Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Scouring the Nation (Part 6)

In this edition of "Scouring the Nation", I examine two of the top scorers in Division III- lead guards Matt Addison of Hardin-Simmons and Seth Anderson of Gustavus Adolphus College.

When watching Hardin Simmons's diminutive point guard Matt Addison, it becomes clear that he makes his impact felt on both ends of the floor night in and night out. Not only can he score the ball from virtually anywhere, but he is also a pesky defender. With that said, he certainly has limitations on this end. Standing at a mere 5'8, Addison is not much of an NBA prospect. However, he is lightning quick with an excellent first step and second gear.

On the offensive end, it is clear that Addison is a handful and certainly one of the top players outside of Division I. He can create his shot from virtually anywhere on the floor, and is particularly dangerous from 3 point range. Towards the end of the second half in his contest with Gustavus Adolphus, Addison connected on two big three pointers that almost single handedly evened up the game. On the year, Addison has proven to be an excellent marksman from distance, dialing in on 45.2% of his almost seven attempts per game. His consistency on this end will most assuredly guarantee him a spot on some squad overseas.

Not only is Addison dangerous from beyond the arc, but he also has a pull-up jumper in his arsenal. He regularly connects on this shot when defenses overplay him from beyond the arc. And, while his size certainly limits his ability to finish at the rim, he plays with an attacking mentality and is willing to finish through contact when going to the basket. Even more surprising is Addison's unselfishness and willingness to defer to his teammates. In his contest with Gustavus Adolphus, he regularly swung the ball around the perimeter and was willing to get in the lane to create open shots for his teammates. He shot within the flow of the offense and did not force the action. Addison must improve his change-of-pace dribble to create separation against the better defenders that he will face in the pros.

On the defensive end, Addison was pesky, getting down in his stance and swiping at the ball on several occasions. In this regard, he is able to bother defenders with his quick hands and feet, often cutting off his man and forcing him to pass the ball. However, at the next level, his height differential will almost certainly factor in on the defensive end, as players will simply pull up and shoot over him.

Overall, though, Addison is one of the more controlled, impressive non-D1 prospects that I have come across. He seems to understand his limitations and is willing to play within his team's offensive and defensive schemes. Addison will likely fit in with whichever European squad gives him an opportunity.

From the opposite side of this contest, Gustavus Adolphus's Seth Anderson was also rather impressive. When Addison began to light it up from the perimeter, Anderson responded down the stretch and ultimately helped secure a victory for his team. At 6'2, Anderson's game starkly contrasts that of Addison's. While he is also an excellent shooter, he scores the vast majority of his points from inside the arc. In addition, Anderson does not possess the blazing quickness of Addison. Instead, he more frequently relies on his teammates to get him the ball.

In this contest with Hardin-Simmons, Anderson displayed both his greatest strengths and shortcomings. Early in the second half, he was unable to turn the corner against Hardin-Simmons' various defenders. When this happened, he smartly deferred to his teammates and helped run his team's offense. He would often move without the ball in order to get open or break free from his defender. And, this would usually work. He was able to get the ball moving towards the basket (off the curl) and attack in the lane. Anderson does an excellent job drawing contact and hoisting a shot up afterwards.

Not only is he dynamic at drawing fouls, but Anderson is also a knock down perimeter jump shooter. While he will likely have to extend his range at the next level, Anderson was able to hit some tough fadeaway shots to close out a GAC victory. Anderson has a nice shooting form and a very quick release.

In terms of his unselfishness, Anderson was more than willing to help pass the ball around the perimeter in order to shift the defense. However, his team's offensive sets rarely rely on much dribble penetration and focus more on high -low kickout plays. As such, Anderson is not really asked to create much for his teammates off the bounce. Instead, he functions as more of a system player, playing intelligent basketball and executing his team's offensive plays.

On the defensive end, Anderson played physically, but was unable to keep up with the quickness of Addison. As a result, he spent most of his time defending the opposing squad's shooting guard. Anderson does not possess ideal lateral quickness necessary to excel at a higher level of basketball. As such, he is going to have to compensate by hustling and getting into a deep stance on every play.

Overall, Anderson is also poised to have a solid career overseas. He has the basketball IQ and mid range shooting prowess to wreak havoc on a European roster somewhere. His game is very much suited for that style of play, and it is unlikely that he will receive many looks in the US as a result.

(Image Sources: and

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Pittsburgh vs. La Roche Player Review

In this contest, Pittsburgh was dominant throughout. However, some La Roche players stood out with their physical play. Ashton Gibbs really asserted himself as one of the nation's premier players.

