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Moving Beyond the “Secret Scrimmage” vs Minnesota

October 24, 2022

Many of you might be aware that part of CSU’s preparation for the upcoming 2022-23 Mens basketball season included a scrimmage against the Big 10 Minnesota Golden Gophers.

These pre-season scrimmages are required to be behind closed doors. No fans. No media. Coaches are allowed to share the results but rarely do. Richard Pitino Jr of New Mexico was more than willing to share the results of his team’s scrimmage with Northern Arizona last weekend(a 69-67 loss). San Diego State’s Brian Dutcher did the same regarding their close loss to UCLA.

CSU Head Coach Niko Medved is one of those that chooses to keep the details of these secret scrimmages under wraps. So whatever you do, don’t ask me who won and who lost. Because I don’t know.

There was a report on a Minnesota fan message board (Gopherhole.com) that stated that Minnesota lost by 4 points. That I can neither confirm or deny. But here’s the post:

And somehow this video appeared on Twitter. I have no idea where it came from since both staffs are adamant about releasing any kind of tape from these closed door scrimmages:

Obviously games between two universities are competitive. Obviously, every athlete plays to win the game. But in the grand scheme of things, the outcome of the game on the scoreboard is secondary to what can be learned from the experience.

So what did the staff learn you ask?

My sources say that overall the staff was very encouraged by the experience. They were able to take a team with a lot of new faces on the road against a solid opponent and see how the offensive and defensive principles that they have been learning translated against someone other than themselves. Minutes were spread very equally among the entire squad to get a look at all of them.

It was an experience without the presence of Isaiah Stevens. Not just on the floor but off. Isaiah did not make the trip with the team. Don’t forget how important his presence is to the team, especially the pair of inexperienced point guards in Baylor Hebb and Tavi Jackson. The staff was very pleased with their performances. In Tavi’s case, double digit scoring mostly from getting into the paint and the free throw line. And some decent defensive contributions as well.

James Moors and Patrick Cartier were solid in the interior. Minnesota is loaded with talented bigs and both James and Patrick were able to score inside.

Offensively they moved the ball well and shot the ball well. Anybody who went to the intra-squad scrimmage could see that this team has all kinds of perimeter weapons. Illinois State transfer Josiah Strong is starting to emerge on the offensive side after suffering through recent illness that kept him out of practice for an extended period of time. Strong was, dare I say, strong against Minnesota.

I was told it was a very high-scoring affair. Realize that CSU did very little in terms of scouting their opponent and focused more on their principles. When I asked my source whether it was a poor defensive effort or a result of that lack of pre-scout, the answer back was “We’re going to look at the tape to figure that out.”

It’s all about the next steps and the Rams have a tremendous opportunity to grow over the next few days as they incorporate what they learned from the trip to Minnesota. Lots of encouraging signs. Balanced scoring and good shooting all over the court. A solid performance by the point guard tandem of Hebb/Jackson in place of the injured Isaiah Stevens. A fine performance by bigs James Moors/Patrick Cartier against a very big and physical Gopher forecourt.

Opportunities for growth and development. That’s why they play these games.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 26, 2022 9:58 pm

    Thank you for this, Steve! Good stuff.

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