I was going to post this yesterday, but thought people might go bananas, but since my post yesterday generated some nice comments back, I will post this now. This is my follow-up to my UNKNOWN post.
First, I think we have all vastly overrated the talent on this team. I look around the returning squad and see only 1 player who I think is a 1st or 2nd team PL Player. That player is TK, who I think will become a dominant big man, if not next year, then in his final 2 seasons. After him, I see a lot of average players, who have deficiencies that outweigh their strengths. In follow-up, I do agree that some are slightly KNOWN quantities at this point, but I don’t really love what I see in them, or their upside. Bottom line is in a halfcourt set, we have really nobody who can get you a bucket. Where do you go late in a close game? Why do you think we lose late so often? There are no stars, or upcoming stars on this roster, in my opinion.
Looking back over the years, I think after 8-10 games, you know if you have something special. If you look at the last great trio GK/HG/CM, we knew 10 games in they were special. Maybe a little later for HG, but he was showing signs very early that he was a player. When you get those talents, the coach finds big minutes for those guys, and can work around their talents to find a set rotation. Reed has struggled all year to find that minute ratio and rotation, and I think it is primarily because he is stumped on a game by game basis of who shows up. As I said earlier, the young excuse becomes weaker after 30 college games, and I am starting to believe we have overrated the talent on this roster.
Here are my knowns:
TK – As stated above, I think will be a 2,000 point scorer. I penciled him in before he showed up as a 4 year starter, and he has performed at the level I expected. With more experience, he will be the best big man in the league for probably 3 seasons. I think he is 18/10 over the rest of his Lehigh career. Is he ever going to be a power player, no. But, he has enough finesse, post moves and jump shot to be one of Lehigh’s best when he finishes, and probably their best 5.
CS- We know he is a really solid contributing guard at either the point and the 2. Is he a star, no, but a really nice player who may need to really score next season. Glue player who plays really hard with a high intensity and IQ. As a coach, you love guys like this.
JG- Nice hustle, first big off the bench. Or perhaps, a 5th starter and last offensive option in the starting 5. Solid rebounder and defender, and shot changer, but very limited in offensive sets. Really no post up game, or not a consistent throw it to the low box and score game.
DC – Can’t play. Will never contribute in a meaningful way. Showed nothing as a freshman, and after injury no more or less. What does he do well? Slash to hoop, no. Jump shot, no. On the ball defender, no.
CR/GP – As stated earlier, we know they are walk-ons, which generally means they won’t contribute. I would agree on that front. I would like to see CR get a little more run, based on his purported athleticism and his scoring prowess in high school. But, I don’t see practices, so I have to assume he is behind the others that play. I just got a feeling he was a baller, but can’t tell.
SC – He is a perimeter shooter, plain and simple. A 3 point specialist who would be effective to play against zone. He cannot create his own shot off the dribble, and is a liability on the defensive end. He can be instant offense, but needs stuff run for him to be effective, either off screens or as a kick out shooter when the post gets doubled. Every team needs a guy like this, but not as a starter.
Now we move to unknowns, and what I think we may know:
AP- A lot of people on this board like him. I’m not really sure why. What does he do well … shoot the ball from distance. Fine, that skill is a dime a dozen in college. Can he really handle the ball? No. Can he put it on the floor and get to the rim? No. Is he a lockdown perimeter defender? No. Is he an energy guy who plays really hard at both ends? No. Is he an above average rebounder from the guard position? No. I have no idea why he plays so much. It has been discussed that he came from a top high school program and that is fine, but I don’t think it means much. I guess the argument there is he is a heady player because he got solid HS coaching, but he makes a ton of poor decisions and it has cost them a couple of games this year. He is what he is, which is a stand still perimeter shooter, not much different than SC, and probably not as good a shooter. I don’t see him projecting to a top level PL player. He plays passive and soft.
JC – Probably my biggest disappointment on the roster. We saw the body, the frame, the length, the skill set, etc, we were teased by having to wait a year, and he has been pretty average or below. Unbelievably, he basically just wants to sit outside and shoot 3’s. It was what he did in high school and apparently it is what he wants to do for Lehigh. At his size, he is a non-factor in the paint. He is not a good rebounder. He can’t be an offensive rebounder as he is usually 20 feet from the basket. He doesn’t block shots, and he is not a great inside defender. He is on my All-Showroom Team, looks great in the showroom, average when he gets out on the road. Or, he reminds me of the NFL Combine workout star, who doesn’t show it on the field. I thought this guy was going to be a flat out PL stud. And, all he has shown is that he is consistently inconsistent. And, he is no longer a young player, based on his age.
MS – Now he is a true unknown in my book. He has quicks, and can push tempo a bit, nice handle. I question his jump shot. It looks like he does not have a repeatable motion, or stroke, it is kind of a heave, herky jerky, not great rotation on the ball, etc. And, he is very small and slight and I don’t see him as a great finisher at the rim in the future. I would say MM has been a very solid finisher in his Lehigh career, but he is much thicker and has a nice array of moves at the rim. Maybe MS has those, not sure. He could be your starting PG next year, or, he could be your 4th choice PG next year behind the 2 incoming frosh, and CS. Would have liked to see more from his this season.
SW – Again, a disappointment so far. I think we all hoped he was going to be your jack of all trades, HG replacement. Guy who could score, rebound, defend, score at rim and from outside, with a jumper out to 3 point range. Guy who could pass it as well. So far, he is none of those things. Again, what does he do really well, what is his baseline skill? Not a good shooter, not a real slasher/finisher at the rim, not a great defender, not a great ferocious rebounder. He does play unselfishly, willing passer. Does he project as a star, not at this point in my book. To me, he is John Adams early in his career, before he learned to shoot the 3.
So, that is how I see current roster. It is a negative look, I agree, but that is what I have seen so far. Hope it gets a lot better, but I see little star power.
Finally, on the JRG front. Some folks seem high on him. What I know is he can jump, really well. But, he is only 6’4″. To me that means he is going to be a perimeter player. Possible he could play in post, but you need rare skill at that size to be a real impact player (see Daren Queenan, who was also a 6’4″ leaper). He is going to have to make a jump shot to be effective. In highlights, I have seen mostly dunks on weaker high school level talent, in a non-talent rich environment. He was basically a non-factor at Lipscomb, which is a really bad team in a really bad conference. He had impact in one game. One stat I do like is he shoots a lot of foul shots, which means he can get to the line. That is a prerequisite skill to be a big time scorer. That is positive, hopefully he is an effective slasher from the wing who can finish, because that is really what this team needs. All that being said, I think he is going to be average player. If he was a top PL level talent, I don’t think he would be here. He would have been now a 2 year starter at Lipscomb.
Other transfer, unknown. Incoming freshmen, we will see. But, I see no star power on this team. It is an average group on an average team.