Kenner League Recap: Saturday, July 6th

Time for the first look at the 2019-20 Hoyas! There was a good crowd today - hopefully a reflection of some building optimism among the fan base. I’ll be posting reports on all the weekend games. My goal is to get notes posted by Monday night every week, but hopefully I’ll get them up earlier than that most weekends. Let’s get started with the first set of stats/notes for this summer.

James Akinjo: 13 pts, 3-9 2pt, 2-6 3pt, 1-3 FT, 6 reb (1 off), 11 assts, 2 st, 4 TO

-Really strong game for James, despite not shooting well. He was playing quick and aggressive all game, looking to push the ball up court at every opportunity. His passing really set the tone for the game

-His body definitely looks different. A lot more muscle and definition

-He was consistently kicking the ball to open shooters in the corner when he penetrated and drew help defense. Seemed more aware and decisive in finding this pass.

-Consistently got into the lane on the PnR - using the "snake" move in which he cut back to the middle after getting around the pick, putting his defender on his back and than patiently identifying open teammates.

-Still struggled to finish at the rim in traffic/against size a number of times

-one really bad decision - forced his dribble into heavy traffic in transition leading to a bad turnover

-Nice behind the back left handed drop ounce pass in transition, in traffic. Really pretty play

-has a strong spinning drive, lefty finish

Myron Gardner: 15 pts, 5-8 2pt, 1-3 3pt, 2-2 FT, 7 reb, 2 st, 1 TO

-Overall Gardner was impressive. Good athlete, has some solid basic skills, and he plays aggressively.

-His jumper needs work. Very low release, starts shot near top of chest. Gets really high arc and decent rotation, but his 3 shot does not look like a reliable weapon yet. His 2 foul shots, however, looked good. Less arc, looked like a smoother, more controlled set of mechanics

-good athlete - gets off the ground quickly, good elevation.

-plays aggressively - looks to attack the rim off the dribble, and seems to have the handle to beat his man pretty well, plus the strength to finish/draw fouls.

-had a nice end to end run after grabbing a defensive board. Finished through traffic with his left hand

-2nd half: inbounded ball to Gardner, he saw that the D was asleep, and immediately took off from near mid court , dribbling right down the lane for a power dunk.

Jahvon Blair: 25 pts, 8-11 2pt, 2-9 3pt, 3-3 FT, 9 reb (2 off), 5 assts, 2 TO

-Blair has always been able to put up points on a pretty consistent basis in Kenner games. The looseness of the games suits him well. He is a crafty finish in transition, when he has a little room to operate. Gets a lot of points right at the rim. But it has been a lot harder for him to generate this kind of offense in real games, where the defense is tougher and there are very few of the lightly contested interior opportunities Blair sometimes gets in Kenner games.

-Hit a couple of threes early, but then hoisted up a bunch of misses.

-Passed the ball well - a few good look ahead passes that led to easy transition layups. Blair probably should have had 2 or 3 more assists - teammates missed a number of easy layups after he hit them with good passes

-Hit a creative fake eurostep/into a floater move

-Best hoop of the game for Blair - he floated a driving shot up over the defender, kissing it softy off the glass for a pretty, creative score

Terrell Allen: 7 pts, 2=6 2pt, 0-2 3pt, 3-4 FT, 5 reb, 1 asst, 2 st, 3 TO

-I’m not sure what to think of Allen after watching him for the first time. Clearly a good athlete, and he handles the ball pretty well. But his jumper is not pretty, he forced things a bit at times. He seems to be a good athlete, but his skill level did not look real high. Overall, however, he plays aggressively and seems like he could fill the role of being a solid backup guard - as long as we are not depending on him to score very much.

-threw a nice lob pass to AJ Wilson (super athlete from George Mason who is like a human pogo stick flying around the court trying to dunk/block everything)

-had a nice basket in transition - took the ball right at UVA 7 foot center Jay Huff. He used his body to protect the ball, and flipped in a tough layup off the glass that Huff could not block because Allen used his body so well.

