Hey everyone. After Scott put out a call for contributors last week I thought I'd use the opportunity to write about my new hometown Austin Toros. I just moved here at the beginning of January, but I've been reading Ridiculous Upside for a little while and I'm excited to be contributing. For now I'll be providing weekly looks at the Toros, with hopefully some more in-depth content later on.
This past week saw the departure of Pops Mensah-Bonsu to the Spurs, but
Thunderbirds Are Go
The two games against the Thunderbirds were high scoring affairs, and Marcus Williams averaged 24 points in those contests. His shooting could generously be termed "high volume" (a combined 18-42) but he did more than just score, garnering two steals in each game and nine assists in the second.
Dwayne Jones is showing himself to be an asset in the middle. Mensah-Bonsu's replacement as the Toros' starting center had 18 points on 8-10 shooting, 14 rebounds, three assists and two blocks in the first T-Birds game, then followed it up with 14 points on 5-8 shooting, 9 rebounds, two steals and a block with only one turnover in 34 minutes.
Slow It Down
The Toros must have been tired from all that scoring, because Saturday's game @Tulsa got off to a sluggish start, with both teams scoring under 20 points in the first quarter before finishing with an 89-83 Austin win.
Williams was a bit more efficient in this one, shooting 12-24 and finishing with 30 points as well as seven rebounds. He also had only two turnovers in 45 minutes of playing time. Jones cleaned up on the glass, with 17 rebounds to go with his nine points and three blocks.
Other notable performers of the week include starting PF Eric Dawson, who struggled in the first Albuquerque game but came back with 26 points on 11-15 shooting , 12 rebounds and two blocks in the rematch and 10 points on 5-7 shooting, 10 rebounds and three blocks in the Tulsa game. Ryan Bright saw his minutes increase in Mensah-Bonsu's absence, averaging a little under 13 and a half minutes a game last week, and he shot 4-5 in the first Albuquerque game and 3-4 in the Tulsa game. Backup center Nate Brown struggled in the first and last games of the week, but in the second Albuquerque game had 20 points on 6-8 shooting, including 2-4 on three pointers.
You Don't Have to Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here
Saturday's game marked the beginning of what is essentially a month-long road trip for the Toros, as nine of their ten March games are outside Austin. During that stretch they'll face the entire Southwest division as well as every Central team except for Iowa.