Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Grand Canyon: Suddenly a Challenge? Preview

By Jason Taylor
RebelReign Contributor

First, there was the loss of Chase Stanback. He was suspended for the first two games for a DUI over the summer.

Ok… We can deal with that, especially when our exhibition game counts as one of the first two games, and our first regular season game is against Division II Grand Canyon.

Now, Lopez is gone too (for a few weeks) with a twisted ankle.

After watching the Washburn exhibition, we were thankful that Rice gave Lopez good minutes in the second half because he provided a much needed spark with a pair of under-the-basket moves and a trip to the free-throw line, netting a quick 5 points. Down the stretch, he provided the boost we needed to pull away with a pair of dunks. He scored 11 points in the game.

But, Ok… We can still deal.

Marshall was also a key against Washburn as he began regularly running the point in the second half. Lopez’ pair of dunks came by way of Marshall’s ability to break down the defense with penetration. As help “D” came, AM dropped the ball off to his 6’11” teammate. Marshall added 14 points himself, and truly helped “seal the deal”.

Now… Marshall is gone!

He played in a summer league, which is allowed by NCAA rules. However, he played an extra game “outside” of the league, which is disallowed for some reason. So, they “took one” for “playing one”, and suspended him for the first game of the season, overriding an appeal from Coach Rice.


We’ve lost a point guard, a small forward, and a power forward for the first game. If Friday doesn’t come fast, we’ll give the NCAA a chance to suspend a coach, just to round things off!

So, that leaves us with 7 scholarship players… Not the best scenario for a coach that wants to burn the soles off the competition with fervent paced play.

As an added bonus, Wallace’ knee has been swelling recently due to micro tearing. He is planning on nursing it through, and delaying needed surgery until the end of the season.

It’s more than evident something(s) must go. We’ll have to slow down on offense, play some zone defense, or dip in to reserves, which consist of 3 first year walk-ons.

I believe the starting line-up will likely be Bellfield at the point, Wallace at the “2” guard, Hawkins to replace Stanback at small forward, Moser at PF, and Massamba at center. This leaves Thomas and Mashour as subs.

If you’re pulling for Karam Mashour like I am, this should definitely give him a chance to show something. He will likely sub in to give aid to Wallace, and he’ll probably see minutes replacing Moser at the “4”.

I see Bellfield and Hawkins playing for most of the game… they may see 35+ minutes each. J-Hawk may even get a chance to run the point for a few minutes during a Bellfield break.

The walk-ons: I just don’t know if Rice will use them or not. I can easily see them coming in for a few minutes to give relief, especially if we can create a bit of daylight on the scoreboard. The hardest part is that they’ve all just come on board. There’s not even a leader amongst the walkers!

I wonder if the coaching staff would like to retract that “11-11-11 Let’s Run” ad, and change it 11-14-11, when we play Reno and see the return of Marshall and Stanback.

This easy game just became very interesting. Can a partial “Runnin’ Rebel” team pull it off?

See you Friday night. We’ll see.

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