily going down. Won't help much on offense, but could
do a lot of the little things inside. Great screens.
Thompson: Really looks lost out there. Very hesitant inside and out. No
confidence in his shot. Doesn't go up strong. Very physical and a good
rebounder. I don't think he'll help us this year.
Williams: Shelden is very smooth and powerful. Excellent rebounder and
really the only low-post guy who's established himself as a scorer. He
will have problems against bigger players, however. Also has a decent 15'
jumper. Pretty good foul shooter, too. K singled him out as one of the
emerging players. Intense defender. Nice post passer--reversed the ball
for a couple of threes.
Randolph: Very skilled, good shooter. Missed a lot of free throws--he
seemed a bit tired by the end. Not a bad rebounder, but cannot go strong
in traffic. Had a spectacular rebound basket. Has quickly picked up on
pressuring the wings and had some steals that way. Really knows the game
but needs to get stronger.
Jones: Didn't play a ton today. Didn't shoot much, either. Good
rebounding day, also finished a couple of breaks.
Melch: Hit a couple of shots early on and was otherwise quiet.
Ewing: Very aggressive on offense. Looked smooth from three and eagerly
drove to the hoop. Hit a bunch of free throws; he's nearly automatic
right now. Also ran the offense a bit. He's really poised for a big
Redick: When open, he's deadly. His teamamtes know that and so blanket
him all the time. He's not ready to combat that yet at this level.
Didn't drive much and didn't try to create his own shot. He's the kind of
guy where even if he misses 3 straight threes, you give him the ball for
the fourth because he's confident enough to make it. A pretty good
defender; Ewing was trying to go right at him all day but with only mixed
Dockery: Very strong, very quick. Great handle. Very good passer. Not a
good shooter, though he hit a three. His signature move is this sort of
one handed driving push shot that he aims at the backboard. Loves to play
defense. He and Duhon went at it all day.
Duhon: Still feeling his way as team leader. Hit some threes but also
missed a few. Great passing, excellent defense.
Overall, the players are still learning the offense: where to be, when to
screen, when to move, how to make reads, etc. Shelden & Shav have picked
up on a lot quickly, while Big Mike still needs a lot more time.
Things were VERY physical. Casey and Mike went after every shot. There
was one time when Shelden had a clear lane on a slipscreen before Casey
moved over and clobbered him. Shelden was a bit gimpy after that but came
back to play later. On another play, Ewing was hammered going up for a
score and hit his head going down--but he also bounced back up.
This is not a team yet. But if things go well, it may wind up being
greter than the sum of its parts.