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Teddy Allen Shines Once More, Sea Bears Lose Opener To Rattlers

The 2024 season got underway for the Winnipeg Sea Bears in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Wednesday night with quite the hitch. A very slow start saw Winnipeg down early, and got themselves into a hole they never really dug out of. Despite the heroic efforts of Teddy Allen, who once again showed why he was MVP a year ago, the Sea Bears sputtered on both ends of the floor. Never being able to string stops and scores together, only ever doing one or the other. While it was a frustrating first game, there were still some positives to take from it. With that being said, let’s go over the three keys from this game, then we will dive into individual player performances!

Leaky Defence

Coach Mike Taylor’s emphasized in the offseason that he wanted his team to be better defensively, and he tried to bring in the players accordingly. Well, in the first half of this game, that certainly did not look like the case. The Sea Bears were once again getting beat in transition, the pick and pop game, and even shooting the three ball. They looked sluggish, a little slow on rotations, and it just seemed like communication was lacking at times. While that last part should come with time, it was really rough to watch. The most important thing I want to point out is this: last summer when coach Taylor was signed by Winnipeg that his pick and roll/pop defence might be an issue. It was at times in 2023, but not very prevalent. In the game against Saskatchewan, I’m sure if the Rattlers had wanted to, they could have kept running pick and pop while getting any looks they wanted off of it. Too many open threes for the roll man, and if the guard didn’t give it up, he had time and space to do what he wanted. But that’s what comes with not switching on screens and rather hedging hard, trying to get back and give time for the defensive guard to get around the screen. With a lot of the teams in the CEBL having shooting bigs, it could really hurt Winnipeg this summer. We will see if coach Taylor makes some adjustments.

Shot Selection

This was also a topic of 2023, with select players last year not taking the best shots on many possessions. That felt like the case Wednesday night as well, with some of the new acquisitions not always making the right play and forcing up shots when they didn’t need to. It made it hard for the offence to get into a flow and allow everyone else on the floor to get going. We all know that Teddy Allen is going to get his shots up, but when he puts up 40 points, you can live with a couple duds. As for others, you need to make sure that your shots count when you put them up. With a team as high of IQ, I expect more from them this year. Hopefully they can correct it on Friday at home.

Target Time A Success?

I don’t want to make all three of these keys to be negative, so let’s talk about one of the positives. Besides Allen going nuclear and almost single handedly winning the game for the Sea Bears, I thought Target Time was managed decently well by the newcomers. For the most part they didn’t panic, they made smart decisions and ultimately it helped them get back into the game. When the clock turned off, I think it was their best stretch of the game. Just unfortunate that they were already too far behind to make a full comeback. Solid foundation to build on, with the chance they can use that as a spring board.

With my three keys out of the way, let’s hop into the individual player performances on the night.

Teddy Allen

Welcome back MVP. 40 point double double for Allen in a game he dominated from start to finish. While he did have six turnovers, they were mainly on players where he was trying to create. With him being the only creator of offence on Wednesday, I can live with that. Good to see he’s picking up right where he left off in 2023. Also the first time he’s put up 40+ in a loss.

Darius Days

Let’s talk about one of the newcomers here. Days had an up and down performance in his Sea Bears debut. He finished well in the paint, a couple of them through contact, but launched a couple of threes which put him at 2-8 on the night from behind the arc. His shot selection at times was a little iffy and it seemed to frustrate Allen a little bit. If he can reign in the shots a little and get a couple more stops, I think he’ll be just fine.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson

Not the prettiest of debuts for Jackson with the eyes, but the box score tells a little bit of a different story. 12 points and seven assists is a solid outing for the point guard. He seemed quite shaken to begin the game, but ultimately grew into it as it went on. Thought Target Time was the best chunk of time on the night for him. 4-11 isn’t pretty, but a lot of that was early on in the game. He’s a true professional and should bounce back from this. Would be great to see him have a night on home floor for the first time.

Byron Mullens

Bit of mixed feelings for Mullens debut. He didn’t get the touches I thought he would, and didn’t really make the most of the ones he did get. He did hit a three, which is a very welcoming sign. The best bright spot for his game on the night was his defence in the paint. He was a little shaky on the perimeter, but Mullens’ rim protection was really good. Four blocks and two of them saved big buckets. I do hope that coach Taylor can find a way to incorporate him into the offence more. I really liked when he had the chance to showcase his passing ability, an underrated part of his game.

Alex Campbell

It was a rough debut for Campbell, who is still six points away from hitting 1000 in his CEBL career. A couple early fouls really took him out of the game and made it harder for him to play defence. He still gets some stops later on, got a couple rebounds and assists, but never really looked comfortable. Hopefully he can bounce back on Friday night and shut down the guards for Scarborough.

Simon Hildebrandt

While it wasn’t the perfect return for Hildebrandt, I thought that he had a good game. He looked even more like he belonged and impacted the game in a positive way. His one three on the night was an important one that helped Winnipeg get back on track and force a timeout out of the Rattlers. Thought besides Chad Posthumus that he had the most impact off the bench.

Mason Bourcier

Safe from the fourth quarter and Target Time, I felt like Bourcier didn’t have too much of an impact on the game. I’m hoping he gets some more usage because I thought he fit in quite well with the rest of the team and really helped change the pace for the better. Hopefully Bourcier gets more touches and little bit more run than Wednesday.

Shane Osayande

While he didn’t have a huge impact on the game, I though Osayande had a good game. He was even keel, played good defence and didn’t make mistakes. Liked how he was used sparingly to leverage his play.

Chad Posthumus

Posthumus played the least amount of time out of all the bench players for the Sea Bears and I think he had the most impact. He drew the defence into the paint, played with energy, rebounded and even scored on his first touch. Hoping he gets a little more time on Friday because I think he’ll make an impact again.

Daren Watts

The final player to talk about got the chance to make him professional debut. Watts was surprisingly one of the first players off the bench for coach Taylor after having a good camp for Winnipeg. While his performance was a little disappointing, this was still valuable experience for him. He looked a little out of his element and got beat multiple times for easy buckets on defence. He may get another chance on Friday with Tyler Sagl still injured and David Muenkat still in Germany. I do hope if he gets another opportunity that he seizes it.

A disappointing opener is followed by a quick turn around as Friday night is the Sea Bears first home game of the summer. They’re going to need to quickly forget about Wednesday’s loss and be ready for a battle with the reigning champions, the Scarborough Shooting Stars. Tip-off is set for 7:30 and is available on TSN, TSN+ and CEBL+. If you have a ticket for this sellout game, enjoy! Should be a good one.

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