For the first time since...
Just kidding, I'm not going to start this recap that way. Nobody needs to revisit the last time we saw Iowa State players in live court action. That being said, the opening night of the YMCA Capital City League tipped off on Wednesday and while not all fans are wild about these summer-league exhibitions, you wouldn't have known with the packed house at Valley Southwoods.
Now, before we get to the actual report, I just want to say how refreshing it was to sit and watch our favorite Cyclones playing basketball. For a couple hours, those in attendance didn't have to think about Steve Prohm or Fred Hoiberg or even about assistant coaches. We simply got to watch basketball and enjoy the show.
Walnut Creek YMCA vs. Capital Orthopedics
In game one, we were supposed to be treated to a match up featuring Jameel McKay, Nick Babb, Matt Thomas and Nick Noskowiak, except McKay showed up in sandals and with a bag of Chick-Fil-A about a half-hour late and didn't play. I'm not one to speculate as to the reason McKay wasn't in action, but I will speculate about what he got at Chick-Fil-A and I'm going to assume he got the Spicy Chicken Sandwich Deluxe because that shit is delicious.
Starting with the younger Babb brother, I think most in attendance were pleasantly surprised by Babb's showing.
Summer League caveat applies but have been very impressed with Nick Babb. Very good athlete. Been the best player on the floor in first game— Travis Hines (@TravisHines21) June 17, 2015
Babb's game looked more fitting of a role specialist and not necessarily a lead man, which is fine because every team needs guys like that. His shot and stroke were eerily similar to his brother's and defensively, he was an absolute menace. I counted at least four blocks and he made it a priority to make the night a little more difficult for both Thomas and Noskowiak. Long term, I think he can develop into not only a quality sixth man, but potentially a high-end starter as an upper classman.
Babb's team prevailed, despite the absence of McKay.
On the losing end, both Thomas and Noskowiak still managed to have impressive showings. Starting with Thomas, what can you say about the guy that hasn't been said already? From a technical aspect, he's just about perfect. Textbook shooting form, above average passer and an underrated ball handler, Thomas' ability resembles that of a quality Big 12 starting two-guard. But this isn't anything that we didn't already know. Physically, Thomas looked in excellent shape and was noticeably stronger. I thought he played well and with Naz Long and Hallice Cooke still on the shelf recovering from surgeries, Thomas has a real chance to impress Prohm and the new coaching staff this summer. So far, so good.
As for Noskowiak, he wasn't always great, but I thought he had a very good CCL debut. He's every bit of 6'2" and physically, he looks like he belongs in the Big 12, which is more than you could say about Clayton Custer. I thought he played with good tempo and pace and certainly wasn't overwhelmed or overmatched by the competition.
We learned that Noskowiak was playing with a broken right pinky finger, but you wouldn't have known. He tried to do a little too much at times, but you could tell right away that he has a much higher ceiling than Custer. He's a very capable ball handler and I thought he had a very good-looking outside shooting stroke, but I'd like to see the coaching staff work with him on the mechanics of his lower body as his hips can sometimes get a little wonky, which affects how square his shoulders are. But that's nit picking.
Noskowiak got really hot in the second half and drained a series of threes over the matter of consecutive possessions where he was being checked by Babb.
Phoenix Renewable Resources vs. Hannah Homes
Folks, this is why people go to these games. Monte Morris squaring off against Deonte Burton. They did not disappoint.
Morris' team prevailed in the end behind 47 points from the all Big 12 point guard, but that doesn't even scratch the surface of doing justice to just how dominate he was. He was simply unguardable for most of the night and got into the paint whenever he damn well felt like it. That was exactly what the fans came to see and I want to offer my condolences to the ankles of the opposition guarding him.
Not to be outdone, Burton was arguably just as impressive physically. This man is a specimen. Sure, he was wearing Rafael Nadal syle pant-trousers, but when you have game like Burton, you can rock whatever makes you happy.
Burton finished with 43 points, but everyone is going to be talking about the dunk. At this point, I haven't been able to find video of it, but if there's a Vine or YouTube clip out there, I hope it finds its way to the comments, because it was violent and spectacular.
Able to tote the rock, Burton was a runaway freight train on the break and only a few unlucky souls dared challenge him at the rack. But the Marquette transfer also showed that he can knock it down from outside. He may not be able to crack the starting line up this year, but he's going to be a match up nightmare off the bench.
Renaissance Granite and Quartz vs. ADIO Chiropractic
I didn't stay for all of the final game of the evening as Abdel Nader was a no-show, but I stuck around through the first half and Georges Niang was his usual self. I thought he looked like he was in great shape, with better strength in his upper body and not quite as light as he was last summer.
We'll update this story as full stats become available, but that was it for night number one. The guys return to action on Friday night and cap off the weekend on Sunday. You can find the schedule here.