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Thread: A Tribute To Jamal

  1. #1

    A Tribute To Jamal

    I also want to offer a tribute to Jamal. I have gained the utmost respect for him over the past four season.

    In terms of basketball alone, he has shown marked progress from his freshman to his senior year. As a freshman, he shot well from the outside and rebounded well, but his overall game was, to be kind, raw.

    He had trouble with his ball handling, and his passes were often a bit lazy and frequently somewhat off-target. He also had issues staying in front of his man, and even more pressing issues with respect to the nuances of team defense. You could see him thinking as opposed to simply playing. But it was also easy to see his potential, especially given his terrific athleticism.

    But then came his sophomore year, in which he seemed to regress in some respects, and his playing time actually went down. When something like that happens, the response is all too often to moan and complain. But we saw none of that with Jamal. On the bench it was obvious how intensely he was cheering for his teammates.

    It seemed to me - and to others as well based on comments on this and other boards - that Wojo had a double standard when it came to Jamal his sophomore year. It appeared that he got yanked right after every mistake and was not allowed to play through his errors. As the season progressed, it looked like he was playing on those proverbial "egg shells," hesitant, afraid to make a mistake because he would find himself back on the bench, all of which, of course, would lead to more mistakes.

    I fully expected Jamal to transfer after his sophomore year, especially with Brendan and Joey joining the program. But he didn't. He toughed it out. His junior year was better than his sophomore year, but he was still coming off the bench, and his minutes were still limited. Again, he could have pouted, but he didn't. Wojo often talked about his positive attitude and what a great teammate he was.

    Now, his senior year, Jamal has finally become a regular starter, and he has played well. His outside shot, unfortunately, has deserted him the last few games, but he's found other ways to help the team, especially on the glass.

    When I watch Jamal, I see a player who has improved tremendously his four years at MU. His ball handling has improved substantially each year, and he has become a solid passer. And he has added new moves to his offensive game: last year a two or three dribble drive and then a quick stop and pop from 10-15 feet and this year a counter-move a turn-around mid-range fall-away jumper. I wish every MU player would add to his offensive repertoire each year.

    His defense has also gotten much, much better. Sometimes he is matched up with the opponent's point guard, sometimes with a power forward. But he has become a reliable defender.

    While Theo has become one of my favorite MU players over the past 25 years, so has Jamal. I can not help but respect someone who stayed the course when so many others would have transferred. In other words, Jamal, too, is a Warrior.

    I would love to see Jamal return for a fifth year, but again, I don't anticipate that happening. But just like with Theo, I want to thank Jamal for four years of being a terrific representative of both the program and the school. I hope he finds a situation playing overseas the next several years in which he can wow fans with his superb leaping ability.

    And just as with Theo, I would love to see Jamal become one of the mainstays of future MU "Basketball Tournament" teams.

  2. #2
    I love Jamal as well, something about guys who stick it out through the tough times and are rewarded for their efforts strike a chord with me. Wish his 3-point shot hadn't deserted him the last week or two, but he still brings it with his rebounding. Hope he has a few more good games left in him and wish him nothing but success wherever he lands. Hope he is someone we see hanging around the program for years to come.

  3. #3
    I've always like Jamal. Seems to have a real knack for finding the ball on long rebounds, and has some crazy athletic ability. Very happy that he has earned big minutes and has had some big scoring games this year.

    He is the type of guy that will make some money in basketball, and like Juan Anderson, if he keeps improving over the next four years (outside shot / handles), you could hear of him again.

  4. #4
    Jamal in the corner for three!!! I hope he gets several of those in this last regular season game. He has earned everyone of them with the effort and perseverance he has put in over the last four years.

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