Furman men's basketball coach Niko Medved welcomed the public out for a mid-morning scrimmage on Saturday, as Furman celebrated homecoming festivities in preparation for Saturday's rivalry clash with The Citadel on the football gridiron.
The basketball scrimmage would serve as more than an appetizere for the football game, as the Paladins showcased depth and an heir of confidence heading into crunch time, as the season approaches on the horizon.
The Paladins would look impressive throughout the scrimmage, and that was without guards Stephen Croone John Davis III, who did not participate in Saturday's intra-squad exhibition. The depth in the backcourt was noticeable, as freshman Jonathan Jean and sophomore Devin Sibley would run the point for each respective team in the scrimmage.
It was my first chance seeing Jean in action, as he was more impressive than even I had heard from some surrounding the program had passed along. Jean is wise beyond his years, and the strongest part of his game was his brain. His ability to improvise and make smart decisions on a whim was noticeable.
Rarely did Jean make the careless turnover, and while I haven't seen the rest of the Southern Conference freshmen yet, I would be hard-pressed to say their are many freshman in the league that are better than the one I saw at Timmons Arena this morning. Jean also showed the ability to shoot the outside shot and showed excellent quickness.
The most impressive player during the morning scrimmage was sophomore Daniel Fowler, who showed an improved outside jumper, as well as the aggressiveness without hesitation when taking the ball to the basket.
Also a noticeable returnee to the fold was forward Kris Acox, who left the Southern Conference Tournament title game early last season with a broken foot. He was back and active around the basket, and looks to be more of an offensive threat this season.
Furman, which was a consensus No. 5 pick in the Southern Conference preseason polls, opens the 2015-16 season on Nov. 13, hosting Presbyterian. The Paladins will have one open exhibition, which comes up on Halloween, as the Paladins will host North Greenville at Timmons Arena.
The Paladins return all five starters from a team that finished 11-22 last season, reaching the Southern Conference championship game before getting knocked off by Wofford.