Saturday, January 5, 2008

Rutgers vs. Georgetown

Hamady N’ Diaye- Hamady had an impressive showing against Roy Hibbert because he was able to attack the hoop and defend Georgetown’s primary weapon. His length bothered Hibbert and caused him to receive four fouls with five minutes left in the second half. With that said, his offensive game is severely limited at this point. He is only able to score on easy dunks or layups. However, he has shown a nice touch from the field and this is a sign of an improving midrange game.

Mike Coburn- Coburn was Rutgers’s most steady weapon who was able to penetrate in the lane and score consistently. This freshman showed some nice flashes and proved that he can compete against the most difficult opposition in the Big East. Coburn is extremely quick and athletic. He is able to drive past virtually any defender at this level. If he can learn to finish on the vast majority of the times he attacks the basket, Coburn could become a star for Rutgers. Not only can he score, but he also has nice court vision for a player at his age. On the defensive end, he kept Wallace in check throughout much of the second half.

Roy Hibbert- Hibbert looked a bit sluggish in this contest. He did not possess the same fluidity that he has displayed in some contests last year. He did have some difficulty with the length and physicality of N’Diaye. But, all in all, he displayed some nice post moves such as his improved hook shot, which is virtually unstoppable at the college level. Also, he demonstrated an excellent passing ability- finding his teammates cutting to the basket. On the defensive end, Hibbert contained his man and challenged Rutgers’s guards who were cutting to the basket.

Austin Freeman- Freeman has loads of potential for this Georgetown squad. His three point shooting ability helped his team maintain a sizable lead over Rutgers. He was extremely accurate from beyond the arc and was able to attack the basket as well. Freeman thrived off of basket cuts. Hibbert threw him the ball and he was able to cut to the rim and score. On the defensive end, Freeman stayed in front of his man and contested virtually every shot. He is a bit undersized for an NBA shooting guard at 6’4, but he may be able to make the adjustment to the next level if he continues his steady improvement.

Jonathan Wallace- Wallace was, as usual, a consistent weapon. He made several open perimeter shots off of screens in the first half. He dished to his teammates and found openings to get to the hoop. Wallace’s accuracy from long range is deadly. Despite his nice shooting in the first half, his assertiveness failed to carry over in the second. This is because he is the ultimate system player, who lets his offense come to him.

Patrick Ewing Jr.- Ewing Jr. played a very limited role coming off the bench in this game. However, he made some three point shots and proved that he is versatile- capable of playing inside or on the perimeter. On the defensive end, Ewing Jr. blocked a few shots and collapsed on Rutgers penetration. All in all, he had an impressive showing in his few minutes of action.
Xavier vs. Virginia

Stanley Burrell- He is a capable player from all ends of the floor. He is one of the top perimeter defenders in the country who can lock down virtually any player- including, in this game, Sean Singletary. He gave Sean some serious problems and ultimately shut down the Virginia offense. Although UVA simply could not shoot from the offensive end, Burrell contributions were noted because he never allowed them to get into any rhythm. On the offensive end, Burrell demonstrated his three point shooting ability by knocking down several shots. His passing ability has also developed over his four years. Initially, he was primarily a scorer who looked for his shot. But, he has developed into a second point guard for his Xavier squad- dishing to his teammates for dunks or easy layups. Because of this newfound pass-first mentality, Burrell has the potential to become a backup point guard in the NBA.

Andrew Lavender- Lavender is the heart and soul of his Xavier team. Although the entire team is selfless, Lavender is the epitome of this team spirit. He has become a pass first type of player that only looks for his offense when he is open or has exercised every other possible option. He is one of the best decision makers in the college game and utilizes this strength to help his team thrive. In this contest, this aspect of his game was particularly evident. He kicked the ball out to his teammates for open three point shots and was one of the reasons why Xavier shot such a high percentage from beyond the arc. Lavender is one of the quickest ball handlers in the game as well. He is able to drive past his defender and either score or pass to a teammate for an open shot. Despite his basketball ability, he may have some trouble playing at a higher level of basketball because of his lack of size (5’6). This is evident in his defensive ability, where, regardless of his quick hands, he has trouble guarding bigger players. Oftentimes, the opposition can shoot over the top of him. And, he does not possess the same athleticism of other historical small NBA guards such as Mugsy Bogues or Earl Boykins. Thereby, Lavender will probably have a successful career overseas.

