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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Three noteworthy performances from newcomers in exhibition play

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Keion Bell (AP)

October can be a dangerous month for college basketball viewers.

On one hand, it provides a first glimpse at some of the transfers and freshmen who have been hyped for months but have yet to play a game wearing their new team's uniforms. On the other hand, exhibition games don't provide top-notch competition, so 20-point outbursts or double-digit rebounding tallies often turn out to be misleading.

With that caveat firmly established, there have been a few impressive performances from newcomers so far in exhibition play. Here are a few that seem particularly noteworthy:

MISSOURI TRANSFERS IMPRESS: With Marcus Denmon and Kim English having graduated, Michael Dixon suspended indefinitely and Jabari Brown not eligible until mid-December, Missouri needs to get production from newcomers Keion Bell and Earnest Ross at wing. The two transfers looked ready to do their part on Monday night, combining for 42 points on 16-of-25 shooting in a rout of Northwest Missouri. Ross showed off his 3-point shooting prowess by going 6 of 10 from behind the arc. And Bell got to the rim at will, including this highlight-worthy slam. Of course, Missouri coach Frank Haith wasn't 100 percent satisfied: Bell and Ross combined for seven of the Tigers' 25 turnovers.

GOOD START FOR OREGON'S POINT GUARDS: None of Oregon's three potential starting point guards did anything to hurt their chances in Monday's 102-75 win over Concordia University. Highly touted freshman Dominic Artis started and scored a game-high 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting, though his five turnovers were a few too many. Junior Johnathan Loyd showed off an improved ability to score, delivering 12 points and five assists in just 19 minutes. And former Duquesne signee Willie Moore displayed promise off the bench, adding 15 points and six steals in just 18 minutes. Considering Oregon's strength in the frontcourt, especially if Arsalan Kazemi becomes eligible, this performance from the guards is a good sign for the Ducks.

EXCELLENT DEBUT FOR JOEL JAMES: North Carolina could not have been thrilled to be tied with Shaw University six minutes into the second half on Friday night, but the Tar Heels probably came away encouraged by the play of freshman forward Joel James nonetheless. James thoroughly outplayed starting forward Desmond Hubert in just 17 minutes, scoring 13 points, grabbing seven rebounds and showing surprising touch around the rim. He also was on the floor for most of the second-half run that put the game away for the Tar Heels. It won't be long before the physically imposing 6-foot-10 James moves into the starting lineup alongside James Michael McAdoo if he can keep up that level of play against stiffer competition.

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