By Steve DiMiceli
Duquesne saw more of mixed bag in day two of the Pro-Am, but there were a number of solid positives to go along with the some minor disappointments. The bigs faired well against some stiff competition while a couple of new comers struggled to find their place.
The first game of the night again featured Martins Abele and Derrick Colter of GNC who faced Steel City Tickets. After going head to head down low with Kyle Goldcamp on Monday, Abele met a double threat in Pitt's Dante Taylor and WVU Pat Forsythe. While Abele struggled with finishing today, every other aspect of his game was impressive. Neither Taylor or Forsythe scored a basket with Abele on the court until 1:23 left in the first half when Forsythe made a lay up with Martins on the deck going after a loose ball. Taylor got the best of Abele twice in the second half but for the most part Abele match up very well against him. Abele also played the part of distributor dishing out 3 assists while creating 1 more. He grabbed 7 rebounds but he still reacts too slowly on a number of missed shots.
At the end of the first week, it's clear that Derrick Colter is one of the stars of the summer league. He put up 10 points in the first half as GNC jumped out to a 20 point lead before the break. In the second, Steel City Tickets adjusted their defense (yes, this is new in 2012) to focus on Colter and he struggled at first with the pressure. They ran a full court press to deny Colter the inbound pass and flustered him with a half court trap. YSU's Kendrick Perry took more of the ball handling duties until Colter adjusted with more of a pass first mentality. Colter closed with 5 assists on 8 shots created including a nice bounce pass to Abele for a stuff. He finished with 17 points including 3 three's.
However, Colter's performance was out shined by Keaton Miles of WVU who was an offensive rebounding machine.
The second game was a bit disappointing. Ovio Soko and Jeremiah Jones of Oliverios Peppers played South Hills Audi the same team of alums that Derrick Colter tore apart on Monday. I think it's safe to say that Colter wasn't just picking on old men as they stifled almost all of the Peppers. Both Soko and Jones had difficulty breaking down the Audi's defense off the dribble. There was very little ball movement by the Peppers help create baskets when the dribble penetration wasn't there. Only the lightning quick Jabarri Hinds could get to the hoop consistently. Jones couldn't buy a bucket tonight and Soko pulled up, turned the ball over and ignored his teammates far too often. He looks like a guy who is trying to do too much. He's not helping his teammates, but of course they aren't helping him.
In the night cap, UPMC faced SPK Law to much better results. Sean Johnson lead the way for the Duquesne contingient with 11 points but missed a couple of easy opportunities. He shared the ball well, and took the right shots. While he didn't dominate, he is playing much better in the summer league this season. While 12 points a game doesn't seem like a lot, his coach spreads the minutes out fairly evenly between first and second unit. As a result, he's only playing about half the game.
Andre Marhold impressed tonight. Like Abele, he faced a tough test in Pitt forward Talib Zanna and he performed admirably. Marhold came up with 3 huge blocks while altering a number, but we already knew he could do that. He's also developing a jump shot hitting a long two and three pointer. Marhold is getting more aggressive on the dribble drive and is willing to take on defenders consistently for the first time since I've been following him. His free throw shooting looks much improved with better arc and rotation on the shot. So far in 6 FT attempts, he's missed one. By my count, he just missed the double double with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
I have a feeling people are going to like Quevyn Winters. He hit two quick three's upon entering the game, the first from NBA range. He is a hard worker, strong rebounder, and has great vision that helps him get the ball up court quickly on the outlet pass. It's becoming clear how he fits into the picture.
As all always, the stats are not official and I will post the real ones when I get them.