Jason Love- Love has shown tremendous improvement over the course of the season. With Josh Duncan’s injury, Love received more game time experience and capitalized off of this experience by become a viable weapon. Love is the only true post player that Xavier has and his improvement has really added to the Xavier attack. He is able to employ a jump hook and oftentimes is on the finishing end of passes inside. Love’s post moves have shown marketed improvement over the course of the season. He is now able to maneuver around his defender and score inside. Also, he is capable of grabbing offensive rebounds by banging inside. Love could receive some looks as his inside game progresses later in his career.

Dante Jackson- Jackson was one of the most surprising options in this contest. He made several open three point shots and proved to be a capable ball handler. Jackson has an excellent stroke off the bench and should be a serious weapon in the next coming years. On the defensive end, Jackson is long enough to contain opposing teams and has the potential to be a stopper down the road.

Charles Bronson- Another surprising weapon displayed his post presence in garbage time. With a considerable lead, Xavier played reserves like Bronson. Yet, Charles showed an uncanny ability to muscle his way inside. Although he did not play in the critical periods of play, he was able to employ some nice turnaround moves and score close to the basket. He should receive some more playing time a year from now.

Sean Singletary- Sean was the only bright spot in the UVA offense. Despite tough team defense by Xavier, Singletary was able to penetrate virtually at will early in the game. He often drove and kicked it out to his teammates for open looks. However, Xavier was able to rotate and contest these nearly open shots. Therein, these complimentary players failed to capitalize off of Singletary’s slashing ability. Singletary was a bit cold from the perimeter, but he still made some key drives to the basket. On the defensive end, Singletary matched Lavender’s quickness and stopped his penetration towards the hole. All in all, this was not an impressive contest for Singletary, who was the only real threat for UVA. Xavier was able to concentrate on Sean and force him out to the perimeter.
Kansas vs. Boston College

Boston College
Tyrelle Blair
- Blair has developed into a serious threat on the defensive end. He blocked shots in this contest and really contested Kansas’s attacking offense. He has a nice midrange arsenal and is capable of scoring inside against anyone in the country due to his knack for post positioning. With an improved mid range game, Blair has become a serious threat from the offensive end. He should receive some looks from scouts at the end of the season despite being undersized for a big man.

Rakim Sanders- This freshman had an impressive showing in this game. He never really forced his shot throughout the game. But, he was able to nail open three point shots and attack the basket relentlessly. His body is extremely developed for a freshman and allows him to create space against virtually any defender. Sanders’s natural athleticism allows him to get off the floor quickly and dribble around players for the finish. In this contest specifically, Sanders was the most steady weapon from the perimeter and most athletic attacking the hoop. On defense, Sanders is able to contain offensive weapons due to his strong upper body and nice size for a perimeter player. Sanders will have a nice future in this BC system and should develop into a serious prospect.

Tyrese Rice- Rice looked good early in this contest, shooting a high percentage from the floor and strongly attacking the basket. Despite his world class quickness, he was unable to stay in front of his man on defense and picked up four fouls early in the second half. He still needs to improve this element of his game. On the offensive end, Rice was able to shoot from the outside, but made poor decisions in the second half, earning him a spot on the bench. He attacked the basket relentlessly, but was bothered by the longer Chalmers.

John Oates- Oates has been a surprise for his BC squad. Although early in the season he looked hesitant on the offensive end, Oates was hampered by a stress fracture. Yet, he picked up his offensive production in this contest. His offensive game is reminiscent of a Kevin Pittsnogle type of player. He thrives with the flex cut, yet is able to step out and hit his long range shot in rhythm. His defensive game is still coming along, but he has not been a total liability.

Darnell Jackson
- Jackson has improved tremendously over his four years in college. He now employs his muscular upper body to create space when attacking in the lane. Jackson has excellent athleticism and is able to get up for an alley oop. He also has bought into the Kansas team defense and is beginning to block shots. Jackson, though a bit undersized, is able to run the floor with the best of the Kansas offense. Of late, he has become a serious threat, leading his team in scoring. He can be a bull in a China shop, attacking the defender directly. Or, Jackson can use his developed post moves to maneuver around the opposition- which is noteworthy for a player at his size.

Sasha Kaun- Kaun has improved his free throw shooting recently, but has never really sustained a consistent stroke from the line. Kaun has the length and post moves to be a successful player at the next level. His numbers have not been all that impressive this year, but he is able to block shots and draw charges. Kaun is fundamentally sound, able to employ virtually any post move- ranging from the jump hook to the drop step. Overall, his post offense is a complete arsenal. His size at 6’11 should help him make an NBA roster. On the defensive end, besides blocking shots, Kaun is able to pressure his offensive man in the post and hold his ground.