La Roche

Michael Dixon- In this contest, Dixon proved to be his team's best offensive option early on. Unlike some of his teammates, Dixon was capable of creating his own offense. He attacked the basket relentlessly and, as a result, was able to find open teammates or score for himself. Dixon has an excellent first step and plays under control, never really forcing the action. He is a willing passer and averages 4.5 assists per game as a result. Moreover, Dixon is a solid athlete and as such, he is one of the better rebounders for his size. (at 6'1) In terms of his offensive tendencies, Dixon can hit contested shots and is most comfortable shooting off the bounce. He hit several difficult fadeaway shots in this contest and was more than able to hold his own against Pitt's guards. On the defensive end, Dixon struggled to chase Ashton Gibbs through screens.

Joel McIntosh- This 6'6 Newark product really challenged Pittsburgh in the paint. He was able to seal his man early on and draw fouls, forcing Dante Taylor out of the game in the first half. McIntosh is a physical, undersized forward who is an adept post option. He displays solid fundamentals on the block and uses his body well to draw fouls and finish through contact. Further, McIntosh is a decent rebounding option, but must work harder to weed out his man.

Andre Flanigan- While Flanigan did not have an impressive offensive performance, he appeared to be the team's best defender. Not only was he able to stop several Pitt drives, but he also guarded well on the perimeter. On the offensive end, Flanigan worked the ball around the perimeter, but struggled to penetrate in the lane against Pitt's aggressive defense. Flanigan must work on his outside shooting in order to keep defenses honest.


Ashton Gibbs- Ashton Gibbs is one of the most dynamic shooters in the country. He displayed an extremely smooth stroke in this contest, pulling up off of one bounce. Further, he was able to hustle to loose balls on the offensive end and score as a result. Gibbs can hit shots from anywhere on the floor and demonstrated that he can also attack the basket. What was most surprising, though, was that he was assertive on the defensive end, stealing the ball on several occasions. And, although he is not a true point guard by any stretch, Gibbs demonstrated that he can distribute the ball, leading his team in assists in the first half.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scouring the Nation (Part 5)

In this edition of "Scouring the Nation", I review prospects Da'Ron Sims and Teondre Williams.

West Georgia's Da'Ron Sims is one of the top professional prospects at the Division II level. While he is not a prototypical guard/forward at 6'6 210 lbs., Sims is capable of playing both on the perimeter and in the post. He is most effective with his back to the basket, as he is able to out-quick slower big men and is extremely crafty in the painted region. Sims employs excellent back-to-the basket and face-up post footwork, spinning and utilizing a variety of pump fake moves in the lane. In his contest against Clayton St., Sims scored at extremely difficult angles with very little room to operate. He was generally defended by bigger players, but this did not seem to slow him down.

Additionally, Sims thrives as a faceup player and is capable of attacking the basket off the dribble from as far out as the three point arc. While he is not extremely explosive, Sims does a nice job of reading defenses and determining when to attack and when to swing the ball around the perimeter. Further, Da'Ron Sims is difficult to contain on the glass, and does a good job of collecting rebounds for a player his size.

At the Division II level, Sims's game is somewhat reminiscent of Jae Crowder's. With that said, he must improve as a perimeter shooter in order to fulfill this comparison and to keep defenses honest. So far this season, he has connected on only 25% of his three point attempts. This area must be improved for him to make an impact at the professional level. Despite this weakness, Sims does have a decent mid range stroke, and he does an excellent job of picking his spots.

Because he does not have much of a defined position, defense may be a concern at the next level. He is too small to defend bigger post up players. However, in his contest against Clayton St., Sims did a decent job of moving his feet against Teondre Williams. He does possess good lateral quickness and this will allow him to transition to defending on the perimeter full-time. Sims rarely forces the issue on this end, preferring to play sound positional defense; therein, he is not foul prone.

Overall, Da'Ron Sims is a good professional prospect without a defined position. While he plays on the interior in college, it is likely that he will have to become more of a specialist at the next level, rebounding and scoring garbage baskets inside. If he can develop more of a perimeter stroke, he should enjoy some success at the next level.

On the other hand, Clayton St.'s 6'5 guard Teondre Williams has a defined position at the next level and the talent to be a success. In his contest against West Georgia, Williams willed his team to victory by scoring in a variety of ways. He caught fire late in the game and was difficult to stop. In terms of his actual skillset, Williams is most comfortable shooting off the dribble and can pull up from well beyond the three point line. He has good lift on his jump shot and is able to rise up above most players at the Division II level.

With that said, Williams's shot selection was questionable at times in his contest with West Georgia. He tended to hoist up some difficult shots and would rush his jumper when challenged. Still, he did a nice job of squaring his body, but must avoid speeding up his release when defenders successfully close out on him. Williams has been very effective so far this year from long range and is probably one of the most efficient from that distance in all of Division II, hitting 46.3% of his attempts. When he moves inside the arc, though, Williams is a bit less effective mostly because it is more likely that he will be contested from 2 point range. Against West Georgia, Williams did a good job of creating off the dribble and attacking baseline when defenders overplayed him. He has a decent handle and very good body control going to the hoop. His size and strength also allow him to finish strong through contact.

