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If I had to choose which center had the best night, it would have to be Kennedy Meeks. The baby-faced brute is just a natural on the hardwood.
There are some guys that you just can't put a finger on talent-wise. They don't jump out at you with overwhelming athleticism or highlight-reel performances. But, somehow, they always seem to be around the ball, making one big play after another.
That is Kennedy Meeks.
He's a slick rebounder with great hands, a heads-up passer, an efficient scorer and is proving to be a solid free-throw shooter, too. He was 4-of-4 from the stripe last night, and is 7-of-7 if you include the exhibition against UNC-Pembroke.
He may not be the most explosive player on the floor, but he's explosive enough to jam one home. And that's just fine with me.
Meeks finished with 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal in 13 minutes.
Joel James got the start last night and played relatively well for most of the game. He had a few mental hiccups, but they certainly weren't as glaring as those from last season.
Aside from walking the in-bounds pass back out of bounds to inbound it. Oops.
There is a good chance he gets clowned hard in the film room for that one.
Overall, I was pleased with what I saw from James. He stayed composed through his mental lapses and didn't seem intimidated by the crowd. I know that doesn't have anything to do with skill, but we'll never see how good James really is until he gets over those things.
Fundamentally, he needs to get better at boxing out and fronting the defender in the post. He did have eight boards and four points in 14 minutes, though.
For now, it seems like Meeks may be putting a lead on James. No matter who the "official" starter is, though, these guys will be splitting minutes throughout the season. And if they can produce anywhere near 14 points and 15 rebounds in 27 minutes like last night, Coach Williams will be a happy camper.
As a side note, Desmond Hubert appeared to injure his hand shortly after coming in the game. He only played for five minutes, adding only two points to the box score.