It seems like December just began, but the Flames already have two games under their belt. Each game has been manageable competition for the team to say the least. The games against Maryland Eastern Shore and VU of Lynchburg serve as “rep games,” giving the guys a chance to continue to maintain flow and rhythm. 

There is not a significant amount of coverage to provide from weeks like these, but we can still analyze the team in some aspects. The Flames are staring at three competitive games ahead (Oral Roberts, Bryant, and Grambling State), so it is time for them to get their rhythm and reach conference-ready form. Before we know it, we will be tuning in for the first conference game of the year for the Flames against Bellarmine. 

The last two weeks have been much more positive for the Flames. Here are three reasons why:

  1. Colin Porter is as good as advertised. Porter continues to develop and expand his abilities in real-time games. He came to the Flames as a heavily pass-first point guard, which is not a negative. However, when your possession minded point guard starts to expand and keep teams honest from three, this opens up the offense to a new dimension. He is starting to demonstrate confidence from deep, looking for his shot at opportune times. Everyone knew he would be a great addition to ball-handling on offense, then he showed his defensive prowess in his first couple games. Now, he has brought in the third dimension as he starts to hit shots. I am excited as he continues to broaden his attack. I think he will develop into filling the same role that Will Pruitt fills for Lipscomb as an all-around threat at the point guard. 
  2. Joseph Venzant is a premier rebounder. I’m not sure fans understand how much of a feat JV is accomplishing right now. He is a 6’3” slashing, defending guard and he is currently leading the Flames in rebounds. Joseph said it was a point to emphasize his team-minded defense this season, and his rebounding has continued to add to that focus on the team. We have never doubted his motor, but he continues to affirm he simply wants it more than maybe anyone else on the floor. He’s continued to bring energy in the scoring column as he attacks the basket and completes high flying dunks. JV continues to be a fan favorite. 
  3. Darius’ options are expanding. As the rest of the team continues to come along, Darius is getting more space and options on offense. While the Flames have been playing lesser challenging opponents, Darius is getting much better looks as Porter, Venzant, and Rode start to steadily contribute. The rest of the offense is slowly but surely coming alive. This will bode well for fans as we get to see more of Darius capabilities at a highly efficient rate. 

December has been a pleasant experience so far for Flames fans. Let’s hope the guys continue to play with confidence and consistently define their identity as a team. You can catch them on Monday night at 8PM EST as they take on Oral Roberts.