Sensley gets his game on
THIS was the game we'd all been waiting to see from Julian Sensley. And yes, it came against Idaho, and Idaho is now 0-8 in the Western Athletic Conference, and looked it.
And it was a night in which everyone was on -- Matt Lojeski was incredible, didn't miss a 3 until late into the night -- and everything went right and the game got out of hand and the Rainbows had heroes all over the court. And you could dismiss it if you want, a great night against a bad team, one of those nights when nothing goes wrong.
"It was a good game to be playing Idaho," Riley Wallace said. His counterpart, Leonard Perry, had the Vandals playing tough, but, "he's got to do some recruiting for this league."
"We were able to work on some stuff out there," Sensley would say.
"We were due for a game like this," Lojeski would say.
This was the kind of game it was.
True. But this was the Julian Sensley everyone had been clamoring to see. Tough. Take charge. Dominant. Willful. Merciless. Physical. Dominant. Did I already use that one? Let's say it again. Dominant.
This was the guy they say has NBA potential. This is the Sensley who was destined to be the homegrown celebrity, the guy who could take Hawaii to the land of Next Level cliches.
And he looked it, last night, dunking, dominating, having his way as he thundered through the lane. He played with exclamation points, last night.
That was it -- not the number of points he had (22), but the way he got them. For so long it seemed that Sensley, at 6-9 -- and what, 240 pounds? -- and oozing talent, playing in a mid-major conference, looked like he thought his game should be made up of fadeaway jumpers from 18 feet.
Not last night.
"I think the guy who was guarding me was like 6-3," he said.
"I just took what was there for me, really," he would say. "I had a slower guy on me. ..."
Again, true. But then, most guys are shorter than he is. Most guys are slower than he is.
Most times, there is stuff there for him to take.
"We ran the cuts for him, and called them, and he got the ball and did something with it," Wallace said.
His best stat of the night may have been that he took just three 3s (made one). His shot chart was dark with deuces at the rim.
Last night Sensley went to the hoop, and went hard. He was better than the competition, and knew it.
Last night he had as much muscle as grace.
"I called like five plays in a row, those back-cuts, the slips," Wallace said. Sensley would finish the night with seven dunks.
So here come all the talk-radio phone calls: Why can't he do this every time out?
1) Everything is different at home.
2) It's nice to play Idaho.
3) This stuff isn't as easy as it looks, you know.
4) You've really got something to prove once you've been left off Jason Kaneshiro's midseason All-WAC team.
And there he was, last night, seven dunks. Seven boards. He hustled, tipped balls, played tough, had five assists.
And the Rainbows are still in the hunt.
Chris Botez continues to bring toughness and spark. "He did a good job of seeing the floor," Sensley said. Hiram Thompson (before he got knocked out) and Dominic Waters continue to make you dream of days to come. "When I brought in the two freshman guards, I thought that turned it around," Wallace would say.
And Lojeski played like he couldn't miss.
So, OK, great night, bad opponent. Who knows? But here the 'Bows go now, a stretch run in which they can climb that league ladder, if they keep playing like this.
"We've got three more at home and people we can compete with on the road if we can wake up and play on the road like we do at home," Wallace said.
That includes the guy who just gave us the kind of game we've been dreaming about since he signed on the dotted line.