Rodrick Stewart- Stewart has not received as much playing time since the return of Brandon Rush. However, Stewart has performed well in the rather limited minutes he has received. Stewart is extremely unselfish and has bought into Bill Self’s philosophy. He has made some impressive alley oops to his teammates and is able to score in his own right. Besides his selfless nature on the offensive end, Stewart is still an impressive shooter from the perimeter. He can slash to the basket as well and has become a considerable offensive threat. On the defensive end, he is not as impressive as some of his teammates. Still, he works hard to get in front of screens and fits into the Kansas defensive scheme.

Mario Chalmers- Chalmers is one of the best defensive players in the country. His length bothers virtually every player at this level of the game. He has extremely quick feet to compliment his physical gifts. Chalmers is capable of playing the point guard position at the next level because he has excellent court vision on the offensive end and considerable size. He has a steady ball handling ability and is able to attack the basket.

Cole Aldrich- This freshman demonstrated why he is an intriguing prospect. This 7 footer is a defensive presence, who blocks shots virtually at will. He sticks with his man and is able to alter the opponents’ shots. On the offensive end, his scoring is virtually nonexistent at this point. But, he has plenty of time to become a threat at this end.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Here is the personnel coverage of the Middle Tennessee St./Western Kentucky contest:
Middle Tennessee St. vs. Western Kentucky

Middle Tennessee St.
Desmond Yates- Yates was the key prospect in focus and he failed to disappoint. As of the previous insight a year ago, Yates has developed offensively, yet still has considerable holes to fill before he can become a serious NBA prospect. The toughest aspect to evaluate in this contest has to do with his possible conversion to the NBA small forward slot. In the Middle Tennessee St. defensive scheme, Yates is utilized as a power forward, defending the post play of WKU’s Jeremy Evans. However, this post defense offers no considerable indication of how he would fair against quicker small forwards. Yates’s man to man defense inside was nothing to speak highly of- with that said, he was undersized compared to some of his bigger WKU counterparts. Still, Yates was able to assist his teammates in guarding Courtney Lee. One spectacular rejection off the weak side comes to mind. Still, this element of his game is somewhat of a mystery at this point. On the offensive end, Yates was never given enough opportunities to shoot from the perimeter, although he has a good looking stroke. (known from his form on the free throw line and from the outside shooting in the previous contest) Still, interestingly enough, he failed to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. This could be because of his new role on this squad. This facet of the game is essential for the conversion to the NBA small forward slot. Yates’s ball handling remains in question. He seemed hesitant to put the ball on the floor. Regardless, there are some favorable aspects which could point to an easier transition at the next level. Yates displayed an improved face up game- hitting mid range shots with considerable proficiency. He also attacked his defender in the post, which could point to an ability to take his man off the dribble. Yates also has a knack for finding holes in the defense and plays with considerable poise. Down the stretch, he proved to be the unquestionable leader of his squad. If Yates can demonstrate a newfound face up game comparable to that of Courtney Lee, he could have a future in the NBA.

Demetrius Green- Although he was pictured as the centerpiece of this squad, Green did not live up to the hype. His offensive decision making was haphazard: he was unable to finish on his penetration in the lane and he turned the ball over on countless instances. Green made occasional shots from the perimeter, but was unable to put forth consistent production at pivotal points in the game. While this contest was not a favorable showing for Green, his ball handling was rather impressive and he displayed a quick first step. If he can hone his basketball IQ, he should receive looks from scouts a year from now. But, as of now, he does not stay in front of his man on defense, and is unable to impact the game on both ends of the floor.

Kevin Kanaskie- Kanaskie was a bright spot on the offensive end for Middle Tennessee St. His unselfish play really helped develop team chemistry and keep this team within striking distance of WKU. Kanaskie made the occasional three point shot and was able to score from the mid range. For the most part, his decision making was excellent- playing selfless basketball by dishing to Yates and Hudson for easy layups. But, he occasionally threw up quick perimeter shots which missed. Overall, Kevin does not have the superior quickness to blow past defenders at the next level, but he could retain a role in the CBA or other minor league basketball association. His defensive presence was limited and he was unable to stop WKU penetration.

Nigel Johnson- Although Johnson disappeared late in the game, he was the sole offensive weapon early in the contest. Johnson was a capable decision maker who was able to slash past his defender. Moreover, he displayed a nice perimeter show which kept the Western Kentucky defense honest. On the defensive end, Johnson is a bit undersized, but has quick enough hands to compensate for his small stature.

