Are we young.... yes, we're young. This is brave new world time for this bunch. Last year at this time, they were playing in HS gyms. Being away on the road meant a bus trip, not an airline flight. Yes, some of them are AAU veterans, but now we're talking about new digs, new authority figures, new responsibilities and no more home cooking. Are they talented, yes, are they eager? you betcha, are they playing like a team yet.....well that remains to be seen.
We must remember that this is a work in progress and the observations listed below, are just that, observations. They are not indictments on their collective basketball IQ or their athletic ability. Just calling it as I see it, feel free to chime in on what I missed, what may be explained away and offer opinions of your own.
Let us begin in no particular order, because rating kids at this stage almost seems to be unfair, but fandom demands that we start the conversation someplace...Let me say this, I am excited about all of our guys and believe that they do have loads of potential. The hard part is slogging through these painful development stages.
1) MoMo Jones - Seems to have a bit of a control issue or maybe it's more of an internal barometer adjustment thingy. He likes uptempo, but when he goes uptempo he loses control of his body or the ball or both much too often. He has to learn that while he's fast, he's not Darren Collison fast. Forces shots when he's in charge instead of distributing first, when he's at the point. Looks like he gets down on himself when he misses his first shot, often appears to take it outside of the flow of the game. Needs to work on his feet positioning on his defense, but I've seen improvement on that from the beginning of the year.
2) Solomon Hill - has drifted in and out of games. Can take over a possession or two, but then fades back into the woodwork. Looks like he could work on the help defense aspect of the game since he's likely to be the primary help defender in the lane in off ball situations. He has a good mid range shot, should feel confident in using it as it will allow him more opportunities to slash to the hoop once it's established. had a good board presence in the LaTech game, but could stand to assert himself on the boards more often to help with the OREB/DREB woes.
3) Kyryl Natyatzchko - Shows great lateral movement and runs the floor effectively. Needs to watch out on how much help defense he provides because either the rotation is slow in providing the assist (likely) or he lacks the quickness and feet positioning to make an easier transition back to his man. Needs to work on his bunnies and should feel free to dunk it once in a while. Has a nice jump shot and if they are leaving him alone at 8 feet, feel free to take the open J man. Also needs to work on keeping the ball up, is getting stripped too often in the lane, but that seems to be the case with every beginning big man outside of Tim Duncan. Could use some work on boxing out people (just like Solomon) but I don't know if Buck Williams is around to teach clinics on that or not.
4) Derrick Williams - Not a lot to say, a fluid kid with 3 skills playing the 5. Could stand to be more savvy about picking up cheap fouls, but that comes with being young. Has trouble at times establishing position and when he stops working, he fades. That could be a matter of his breakout performances, so he's garnering more attention on the blocks. Needs to spend some time working on free throws. If you're gonna be in the paint getting that attention, gotta make them pay for it.
5) Kevin Parrom - incomplete, like what we had seen in preseason, but first he has to get healthy, then get in shape and then get game time. Looks like he may well be our glue guy, but we have to wait and see.