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Kenner League Notes: Weekend 2!

Kenner League Notes

July 10, 2022

Great to be back in McDonough in July after missing the last two years! Good crowd for tonight’s games, and lots of Hoyas on the court. It did feel sad not to see Big John sitting across the gym (and to see Ronnie sitting where Big John used to sit for the first few games).

The only Hoya scheduled to play tonight who did not play was Akok. He was there on the bench in street clothes, and there was no clearly visible injury.

On to the notes from tonight’s games. As always - these are purely amateur assessments, and trying to analyze defense is pretty difficult in these games. But better to try to provide some kind of sense of how everyone played, especially with a roster almost completely full of new players.

Brandon Murray: 21 pts, 7/12 2 pt, 4/4 FT, 1/7 3pt, 15 reb (3 off), 2 asst, 1 bl

-Murray is as advertised - a serious talent. In some ways, he is sort of a more skilled, higher hoops IQ version of Mohammed. Similar size, somewhat similar build - strong and athletic. But Murray has a much more refined offensive game, with maybe a touch less quick-twitch to his game.

-Threw a nice long bounce pass in transition

-hit pull up 18 foot jumper in transition

-not as tall as I thought, but solidly built, and a very good rebounder

-got iso’d on Malcolm Wilson, and immediately looked to take him off the dribble. Wilson did a nice job forcing a tough shot/miss

-Strong +1 finish through heavy contact

-not flashy - but you look up and he has a bunch of points. Can score from all three levels, doesn’t force much

-tried a tough eurostep finish, the shot just rolled out

-had two exciting plays later in the game: had a strong transition move/dunk, immediately followed by a +1 finish through contact

Primo Spears: 24 pts, 6/13 2 pt, 0-2 FT, 4/7 3pt, 3 st, 1 TO

-skilled, quick ball handler. Can consistently get separation off the dribble. Settled for pull up mid-range jumpers most of the time when he beat his man, rather than attacking the hoop. He hit a lot of these jumpers, but they are tough shots. Having a player who can get a clean mid-range jumper almost whenever they want is valuable for late shot clock situations. But if Spears settles for this shot earlier in the shot clock too often, the team offense will lose efficiency.

-He is quite thin, but did not seem to get pushed around very much

-hit a three off the dribble right off the opening tip

-had a nice quick spin/finish in transition

-got a it out of control a couple of times

-seemed to be icing/denying the middle on ball screens on D. RIley seemed to be doing this as well. Looked fairly different from the kind of hedge/drop coverages that the Hoyas have most often used under Ewing. Might be an indication that they are working to play more ice/deny middle pick/roll coverage?

-Nice steal, spin to escape defenders, long bounce pass to Murray. Murray and Spears seem to have a good feel for playing together

-looked for his own shot as his first option most of the time tonight.

-took his man off the bounce late in the game for a nice finish. Would like to see him attack the rim a bit more, as he consistently was able to get by his man off the bounce.

Jay Heath: 18 pts, 4/5 2 pt, 4/6 FT, 2/6 3 pt, 2 reb, 4 asst, 2 st

-Smart, skilled player. Not a dynamic athlete, but has a sneaky quick first step. Did not force much of anything, and had better passing vision than our other guards tonight

-shooting stroke looks very solid. He missed some 3s and foul shots, but the mechanics look good

-aggressive, but under control

-low center of gravity. Gets very low in his dribble. Knows how to use his strength to gain position/leverage offensively

-Gets his shoulder under defender to gain an advantage. He did this to Spears a few times, using his strength to get position and get to the basket.

-had a tough inside finish over Murray.

-consistently makes hard cuts down the lane when he sees open space. Made a nice pass for a layup off one of these cuts.

-threw a pretty lob dunk pass from midcourt

-Murray and Heath should definitely be starting. Possibly spears as well - Dante will have to shoot/finish a lot better to hold off Spears for the PG spot.

Malcolm Wilson: 0 pts, 0-2 2 pt, 2 reb, 1 st, 1 bl, 1 TO

-quiet game for Wilson, did not have much impact on either end

-twice he got isolated on Murray/Spears. Both times he did a nice job to force difficult shots that ended up as misses.

