Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

We’ve featured Indiana commit Troy Williams and Louisville Anton Gill in interviews and notes in the past and as they finish up their high school careers and head into their college lives, here’s a little something that HoopMixTape put together.

Russell Westbrook

It’s an interesting time in the world of basketball. For high school & college, it’s the offseason. For the NBA, it’s the playoffs. For AAU, it’s the regular season. And for college seniors and free agents it’s all about getting a draft look or a pro gig overseas.

So here’s some of the notes for today:

Ray Allen, one of the greatest perimeter shooters of all time has broken the 3 point playoff record, set by Reggie Miller, also one of the greatest perimeter shooters of all time.

Meanwhile, Stephon Curry, who went from under-recruited-can-he-play-at-the-Division-I-level to can-he-play-against-big-time-Division-I competition to oh-my-god-our-NBA-team-needs-him is questionable for Game 3 of his team’s playoff series against the Denver Nuggets.

Rick Pitino told his Louisville team at midseason that if they went on to win the NCAA national championship, he’d get a tattoo. It’s unclear if Pitino actually thought he would have to follow through, but however it came about he stuck to his word.

If you are into the NBA Playoffs (and really, why wouldn’t you be? It’s one of the only times that many NBA players actually care about winning), then you should check out TweetsFC, an awesome new app that lets you follow an entire team’s tweets at once.

Dave Telep takes on the entitlement of elite basketball players and how it’s hurting the game. He has some solid points.

Andre Goudelock has been finding some success just out of the limelight as he was named the MVP of the D-League, which is something that NBA teams should be paying attention to.

Alex Poythress

By James Blackburn

Game Scouted: Missouri vs. Kentucky

Kentucky wins 90-83 in OT

Box Score

Alex Poythress (6’8”, F, FR)

Stats
40 min, 8-10 FG, 1-1 3 pt FG, 4-6 FT, 7 reb, 2 assists, 1 blk, 21 pts

Strengths
The first thing to notice about Poythress is his combination of size, strength, and athleticism as a SF in college. Has seemed to have an extra bounce in his step tonight as he played perhaps the best game of his young career. He is a good rebounder, and was very active crashing the offensive boards this game. He doesn’t stand and watch on perimeter and crashes the boards on every shot. He also showed the capability of rebounding ball and pushing it ahead with the dribble. Offensively he showed a jump hook over left shoulder and an advanced mid-post game. Showed the ability to face up and score with a variety of moves from 18’ and in. Loves to score over left shoulder. Was more aggressive offensively in the second half. Athletic and plays above the rim. Capable of hitting the open 3 w/ his feet set, shot had good arc. I like his hustle and his attitude on the court. Unselfish player. Got to the FT line numerous times this game and took advantage. FT stroke looks good- would like to see him use more of his legs- but has good arc and form looks good- is shooting over 70% from stripe for the year. Hit a pair of big FT’s with under a minute in OT under pressure. Good footwork- does a nice job of screening, then turning and sealing his man in the post, where he was able to secure and maintain position.

Defensively, I was impressed with his understanding of position and effort as a freshman. He did a good job of shading screens and sprints back on defense. Capable of defending on the perimeter- showed the ability to move his feet and contest shots. Understands positioning off the ball and help defense. Impressed with not only his motor but his conditioning. For a player of his size, to be able to play the number of minutes he plays and perform at the level he does on the floor for those minutes, is good. Had several blocks this game, and made a game-saving block in the end of regulation to block lay-up attempt. High motor player with good upside.

Weaknesses
On first possession of game, a set was run where Alex would receive the ball at the nail at top of key. Instead of digging in and getting deep possession, he was v-cut in and popped out where he caught the ball outside the 3-point line. Took some poor angles a couple of times defending quicker players on the perimeter- but did a solid job defending for most part this game. Has a tendency to jump out of control at pump fakes and over commit on the perimeter. Invisible for stretches and struggled to score besides post ups and offensive rebounds for most of the first half. Needs to improve his ball handling skills especially the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. I believe he is capable to go in straight line drives, but cant change directions and speeds well like he would have to do to play SF at next level. Didn’t drive the ball one time from beyond the FT line. Poor hands. Had possessions where he screened well and then had other possessions where he didn’t head hunt and set poor screens. Needs to improve his left hand- favors his right hand in post up opportunities. Gets a little sloppy with the ball at times. Did a nice job of protecting the ball tonight, but is averaging 2.3 turnovers per game this season, which is high for a SF/PF.

