Kenner League Recap: Sunday, July 7th

Fun stuff today as our first full weekend of Kenner League has concluded. Check it out!

Malcolm Wilson: 6 pts, 3-3 2pt, 2 reb (1 off), 1 bl, 2 TO

-Not much to comment on with Wilson today. He had a nice block, and clearly has good defensive timing. He converted the handful of chances he got near the rim, and played more of the game than he did on saturday. He has no strength and his skills are very raw. The very definition of a project, I don’t think he will be even close to contributing any helpful minutes this season

Jamorko Pickett: 12 pts, 4-7 2 pt, 1-2 3 pt, 1-1 FT, 8 reb (1 off), 1 asst, 4 bl, 1 TO

-more engaged and active today than on Saturday.

-Had 2 nice blocks in first few minutes, and a few others as game progressed

-Took a defensive board the length of the court for a basket. But he forced his dribble into a crowd as he approached the lane, lost the ball, then re-gathered it and finished. So not a real smooth sequence

-Had a nice offensive board followed by a dunk. He gathered himself and went up strong in some traffic for the dunk, which was good to see

-Tried a few of the one-foot, lean back Nowitzki style mid range shots that got Derrickson in trouble with Ewing in that famous televised moment. He hit one, missed two. At least he can tell Ewing that "yes, I have tried that shot in practice" if Coach gets on his case for trying one in a real game!

-Most of his points came in a quick 7 point burst in the first 2 minutes of the second half. Not much offensive impact in the rest of the game. But he was not forcing stuff and turning the ball over or jacking up tough, contested 3s - as he sometimes does

-Good kick out pass for a corner three off dribble penetration.

-Had a bad post up possession: Held the ball way, way too long in the post, then got stripped

-Good PnR Defense on a key late game possession. He hedged on the ball handler, gumming up the play - resulted in a shot clock violation

-rarely hits his jump shot if he is contested/rushed at all. When he is wide open and can go into his long, slow release - he can be a decent outside shooter. But if he is sped up at all, his mechanics break down, and he usually fires up a shot that feels off from the moment it leaves his hand.

Qudus Wahab: 12 pts, 4-15 2 pt, 4-5 FT, 12 reb (9 off), 1 bl, 2 TO

-very active on offense. Lots of post up opportunities, strong on the offensive boards. But he just could not convert the opportunities. Most of his offensive boards came off his own misses

-badly missed a turnaround 14 footer - bad decision, bad execution

-Despite hitting most of his foul shots, he did not look very good. One was banked in! He doesn’t have real good touch, and he does not even hold the ball aligned with the seams. He just kind of grabs it however it comes up into his hand off his practice dribble. The whole operation just does not look very smooth.

-His block was dramatic - came flying over on help defense, went up high, and swatted the ball out of the air and way out of bounds.

-Let a small guy sneak inside him for an offensive board on a missed foul shot

-I know a lot of the comments are negative. But overall, Wahab is pretty impressive for a freshman who has only been playing hoops for a few years. He plays very hard, and has a good general sense of where to be and what to do. You can see he has worked hard on his post up game, and he got lots of good opportunities. With continued work and good coaching, he should improve significantly over time. At some point in the next few years, he’ll be finishing a lot of the shots he missed today. Plus he moves well on D for his size, and seems to have solid defensive potential.

Galen Alexander: 23 pts, 4-12 2 pt, 3-6 3pt, 8 reb (3 off), 1 st, 1 TO

-Played much better today than on saturday. Much more involved.

-went end to end with a defensive board, with a smooth, clever finish around a defender

-Followed immediately by a steal/layup

-Hit a very tough turnaround jumper off the bounce. Over a defender, spinning left, from about 10 feet

-Took two very long 3s that he missed - not good shots.

-Whipped his man off the dribble and tried what would have been a spectacular dunk. But he took off from a little too far outer nd could not quite extend far enough. Probably should have just laid it in, but it would have brought the house down if he had succeeded on the dunk.

-Likes to attack off the dribble from the top of the key. Quick first step, keeps his dribble low, explosive getting off the ground. Drew quite a few fouls. Sometimes he forced some awkward shots off this move, but overall it is a strength. It will be nice to have a wing with some size who is a threat to attack the basket off the dribble. We had nobody like this last year, and Peak is really the only player we have had with this particular skill set in recent years.

-In eras of playing time for the coming season - Alexander seems to offer a lot more than Pickett at this point. I’ll be surprised if Alexander is not starting at the 3. His skill level, athleticism, and aggressiveness/physicality is all notably better than Pickett’s. Pickett has more height/length, but everything else favors Alexander.

Jahvon Blair: 25 pts, 3-5 2 pt, 6-16 3 pt, 1-2 FT, 6 reb, 3 assts, 3 TO

-Definitely not passing up any remotely open looks from 3 this summer! He is putting up a Harden-esque volume of 3’s so far

-Had a nice look ahead pass in transition, and a very pretty back door pass (teammate missed the wide open lay-up)

-Blair has a lot of freedom this summer. The ball is in his hands a lot, and he is gunning away. As I noted yesterday, I just don’t see how much of this can translate to real games. He is not going to get 16 open looks from 3 in a real game, even against weaker non-conference teams. There is a role as an offensive spark off the bench for Blair, but I still don’t think there is enough to his game for him to earn significant minutes, except possibly in games where he gets hot quickly and Ewing elects to ride him to see if he can keep rolling that day.