Defensively, Williams displayed average lateral quickness and was blown by on several occasions. As such, it is safe to say that this is not his greatest strength. Despite this, he was able to close out on most kick out passes and was not foul prone. He must display more effort on this end in order to receive playing time at the next level.

As the season progresses, it will be interesting to see how far Teondre Williams can lead his team. For now, though, it is clear that he has a defined position as a pro and that he will likely make an impact as a standout perimeter shooter.

(Image Sources: &

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Scouring the Nation (Part 4)

In this edition of Scouring the Nation, I review two Division III prospects in DJ Woodmore of Virginia Wesleyan and Lamonte Thomas of Johnson & Wales.

In his most recent performance, DJ Woodmore demonstrated what he currently brings to the table for one of the top Division III teams in the nation. After gaining attention as one of the best Division III freshmen in the nation last year, it is evident that Woodmore has improved substantially. First and foremost, he is a highly intelligent player that plays within his team's construct. He rarely forces the issue, and generally has a disciplined shot selection. His steady play on both ends of the floor have translated to wins early in the year.

While his team was unable to escape an upset in their first contest of the season, Woodmore's squad received the number 1 ranking in preseason polls and has performed well lately. Their margin of victory has grown considerably over the course of the past month, and this is due in large part to the play of DJ Woodmore. This prospect's greatest asset is his perimeter shooting ability. He has a solid stroke with good lift and a fairly quick release. With that said, his shooting form is not completely textbook, as his off hand rests pretty high on the ball; still though, it is very effective for him. Currently, Woodmore is connecting on 44.44% of his three point attempts and averaging 15.75 points per game.

Even though Woodmore is most effective off of the catch, he is capable of getting to the basket and drawing contact. He does bring the ball up the floor at times, but is obviously most effective off the ball. Because teams must respect his perimeter shooting ability, Woodmore is intelligent enough to read defenses and take the ball baseline if defenders are overplaying him. He has achieved some success in this regard lately, but must look to penetrate more often if he hopes to play at a higher level of basketball. Woodmore is also a decent rebounder for his size and is willing to hustle for loose balls. Therein, he possesses many intangibles on the offensive end that help his team.

Defensively, Woodmore is aggressive with decent (but not exceptional) lateral quickness. He works to stay in front of his man and will often cut off offensive players. With that said, it would be interesting to see him defend much bigger guards, as they would likely be able to shoot over the top of him. But, if he predominantly defends point guards, it is conceivable that they might beat him off the dribble.

All in all, Woodmore should likely attempt to earn spot minutes at the point guard slot. If he can learn to involve his teammates more often by attacking off the bounce, he will likely receive more looks from overseas scouts. As it stands now, he is one of the best non-D1 shooters, and has a lot of room for improvement over the next two and a half years. He's certainly someone to keep an eye on.

On the other hand, the more experienced Lamonte Thomas has already cemented himself as the best Division III professional prospect, and one of the top players outside of Division I.

As was previously noted in my previous review of Lamonte, ( Small School Review: Lamonte Thomas ) he possesses an exceptional handle and is very controlled with the ball in his hands. While he struggled a bit in his most recent contest, he demonstrated even greater leadership instincts than were previously noted last year. He readily found his teammates at every opportunity and was almost too unselfish at times. As is often the case with talented players at smaller schools, some of his teammates were unable to handle several pinpointed passes and ended up bobbling them out of bounds. But, this would likely not be the case at the next level. With that said, he did make some careless cross-court passes, which were picked off. Still, it is a promising sign that Thomas has deferred to his teammates, while still managing to score 31.63 points per game. Also, his value was demonstrated by the fact that his team really struggled when he went down with an injury, losing every contest in his absence. Now that he is back, it seems as though they will be competitive, despite the fact that they really could use some muscle inside.

Additionally, Lamonte has made a living at the line this year, connecting on 85.88% of his 85 attempts, while only playing in eight games thus far. He is aggressive getting to the basket, and utilizes his superior handle to really break down defenses. Thomas has a good floater in the lane, but must work on squaring his body when he attempts fadeaway jumpers. On several occasions in his most recent contest, he often overshot the ball left because he quickly pulled the trigger instead of waiting to turn his body properly. He may need to tweak his shooting form a bit at the next level, but he has been fairly effective employing this form thus far.

Further, Lamonte possesses exceptional vision and is a willing passer off the dribble. He involves his teammates and has confidence that they can make plays moving towards the basket as well. Additionally, his assist numbers are not all that indicative of his passing ability, as his team does not have a true interior player to feed the ball to. (The tallest player on his team is 6'6)

Defensively, he has some of the same question marks as the last time I reviewed him. He is somewhat aggressive on this end of the floor and has good quickness at the Division III level. However, he must get in a stance more often, despite the fact that he does play good position defense.

