In this prolific upset, the Silverswords were able to will their sixth all-time victory at the Maui Invitational. Led by diminutive point guard Steven Bennett, this Chaminade squad was ready for an inexperienced Sooners squad who struggled shooting the basketball.
Steven Bennett- Standing at a minuscule 5'6, Steven Bennett is a tiny basketball player at any level of the game. Despite his small stature, Bennett plays with just about as much heart as any player in the country. A favorite teammate and a floor general, Bennett has been proving doubters wrong his entire career. Add this contest as another notch on his belt. Bennett was able to blaze by his defenders virtually at will, and use tremendous body control to contort his body and finish. Despite the degree of difficulty on most of his inside shots, Bennett was able to score at a fairly high clip when getting in the paint. When shooting jumpers, however, Bennett's shot was somewhat flat and he failed to connect on both of his three point attempts. With that said, Bennett allowed his offense to come to him and was able to take over in the closing seconds because of the patience he displayed on the offensive end. When he was not scoring the ball, he was effective at involving his teammates- in particular, shooter Shane Hanson. Projecting his game to the next level, Bennett does not have the strength to play in the NBA. However, he may receive some looks from teams overseas to fill a role similar to that of former Bonnies guard Marques Green.
Mamadou Diarra- After transferring from USC, Diarra looks to be coming into his own with an increased role in the offense. He is a go-to threat for his Chaminade squad, as there are not too many 7 foot interior threats at the Division 2 level. In this contest, Diarra was able to seal his defenders in the paint and shoot jump hooks over them. Not only is he rebounding the basketball, but he also seems to be improving on his post footwork, which is still a work in progress. Diarra has outstanding size and length on the defensive end of the floor. NBA teams should give him an extra look at the Portsmouth Invitational next season, as he has the physical tools and developing post game to be an effective role player off the bench. He is still very raw, but an NBA team could take a flier on him.
Shane Hanson- Hanson is a three point specialist who really caught fire in this contest. At 6'6, Hanson was able to find open spots on the floor and nail shots far beyond the arc. He was also able to rebound the ball decently well on the offensive end. If Hanson can work on his defense, he may receive some looks either in lower European leagues or by American minor league squads.
Cade Davis- Davis was the lone player helping the Sooners to stay in the game. He displayed an effective three point shot which he used to keep defenses honest. Also, he did an excellent job moving without the ball, curling around screens and either pulling up or slashing to the basket. Davis is not particularly quick or athletic, but he possesses a high basketball IQ, which was on full display in this contest. Davis is fairly effective shooting off the dribble and squaring his body to the basket. His role on the Sooners is highly reminiscent of Rip Hamilton's play for the Pistons. Defensively, Davis is aggressive, but he is not particularly quick laterally. Davis should receive some looks from scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament because he is a highly intelligent basketball player. However, he will not receive play-calls for him in the league, and thus may be a system player. Therein, his best bet may be to play overseas and obtain a major role on a Euroleague team.
Andrew Fitzgerald- After making improvements in his transition from freshman to sophomore, Fitzgerald struggled to really assert himself on the block in this contest, scoring most of his points off of putbacks. Fitzgerald needs to try to establish more post position. He does possess an outside jumper which he could improve upon over the next few years. Also, he is fairly athletic, but needs to be more physical inside and grab rebounds. In this contest, he got into foul trouble and was not much of a factor. It will be interesting to see how Fitzgerald improves over the next few years.