Western Kentucky
Tyrone Brazelton
- Brazelton is the most improved player in the Sun Belt conference. He is one of the quickest guards in the NCAA, and is beginning to look more and more like Antonio Burks- my previous comparison. While he did produce on the offensive end a year ago, Brazelton was often out of control: charging and turning the ball over on numerous occasions. Currently, Tyrone has come into his own. He seems to have more control over his blazing quickness. He attacked the basket in this contest and then pulled up for an impressive midrange jumper. Brazelton has added this jump shot to his arsenal and is now a more complete player. Also, he made some excellent passes- making his teammates better whenever he can and proving to be the consummate point guard. On the defensive end of the floor, Brazelton pressured his opponents and came up with a few steals. His quickness bewildered Middle Tennessee St. and wreaked havoc on their weak man to man sets. Brazelton is also an excellent long range shooter who is able to dominate his opposition from the outside. His deadly shot is probably the most consistent weapon in the Western Kentucky offense. While Brazelton is a bit undersized, he should be given an opportunity to prove his talent in an NBA draft camp.

Courtney Lee- This contest was another unimpressive showing for this NBA prospect who happens to be the Sun Belt’s top player. Despite his impressive numbers coming in, Lee exited the game early due to foul trouble. While he was in this contest, he attacked the basket relentlessly, opening up the perimeter for his teammates. Lee has world class athleticism and can virtually get past any defender at the college level. On the defensive end, Lee shut down his opponents and blocked several shots. Lee is a complete player on both ends of the floor. He also is able to draw his defender with realistic shot fakes. Still, he is a bit hesitant from the three point line unless he is wide open. His long range shot is a bit shaky when defenders step out and contest his shot. Lee should be a late first round to early second round prospect because of his world class athleticism and complete all around game.

Orlando Mendes-Valdez- Valdez was the most pleasant surprise for this Western Kentucky squad. He occasionally drove to the basket and often made some tough shots. Valdez hustled to loose balls and did everything that did not show up on the score sheet. His defense was relentless and stifled several Middle Tennessee players. He was able to steal the ball and break away for open layups. Orlando should receive some looks overseas after he graduates.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Here is the personnel coverage of the Virginia Tech/Richmond contest:
Virginia Tech vs. Richmond

Virginia Tech
Deron Washington- Washington is an NBA prospect who has the improved considerably over his extensive four year career. Washington’s free throw shooting has improved and he is now capable of making the transition to NBA small forward. He now takes his defender off the dribble. He is one of the top athletes in college basketball. Deron can handle the ball and possesses the hops to jump over smaller guards. He has added long range shooting to his extensive arsenal and now is capable of beating his defender off the dribble or pulling up and nailing the jumper. On the defensive end, Washington has quick hands and a motor to take the ball coast to coast off of steals. He possesses the long arms and athleticism to block virtually any shot; thereby, his help defense is excellent. Washington is one of the most complete forwards in the country who has a shot at the first round in this year’s NBA draft.

Jeff Allen- This freshman has tremendous potential inside. While he is a bit undersized, he has considerable bulk up front and utilizes this to power over his defender. Allen is able to run the floor despite his massive exterior. His ball handling is ability is surprising for a forward who predominantly resides inside. On the block, Allen possesses a vast array of post moves in which he utilizes all conceivable angles to get a shot off. Allen has quick hands and is able to steal the basketball. He defends far taller players on the block and is fairly successful. Jeff appears to be in somewhat of a Charles Barkley- mold. Allen was- far and away- the most impressive freshman on the court. He could make a transition to a forward spot because of his ball handling. As with most freshmen, his decision making is not on par with some of the more experienced players in this contest though.

David Gonzalvez- He is Richmond’s best offensive weapon who is capable on both ends of the floor. David is an excellent three point shooter that thrives in the Princeton style offense. He understands his offensive system and utilizes screens and backdoor cuts to score close to the basket. Still, he can create his own offense through dribble penetration and is able to shoot the three. If he improved his slashing ability and worked on his consistency, Gonzalvez would be nationally recognized. David is a clutch shooter who can work inside and out. On the other end of the floor, David has good hands and is a heady defender. But, he displays no unique ability on this end of the floor. He may want to utilize his foot speed and become a lock down defender.

Kevin Smith- He has not put up productive numbers throughout the season, but he really came into his own in this contest. Smith is a high caliber wing athlete who works hard inside. He is a capable rebounder who boxes out and employs considerable fundamentals to get past his defender. While Smith is still a freshman, he demonstrated noticeable poise in this contest. Whether he ran past his defender for an alley oop or snatched a rebound on the other end of the floor from Deron Washington, Smith had an impressive showing. In order to truly excel, however, Smith will need to add a midrange jumper and possibly a more consistent three point shot to his arsenal. Smith hustles on the defensive end of the floor and is able to scrap for the basketball.