Lamonte Thomas is one of the best players outside of Division I and his accomplishments should not be overshadowed by the fact that he plays at a small school. While he does attempt a lot of shots per game, a good majority of these attempts either come in the flow of the Johnson and Wales offense or are completely necessary. When he plays alongside more talented guys at the professional level, it is likely that his skillset will be highlighted and he will not need to take as many attempts. The turnover concerns may be there early in his professional career, but once he adjusts to a faster pace, Thomas could be one of the biggest surprises next year.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Scouring the Nation (Part 3)

In this edition of "Scouring the Nation", I examine Benedict College big man Marcus Goode and his potential at the next level.

When noting the professional potential of Benedict big man Marcus Goode, the first thing that comes to mind is his high skill level for his size. Standing at 6'10 and weighing 295 lbs, Goode is a handful to contain in the paint. He displays some good face-up moves and can hit fadeaway shots in the paint if double teams come. However, when facing a single defender, he generally uses his girth to muscle his way inside. While- in his contest with USC Aiken- it was difficult to gauge Goode's level of post footwork, it is clear that he has strides to make in this facet of his game. He could stand to employ more drop step moves on the block. With that said, he is deceptively nimble when spinning in the post to get his shot off.

Additionally, Goode has excellent potential due to his ability to step out and hit long range shots. He displays good shooting form with solid lift, and has a soft touch for a player of his size. As such, it is clear that he will be able to stretch defenses at the next level, wherever that may be. Further, Goode is an exceptional passer for his size, able to make difficult high post feeds through traffic. Not only is he unselfish, but he displays excellent vision. Therein, if he is not able to play professionally in the United States, he has the basketball intellect to succeed overseas.

Goode has decent instincts on the glass, and employs his considerable girth to weed out players, particularly on the defensive boards. At the next level, he must become more aggressive boxing out and sealing his man in order to establish position. At this stage, he tends to not exert a great enough effort in this area due to his conditioning.

On the defensive end, Goode is certainly a work in progress. He is somewhat nimble moving his feet considering his size, but he must improve his conditioning in order to challenge on this end. As it currently stands, Goode struggles to stay in front of offensive players and will get beat down the floor by better conditioned athletes. Goode does not have the best 'help defense' instincts and tends to stick with one man. He will also likely never become an elite level shot blocker at the next level despite the fact that he ranked second in DII in this category last year.

All in all, Marcus Goode has tremendous potential and is a top 5 professional prospect outside of Division I. He has the height and skill level to succeed at the next level, but must drop about 40 to 50 pounds in order to play at the highest level possible. He does have another season of eligibility, and his progress this coming offseason will determine whether or not he will receive looks from the NBA and the highest levels of European basketball.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Small School Review: Chad Burridge

In this edition of my segment "Small School Review", I cover Oswego St.'s Chad Burridge.

Upon reviewing tape of Oswego St.'s Chad Burridge, it becomes clear that he is a very good athlete and that his game could translate overseas. On the offensive end, Burridge is difficult to contain because he has a good faceup game and can shoot the ball from anywhere on the floor. Burridge evinces solid form on his jump shot and gets a decent lift. While he did not connect on his attempts in this game, it was clear that he was rushing his shots. Not only was his form solid, but he also displayed a nice stroke at the line, where he connected on several attempts.

Moreover, Burridge does a solid job of creating contact off the dribble and drawing fouls. While he did not finish through contact in his contest with Potsdam University, he is a quick leaper and was fairly explosive. This should translate at the next level if he hopes to play as an undersized forward. With that said, he did not display much of a back-to-the-basket game, which is essential if he hopes to make a roster overseas. Due to his raw post game, Burridge may look to transition to the wing. If he does hope to become a wing player, he must stop rushing his perimeter shot- as this is the main reason why Burridge isn't shooting higher than 36.4% from behind the arc.

In terms of his intangibles, Burridge is willing to hustle to loose balls. He is also a decent passer for his size. And, even though he has the appropriate physical tools, Burridge does not have great box out fundamentals and thereby is not much of a rebounding threat.

On the defensive end, Oswego St. plays zone often so it is really difficult to gauge Burridge's potential. However, he did make some nice weakside blocks, pinning the ball on the glass. With that said, Burridge failed to close out on some perimeter shooters, but this was more likely due to a lack of consistent effort rather than an inability to contest shots. In terms of lateral movement, Burridge did not seem particularly quick, but he did utilize his length to compensate.

Overall, Burridge is a good athlete at the Division III level with a chance to compete at some professional level. He will be able to stretch defenses with his shot and his quick leaping ability will allow him to contest shots on the defensive end. Burridge has good potential coming out of Oswego St. and should be someone to keep an eye on if he can continue to refine his post game.