Qudus Wahab: 27 pts, 12-16 2 pt, 3-3 FT, 0-2 3 pt, 13 reb (6 off), 1 asst, 4 TO

-the numbers were good, but he probably did not play as well as the numbers make it look

-opposing team did not have much size, so he was able to score effectively inside. He was able to beat the double teams he faced on every post up pretty consistently

-did not look to pass much out of double (and sometimes triple) teams. Still looked to shoot on a significant majority of his post touches

-Definitely looked a bit quicker and smoother offensively. He should score plenty of points, especially against teams with smaller 5’s.

-his two three point attempts looked OK. Did not miss by much, and form/rotation was good on both. Same thing with his foul shots - mechanics were significantly better than two years ago.

-defense: well, there’s the issue. Looked like the same defender he was in the past. His man was always out at the 3 point line. Q seemed to end up kind of in “no man’s land” a lot of the time - not contesting the 3 aggressively, but also not defending the rim in help D. He seemed to consistently get caught in between these two positions, offering little value. Q just does not have a natural feel for defense - always seems a beat or two behind the play.

-Aidan Curran tweeted at one point during the game that it felt a lot like the Colorado defensive debacle - spot on point. Q’s man wide open at the 3 point line, putting the defense into a scramble mode that usually produced a very good shot for the offense.

-Q is what he is - going to score lots of points when he is defended by smaller guys, but also going to cause big problems on defense when his man can hit 3s. You end up trading 2 point post up attempts for wide open 3 point attempts - most games you are going to lose that trade off.

-had a strong lefty post up finish. All game he worked hard to establish deep position early in the possession, leading to high percentage shots at the rim

-took his man off the bounce in transition. Could not finish, but looked much more skilled and smooth with the ball than I have ever seen him look before

-did pass out of a triple team to hit an open 3 point shooter, but the shot was missed

-grabbed an offensive board and went right back up to dunk over/through multiple defenders. Very strong move

-had a turnover trying to put the ball on the floor against a double team

-The lack of good post passing out of doubles was not totally Q’s fault.

team was feeding Q in the post a lot, but not providing much off ball movement. He was therefore not seeing a lot of easy open targets for kick out passes.

-Had a nice wheel move on the baseline to draw a foul. Quicker, more athletic move than he made in the past. Quick decision, quick footwork

-Donta Scott put a poster dunk on him in the second half. Not a bad play by Q - Scott got a clear run down the lane. Q tried to contest him at rim, but Scott had too much momentum/force flying to the rim

-threw a nice pass to a cutter off and offensive board

-towards the end of the game, he was getting frustrated on D. He would regularly make a half-hearted, ineffective closeout on a 3 point shooter; see the shot go in; and shake his head in frustration as he headed back down court.

-was not boxing out consistently as the game progressed. Kind of just stood in place and watched the ball when shots went up.

Wayne Bristol: 8 pts, 1-6 2 pt, 2-7 3pt, 1 off. Reb, 4 asst

-taller/thicker build than I expected

-the form/release on his shot is nice. But the release is a little slow, and it looked like he would only be consistently effective on open catch/shoot opportunities

-did a nice job passing. Made a few quick decision passes that led to easy baskets

-Offensively he struggled a bit. Missed shots, had a hard time creating many good opportunities for himself.

-quick pass off opening tip for a layup

-got beat badly on D off the ball on a back door cut

-nice interior pass to Q for a basket

-competed well when isolated on smaller/quicker guards, like Jahmir Young. Was able to force tough shots most of the time in these situations

-good quick pass to Q in the post for a basket

-game note: a couple of times, when the team failed to rebound: the coach of Q/Bristol’s teams yelled out “rebound” very loudly. It seemed like he may have been jokingly mimicking Ewing’s “rebound” yells.

