Here goes some scouting reports of SU commits and targets that I was able to watch throughout the season.
Game one vs Wilbraham & Monson(Goodluck Okononboh)-20pts, 9ast, 2rbs, 1stl, 8to, 3-7 3pt, 3-4 ft. 89-86 victory.
Game two vs Tilton in a quarterfinal playoff game-11pts, 5ast, 4rbs, 4stls, 1blk, 2to, 1-4 3pt, 2-2 ft. 75-59 victory.
Outside of the turnovers, it was a pretty solid outing in both games for Joseph. People unfairly label him as a scoring guard, but trust me he’s definitely a pass first PG. He’s always looking to move the ball and make the extra pass, which at times in a strange way does more harm than good for him. For example, there was one play in crunch time after his team blew a 21pt 2nd half lead, Joseph drives to the lane and instead of shooting a floater over Goodluck, he decided to throw a behind the back pass to the perimeter that was stolen and scored on the other end. That definitely won’t fly next season. He has terrific version and a quick first step, but at times he’s prone to making careless WTF passes.
It’ll be day and night as far as tempo is concerned going from Ennis to Joseph. Joseph doesn’t waste any time pushing the rock when a transition opportunity presents itself and the scoring success rate has been highly positive in the games that I have seen. His 3pt shot is pretty respectable. He gets good elevation and has a nice release on his shot. His bread and butter move as mentioned before back in the summer is his mid-range shot, but it’s nice to see that he can occasionally knock down the long-range bomb. I was a little critical of his defense when I last saw him over the summer, but he really stepped it up in both games that I watched. His opponents had a hard time getting past him. He deflected a few passes, came away with several steals, and when somebody tried to post him up down low he actually came away with a block shot.
As noted above, both games were 36 minutes and he played every single minute of both. You could say on one hand it’s a positive that his condition is that good. On the flip-side, in the last 5 minutes of each game he really struggled with his shot and looked to be on tired legs. Plenty of his jumpers were front rim misses and that’s usually due to fatigue. He’s a prideful kid that’s a competitor and definitely won’t back away from a big challenge.
He’ll start but at this point I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with him playing more than 30 minutes a night next season. It’s disappointing that we only got one year of Ennis, because the perfect situation for Joseph and SU next season would’ve been for him to be that legitimate backup at the point, learn behind Ennis and then get the keys to the Benz the year after. Now we have to hope and pray that the staff can add another ball handler to help him out because if he’s our only option at PG, then I guarantee you that his tank will run on E by season end. With that said, next season will be a huge learning experience for him and I really like his physical tools and potential. I personally think we could be looking at a taller version of Flynn when he enters his sophomore year.
Wildwood Catholic first round playoff game-21pts, 8rbs, 3ast, 2stls, 1blk, 1to, 4-6 3pt, 5-5 ft. 53-45 victory.
We might have missed out on James Young last year but this kid is pretty much a replica and may even be better than him in a few years. The first thing you notice when looking at him is how long his arms are(wingspan is supposedly close to 7ft) and how effortlessly he gets his shot off from deep. Very much Southerland-like with how fast he can catch and let it rip. When I watched him last year at Roselle, he was basically a catch n shoot guy, but now he has expanded his game and is much more comfortable putting the ball on the floor and getting off his own shot. He even led the break numerous times in transition and always made the correct pass. He would’ve had about eight assists if his teammates were able to finish better.
Defensively he does a solid job staying in front of his man using his length to cause problems. He rebounded his area well but at times would get lazy and watch the ball in the air instead of getting after it letting the opponent come away with the offensive board. Richardson gives plenty of versatility because he can play both positions at the 2 and 3. Plus he has the overall intangibles that we saw missing from this team this season as far as having players who could do a variety of things on the floor. At 6’6, Richardson can shoot, handle, and pass. He’s just an overall playmaker that will fill out the stat sheet every game once he gets the playing time. Best part of the game for me was when Richardson’s team was down by 5 in the last qtr and he suddenly scored six straight points in about a minute to give his team the lead and they never looked back. Love players that aren’t afraid to step up in crunch time.
Vs Fishburne Military – Had him charted for 8pts, 8rbs, 4blks, 2ast, 2to, 0-2 3pt, 2-2ft.
As noted he’s very skinny but runs the floor well and isn’t allergic to battling inside. Unlike Derrick Jones who I’ve scouted several times, Lydon knows how to use his athleticism and length to rebound in traffic, plus blocking and altering numerous shots inside. What I really like is how even when he’s not in the position to get the board he always tries his best to at least tip it out to a teammate or just try and keep things alive to get the possession. Didn’t get to see his overall offensive skill set, as he mostly scored inside off put backs and in transition. He does handle the ball well and looks comfortable handling it out on the perimeter. He has the competitive nature that I think the fans will love and should be a real solid stretch forward for us. I’m excited to see how his game rounds out when he packs on some muscle. The slight frame currently causes him to get moved around easily at times, but we must remember New Hampton is the same school that turned Noah Vonleh from a skinny wing last year to a well built physical 5 man now.