Overview
Terrific game tonight from the freshman forward. Played more in the paint on both ends of the floor this game because of his size and his size advantage over opponents SF. If Kentucky’s guard play was better, I think he would of gotten the ball more in the first half.
Entered game averaging 11.5 ppg and 6.1 rpg. Consistency on the offensive end is a concern. He has scored 20 points or more 5 times this season, and has had double digits 14 times this year. But he has had 9 points or fewer in 12 of the other games this year. This can be contributed to the fact that he is a freshman and him having the tendency to go invisible offensively for stretches. If he can be aggressive offensively and play like he did tonight every night, he would be a sure fire lottery pick in my opinion and deservingly so. He needs to improve his left hand and his ball handling abilities, but NBA teams will love his mix of size, strength, and athleticism for a SF, his ability to defend, knock down the open 3, and his rebounding skills. All of these skills should translate well to the next level. He has a high ceiling and will only get better.

James Blackburn is the Director of Scouting for Basketball Elite and scouts high school, college and pro prospects. You can follow James on Twitter right this second.

By James Blackburn

Juan Fernandez Temple Basketball
Photo: OwlSports.com

Juan Fernandez (G, 6’4”, Senior)

Game Scouted: Temple @ Texas
Texas wins 77-65
Box Score

Stats
31 min, 2-8 FG, 4 assist, 2 steals, 5 TP

Strengths
Good sized guard, strong, solid frame. Keeps his dribble until he passes or shoots- always seeing the floor in the process- very good passer. Not a playmaker in the traditional sense of breaking down defender with dribble and getting to paint and kicking, but a playmaker none the less. His size allows him to see the floor, cutters, and the open man. He keeps his eyes up and is constantly scanning the court. Makes the smart and correct pass. Made a behind the back pass off a pick and roll to an open shooter in the first half. Gives the ball to players in positions for easy scores, which leads to high assists numbers, leads team in that category. Takes care of the ball- doesn’t turn the ball over. High basketball IQ, smart, makes the right plays at the right time. Takes good shots. Uses body and size well. Efficient. Sees the play before it happens on both ends.

Good defensive player- puts himself in good position, jumps to the ball, good help defender, plays the passing lanes well. Good closeout, contests shots. Anticipates and is in the right place at the right time defensively. Smart and deceptive defensively.

Good 3 point shooter- can come off screens- gets feet set and lets it go. Also showed the ability to shoot the dribble pull up, although he is a better set shooter. Struggled shooting the ball today, but his misses were off the back of rim and straight. Good shooting form- elbow in, feet set.

Well conditioned, plays a lot of minutes (over 34 mpg).

Plays well without the ball. Sets up cuts well off screens, changes speeds, fakes one way and goes the other. Does a nice job of instigating contact with defender to create space to come off the screen, receive ball, or to get shot off.

Weaknesses
Needs to improve ball handling-had to turn his back when bringing ball up court a few times. Can’t really create his own shot- doesn’t have the speed or athleticism to get by man or blow by defenders for lay-ups. Not a great rebounder, especially needs to improve offensive rebounding- only 1 all year on that end. Slow laterally on defense- would have trouble guarding quicker and shorter PG’s at next level- His IQ and size helps him compensate for lack of speed at this level.

Overview
Smart experienced guard- has been a starter since first game on campus. Can play and guard either guard position. Doesn’t have big time speed to blow by defenders, but changes speeds and size allows him to see over the defense and make the pass to the open teammate. His team is better with him on the floor, controls the pace, tempo, and flow of game. Is a great fit for this Temple team. Besides his shooting, scoring, and passing abilities, most of what Fernandez does for his team does not show up in the box score. Impacts the game in other ways besides scoring and makes others better. Reminds me of a combination of Jason Kidd now in his old age and Jaycee Carroll who played for the Boston Celtics summer league team last year in Orlando. Both players are good shooting PG’s with size. I see him taking a similar path as Carroll, may receive a summer league or training camp invite, but is likely to end up playing in a first league somewhere overseas.


