THE DERY VIEW: Exhibition Observations
Nov. 7, 2017

By Matt Dery
TV and Radio analyst

The book is now closed on the preseason and the real action starts up Friday for the Oakland Golden Grizzlies. Neal Ruhl and I will be courtside for the season opener at the O'rena as the Golden Grizzlies welcome in Fort Wayne. What did I see in the exhibitions played this past week?  Here are some observations:

1.  Brailen Neely has taken a step forward.  The sophomore guard out of Detroit shot the ball very well the last two games, 5 of 6 from the floor, and showed a confidence that he did not one year ago.  Who could blame him?  A freshman joining an experienced team, Neely looked the part on some nights.  This time around?  I see a guy with tremendous vision, more maturity, and I agree with Greg Kampe, he certainly can lead the country in assists.

2.  James Beck is an absolute steal.  The freshman forward looks like a guy that belongs on the court already.  The question for the coaching staff is how many minutes will he realistically get?  The Grand Rapids wing can play multiple positions, and will be counted on the first four games to replace the suspended Jalen Hayes.  Beck has tremendous body control for a young player and fits in the Kampe system so well.  Back-to-back double-digit scoring games in exhibition play also helped his cause.  The future is very bright for James.

3.  Left-handed lightning.  Oakland has a rarity at times on the floor:  five lefties who all start or get legitimate minutes, playing together and scoring the ball with ease.  I can recall back in the mid 1990s when the Syracuse coaching staff always used to share how difficult it was to defend Georgetown's duo of Othella Harrington and Victor Page.  A deadly inside/outside combination where both guys were left-handed.  Here at Oakland?  It is Hayes, Neely, Nick Daniels, Kendrick Nunn, and Martez Walker.  Defenders are used to guarding right-hand shooters and I already can see that this Golden Grizzlies squad is causing fits together for the opposition.  

Please join us on The Blacktop Friday night.  This should be a special season for the Horizon League preseason favorites.



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