The Kenner League regular season wrapped up this past weekend, so it's time for some overall player recaps before we head into the vaunted post-season. Keep in mind that my main qualification for providing this analysis is a sore back from the bleachers and an immune system that can withstand Kenner League hot dogs.
Tyler Adams: Perhaps it was because I had low expectations for Tyler coming, but I was impressed with what he does well. I knew he had limited athleticism (it's not a sure bet that he can dunk with two hands in full health), but I was impressed with the quickness he showed in tight spaces. His body is so wide that even a vastly superior player like Greg Monroe was slowed because he can't easily overpower him and Adams showed good side to side agility, highlighted by an impressive block on springy George Mason forward who tried to pull off a short fade-away. I'm worried about his health in the long run, as he's been continuously injured, and with the most recent leg injury seemingly on a routine rebound, you have to hold your breath every time he's in traffic. He plays with an edge, and while he's not much of an offensive threat, I could see him stealing minutes if healthy.
More evaluations after The Jump:
Moses Ayegba: Stranded as the lone Hoya on his Kenner League team, Moses wasn't often in the Kenner League limelight, but he has slowly compiled a solid summer. Summer league play is hardly ever conducive to big men and it doesn't help that there weren't any Georgetown guards on his team with instructions to feed him the ball, but Moses has both ran the floor well and finished under around the basket. His hands are still suspect, but he was able to make some nice moves into the body of Henry Sims during their matchup. He's isn't a supremely disruptive force on defense, but he has the strength to hold his ground in the post.
Aaron Bowen: The first time I saw Aaron play was last summer in Kenner League and he was draining from deep with what looked like great form – I even told some friends after at first look there's a chance he could be one of the best shooters on the team. He went onto have a volatile shooting summer, ranging from bad misses to impressive hot streaks and I had hoped this summer to see some more consistency out of the least seasoned sophomore on the team. Unfortunately, he's been consistently unable to hit anything. I haven't seen him hit a jump shot in weeks – all of his points are coming at the rim. He has great leaping ability in the break and on putbacks, but he hasn't found a way to score outside of that – his handle/first step haven't proven overly successful. Encouragingly, he has internalized some of the offense, making one or two great cuts each game.
Jason Clark: Clark played on one of the most uptempo teams (and factor in that everyone plays looser and faster in summer league) and had Chris Wright beside him pushing the tempo. If I had my way, I'd have preferred to see Clark teamed up with Moses, but as it stood, Clark looked comfortable on the break and had a few solid shooting outings. I can't say he ever impressed me because we all know what Jason is capable. He can score in bunches and his handle is still slightly suspect under pressure.
Mikael Hopkins: As far as I could tell, the lack of hustle/heart label that Hopkins had been given didn't arrive at Kenner League. Sure he's had some quiet games, but if you're a big man who's not a primary ballhandler, that's to be expected. Hopkins has shown willingness to the play in the post, but despite good frame and athleticism, he doesn't have the strength or footwork to score consistently. Similarly he was overpowered by bigger offensive players, but he was a willing help defender and played alert defense (plus some monster swats). Hopkins isn't a natural perimeter player, but he does have some of the tools for a face-up four – he has a nice jump shot and hits open threes. He's not ready to create his own shot, but when he flashes in the paint and crashes the boards, he can find ample scoring opportunities. A nice plus is that he's an above average free throw shooter. Also, I thought this tweet was of interest.
Nate Lubick: Part of Nate's fan appeal is that he always seems to play a bit out of control -- and probably part of that aggressiveness makes him successful. But that style does have it's limitations and Nate, despite playing high intensity basketball seemed to show signs of curbing the more excessive lack of control and channeling his high intensity into the likes of better position on rebounds – controlling the glass despite playing below the rim. One can only hope that the Nate's right shoulder injury isn't a setback on his newly minted hitch-less jump shot. It's not textbook, but it's far smoother and more importantly, it goes in a lot (3-3 in games I attended) and he shoots it with great confidence. In the post, I didn't notice much of alteration in his game. With he back to his basket in the post, he made a number of great passes to cutters or kick-outs to the open man, but he wasn't much of a scoring threat.
Otto Porter: It's hard to watch Otto this Kenner League and not come down with some off-season delusion. It's abundantly clear he's a perfect fit for JT3's system – he has all the tools to be an effective point-forward. At 6'9", he can handle the ball under pressure and in traffic, he has a smooth mid-range game that makes him a threat at the elbow, he can hit the three point shot, and perhaps most impressively, he has great vision. The Tombs offense has steadily become more and more reliant on Otto as everything seems to run through him, and he delivers at least a few beautiful assists every game. He doesn't have elite speed, but he's willing to come out on defense and he uses his arms to cut off passing lanes to overcome any strength/speed disparity that might exist. He elevates the play of all his teammates on The Tombs and has had some impressive scoring runs himself. Barring the unforeseen, he's going to earn his time on the floor, the question remains at who's going to surrender minutes. I like many had thought perhaps Clark initially, but as a fellow recapper pointed out, the best offense Georgetown can put together might put Otto at the four, if he can hold his own defensively Big East forwards.
