Friday, April 27, 2012

Examining the NABC (Part 1)

In this edition, I examine the prospects at the Division III NABC Classic, which featured some of the top D3 seniors in the nation.

Matt Addison, Hardin Simmons- I have covered Addison in the past, and there is very little to add here. He once again played extremely well in this competitive allstar game format. Addison was dynamic off the bounce, demonstrating his unique handles and solid passing ability. Addison stole the ball on several occasions and was able to turn that into a transition opportunity. He connected on several tough shots off the dribble and with a hand in his face. Addison plays a tough brand of basketball. On one particular play, he missed on a runner in the lane and was able to grab his own rebound and score. At 5'8, it is difficult to imagine him doing this very often at a high level of professional basketball. However, it is clear that Addison knows his role and is willing to pick his spots offensively. He is an excellent long range shooter, and is creative at beating his man off the dribble. His athleticism should enable him to compensate for his short stature and play at a very high level overseas.

Ralph Temgoua, St. Lawrence- Temgoua projects to be one of the better prospects at this event due to his combination of size (6'5) and athleticism at the wing position. On numerous occasions, he was able to beat several defenders down the floor due to his solid speed. He also was able to break down his man off the dribble, switching hands in order to finish inside. Moreover, he possesses decent basketball fundamentals, utilizing a pump fake to get his man in the air, before scoring easy lay ins. Temgoua is a decent three point shooter, and connected on one long range shot despite a bad pass (at his knees) from his teammate. Temgoua shot a decent percentage from distance at St. Lawrence, but must continue to improve on the consistency of his long range shooting. In this game, he either made his attempt or missed really badly. It could be that he struggles under pressure. As such, he must improve his overall shooting percentage and look to go to his strength of attacking the basket at the next level. Defensively, he was able to lock down his man due to his good lateral quickness and solid physical profile. Look for him to land a contract abroad if he can play under control and become a more efficient offensive option.

Conley Taylor, Christopher Newport- There was not much to glean from Taylor in this contest other than the fact that he has decent offensive tools. He was able to score ahead in transition on occasion, but failed to finish on some other attempts. While he did miss several tough runners in the lane, one has to imagine that he is capable of finishing this play with regularity given his success over the years. Taylor possesses a very good handle and was able to implement some hesitation moves against competition at the NABC. Going forward, Taylor must continue to be aggressive on the glass despite his size. He also must work on finishing in the paint if he hopes to latch on to a squad overseas. Taylor is a decent three point shooter, but must be consistent in this area moving forward. The biggest knock on Taylor's game, though, is his inability to create for his teammates without turning the ball over. He must become more consistent and look to transition to the role of distributing lead guard.

Andrew August, Montclair St.- While August made some poor decisions early on in this contest, he did not receive the ball very much early in this contest. However, in the second half, August demonstrated his good motor and ability to finish plays off the dribble. In the second half, he scored his first two buckets on easy drives to the basket- the easiest of the entire game for any player. This got him going, and he began taking players off the dribble and driving past them for reverse layups. He demonstrated good athleticism on one move where he switched hands for a reverse driving layup in the lane. Additionally, he made several decent passes- one to Addison which set him up for an open perimeter shot. Finally, he was aggressive on defense and occasionally poked the ball away from his man. August projects as a decent slashing wing, who is capable of taking his man off the dribble or playing solid team defense. With that said, his decision making can be questionable at times and he must improve his paltry three point shooting ability. While this may limit where he ends up next season, if he can improve his long range stroke, he has some solid potential down the road.

Jordan Young, College of Staten Island- While Young was not a big stat stuffer in this contest, he did demonstrate some decent tools and intangibles which should earn him a spot somewhere overseas. Young projects to be a post player at 6'5 and thus will have limited opportunities with high level teams in Europe. However, he does understand his role on the floor and is able to function as a complimentary player. In this contest, he did all of the little things to help his team win. He played great defense inside- in particular, his challenge on Michaels shots inside really solidified his presence. Additionally, he altered several other attempts in this game. On the offensive end, he was able to seal his man and secure offensive rebounds before putting the ball back up and in. Young did a nice job of carving out space and utilized excellent box out fundamentals. Additionally, Young displayed solid court vision and awareness with his pass threading the needle to Chad Burridge for the dunk. This was not a one-time occurrence, as he was a capable passer in his collegiate career as well. All in all, Young must look to extend his range and continue to develop his perimeter shot. Right now he projects as a highly efficient undersized big man with a penchant for securing rebounds on both ends of the floor.

