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.

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