“In the first 30 minutes of practice, guys started to figure out there would be a big emphasis on conditioning in this camp,” Wallace said. “Coach (Vincent) wants an up-tempo offense and a pressure defense, so we are expected to be able to just run and run.
An Inside Look At Tuesday Evening's Practice
Wallace also made the play of the night, swiping the ball from Jason Richardson at midcourt and heading down for a breakaway, two-handed jam with Richardson in hot pursuit. Wallace let J-Rich hear it all the way down the court, setting up what could be an entertaining, friendly rivalry between the two high fliers throughout camp. These guys will definitely each have their fair share of highlight-reel moments this season.
What will Richardson bring to the Bobcats this season? Let’s just say it was hard not go get chills as Richardson peeled off a screen the next trip down on the offensive end and buried a three-pointer from the left side with Wallace now giving chase. Richardson was brought in to give Charlotte the weapon they were often lacking in the fourth quarter last season. J-Rich will demand the ball late in contests, and if he can keep hitting shots like this, what used to be tough, close losses will quickly turn into impressive, last-second wins.
As a companion, I'd like to quote from Bonnell's latest article here:
Trimmed down by about 10 pounds from last season, he's noticeably quicker in the lane. That encourages Vincent to run more plays for his center-power forward.
Now THAT'S exciting. It's my opinion that we've lost a lot by not focusing on Mek's offensive development. This year we've added a new big man coach and right in training camp we're talking about running plays for him.
Writers keep putting a big question mark concerning our coaching moves. I think the coaching staff alone at least equals what we've had up until now. Add in the experience of Rose and it's almost guaranteed that our coaching will be much improved over last year.
No one is considered a bust after 1 season in the league. I was reading an article stating that Morrison was nailing everything in practice, and is outplaying Hermann thus far. In the offseason I heard alot about how Morrison was working out 5 days a week in Washington, while I heard nothing about Hermann. Should be a nice battle.
I must have missed that part? I did catch the blog where they said Ammo was hitting most of his shots, but I've seen nothing on Fabio.
Morrison looked great in Wednesday’s night session, knocking shots down from long range, hitting his mid-range jumper and driving the lane and converting in the paint. For the first time in a while, it looks as if he’s out there playing worry free, and his game is benefiting from it.
The Bobcats entered Day 4 of training camp on Friday in Wilmington, North Carolina, and while the focus has consistently been on the action on the court, off the court the talk was about Friday evening’s release that Sean May will miss the 2007-08 season after he has microfracture surgery on his right knee. In tonight’s blog, I figured we would let the words of those in the Bobcats front office and players on the court speak for themselves. You can also read what May had to say in his Friday night conference call.
General Manager Rod Higgins
With Sean out, we have to now gather together and see what our next step will be. It’s a huge loss for us, but those things happen in professional sports. We have to make due and move forward.
If you look at our big spots right now, we’re kind of thin up front. Our guys are obviously young up front with Emeka (Okafor), Jermareo (Davidson), Ryan (Hollins) and Walter (Herrmann) – you have a lot of young guys in those spots. It’s hard to win without veteran bigs in this league and we know that, so it’s something we’re going to have to address in the near future.
(When asked about Marc Jackson…) Marc is a name we’ve talked about and a guy that has some experience. He is a free agent, and there are some free agents that are out there. I’m sure our conversations will dictate that we talk about a lot of guys, and Marc Jackson is one of those names.
Head Coach Sam Vincent
I’m disappointed – disappointed for Sean because he’s been working so hard over the summer and done a great job, and I’m disappointed for the team. But we’re still optimistic that he’ll be able to have the surgery, have a successful recovery and be able to come back at some point and help the team. We’ve already developed a fighting spirit in this team. These guys are working hard, and they’re going to continue to work hard. We feel bad for Sean, but the team is going to continue to move forward.
It would help (to get a veteran big), but wanting a veteran big and having to deal with the salary cap and all the other issues involved with having to bring a player in is something that management will have to deal with. I spoke to (Managing Member of Basketball Operations) Michael (Jordan), (General Manager) Rod (Higgins) and (Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations) Bernie (Bickerstaff), and everybody is sensitive to the fact that we’re short in the frontcourt, and they’re going to be doing whatever they can to get us some relief, but that may take a little time.