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By Marcus Shockley

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and guard Bill Walker (L) sit on the bench during their loss to the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter of Game 3 their NBA Eastern Conference playoff basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York April 22, 2011. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Something that bears repeating now that the new-look New York Knicks have been unceremoniously dumped from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics is the fact that the Knicks continue to prove an old axiom, which is that you cannot overcome poor management. The Knicks have it in spades. You can count on very little in life, and consistency in sports can change from season to season in an era of free agency. However, once you spot bad management you can take it to the bank as long as it’s in place.

I can say with utmost confidence, just as I did when the Carmelo trade first occurred, that the Knicks aren’t a team to be taken seriously with the management and ownership they have in place. Not now, not next year, not if Chris Paul comes to New York. There’s no magic bullet that can stop the train of horrible ownership.

It should be stated that there is no reason that the Knicks cannot be a successful team. They have the glitz of a major city; the money of a large market; the fan interest that most teams crave. And yet, they are still just a first round sweep out of the playoffs.

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By Marcus Shockley

Tyler Lewis has become known for scoring, especially after he broke Chris Paul’s scoring record in this year’s Frank Spencer Holiday Classic. We caught up with Tyler, who is bound for NC State to play for the Wolfpack, and got his thoughts for this edition of 7 Questions.

1. What are some the reasons you decided on NC State?

I decided to play basketball at NCSU because I absolutely feel like it is the best program where my game will excel. I have fallen in love with the environment and the college. It also has a great basketball tradition and hopefully I will be able to get it back where it once was.

2. You have established a reputation as a scorer as well as a passer who has a flair for stylish passes. What’s your approach to a game, do you actively look for your own shot or do you consider yourself a distributor first?

As a PG you always have to look to distribute the basketball first and then look to score. I love making the highlight passes but I also know when to make the easy and simple pass. Even though I am usually a pass first point guard, I have to do what’s best for my team to excel. For example, in high school I average 27 ppg and 7 apg but I knew I had to score for my team to win. In AAU ball I am surrounded with much better athletes and I usually excel in the open court with my passing abilities.

3. Do you have a player (at any level) that you admire?

I absolutly love Chris Paul and Kemba Walker. I admire Chris Paul and Kemba Walker because they are such good leaders on and off the court. Kemba Walker is a winner. You can tell he hates losing becuase every time he is on the court he plays like it’s his last game. Chris and Kemba have the abilities to not only create shots for themselves but also create shots for others. Since I basically grew up in the same hometown as CP3 I look up to him in many ways. I had the ability to play with Chris in a pro-am league in Winston-Salem and had the ability to go to his backcourt camp 2 years ago and going again this summer. At our Christmas tournament this year I broke chris paul’s scoring record with 104 points in 3 games. It was a big honor for me because I have broken a record set my the best pg in the NBA. Also, I look up to players like Steve Nash because he as an unbelievable basketball IQ and even though he is not the fastest he is the smartest player in the game.

4. What part of your game are you currently working on?

I am currently working on gettting bigger. I am trying to get up to 170 before the high school season. Right now i am currently 162. I am also trying to get quicker laterly so I have the ability to stay in front of quicker guards and be a lock down defender.

5. What part of your game do you feel is the strongest right now?

I feel like my basketball IQ and my passing ability is the strongest point of my game right now. Also, my transition game is very good because I love to get the ball out and going. I love to play fast but at the same time make smart decisions with the basketball.

6. With your commitment decided, how does the Spring and Summer look for you? Will you continue to play the same circuit/games as you have in past years, or take a different approach?

Being committed to the Pack, I will still play on the circuit for Team Loaded again this summer. I want take a different approach to the summer because I hate losing and I want to win every game and have the best team in the country. Also, with the new coach at state I will try to impress him so I will try to show out this summer.

7. If you could tell people one thing about you that you wish they knew, what would it be?

I am a kid who loves the game of basketball and strives to be the best player I can be. I am very humble and I come from the best family. I have the best supporters and fan anybody could ask for. I love Wolfpack nation with a passion. I am a strong believer in CHRIST. If it was not for him, none of this would be happening for me, I am very thankful. God bless.

