Thursday, September 22, 2011

Justin Harper Against Frankfurt

Over the weekend I posted (on my Tumblr) about Justin Harper's 14-point performance on just 4-of-13 shooting against SLUC Nancy that occurred September 21st. Strasbourg lost that game, and since then have lost their 2-match exhibition series with Deutsche Bank Skyliners who are from Frankfurt, Germany. However, Justin is starting to improve which is a very good sign as SIG approach the regular season.

The first Strasbourg-Frankfurt contest was won by the Skyliners 81-69. Harper only played 16 minutes, but had another rough shooting night. We finally know his jersey number though, it's #5. 9 points, 4-for-12 shooting, won't get it done if the Richmond Spider is aspiring to start. I do like that he's not that dependent on his 3-point shot. When the stroke isn't looking so good, Harper tries to produce closer to the rim. Probably the best stat from the 6'9" forward is his 7 rebounds, including his 4 offensive boards.

Keep in mind, Frankfurt is a very good squad. They have two German international players in Johannes Herber, and Tim Ohlbrecht. Note to Milwaukee Bucks fans, your #40 Draft pick Jon Leuer is performing pretty nicely. A 14-point performance the first meeting with SIG, and a 14-point, 11-rebound showing yesterday. He's shooting in the 45% range though which isn't too bad for the Wisconsin product.

The rematch with Frankfurt came on Wednesday, and it was Vincent Collet's first time on Strasbourg's bench this summer after he won France the silver medal in Lithuania at the just concluded EuroBasket 2011 tournament. Collet has stated that he wants the image of this SIG side to change. Well, Justin definitely proved he's there to make that franchise respectable.

Forget that Frankfurt won again 83-73, Magic fans should really only focus on Justin's output. Although, SIG was actually winning at one point in the 3rd quarter thanks to a 9-0 run. Harper played 37 minutes, put up 25 points on just 9-of-14 shooting. The 5-of-7 from 3-point range is what truly stands out. He also added 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and a steal to round out quite an outing. Friendly or not, that's spectacular and will definitely keep the optimism alive for a solid season.

Nice medal, coach. As I stated in my initial Justin Harper piece, Strasbourg has been almost irrelevant in the French Pro A league for more than a few years now. Collet's crew will now play some tightly scheduled friendlies beginning this upcoming Friday the 23rd against Ratiopharm Ulm. Then there's Sunday September 25th versus VOO Verviers-Pepinster, and Monday September 26th against Tubingen before SIG gets some much needed rest. 3 matches in 4 days is a great fitness test.

In closing, I'd like to make a correction. SIG's first Pro A match is actually October 8th, at home against Cholet as proven by a number of websites including the team's official website. October 15th will be the second league match against SLUC Nancy.

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