Gerald (Wallace) has been effective in that four spot (in the past), so there may be some times that we will use him there. It depends on who we’re playing and what is going on. I think Ryan has looked good so far, Jermareo has done a good job, and this is going to be a situation where some of our young guys are going to get more reps because we’ve got some guys out.
This is a major blow to the team. He was a big asset to the team, and the things that he brought were irreplaceable. It’s going to be a major hurt for us, and other guys are now going to have to pick up the slack.
I’d prefer not to go back to (the four spot) after two years down there, but for me it’s always been whatever I can do to help the team. If that means I have to go back to playing the four position, then that’s something I can do. I’m pretty sure Ryan and some of the other bigs are going to step in and make up for Sean’s loss. For me, my role is whatever role coaches ask me to play – I’m just going to go out and do my best at it.
I think Jermareo will be all right. He’ll have his ups and downs and it might be a little rough for him at first, but I think with our help, he’ll be able to get through it very well.
I don’t think we really need (another big man) right now, judging by what we have in camp. Our big guys are doing a really good job. We have a lot of young guys that will be able to step in, and with the way Sam wants to play with our up-and-down tempo, we’ll be alright with the big guys that we have right now.
I haven’t had the chance to talk to Sean yet, but I’m going to call him as soon as I get on the bus. The stuff that Sean and I talk about is kind of personal, but I never had any indication that he wasn’t going to be playing or that he was going to go through the surgery. As far as I knew, I thought he was going to be on board. I knew he was seeing some doctors, but I didn’t know this was going to happen. It’s a tough loss for us. We needed him.
It’s very disruptive, but at the same time, we have to move forward. We have to work with what we’ve got right here. We have to keep it going. Everybody is playing hard and working hard, but we have to move on and wish Sean the best.
-- Matt Rochinski, bobcats.com | 6:21 p.m. 10/6/07
Bobcats Head Coach Sam Vincent opted to go with just one practice on Saturday, leaving just one practice left in camp on Sunday morning before Sunday night’s scrimmage in Wilmington, North Carolina.
“The guys have been working hard, and we’re really happy that we’ve reached this point with the conditioning level as high as it is now,” Vincent said. “We just wanted to make sure that we give their bodies a chance to heal a little bit before we push too much harder.”
Vincent also gave the Bobcats a chance to let their hair down a bit on Friday night, taking the team to Ten Pin Alley for some bowling, a few games of pool and more.
“Last night was great. The off-the-court team building things are something that are very important because it gets us off the main battle stage and gets us into an environment where guys can just relax, laugh and talk,” Vincent said. “You saw different guys talking to different guys who usually don’t talk on the court because they’re competing against each other. It was fun to get everybody bowling, playing pool or whatever they were doing. That’s something we’re going to try to do throughout the year.”
Vincent also took the time to hit the lanes. So how did he bowl against his guys?
“I was rolling strikes, man,” he laughed. “I don’t know what the cameraman was recording, but I was rolling strikes. I must have had 10 or 11 strikes. My game was hot last night.”
However, the hottest Bobcats player on the lanes might have been veteran Derek Anderson.
”I had the high score of the evening at 184, so yeah, I can say I’m alright,” Anderson modestly admitted. “Sam caught on at the end of the night, but it is what it is – we all know who the best bowler was.”
Maybe not everyone did. Never at a loss for words, Jared Dudley believed his game might have been the strongest – even if his scored didn’t concur.
“It was good – every good team has good chemistry and good bonding. It’s something you need to do,” he said. “We got to bowl and interact with coaches, which you probably wouldn’t get a chance to do otherwise. You can see people’s personalities for the first time and see how they interact. A lot of these guys I might never go out with – it’s just the nature of the game. Let me tell you though, Jermareo (Davidson)’s bowling skills were terrible. This dude was terrible.
“Aw no, you didn’t,” Davidson piped in when he heard Dudley bashing him. “I was out-bowling you all night.”
“I was winning when I was leaving,” Dudley responded. “But we didn’t get to finish the game.”
“Are you really going to lie to the fans? You were down by two,” Davidson laughed. “This is going live to the world and you’re going to do it like that?”
“The first game I played, I was playing against a couple of the trainers, and I definitely won that game easily,” Dudley laughed. “Then it was time to take down this guy.”
“I can’t believe you,” mumbled Davidson as he walked away in disgust.