Chad Burridge, Oswego St.- Much like my review of Addison, not much has changed with regard to Chad Burridge either. In this contest, he demonstrated that he is an elite athlete for this level with several thunderous alley oop dunks. His jump hook shot was also on display in this contest, and he executed it on several occasions. Additionally, Burridge demonstrated his solid faceup game. He was able to attack the basket off the dribble and even switched hands on one opportunity to avoid an oncoming defender. Burridge has a decent motor and was able to get out in transition and block shots on the other end. Despite his size at 6'7, Chad Burridge is a legitimate post option at the professional level.

Andy Stein, NYU- After leading NYU to one of their best seasons in recent memory, NYU's Andy Stein performed well at the NABC Allstar Game. The 6'8 forward possesses good size and strength on the low block, and was able to secure several rebounds off good box outs. With that said, he is not particularly athletic, and thus was not a standout rebounder at NYU, averaging only 6.4 rpg. Stein demonstrated some decent post maneuvers in this contest, including a nice lefty jump hook shot that is extremely difficult to defend. He uses his body well to create space between him and his man offensively before scoring. Stein did hustle at times and was able to clean up several misses. However, when he was out there for long stretches, he grew tired and occasionally would not get down the floor to defend in time. As such, he must improve his conditioning in order to play at the next level. Stein does possess some potential with his shooting form, and may be able to extend the range on his jumper. Overall, Stein is a capable forward with a decent physical profile and the strength to finish through contact in the post. He must continue to improve his jump shot in order to secure a spot on a professional squad.

DaQuan Brooks, Western Connecticut St.- Brooks was probably the quickest guard at the event, and he made several nice moves slashing to the basket. Brooks possesses good hangtime and athleticism, as he oftentimes is able to float past his defender. Brooks did an excellent job of breaking his man down off the dribble, utilizing his exceptionally quick first step as well as several stop and go moves. Brooks was fearless when entering the paint and looked to score against any player, even big men that were roughly a foot taller than him. For the season, Brooks shot almost 80% from the free throw line on 252 attempts, an average of nine attempts per game. Brooks was capable of passing the ball, but rarely looked to move the ball around the perimeter, instead opting to drive and kick inside. He must learn to become more team oriented, as he forced the action at times. In particular, he took several ill-advised three point attempts, which disrupted the flow of the offense. Brooks must work to become a better three point shooter and look to improve his shot selection from long range. His 34.4% this past season illustrates that he is going to have to knock down the three point shot with more consistency at the next level. Defensively, Brooks may be a liability at 5'10 if he is forced to match up with bigger guards. He does have very good hands and the lateral quickness to compete on this end at the next level. All in all, Brooks is a flashy guard with good athleticism and physical tools who must learn to function in a smaller role next season by increasing his efficiency.

Ryan Sharry, Middlebury- Sharry brought his fundamentally sound game in this one. He was all over the glass, boxing out and securing loose rebounds as well as scoring on putback attempts. Further, he demonstrated his solid post footwork and crafty ability around the basket. While he did not face many elite level interior defenders, Sharry was extremely effective against his opposition. He was comfortable finishing with either hand, and went to his off hand on numerous occasions. Further, Sharry utilized excellent head fakes to get his defender off balance before creating separation. Sharry showcased his range at this event and was able to step out and nail a three point bucket. On the defensive end, he was effective, but not game changing. It would be interesting to see how he matches up against elite athleticism, as he has a very high basketball IQ and is crafty around the basket.

David Michaels, Whitman- Michaels matched up with big men in this contest and performed fairly well. He connected on several top-of-the-key jumpers and was able to penetrate for pullup shots. Michaels sports a good release and a nice form on his shot. Not only was he able to hit shots from the perimeter, but Michaels also distributed the ball to his teammates, setting them up for easy lay ins. After watching this contest, it appeared that Michaels would look to fill the role of faceup big man at the next level. However, his post defense left a lot to be desired, and he often gave up position to Sharry inside. If he can improve his defense on the block or look to transition to the perimeter, Michaels could crack a rotation on some professional squad.

