Scrimmage observations

Stefan Jovanovic wins the tip

Stay dry, all. Weather’s looking nasty. While you take cover, here are a few observations from Saturday’s UH basketball officiated intrasquad scrimmage.

>> The frontcourt can’t afford to sustain losses. If Isaac Fotu or Christian Standhardinger miss time for any reason, the rotation of bigs is in trouble. Standhardinger was out sick Saturday and, though he’s not the biggest of bigs at 6-8, it felt like a smallball session in Gym 2 (combined with Caleb Dressler’s continued absence due to a back injury). The 6-7/6-8 Mike Thomas was his team’s biggest player for the first 20 minutes.

>> That being said, the 6-10 freshman Stefan Jovanovic played well. His ability to finish around the hoop seemed improved from the summer and he’s embraced his role as a rebounder/screen setter/shot blocker.

>> It could be that as Keith Shamburger goes, so will the team as a whole. He dished nine assists against two turnovers in 40 minutes, and won both 20-minute halves with different teammates. His drive-and-kick game looked mighty effective.

>> Brandon Spearman played aggressively and his 3-point shot was falling. When that happens, watch out; he totaled 33 points, a high among all players for the 40 minutes. Fotu was second at 32.

>> Brandon Jawato opened one of the halves with three straight assists. His role generally won’t be as a distributor but a positive sign to see him make the right play when it didn’t involve a 3-pointer.

>> Quincy Smith was hit or miss this time. His outside shot remains a work in progress and he’s reckless on some of his drives. As Gib Arnold says, though, he prefers aggressive mistakes to passive ones.

>> Garrett Nevels loves his floater, and it’s pretty effective. Keep an eye out for that shot when his 3-point shot is taken away or isn’t falling for him.

>> Negus Webster-Chan was quiet (two points), but I think he was deliberately deferring to teammates this time. He knows his day will come.

>> Aaron Valdes and Thomas are contending for a back-end rotation spot. If I had to say right now, the most common starting five will be Shamburger-Nevels-Spearman-Fotu-Standhardinger with Smith, Jawato, Davis Rozitis and Jovanovic as rotation players and either Valdes or Thomas getting semi-regular minutes as the 10th man.

>> Niko Filipovich watched in street clothes and his left arm in a sling from his dislocated/separated shoulder. Should have a better idea on how long he’ll be out later Monday.