Ryan Mutombo: 7 pts, 3-5 2 pt, 1-4 FT, 5 reb (3 off), 1 st, 1 TO

-definitely has added some bulk/muscle. Better able to establish/hold position down low

-compared to Q - seems more aware and quicker in his mental processing defensively

-consistently talked on defense

-hit a 12 foot jumper

-foul shot looked funky. Had an odd hitch/hesitation at the top of the shot. The release/rotation was good, but he missed 3 of 4 and it just looked a little odd

-was on the court only about half the time. He played OK, but overall did not have a whole lot of impact on the game.

-Ryan/Riley’s team really fell apart in the second half (outscored something like 54-23), and their offense was a complete mess in the second half. So it was a bit hard to assess these two players, as the team devolved into a real mess as the game progressed

Jordan Riley: 8 pts, 3-10 2 pt, 1-2 3pt, 5 reb (2 off)

-did not start the game, and played probably 50-60% of the game

-almost had a spectacular put back dunk the moment he got into the game

-forced a one footed Dirk-style fadeaway from about 12 feet - missed badly

-Great hustle steal from behind in transition. The play ended in a wide open 3 for Riley

-But airballed a wide open corner three shortly after the make

-great one handed lob dunk - pass was high/behind him. Had to reach up with one hand, grab the ball, and throw it down all in one motion. Very spectacular, athletic play

-had a smooth spin move/lefty finish

D’Ante Bass: 4 pts, 2-4 2pt, 0-5 3 pt, 3 reb, 1 asst, 2 st, 3 bl

-long and athletic. Moves with a smooth strength - always looks like one of the best athletes on the court

-moves the ball well on offense. Doesn’t hold it for too long- passes, shoots, attacks within a beat or two of getting the ball. Anglin played the same way - very crisp approach

-good shooting form on his 3s. But he fired up a few too many semi-contested 3s early in the shot clock, and did not hit any 3s in the game. Had a 3 to win the game at the buzzer that just rimmed out

-nice give/go cut, but missed the dunk

-made a similar cut on the next possession, finished with a layup

Denver Anglin: 11 pts, 4-6 2 pt, 3-6 3 pt, 2 reb, 4 asst, 1 st, 2 TO

-very solid all around player. Smart, under control. Shot is very solid, good feel for passing

-nice pass through traffic to open shooter in the corner

-good pass to Bass for easy dunk

-always talking on D

-team struggled badly late in first half when defense cranked up the pressure. Led to big scoring run. But team settled down when they hit a few 3s, including one by Anglin - to keep game from getting out of hand

-Anglin is not going to miss many open catch/shoot 3s - he is a very strong shooter

-Nice move: pump faked on a hard close out, took a dribble past flying defender, hit the open 15 footer on the baseline. Mature move.

-tough finish for Anglin/Bass’ team (Higher Level) in this game. They were playing against Andrew Washington. Washington is in his late 30s and has been a Kenner/international hoops mainstay for many years. He is a smart, tough, chippy player

-Higher Level was up 6 with maybe 50 seconds left, with the ball. Washington’s team, under his leadership - played super aggressive, physical D. They fouled a few times, as they were far from going into the bonus. Eventually the refs did not call a foul, resulting in a steal and a quick 3

-on the next possession - same thing. Anglin caught the inbound pass, Washington forcefully shoved him along the sideline, sending Anglin flying into the Higher Level bench. Ref did not call a foul, ruled the ball out off anglin. Washington of course then scored and got fouled, giving his team a 2 point lead

-Higher Level got a final possession with 6 seconds left. Bass got a decent look from 3, but the shot rimmed out.

-Anglin was clearly frustrated that Washington had been borderline dirty in shoving him into the bench at the end of the game. He was rubbing his shoulder and kind of muttering to himself. These Kenner games are like the NBA finals for Washington, and he played with an intensity and physicality late in the game that Higher Level could not handle. Washington probably went a bit over the line with his physicality - he could have injured Anglin. But it is a good experience for our freshmen to see how intense and physical games can get even in a summer league. Good prep for the Big East - this is not high school/AAU basketball, and you are going to play against guys willing to cross the line with their physical play at times.