Seth Anderson, Gustavus Adolphus- Anderson probably had the best offensive performance here, particularly in the second half when he caught fire and almost single handedly fueled his team's comeback. Anderson's bread and butter is his ability to hit jump shots off of screen sets. In this contest, he was able to freeze his man off the dribble and pullup for open jumpers. He did this throughout the second half, and during one stretch, was responsible for nearly all of his team's baskets. Anderson displayed his range as well, and was able to dial in from distance. When he began to get in a groove, he was able to even hit turn around fadeaway shots. Not only was he notably efficient from the perimeter, but Anderson also hustled down court to finish in transition. Additionally, because of the threat of his jumper, he was able to get to the line as the game drew to a close. Finally, Anderson was effective guarding Addison on the defensive end and often forced him to give up his dribble. While he did not shut him down entirely, Anderson's defensive effort was intense and resulted in a few steals off of lazy passes. In all likelihood Seth Anderson will go overseas and earn a nice contract- he has the requisite basketball IQ and jumper to make an impact almost immediately.

David Krombeen, Hope- Krombeen was the catalyst behind Hope's excellent season in D3. In this contest, he demonstrated why he is such a valuable player- not forcing the issue and making the right plays to lead his team down the stretch. He made several excellent passes in this contest to McCrary and Richter, giving them wide open lanes to the basket. He often kicked the ball out to the perimeter and was able to assist wide open teammates after he drew so much defensive attention. Also, Krombeen displayed his good basketball IQ by utilizing his shot fake, and was able to beat his man off the dribble. With that said, Krombeen needs to improve his efficiency on his running drives in the lane. Late in the game he began to make plays, stealing the ball and getting out in transition. He often beat the other team down the floor late and was able to capitalize. Additionally, he was able to shut down Addison on several pivotal possessions. Overall, Krombeen is a good lead guard who could potentially be a factor at the next level if he can improve his middle game.

Tim Brady, Ohio Wesleyan- Tim Brady demonstrated his prowess as a serious offensive threat throughout this event. Not only did his jumper appear fairly reliable, but he was able to break free from his defender in order to get in position for an open shot. Brady moves fairly well with and without the ball, and thus is a multifaceted offensive weapon. In this contest, he was able to knock down the outside shot with some efficiency, but also went to his strength, moving towards the rim and attacking the basket. On one instance, he made a nice spin move to free himself, but a help defender forced him into a tough shot. Brady nailed a three pointer in transition off the dribble as well. He also demonstrated that he can be effective in transition by running the floor and making a reverse layup off of a nice feed. He saved a play and caught an alley oop that was poorly placed. Brady was also able to use his body to create space against his defender, setting himself up for setback shots and helping him draw contact. Brady got to the line fairly frequently during the season with 223 free throw attempts, and it is not hard to see why. He is aggressive and fairly athletic going to the basket. All in all, Brady must improve on his efficiency from the field and ease into a more complimentary role at the next level. He has the instincts to succeed, but he must continue to work on his three point shooting (36.6%) and improve on his ability to finish around the rim. He already has the tools to get there, and should play professionally somewhere.

Travis Clark, Lake Forest- This undersized bruiser played an efficient brand of basketball on the offensive end. He utilized his significant girth to box out and even stole rebounds away from the bigger Stein. He played a physical brand of basketball and was able to weed out players in order to secure rebounds. Clark functioned as a pick setter as well and was able to roll to the basket for easy lay ins. In spite of his large size, Clark was able to run in transition and beat everyone down the floor for a layup on several possessions. Clark moves well without the ball and is both a threat on the block and a threat to slice to the basket for an easy bucket. While he relies on his weight to move people on the block, he is nimble enough to play without the ball. Clark is most effective defensively, though, and was able to really challenge players on the other team without fouling. He is not a great shot blocker, but is able to alter shots and disrupt on this end of the floor. This may or may not be able to translate at the next level and against taller, more superior athletes. He will play somewhere, but his ability to defend will be a critical part of where he ends up down the road.

Dylan Richter, Washington University at St. Louis- Richter is the ultimate glue guy and demonstrated his ability to contribute by doing the little things throughout this contest. While he connected on a deep three point attempt in this game, he must continue to work on his efficiency from deep, as evinced by the fact that he shot 35.7% this past season on a sizable 210 attempts. Richter was able to secure rebounds and also made the right passes down the stretch. He understands the proper way to make a post entry pass, and executed this on several occasions. And, he also made a nice go-ahead pass late in the game to help his team come back. Further, Richter was able to score inside when it mattered late in the game. On the defensive end, Richter has decent anticipatory instincts and is capable of stealing the ball away from his opponents. He does this while rarely fouling, which makes him fairly valuable on this end of the floor. Overall the 6'3 Richter is going to have to improve his strength and conditioning while becoming more efficient from behind the arc to make an impact at the professional level.

