JJ Traynor does a little bit of everything
It is not often you say that the best player on the floor was a guy that only had 14 minutes of game action. But that is exactly what I am saying about JJ Traynor in this game.
He did not put up insane numbers or score a lot of points. He did not put up a huge highlight play in this game either. But, unlike many in this game, he was just solid from start to finish.
Traynor looked like he wanted to be out there competing on the defensive end and just being a smart, controlled presence on offense.
He had two big-time blocks down the stretch that vaulted the team to the victory. Traynor shot 2-for-2 with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks on the evening in those 14 minutes.
His on-ball defending was excellent and he closed out strong on every shot he was able to defend. On the last defensive possession of the first half, Pittsburgh had a chance to tie or take the lead going in to the half. But Traynor would not have it.
As Pittsburgh guard Femi Odukale pulled up from three, Traynor closed out with his hand straight in the face keeping his body away from the opposing player’s base to avoid a foul. This defense on the hot-hand forced a missed shot to keep the momentum hanging with Louisville.
It was plays like those that showed that Traynor was ready to step up to the challenge on a night where the team as a whole really struggled for the second game in a row.
He needs to get in the weight room and blossom in to the proper role as a player. But his basketball IQ is very high and he has a lot of tools that can be shaped over the course of the next few years.
Traynor playing this way for the Cardinals against big-time competition is very encouraging for his future.