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Cue Kurtis Blow

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Forgot just how awful this video was until the marvel that is YouTube provided a ghastly reminder.

Was anyone else enticed by the happenings at The House of Tudor on Monday night? It wasn't so much the result - a 79-71 exhibition victory over Angelo State - that generated excitement, but rather the potential for an energetic squad that elicited thoughts of an entertaining brand of basketball. Tamir Jackson brought that East Coast swagger to the party (more on that later) and Arsalan Kazemi tossed his athleticism, skill and determination into a big pot and sloshed it around for 22 mesmerizing minutes. Both have plenty of room to grow their games but they also have ample time to do so, and that's what's so titillating. They have the baseline talent, and the combination of exceptional coaching (this staff will provide it) and plentiful opportunities should accelerate the learning curve for both Jackson and Kazemi.

Kazemi might not get it all right now but he wants it all right now, and there is no substitute for desire. He struggled for a spell finding his place in the offense before delivering a splendid drop step, lefty post move that showcased one tool in his tool box. He rebounded aggressively and defended passionately, and after missing a pair of free throws in the second half, grew outwardly angry with himself as he retreated to the other end of the court. Following the game, Kazemi returned to the scene - in uniform - to work on his game. His drive is unquestioned.

Early in the first half, after abusing a more experienced Angelo State guard, Jackson backpedaled down the court with an arrogant 'that just happened' grin across his face. It was fantastic, and it preceded a sequence of brazen passes signaling his arrival and warning his teammates to keep their hands at the ready and eyes wide open. Not only does Jackson see the court well, he doesn't hesitate attempting passes that require several degrees of difficulty. Surprisingly he was made available to the media for the postgame presser, and when asked how he enjoyed running the show in his first Division I game, Jackson responded accordingly.

"I felt confident. I felt used to it because I played at one of the best high schools in the country," Jackson said, referring to St. Benedict's Preparatory School in Paterson, N.J. "It wasn't a big thing and I've played on bigger stages than this, so I'm just used to it."

Let's end the love fest and get to the business at hand. I was asked to predict a starting lineup for the ladies and gentlemen so I will do so with one qualification: Trey Stanton will eventually join the starting lineup. He twisted an ankle in practice a couple weeks back, and while he remains active I don't believe that he is quite 100 percent. While I rather enjoy watching Suleiman Braimoh conjure Dennis Rodman with his infectious enthusiasm, I believe his unique skill set is better served in a reserve role. Thus, I will list what should be the starting lineup against Sacramento State knowing full well Ben Braun might stick with the status quo:

G: Jackson
G: Connor Frizzelle
G: Cliff Ghoram
F: Lucas Kuipers (this guy doesn't quite fit, unfortunately)
C: Stanton

As for the ladies, their not playing an exhibition makes the guesswork that much more difficult despite an earlier discussion of their prospects for the upcoming campaign. If I were Greg Williams, here is who I would trot out as the first five on Friday night against UTA in Arlington:

G: D'Frantz Smart
G: Tara Watts
F: Megan Elliott
F: Morgan Mayse
C: Jackie Stanley

The Owls' home opener won't be until Nov. 24 (against Arkansas-Little Rock), so you'll have to wait two weeks to see Stanley live and in person. She is worth the price of admission, and here's hoping her surgically repaired knee improves over the course of her sophomore year.

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2 Comments

Good call on the lineup. I'd say Kazemi might be better suited for the bench because his aggressive international style (while awfully fun to watch) may lead to some quick foul trouble for him.

Mark: Agreed on Kazemi. As I noted in the live chat, one of my favorite moments from the exhibition was Kazemi rooting an opponent from underneath the basket and out of bounds with his forearm, then giving the ref an incredulous look when he was whistled for that obvious foul. Kazemi looked completely baffled by the call, a reaction that indicated his belief that he was merely playing hard and that there was no blood. - MK

Thanks for the notes. Here's hoping for a 3-0 weekend. The maturation of our returnees and the talent flashed by our newcomers should make for a fun season.

Having heard about Jackson and Kazemi, how do things look for the other freshmen?

At Ease: I've been high on Holland all along, but he looked a little shaky last night. I could see Beasley getting the lion's share of minutes as the backup 1, but that situation is fluid. Eversley is not a good ball handler at this stage of his career, so last night was a good game to sit him (considering the pressure the Rams applied). However, I can envision a role for someone with his size and catch-and-shoot ability. The logjam of forwards makes Edomwonyi a redshirt candidate. - MK

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