Henry Sims: Henry seems to have accepted the player he is. I remember many overpowering dunks against undersized opponents last year while paired with Chris Wright -- moves that just don't translate against Big East centers. Almost all of his post moves this summer leave him falling away slightly away from the basket, often a little baby hook. While hypothetically, you don't want to encourage that from a big man, it's probably the most likely shot to work in the regular season and he's made it with good consistency. He's continued to shoot short jumpers at a high clip, even making a few with a hand in his face. Whenever he's posted up, he still struggles to stand his ground, but he's an absolute monster from the weak side, blocking ton of shots in that manner. He's a fair passer, a threat when he received the ball within ten feet of the hoop, and I'd be shocked to see anyone other than him starting at center as he's more polished than Moses or Tyler.
Markel Starks: Markel looks like a savvy vet out there, perhaps too much this past weekend when he has pulled back and settled for dumping off to teammates instead of attacking the lane himself. By far the most impressive aspect of his game is his handle in traffic once he gets into the lane – he can put together a dazzling assortment of spins and jukes. This year he seemed less susceptible to over-penetrating and getting himself caught too far in the lane– he had a better sense of when to take the pull up. He's quick and when he gets a step he's in good shape, but he doesn't have blazing speed. A lot of his most effective moves came off pick and rolls from Henry, and who knows if JT3 will relent to putting that in the offense. He shoots with a quick release, but he's streaky and would make most of his points in a shooting/scoring spurt, that often, maybe not coincidentally, came at the beginning of the half.
Hollis Thompson: I posed a hypothetical question to Hoya Hoop Club recapper FLHoya, if you were trying to win the Kenner League playoffs next week and could only have one current Hoya player on your team, who would you choose? His answer: Otto or Jabril and then Jason. And I agree. Note that the question wasn't who will be the leading scorer next year or even who's our best player. Kenner League plays a premium on ball handling – you need the ball to score and set offenses aren't a premium. And Hollis, despite being given more responsibility this past weekend with Greivis Vasquez's absence, just isn't an elite player off the bounce. He's clearly been focusing on driving the ball (he hasn't attempted his bread and butter spot up very often) but still appears too mechanical with his moves to be a primary ball-handler or a great slashing threat. That said, when he has it going, he's been able to score in bursts. And let's not overlook that he looks cut – he's added some noticeable muscle.
Jabril Trawick: With his motor, height and aggressiveness, Jabril is the type of player the Hoyas have been missing since Patrick Ewing Jr. graduated. He wants to dunk on you and he isn't deterred if there's someone between him and the basket. At 6'5 and with probably the best hops on the team, he goes as hard to the hoop as he can and challenges you to stop him. Consequently, he draws a lot of fouls – this is one of the big keys to his game. When he was dominating the opening few weeks of Kenner, he was getting to the line 5-10 times a game and making nearly all of those shots. Since then (and you should factor in a slight sprain one week and a recent toe injury of some sort) he hasn't gotten to the line with the same frequency and his percentages have dropped off a bit – keeping those two numbers up with be key to his success. What I love about Jabril is that even in a summer league game where he isn't scoring or shooting well (he's a streaky three point shooter), his intensity on both sides of the ball still makes him a factor. He's accounted for nearly as many great swats around the hoop as his taller teammates and seems to relish getting in the face of opposing point guards like Jonathan Wallace and trying to drive them back away from the basket. He doesn't possess blow-by speed or an elite handle, but he'll be able to hold down the back up point guard – against tight pressure he bulls his way across the midway line similar to what Austin would do.
Greg Whittington: One of the most interesting players on the team – he's almost impossible to predict if/how JT3 will use him this year. With the Tombs, he's played mostly the two and usually guards one of the weaker players on the other team. But at 6'9, he's quick enough to stay in front of guards (he reminds me a bit of Austin Freeman's on ball defense – he doesn't get burned very often, but he doesn't pressure the ball well). What he has done well is provide help on defense – having him drop down to help from the wing has erased many lay-ups in Kenner League. His three point stroke is probably the prettiest of any freshman (though he hasn't shot it with the same confidence recently) and his long strides let him get to the basket quickly and he seems to favor a short floater. His handle is good for his size, but suspect under pressure. He seems most comfortable on the move and finishes many fast breaks and tip-ins. He's even skinnier with narrower shoulders than Otto, so you wonder how much muscle he'll be able to put on, but he's a very interesting prospect.
The Kenner League Playoffs start this Thursday and all six Hoya populated teams will be participating over the weekend.