Cal State Bakersfield’s basketball teams kicked off their 2017-18 seasons with the annual Blue-Gold Scrimmage Thursday night.
Men’s freshman Jarkel Joiner from Mississippi provided most of the highlights, including two alley-oop dunks in the scrimmage. Joiner won the dunk contest on a two-handed windmill off a bounced toss to himself.
Here are three takeaways from the night:
Jarkel Joiner will be fun to watch
Joiner was known for his scoring ability in high school but it was his athleticism on full display Thursday. He opened the scrimmage on the finishing end of an alley-oop pass from Brent Wrapp and connected on an even more impressive one-handed alley-oop later on. He pulled off a 360-degree dunk before taking home the slam dunk contest title.
“Last year when we signed him I told people he’s one of those guys that people are going to start coming to our games because of him,” men’s head coach Rod Barnes said. “I think tonight was just a little taste of it.”
Rickey Holden can score it
Barnes has noted Holden’s consistency, passing and defensive ability in preseason interviews. The transfer point guard from Jones County Community College can shoot it, too. Holden flashed his deep shot with 3 3-pointers, including a game-tying triple from well behind the line late in the scrimmage.
Holden is only 5-foot-10 but has an innate scoring ability, coaches said. He’s been hesitant to shoot as much during scrimmages in practice, redshirt junior guard Damiyne Durham said, and needs to unleash his scoring ability more.
Vanessa Austin will be a force down low
Over on the women’s side, freshman Vanessa Austin from Utah put up six points and grabbed several rebounds. She’s 6-foot-3 and a big asset on the low post. Austin used her strength to power through defenders for layups. She didn’t appear too confident in her midrange game, passing up shots from around the foul line. When teammates shouted for her to shoot it, Austin swished a shot inside the free throw line.
Head coach Greg McCall said Austin has been “tearing things up” in practice prior to the season.
Jon Mettus can be reached at 661-395-7389. Follow him on Twitter at @jmettus.