It is noted that Isaiah Folkes got some playing time in the exhibition and looked pretty good based on my initial eye test. He ran the floor hard and played the rugged style of defense that Sanchez wants to see.
Shooting Guard There are going to be several guys who can play this spot. Clyde Trapp Jr. started against Georgia and for good reason. His versatility is, quite frankly, unmatched by anyone else on the team other than Jahmir. He is not a lethal shooter by any stretch, but he can knock the threes down on streaks for sure based on what I have seen in practice and a little bit in the exhibition. Trapp finished the scrimmage with 14 points on 6-13 shooting.
Another guy who can play the two spot is Austin Butler, a transfer from Holy Cross. He is a knock-down shooter, albeit in a bit of a slump over the last few practices and early on in the scrimmage. He is loud on the court and brings a lot of energy to the floor as well. Butler had nine points as well as eight rebounds in the exhibition. Look for Butler to be an energizer on the defensive side, If the balls on the floor, rest assured Butler will be going for it.
With the continued rehab of an off-season surgery for Brice Williams, it is still up in the air as to when the 49er faithful will get to see Brice back in action, but for now, he is still recovering> I see him playing the two or maybe even the three spot at times this season.
Small Forward Two individuals that I see playing this position a lot this season will be Jackson Threadgill and Robert Braswell. These two played well in the scrimmage with Braswell really impressing me. He comes from Syracuse who plays a rugged 2-3 zone style of defense, but Braswell has come a long way in learning the defense that Sanchez likes to play.
Threadgill, I am hoping, will make leaps from last season. He only scored three points to Braswell’s 10, but he still does the little things to help his team out. We can’t overlook the little things he does like off-ball movement, drawing defenders away from the paint with his knock-down shooting ability, etc.
Power Forward The two we have to look at here are Jared Garcia and Perry Francois. While Perry did not play in the scrimmage, Garcia played efficient minutes getting four points and four rebounds in limited minutes. The 49ers also had a +6 point differential with him on the floor.
Another player who is nursing an injury but hopes to be back for the season is Musa Jallow, an Ohio State transfer. There is a good chance he will compete for a starting spot once he can get fully healthy. Jallow is a defensive-first kind of guy and should help tremendously on that end of the court.
The thing about both Garcia and Francois though, is that they both can play the five spot if needed. Personally, I would rather only do this at times when Aly Khalifa needed a breather, but if the coaching staff feels that it is in the best interest of the team winning games, I am sure the switch will be made.
Center Look no further than Aly Khalifa in my opinion. To look at him, he does not dazzle in appearance when you think of the modern basketball center. What Aly can provide is sneaky athleticism and great court vision which he displayed on in the exhibition. He is quicker than you would think based on his general appearance.
As mentioned, Garcia can and will play the five at times but it will not need to be as much as some might have thought, because Aly can really play the game well.
Other thoughts I have said it all preseason; this team can be as good as their egos allow them to be. If they can stay rooted and not let their own agendas get in the way of the team’s success, then I believe that they can win the conference. It is a bold prediction, yes, but it is one that I feel can come to fruition if they check their attitudes at the door and play as one unit.
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