Tim McCrary, Wheaton- McCrary had one of the best showings in this contest, and was able toscore in a variety of ways. The 6'6 forward must continue with his transition to the wing, though,and must develop a three point stroke. (He only attempted one all season) With that said, McCrary has a good handle and was arguably the most fundamentally sound player in this entire game. He is highly mobile and athletic attacking the basket, and was able to execute some pretty spin moves in the lane. He is very agile for a forward, and does a good job of shielding the ball with his body when attacking the basket. McCrary is particularly crafty finishing inside through contact, which he is able to draw night in and night out. He also is a viable post option, and he often out-quicks larger big men inside or simply shoots until they overplay him. On the season, he connected on 74.3% of his 191 free throw attempts. McCrary is also a good rebounder for his size and does an excellent job of boxing out. He averaged 8.4 rebounds per game and was best on the defensive glass. McCrary also possesses excellent court awareness and was able to assist on several basket cuts in this game. He averaged over 3 assists per game this past year and most of these came within the flow of Wheaton's offense. On the defensive end, he is too small to defend the small forward position at the professional level, but he may be able to guard some shooting guards overseas. If he can continue to improve his outside game, he should fit in well abroad, as he possesses an outstanding basketball IQ.

Paul Kouvaris, York (Pa.)- Kouvaris is a talented offensive player with legitimate height at 6'5. In this contest, he was able to use his length to his advantage, particularly on the defensive end. He pressured the ball constantly and forced offensive players into some very difficult fadeaway shots. With the exception of a few plays in which he bit on fakes, (one in particular involving Temgoua) Kouvaris was fundamentally sound on the defensive end, but must continue to develop physically in order to be a factor at the next level. He also has great hands and instincts to steal the ball, tipping it to himself and finishing in transition. Additionally, Kouvaris is fundamentally sound on the offensive end and employs a believable punk fake in order to get defenders in the air. He was able to do this throughout the game, and used it to create easy lay in opportunities. He also possesses an array of spin moves in the lane which allow him to create separation from his defender. With these strengths in mind, Kouvaris must develop an outside shot. He did not attempt one all season at York College. Further, he must improve his decision making in order to latch onto a roster overseas. While he made some good decisions in this game, he had a 0.6 Assist-to-Turnover Ratio on the year, which is not good enough to earn playing time at the next level. If he does a better job of handling the ball and develops a consistent outside shot, he will secure a roster spot overseas. But, his decision making must improve first.

Ethan Eichhorst, Misericordia- While Eichhorst did not stand out much on the offensive end in this game, he did some of the little things that coaches look for at the next level. Even though he does not attempt many long range shots, he was fairly proficient from beyond the arc in this game and in his senior season. He nailed a pretty looking three point jumper and shot 42.6% on 54 attempts on the season. He must continue to develop this stroke and shoot from distance more frequently. Eichhorst is a fairly efficient shooter overall, with a nice looking stroke. He shot 52.4% from the floor on the year and connected on 88.5% of his free throw attempts. He is a good rebounder for his size and collected 7.3 boards per game on the year. Further, Eichhorst is very unselfish and was able to make an excellent feed to Michaels inside. He also set up an alley oop for a teammate who was unable to complete the play. Eichhorst is thereby fairly versatile on the offensive end, but must continue to solidify his outside shot in order to succeed at the next level. On the defensive end, there are still some question marks as to how he will be able to keep up with some quicker guards laterally. But, if he can ease into his transition on the wing from a defensive perspective, he should be able to adjust to the international game.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Non-D1 Players at the Portsmouth Invitational

Even though only one of my top 5 non D1 seniors made the Portsmouth Invitational (and was a last minute invite due to a cancellation), five seniors ended up receiving invites. While there is definitely some talent amongst this year's crop, here is an analysis of how each player performed.

Jet Chang, BYU-Hawaii- Chang was the best offensive weapon of the non-D1 players. He filled up the stat sheet in a variety of ways, slashing to the basket with reckless abandon and finishing strong against top-rated shot blockers. He definitely had one of the stronger showings at the Portsmouth Invitational, particularly from an offensive standpoint. Chang has a very good first step and is crafty around the rim, knowing when to seek contact out and when to kick the ball back out. He was fouled hard on numerous attempts to get in the lane and made a living at the line for much of this Portsmouth Invitational. He seemed to relish the opportunity to impress scouts and was willing to go inside regardless of the extremely physical nature of these games. Much like his senior season where he shot a poor percentage from behind the arc, Chang struggled to connect from distance in his first two contests. However, when he found a rhythm attacking the basket in the last game, he was able to make two of three from deep in the third contest. In a game where very few fouls were called, Chang did a nice job of drawing contact and getting to the line against elite competition. While he played decent defense against Braydon Hobbs in his last contest, there are some concerns that Chang will be able to defend the shooting guard position at the next level. However, he is still a crafty guard who can hit the mid range jumper, and is extremely aggressive attacking and finishing in the paint. He'll likely land on a summer league team after his performance here.

