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.

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