But it wasn’t all just bowling, some players opted to take their chance at pool, including Davidson, who did both, squaring off with assistant coach Jeff Capel at the felt table.
“He tried to trick me and act like he couldn’t make any shots and then became real good at the end,” Davidson said. “He hustled me big time. I didn’t think he could play – I was laughing at him and everything, but he had a pretty good game.”
Capel was also impressed with Davidson’s skills with a cue stick.
“I thought the rookie handled himself very well,” he said. “I got a little winded at the end and he made a little comeback, but I was able to hold him off down the stretch.”
“That was charity,” Davidson added. “He was giving me that, because he was pretty good.”
Others, like Matt Carroll and Adam Morrison, opted to just get some food and watch the Yankees and Indians MLB playoff game.
“To be honest, we were both rooting for the Indians – pulling for the underdog,” Carroll said. “The Yankees always win, so you have to share the love once in a while. It was crazy seeing all those little bugs on the field. We couldn’t believe it – it might have ruined my appetite a bit, but it was a lot of fun watching that game.”
After the game, Carroll and Morrison hit the pool tables as well.
“It was close,” Carroll laughed. “We’re both pretty bad, but I pulled the victory out. That’s not saying much with me and Adam though.”
Watching Wallace, J-Rich and Felton get up and down the court is going to be great to watch for Bobcats fans and a nightmare for opposing defenses. With Felton bringing it up in transition and Wallace and Richardson on the wings, deciding who to commit to will be a quandary for defenders. Give any one of them the slightest opening and they are all quick enough to burn you going to the rack.
Playing Vincent’s run-and-gun style of offense is going to benefit Okafor as well. He doesn’t have to be a primary scoring option every time down the court, allowing him to commit much of his energy towards shutting things down on the defensive end. In the first half of the scrimmage, Okafor didn’t score a point and took just one shot. But defenses beware –start focusing on the Bobcats backcourt and Okafor can keep up with Charlotte’s speedsters and can burn you in transition too. He scored all 14 of his points in the third quarter on 4-5 shooting from the field and 6-7 shooting from the charity stripe.
It didn’t take the Bobcats starting five much time to start getting comfortable with each other. Vincent put Felton, Richardson, Wallace, Okafor and Hollins together for the first time in Wednesday’s evening practice and they lost their first scrimmage to the second unit, 19-17. From that point, the starters didn’t lose another scrimmage throughout camp, including Sunday night.
“Overall, I thought we got a lot done that we wanted to accomplish,” Wallace said. “We came together good with the new acquisition of J-Rich and Ryan coming into the starting five.”
A companion piece by Bonnell (which might deserve it's own thread):
That Top 10 is a good/positive (yet short) article. My thoughts:
Crash has always been this kind of player. I wouldn't expect anything less from him.
I remember Felton throwin' those up at UNC, he is really good at it and it can be really effective when the 'D' isnt paying attention and in the fast break. But isn't it kind of obvious that Wallace and Richardson would be his favorite targets?
Let's just hope he can stay confident when he gets into the game. Luckily, we have Okafor to guard the best opposing big so Hollins doesn't have to worry about getting dominated by Shaq or Howard.
We can only hope Carroll is better on 'D'. I mean, the bar is set kinda low.
I think Davidson can be a beast offensively around the basket if he adds some muscle. It's a good sign that he can score on Okafor but can he handle jockying for posistion with Howard? (probably not)
I could have told you Felton would be better in an up-tempo game when he was drafted; for that matter, anyone who watched him at UNC could. He is not as good of a set offense PG, which is why he has 'struggled' so far.
Big men just aren't good foul shooters so if Mek gets better, it's a luxury.
Shots don't just disappear. Carroll will be just fine and if he is having a good camp w/out shooting the lights out, that is a very good sign (though, a very bad one for Ammo).
Let's hope Hollins can step up and play at the NBA level. If he is truly a better starting option than Fabio, we will be dangerous.
Michael Jordan turns heads where ever he goes. And is there any doubt he is more popular than the Queen?
THB's #11 - Things don't look good for Ammo. Wallace and Richardson will definately get more time than anyone but Carroll and Dudley have received praises and if Hollins starts at PF, Fabio will soak up more minutes at SF. Same result if Davidson gets some minutes. If we make a move at the trade deadline, it is beginning to look like he will be the odd man out (esp since he has decent value).