Travis Hyman, Bowie St.- Hyman was the latest edition to the Portsmouth Invitational and one of the five non-D1 players that I recommended in my letter. He did not disappoint. While he is incredibly raw offensively for an 'older' senior, Hyman has NBA physical tools and athleticism. In his first few contests, Hyman did not receive many touches, but functioned predominantly as a rim protector- a quality that intrigued the Spurs last summer. He was able to steal the ball and block countless shots at the rim throughout the tournament. In his last game, he was able to find a rhythm on both ends. He blocked several difficult shots and played great 'contest-without-fouling' defense at the rim. On offense, he was able to get out in transition on occasion, but was unable to finish through contact. With that said, he was fouled countless times that were not called. When the coaching staff kept him in the game for a long stretch, he did seem to tire getting down the floor. As such, he must improve his conditioning. On the glass, Hyman was extremely aggressive and did a nice job of using his length and athleticism to his advantage. All in all, Hyman is an incredibly raw NBA prospect with the potential to develop into a quality role player down the road due to his physical gifts and penchant for hard-nosed defense.

Braydon Hobbs, Bellarmine- While many scouts were left unimpressed by Hobbs' performance at Portsmouth, I was left scratching my head. Widely considered the most efficient player on a Division II championship contender, Hobbs struggled to score the ball at Portsmouth. He had several opportunities, but was unable to connect from three point range. And, this was surprising considering the fact that he shot 50% from beyond the arc in college. His only basket came off of a runner in the lane. Because of his underwhelming scoring totals, some felt that he was the odd man out at the PIT and did not deserve an invite. This is very far from the truth. First, it must be noted that Hobbs rarely received many touches on the offensive end. When he did, he looked to create for his teammates at every opportunity. Hobbs was one of his team's leading assist men, and made some excellent passes with few turnovers. His team's coach complimented him on every trip to the bench. With all of that said, anyone who had watched Braydon Hobbs before this could have foreseen such a performance coming, as his game is not at all tailored to pick up basketball. Hobbs's body is underdeveloped at 6'5, but he has good length and is able to pick off passes and play decent defense on the perimeter. On several occasions, Chang powered his way to the basket, and it is clear that Hobbs will struggle against stronger players at the next level. With that said, he has an excellent basketball IQ and will fit right in with a European squad immediately. His game is tailor-made for Europe, and I would not be surprised if he became one of the more talked about import players in a few years.

David Michaels, Whitman- After watching Michaels at the NABC classic, I felt that he had a decent faceup game for a big man, but that he would not translate given the physicality at the next level. At Portsmouth, he was able to prove my initial assessment wrong. Michaels appeared to be much more agile than I remembered and was willing to play a more perimeter-oriented game. He attacked the basket and spotted up from distance. He is still a little small to be an NBA small forward at 6'7, but should fit in fairly well as a wing overseas. He is able to drain the three point shot, but took some poor attempts late in games and did not have the most efficient outings at the PIT to say the least. On the positive end, he was aggressive getting to the basket, and played solid defense on Chase Stanback for most of the game. He was aggressive and displayed nice hands on the defensive end. Additionally, Michaels assisted in boxing out and was able to secure loose balls for his team. All in all, Michaels appears to be a good role players at the European level, and should contribute immediately. He must work on improving his efficiency if he hopes to land in the top rated European domestic leagues though.

Bryant Voiles, Augustana- Coming in as a player I had never seen before, I was somewhat impressed by how Voiles was able to adapt to this level of play. While he initially struggled in his first contest, as he was not able to establish himself against top tier D-1 post players, Voiles eventually opted to play on the perimeter with mixed results. Particularly in the championship game, he functioned as a face up shooter, and was able to connect on some pivotal shots late in the game. With that said, he rarely played in his second game, and failed to stand out in the first two contests at Portsmouth. While he was not super efficient in his last game, he did secure some loose balls and connect on shots at pivotal junctures. He will likely struggle to score off the bounce, and must continue to perfect his perimeter shooting abilities. At 6'9, that should earn him a spot on some competitive team's roster next season. Voiles was very confident throughout the PIT and looked like he belonged, even though he had to adjust his style of play.