Gonzaga, Teague impress at Midnight Madness

October, 20, 2008
Impressions from the Midnight Madness weekend:

• I was at Saturday's Wake Forest practice -- the rest of the ACC better get used to seeing sophomore point guard Jeff Teague flying above them. Teague elevates with the best in the country on a drive to the hoop. He flushed a number of one-handed dunks with authority in practice.

• The injury to Ishmael Smith (his broken foot is still in a boot) means the Demon Deacons don't have a backup to Teague in practice right now. Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said he's going to have to monitor Teague's minutes for the next few weeks. He said he can't afford an injury.

• We were on the air for four hours on ESPNU Friday night with reports from Davidson, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas and Gonzaga.

• Kansas coach Bill Self and ESPN's Fran Fraschilla remarked on the air how the Jayhawks had the best environment they've ever seen for this type of event. Watching Self see the national title banner go up to the rafters at Phog Allen was a clear example why it's hard for a coach to leave after a title. Had Self taken the bait to go to Oklahoma State, he never would have seen the benefits of winning a title. Can you imagine how awkward it would be for some other coach to see a title banner raised? Florida's Billy Donovan went through the same situation the previous year when he withdrew from the Kentucky search after winning consecutive national titles.

• Gonzaga's scrimmage was by far the most efficient of any of the schools we showed during the four-hour marathon. The Zags were impressive with their athleticism, and the speed and quickness of guards Jeremy Pargo and Demetri Goodson was obvious. Goodson drew rave reviews during workouts by assistant coach Ray Giacoletti. The freshman looks like he can deliver similar speed off the bench when Pargo isn't playing. Clearly, he'll have to dial it down a bit when the game is in the halfcourt, and it's unclear how he'll handle more of that type of game. A year ago, Josh Heytvelt was hyped after his suspension ended. But Heytvelt was never the same off an injury-plagued summer. He wasn't healthy this summer either, with a foot injury. But he certainly looked like he was ready to rumble in the middle and get to the line during the scrimmage. If Heytvelt is a factor for the Zags, that makes them much more of a deep March threat.

• Indiana coach Tom Crean will have to have unbelievable patience this season. That's the impression I had from watching the scrimmage.

• John Thompson III has such a cool spirit about him and is always willing to relax at these events. The name is the same but the mood at Georgetown is clearly different when JT3 is at ease.

• Davidson's Bob McKillop had a Fred Astaire look to him with a long white coat and a shuffle step to the bench.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN.com Senior Writer




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