Vs Blair Academy
Even though his team got spanked in the 2nd half, King Moustapha was a beast in this one scoring half of the team total points. I had him charted for 27pts, 12rbs, 2blks, 2to, 3-6 ft.
He went up against another big man that’s committed to Saint Louis for next year and flat out abused this kid in the low post. He knocked down plenty of hook shots with both hands and his footwork and spacing in the post was superb. It’s amazing to see such polish down low with somebody who has been barely playing ball for 2 years now. Defensively he held his ground and made it tough for the SLU commit to do anything on offense.
If the shot wasn’t blocked then it was altered by his length. It got so bad for the kid in the 1st half that at the end of it he almost got into a fight with Diagne, in which I’m sure that wouldn’t have ended well for him also. On the negative as some have mentioned, he does have a bad tendency at times to not hustle his butt up the court when he’s trailing a play where the numbers are at a disadvantage. It cost his team a few times because Blair was able to finish with a few put backs, where if he had hustled he could’ve either grabbed the board or get into position to block/alter the shot. That’s a big difference from what you see from Bryant, Diallo, and Silva. Those three are always in full go mode on both ends and take no plays off.
On the flip-side, none come even close to the post skills that Diagne have. It’s a big plus with the shooters that we’ll have loaded up when he steps on campus such as Cooney, Malachi, BJ, and Lydon. Where he’ll command plenty of double teams inside and the shooters will consistently be wide open for shots. I really liked his performance in this one and think his skill set will be huge to go along with the current and future players that we’re bringing in.
Thomas Bryant vs Cheick Diallo
Got a chance to watch the Bryant vs Diallo matchup recently. It was a little disappointing because Bryant sat mostly 3/4 of the game with foul trouble and he was nearly paralyzed after taking a nasty fall in the 3rd quarter. When he did actually play I would say that he won individual battle head to head against Diallo. He scored against him with a post move inside and knocked down a three. Diallo had a much tougher time trying to score over Bryant’s length and Bryant cleaned up all of the rebounds that came in their area. With Bryant on the bench, Diallo took full advantage and provided plenty of points, rebounds, and hustle plays to put his team in position to win before falling short.
Diallo isn’t the most skilled on offense and his team hardly runs any plays for him, but he’s very aggressive whenever he has space with he ball and is a very good finisher and seems to always be around the ball somehow or another. It was a typical performance from TB when he was out there. Lots of hustle and activity up n down the floor. He’s still stuck in cement slow laterally but moves well vertically. I wonder if that’s something the staff can work on with him because he was not this slow laterally last year at BK. Another intangible that I think you guys would love is that even though TB hardly played, he was the biggest cheerleader for his squad. Encouraging his teammates, giving them instructions, and when they won with him sitting on the bench he ran on the court happy like a little kid who has seen the ice cream truck coming on the block. I think he’s the type of player and character that would be a big fan favorite at the Dome.
Let me first say this kid has always been like Big Foot to me since last spring. Meaning I’ve always heard his name and people talk about his upside and potential but I’ve never been able to see any film or highlights on him until recently, anyway I digress. Even though he didn’t light up the scoreboard finishing with only 7pts, I was actually quite impress with him and what he could be down the line. Silva’s motor was not lacking in this one as he ran the floor on each end like a 400m runner. He showed off his athleticism jumping really high for numerous grown man rebounds in traffic, even starting the break handling the rock a few times with mixed results haha.
He’s not as comfortable as Diagne operating in the post, as his HS coach noted recently that the post moves are the last stage of the game he needs to work on. With that said he did score a few times in the post and was able to draw a couple of fouls to get to the line. Surprisingly he’s more comfortable shooting jumpers out on the perimeter. He knocked down a nice mid-range shot and even shot a few threes that didn’t miss too badly. He’s definitely a work in progress as well but I love how active he was rebounding, protecting the paint, and running the floor on both ends. I think out of all the bigs we’re recruiting he’s the most athletic and has the best versatility to play the 4 and 5.
Vs Hunterdon-22pts, 11rbs, 3ast, 3stls, 1blk, 3to, 1-8 3pt, 9-15 ft, in a 67-53 victory.
Battle is a stat sheet stuffing do it all type of guard. At 6’5, he has the skills, handle, and vision of a lead guard with the way he was able to grab rebounds and start numerous fast break opportunities. Defensively he has quick hands with good length and anticipates well for steals. Battle struggled with his outside shot, but displayed a very quick first step when driving inside which resulted in plenty of foul calls and trips to the line for him. Overall Battle is a very talented player that impacts the game in many ways. Scary thing is that for as good as he is now, his best basketball is still ahead of him for years to come