Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Addendum to Report - Darrell Miller

In my previous segment, "Scouring the Nation (Part 2)", I reviewed NAIA prospect Darrell Miller in some detail. And, while this report was a comprehensive review of his strengths and weaknesses, Fisk's contest against Lincoln University shed new light on Miller's capabilities.

First, it should be mentioned that Lincoln University does not have a typical lineup. Their tallest player is 6'6, and their star, Denzel Mooney- a player I will also review in this article- is forced to play on the block.

Playing against Mooney for several possessions, Miller displayed some of his strengths. He was able to get past Mooney in the lane due to his superior quickness at 6'8. Additionally, Miller hustled down the floor for every possession and beat most guards back, despite typically running a longer distance. He was able to draw contact and get to the line on several occasions, and he demonstrated some ability to finish through contact.

Despite these strengths, Miller did not look to post up frequently enough against his smaller opponents. With that said, this has a lot to do with the guards of Fisk playing out of control and not settling down for true halfcourt sets. The pace of the game was sloppy, with both teams trading turnovers. While a fast pace is ideal for a player like Miller, Fisk's backcourt does not look to get him involved enough offensively. Part of it has to do with Miller's inability to sustain position on the block at times. But, as I alluded to previously, Fisk's backcourt did not look for him even when he was open. Defensively, Miller did a good job of contesting without fouling, but he should step in to draw more charges due to his solid footspeed.

With regard to the opposition, Denzel Mooney stood out as Lincoln's best player due to his efficient offensive game. Because of their limited frontcourt, Lincoln generally plays Mooney on both the interior and on the perimeter. On several occasions, Mooney posted up in a AJ Moye-esque fashion. But, he also demonstrated his potential to play on the wing, knocking down several jumpers off the dribble and in the lane. Mooney has a good first step and was able to beat his man off of the dribble on several occasions. Further, he has a strong build at 6'4, and is a good enough slasher to bully his way into the paint at the D2 level.

Defensively, it is really difficult to make an assessment given how out-of-position Mooney is for his Lincoln squad. He fought valiantly against bigger opponents on the block and was forced to play in the paint when his Lincoln squad switched to zone. This masked Mooney's ability (or inability) to defend the perimeter, as he was rarely involved in enough closeouts to make a determination either way. What can be said, though, is that he will be undersized professionally at 6'4, but he may be able to compensate with physical play. On the glass, Mooney asserts his will and does a good job of fighting for position. He is a fundamentally sound rebounder for his size.

With that said, Mooney must amend his shooting form. His mechanics are very poor, evincing an obvious hitch in his shot. He also tends to move the ball from side to side and shoot from his chest. At higher levels of basketball, his slow release will be unacceptable, as he will likely get blocked on almost every possession if he keeps his current shooting form. Additionally, Mooney struggled taking the ball into traffic, as he forced the issue against multiple defenders on several instances. His decision making and basketball IQ must improve a bit in order to stand out at the next level. All in all, Mooney is a very good college player, but he will have to adjust his game in order to fit in with any professional basketball system. The style of play on any professional squad almost certainly will represent a departure from Lincoln University's system.

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