Now that we're 10 games into the season we have a general idea of what this team will look like down the road. I have tied to avoid playing the Robbie card so far because it is going to be over our heads the entire season. We're 9-1 right now, which is a good record. It is entirely possible we would be 9-1 with Robbie Hummel. Unfortunately, with him we're still probably in the top 10 at 9-1 with a bad loss as opposed to now. Now' we're 9-1 and not in the top 15, while teams like San Diego State, Baylor, and Pittsburgh remain highly lauded having done the same amount of work as us or less.
We're 1-1 against the top 100 in the RPI, which may or may not have happened with Robbie. We've been the dominant team in eight of 10 games. Things appear to be progressing in the right direction, but there will not be any significant movement in the polls until the Big Ten season begins. Until then, the season is all about improvement. With that in mind, here are my grades for each player on the roster based on what we have seen so far.
JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, John Hart - A's - JJ and E'Twaun have been everything we have needed and more. I put Hart here because not many people expected much out of him, but in the games he has played he has been a reliable scorer and 3-point threat. His grade is based mostly on how much he has exceeded the original expectations on him when the season began. I think you'll agree that, at most, we expected him to be a bench player that could knock down a shot or two per game. Having as the #3 scorer on the team is a bonus.
Lewis Jackson, Kelsey Barlow - B's - LewJack has been a solid force driving the tempo of games, but has only become a scorer in the last two games. His assist to turnover ratios is better than 2 to 1. I don't know if he will develop much of a jump shot, but if he can hit just one per game it will still in an opposing team's mind. His ability to drive is unparalleled.
As for Barlow, he has possibly improved the most since game one. I think the light is slowly coming on for him and he is playing more under control. I don't want him to become a jump shooter. Instead, I want to see him use his athleticism to crash the boards. If he does this on the offensive end I see no reason he can't score 6-8 points per game simply from putbacks and offensive rebounds. His free throw shooting is also better.
Terone Johnson, Travis Carroll, D.J. Byrd, Ryne Smith - C's - Each of these guys has been up and down so far. Smith has been shooting the ball better of late, scoring 14 points on 6 of 11 shooting in the last three games. TJ started hot, but has been in a slump of late. I think he has the highest ceiling of these four players. Carroll has shown the most promise of the Hanson Brothers and, in the last game especially, has been the most offensively polished. Byrd is almost an incomplete because of the shoulder injury, but he has been the most Robbie-like player (minus the scoring) we have seen.
Sandi Marcius, Patrick Bade- D's - Even with a healthy Hummel , I felt one of these two players would need to do more than they are doing right now. I had high hope for Marcius because he was able to practice the second half of last year, but he is still extremely raw. Bade has been a major disappointment. In fact, I think maybe Danny Hope was writing all of his preseason hype. Other than his thunderdunk and technical early in the season he has been virtually invisible. There is still time for both of these guys to improve, but they have to want it.
Dru Anthrop, Bubba Day - incomplete - It is hard to judge the Bastard Sons of Bobby Buckets because they have seen so little time. Anthrop seems to play at a high speed every time he gets some minutes. He has contributed two assists and a few rebounds. Day seems like the type that could become a 3-point weapon if absolutely needed, but right now we don't need him.