Omer Yurtseven: 24 pts, 10-17 2pt, 0-1 3pt, 4-4 FT, 10 reb (5 off), 2 asst, 3 TO

-Solid game for Omer. Jay Huff was not an easy matchup. If you did not watch much of UVA last year - Huff is a surprisingly athletic 7 footer who is a very good outside shooter. He’ll likely be a key starter for UVA this year, so this was a good test.

-early on Omer was leaving Huff open from 3 way too often. He hit 4 or 5 threes in the first half. But in the second half, Huff was not getting as many open looks. Omer seemed more tuned into trying to stick with Huff when he popped out past the 2 point line

-Did a good job in the low post. Huff forced tough misses a few times, but for the most part Omer was able to get to his right handed jump hook - and converted at a high rate. Also hit one or two turnaround baseline jumpers over Huff.

-D was tough to judge because Huff was trying to pull him out to the perimeter so often. Huff also beat Omer on a nice up/under move - getting to his left hand spinning baseline for a basket.

-Omer did have one critical defensive play. He showed hard on the PnR, which led to a steal. Omer got out ahead of the D and took the lead pass for an easy dunk, generated by the good defensive play he made.

-So overall - not sure what to think defensively. Omer did not seem like a liability, but he also did not seem like much of a rim protecter. But Huff was pulling him away from the rim on most possessions, so we’ll see what his rim protection looks like when defending more traditional centers.

-DSR played point for Clyde’s. It looked like he missed a few opportunities to hit Omer rolling to the rim on the PnR

-The D never doubled him in the post. My guess is that most teams will decide to double him. If he has room to operate, he can get to the RH jump hook effectively, and has the skill/footwork to spin around and use his left hand if he gets overplayed to his right. It will be interesting to see how he handles passing out of doubles if/when teams start doing this more consistently.

Qudus Wahab: 12 pts, 6-10 2pt, 0-2 FT, 4 reb (1 off) 2 asst

-Big guy - already has a solid build, and real long arms

-worked hard in the post, looking to get to his jump hook. Was not always able to do so, but you can see he really works on the post footwork. Had a good countermove as well, where he spun back to his left to create a fairly easy layup.

-hit a nice 13 foot jump shot - catch and shoot, decisive and quick release. But missed his two foul shots, so mixed data on his outside shooting.

-Had two nice passes early in the game. One really good pass from the post to a teammate slashing down the lane that led to an easy basket.

-Matched up with GW forward Mezie Offurum. Offurum was too quick for him at times. But he won’t match up with 6’6 players too often. Offurum beat him badly off the dribble on a late game session to regain the lead right after Wahab had put Tombs ahead with a strong RH jump hook. Wahab is a good athlete, but he is not quick enough to stay with smaller skilled players.

Galen Alexander: 9 pts, 2-5 2pt, 1-5 3pt, 2-2 FT, 6 reb (1 off), 3 asst, 1 TO

-Quieter tame than I expected, based on the strong reports that have been out there about Alexander. He showed some athleticism and some skill, and played a solid game. But did not have the ball in his hands too often.

-Tombs guards were not strong today, and tended to hunt their own shots more than look to set up other guys. So Alexander did not get a whole lot of touches that put him in position to do much.

-Had a nice transition bounce pass leading to a basket

-Threw a lob pass on the break for a Wahab dunk

-Outside shot looked good, but only hit one.

Malcolm Wilson: 2 pts, 1-2 2pt, 2 reb, 1 bl, 2 TO

-definitely a project. Lack of strength/bulk leaves him getting pushed around a lot on both ends

-Had a few nice rolls to the rim on PnR - good timing. He finished one with a dunk early in the game., but that was about it offensively

-Had one block, but got muscled around pretty consistently on D

Jamorko Pickett: 4 pts, 0-2 2pt, 1-3 3pt, 1-2 FT, 7 reb (4 off), 3 asst, 2 bl, 3 TO

-looked a bit taller to me, and a bit bigger in the upper body. Legs are still very thin

-had a few good passes and some solid defensive plays

-but overall was very quiet offensively. And, like last year, when he tried to get aggressive offensively - he tended to force the play, leading to turnover/ bad misses

-just not sure what the deal is with Pickett. You can see there is talent, but he just does not impact the game very much offensively, and he usually struggles when he does try to assert himself.

Looking forward to Day 2 tomorrow!

Stay Casual, my friends.