Andy Mac: Musketeer Madness Report
By Andy Mac Williams, 10/24/2021

The rainy cool weather wiped out Fanfest outside, but things went swimmingly inside Cintas. The lower bowl was basically filled. The MASSIVE new scoreboard is LARGE w/ much improved video and graphics. The dance team sports new outfits. The cheerleaders are more numerous. The pep band has added new tunes over and above "Sweet Carolina." Bottom line-it was good to have over 300 fans in the building making noise and having fun!! So long, COVID!! Go back to China and take your variants w/ you!!

I'm no expert on Women's Basketball. but 3rd year Muskie coach Mel Moore has done good work w/ transfers and recruiting. Much more speed and better guard play w/ more size should add up to more wins. UConn and DePaul are the cream in BIG EAST women's hoops, but XU is gaining. Home Opener November 17th vs Miami Redhawks.

The Mens' portion of the program off the charts positive!!! What I'd watched during 4 weeks of Fall Practice carried over to the 10 minute scrimmage 99.9%!! More depth-More speed-More feistiness-More communication-More togetherness-More shooting-More across the board!!

Super Senior Sniper Nate Johnson predictably won 3 point shooting(15-25). He did shoot 46% from outside the arc last season. He's now healthy. There's depth from deep. Indiana transfer Jerome Hunter(#21) is also healthy(12 made 3s). Belmont transfer Adam Kunkel (#5)(12 made 3s) is 20 pounds more muscular. Paul Scruggs made three "3s" in the scrimmage.

Word was "no slam dunk competition", but they did it anyway! Dwon Odom won in a dunk off vs Nate Johnson by leaping over Jerome Hunter and jamming in an assertive tomahawk dunk. Verrrry impressive! Travis Steele's son Winston set a record(youngest dunk contest judge at age 8).

The Blue-White scrimmage proved up-tempo and wildly entertaining-ending in a 26-26 tie. No OT! Coach Steele had seen enough. Blue trailed by 10 w/ 2:27 left in the 10 minute affair. Scruggs led the comeback(12 points total-three "3s"-3 boards-2 assists) operating below the FT line-drawing "D"-dishing and scoring. Ben Stanley(less than 10 months after ACL surgery) played w/ wild energy inside(8 points-3 rebounds-multiple floor burns) for Blue. White had scoring balance.

Nate Johnson potted 8 points and showed his ability to attack the rim along w/ that 3 point talent plus 3 assists. Hunter pulled up for wing "3s" then jetted to the rim for a thunder dunk and FT. 6-11 Dieonte Miles showed his stuff in the post(6 points-3 boards-2 assists) showcasing his lefty hook and knocking down a FT line jumper. His practice Gold Jersey is no mirage!

The offense ran smoothly and the pace was super quick. 3 point shooting(6-16) was confident and on target and came from multiple players shooting from multiple spots. 11 scholarship players participated.

7-footer Jack Nunge (Iowa transfer) warmed up but did not play following a his first week of full practice. He is fine. Steele likes his entire game(shooting w/ both hands-range-passing out of the post-rebounding-rim protection. Nunge should play next Saturday in the Semi-Secret Scrimmage vs Vanderbilt in Nashville.

Only bummer-Zack Freemantle on crutches and in a boot w/ a foot injury. His status is up in the air . Hopeful for his availability early in the non-conference schedule. Depth up front from Miles and Nunge and Frosh Cesare Edwards and Ben Stanley ease the pain of Zach's absence, but he's a vital cog especially by Game #3 vs Ohio State(Nov.18th).

I liked what I saw. It's what I expected after watching several practices. TEAM 100 is going to be FUN and SUCCESSFUL!! Book it!!

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