Posted On: 02/17/18 11:55 AM
On paper, the Troy-North Farmington game wasn’t likely to be competitive. But the great thing about basketball is that games are played on the hardwood rather than paper. This was a hard fought, defensive grind where neither team would give an inch in what turned out to be a great contest.
The first half was an absolute slugfest, as points were at an extreme premium. The Colts used their size advantage to get multiple putbacks and headed into intermission with a 24-17 lead, but it was clear that North Farmington came to play. Troy would take control late in the third quarter, tightening up their defense before forcing several turnovers out of the Raiders as they extended their lead to double digits. North Farmington would begin the fourt quarter in a full court press that was extremely physical and that gave them new life, cutting the Troy lead to single digits. Three minutes into the final stanza, a loose ball saw several players from both sides hit the floor in an effort to come up with a huge possession……….and things got chippy. After regaining control, the officials issued several technical fouls to North Farmington players and the resulting free throw conversions by Troy would essentially end the game and the Colts would get the road win.
Here are five items that stick out in the aftermath:
The 6’7 forward has a college ready frame right now and a motor to match. Sully has superior strength, makes multiple efforts on the glass and embraces contact. While Danny isn’t necessarily explosive, he is a fluid athlete that has good body control, decent verticality and moves his feet well on the defensive end. From a skillset standpoint, he can put the ball on the floor from the high post and beat slower defenders off the dribble before finishing at the rim. Sully runs the floor extremely well in transition and can finish with either hand. We really like the fit between UM-Dearborn and the Troy senior, as Danny should be able to step right in and contribute as a freshman.
Playing for an undersized North Farmington squad, the senior forward makes a huge impact. At 6’4 he mans the middle for most of the game and does it well. Donny can handle the ball for 2-3 dribbles on the perimeter adn was able to attack closeouts before converting at the rim. Dreshaj showed great vision in the post, hitting cutters on a few occasions for easy laups. The senior has great hands, as he caught every dumpoff thrown his way and really converted at a high level in traffic. Dreshaj hit a couple of baseline jumpers from 15-17 feet and looked very comfortable taking those shots. Donny isn’t a great athlete, but he plays good position defense and consistently boxes out to negate any size/athleticism advantage for the opposition. JUCOs should give him a look.
The Troy freshman guard is oozing with potential. During a five minute stretch in the third quarter, Parker finished through contact with the off-hand for the ‘And 1’, hit a catch and shoot three from the right corner and beat the third quarter buzzer with a 27 foot bomb on the left wing. Whle his scoring ability is phenomenal for a freshman, I really liked Parker’s poise as a decision maker. Against North Farmington’s 2-3 zone, Brody had the basketball IQ to fake the pass to the opposite wing before dropping precision dimes to his teammate at the free throw line. This forced the defense into a scramble mode where the cutting off the middle allowed cutters free lanes and ultimately layups. The future is bright for this young man for sure.
Salaam isn’t putting up monster numbers this year, but the sophomore has some tools to work with. As a point guard, a crucial quality is the ability to get to your spots off the dribble and Justus can do just that right now. The North Farmington floor general changed direction and speed with the ball against Troy consistently and kept his defender off balance. Salaam was able to get into the paint repeatedly, although he wasn’t able to convert midrange jumpers or layups on a consistent basis. This is where we expect his game to develop a ton next year. Justus’ shot is often directly on line, but a bit flat and draws front iron. We think he improves that and his decision making ability once he draws helpside defense, either by giving dumpoff passes to his bigs or hitting 10-15 jumpers if the opposing big plays drop coverage.
The Colts have been flying under the radar all year long, thanks in large part to to playing in the OAA Red conference with the likes of top 10 teams Clarkston and Hazel Park. Troy is loaded with upperclassment on both the interior and perimter that go hard and have skill. Jason Dietz is a top 10 shooter in Michigan that can light it up with best of them. 2019 Clay Sebastian is a steady PG that knocks down perimter shots, plays good on-ball defense and rarely turns the ball over. In the frontcourt the aforementioned Sully is joined by 6’4 forward Robert Banas, a player with a non-stop motor and a meanstreak that plays much bigger than his size. Leon Ayers is a fast-rising senior combo-guard that has tremendous length at 6’4 with a versatile skillset. While the Colts lack depth, with Parker being their top reserve, they gave Clarkson all they could handle before losing a 59-54 thriller at Troy. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Troy adavnce to a regional final where they can be a dangerous team if they can stay out of foul trouble.