Terell Allen: 4 pts, 2-4 2pt, 0-1 3 pt, 3 reb, 2 asst, 1 TO

-another fairly quiet game from Allen. He does not make mistakes and handles the ball well. But he does not seem to have the skill level to create much offensively.

-hard to judge his D. He has a rep as a good defensive player, and there have been On obvious indications of problems with his D. But he has not been standing out in any obvious ways as a defender. It is, however, sometimes pretty tough to judge defensive ability in these games.

-Had one real nice move - beat his man, jump stop when he hit traffic near the basket, and found Omer wide open for a dunk.

-Hard to see how he shot 40% from 3 last season. The outside shot is just ugly - no rotation. Odd release point. On his foul shots yesterday, he looked better. He kind of pushes the ball up, but gets the right level of arc and the shot hits softly when he hits the rim. But the foul shot does not look like it translates to his regular shot. Hopefully I am way off on this assessment!

Omer Yurtseven: 37 pts, 13-19 2 pt, 2-5 3 pt, 3-4 FT, 15 reb (5 off), 1 st, 1 bl, 1 TO

-Well we saw today what Omer will do when the other team’s biggest defender is 6’7 and 210 lbs! Josh and whoever else they put on Omer had no chance. He completely dominated the first half, putting up 33 points!!!

-Almost all his points were right at the rim. He finishes a VERY high percentage of his opportunities inside. Very good jump hook, with both hands. Just as smooth with his left hand as his right. Can also use a one dribble move to blow past a defender who leaves his feet or has slow feet. Rises quickly and powerfully off two feet to dunk when he has a little room inside.

-Also hit some 3s today, and his misses were all good shots that came close (except for one airball!) Also hit a mid range jumper. Omer has a very versatile offensive game

-Defensively - again, hard to judge. But his feet are not particularly quick. I think we’ll continue to have some defensive issues because of Omer’s limitations, but he seems to react to what he sees a little quicker than Jessie did. He also fouled a lot today - that could be an issue in real games.

-His team stopped looking for him in the post in the second half. Both DSR and Allen were at fault here, and Clydes blew a big lead as a result. And DSR did not hit a jump shot all weekend (he tried plenty of them), which also contributed to the blown lead.

Mac McClung: 24 pts, 8-13 2 pt, 1-5 3 pt, 5-6 FT, 2 reb (1 off), 3 asst, 2 TO

-Solid game. I know people are really hoping his 3 point shooting improves. Not much to take from today. He missed a few, made one, and made another with a foot on the line. He tries too many tough, challenged 3s. We have enough offensive weapons this year that we don’t need Mac trying these kind of shots very often, we will be able to get better shots. This was not always the case last year.

-Looked a little thinner than last year to me. He was not heavy last year, but his body looked thicker, more like a football safety than a guard. He still looks quite strong, but not quite as thick as last season.

-Had a nice fast break lob to Josh for a dunk. Then later in game, he had one that was even more spectacular - where he kind of tossed the ball up backwards over his head. He does have a flair for the spectacular!

-Had a trademark lob dunk along the baseline. You could see it coming a beat before the pass was thrown, very fun

-Hustled to follow his own miss, got the board through bigger guys in traffic, finished with a +1. Great hustle/athleticism/strength play.

-So tough in transition - makes good decisions, is a willing passer, and his combo of skill/strength makes him a very good finisher

Josh LeBlanc: 13 pts, 5-7 2 pt, 3-6 FT, 5 reb (2 off), 2 st, 3 bl

-really ran the court hard all game. Had a bunch of dunk finishes in transition, some of them off nice lob passes. He is so fast and gets up so easily. Good body control, just a good feel for how to play this kind of fast, above the rim basketball.

-foul shooting will still be a bit of an adventure. He has decent touch, but any time a player shoots a no-rotation outside shot - they are going to have some days where their feel for the shot is not quite on, and they struggle. Josh had a game like this last year (maybe Butler) Where he went 2-9 from the line. But he was over 70% for the rest of the season. So not a bad foul shooter, but probably prone to some inconsistency.

-nice play - read a pass to get a steal, gave the ball up, ran the court hard, got it back for a lob finish.

-Good hustle play - leaping baseline save under the hoop

-looked to post up a few times, drew 2 fouls

-made a great back door cut, but missed the dunk

-Josh really knows his game. He does not try stuff that is outside his ability. He doesn’t force shots. He knows his best opportunities will come from running the court hard at every opportunity, and by attacking the offensive boards. So he does this relentlessly.

-Still quite thin. May have put on a little muscle, but not a whole lot. He probably will always be on the thin side, so his game will be explosion, speed, and slashing rather than power. That is a limitation, but he is so good at maximizing his strengths that he’ll always be an impact player. If he can develop his post game a little more, to take advantage of mismatches, it will help his offensive game significantly

-Has not had any looks at a jump shot in these first two games. I worry that the added distance on the college 3 may be a challenge for Josh. He shot 3s well last year by being very selective - shooting only when he was wide open, from his most comfortable spots. I worry that extending his range a bit may be tougher for Josh than for the more natural , comfortable shooters.

Overall, good start to Kenner League for this group that has more expectations this year than in seasons past. More next weekend!

Stay Casual, my friends.