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By Marcus Shockley & James Blackburn

The ScoutsFocus Elite 80 Spring Showcase was held in Greensboro, NC over the weekend and there was quite a bit of talent to take note of. The event featured players from 2013 and older with a notable exception, which we will get to. The event ran long in scheduling and there was not an all-star game at the end. However, we attempted to watch as many games as possible and have come up with a Basketball Elite list of the top players that we were able to see through several games.

Apologies to a few players who arrived late and were not listed on the roster sheet, and we did not get a chance to talk to. This is our overall and class ranking for this specific event, and these are also the players we will continue to scout heavily in the coming months. There was a lot of speed on display at the camp, and the style of play was extremely loose. We intend to scout all of the players who attended again as much as possible in the future.

Top Players By Class

Class of 2014

Sadeeq Bello, 5’7″, PG (Westchester Country Day)

Saseeq is undersized at this point but extremely quick and looks to get the pass off with a flair. The younger brother of Duece Bello, Sadeeq was one of the few 2014 players attending but showed flashes of style and promise even against older players. Pushes the ball effectively up the floor and gets the ball to his teammates. He is working on become a serious playmaker and is a player to keep an eye on.

Class of 2013

Christian Hairston, 6’7″, SF (Greensboro Day)

Hairston has an exceptionally fluid game and runs both ends of the floor. Both James and Marcus independently chose Hairston as the best player in this event. At least a solid mid major prospect, he has the length and athletic ability to play either the 2 or the 3 in college. Needs to add some weight but plays hard and puts out effort at all times. Plays defense and is effective even without the ball. Will become more of a name over the next two years and looks like he’s willing to put in the work to elevate his game.

Was listed at 6’6″ but is actually 6’7″.

John Egbunu, 6’10″, PF/C (Mt. Zion)

Egbunu is raw but has a lot of potential. When he gets the ball around the rim he can throw down two-handed dunks, even on the run. Needs to work on his footwork some in the post, and was caught out of position on lateral defense at times, but is long and athletic with size. Really good prospect.

Sharwyn McGee, 6’5″, SF (Ragsdale)

Athletic and strong, with a great ability for rebounding. A solid prospect that works well in the post but has the ability and potential to play the 3 in college.

Reed Lucas, 6’4″, SG (Greensboro Day)

Great outside set shooter and extremely athletic; broke away for dunks, including a reverse. Really understands how to play without the ball and has good court awareness. Plays hard at all times, works and moves his feet on defense. Working on his ballhandling to be able to play PG more in the future.

Class of 2012

Chase Ward-McEwen, 6’2″, PG/SG (Parrot Academy)

Big time guard with explosive elite guard athleticism. Strong, smart player with crazy hops and knows how to play with or without the ball. Can play the 1 or the 2 with ease. Really understands how to play the game and looks like he could play in both the half court or the full court up tempo game. One the best pure athletes at the guard position we’ve seen this year, but it cannot be emphasized enough his court awareness and heady play. Defends, plays all out and is obviously a mature player. Quick hands on defense.

Keerthi Boru, 6’6″, SG (Grace of Raleigh)

Explosive slasher, very fast and smooth up and down the court. Moves well without the ball and can score with the ball in his hands. Needs to work on ballhandling, but is dangerous in transition and knows how to find spacing on the break. Competes on every play. Was listed at 6’6″ on the roster but is listed shorter in other places, so we’ll find out the accurate measurements.

Sheck Sero, 6’9″, PF/C (Mt. Zion)

The other tower in Mt. Zion’s frontcourt, Sero is also long and athletic, but needs to work on running the floor and his hands, handling the ball on the pass into the post.

Mike Dimitropolous 6’6″ SG/SF (Veritas Christian Academy)

A player hails from Greece and who looks more like a college 3 but also plays the 2, an active and fundamental player. Works hard even in drills but sometimes had trouble in the fast pace of the open court games. Decent shooter and does not make many mistakes. Has gotten interest from Elon and Arizona State.

Michael Blum, 6’2″ SG (Veritas Christian Academy)

Solid guard who can shoot and works the offense effectively. Great outside shooter.

Basil Deveaux, 6’6″, SF (Veritas Christian Academy)

Ahtletic and long, promising prospect and big time slasher who plays well in the open court and transition. Can get out of control with the ball in his hands going full speed, but also can explode to the rim just as easily. An exciting player to keep an eye on.

Class of 2011

Lindsey Johnson, 6’1″, PG/SG (Cary Christian School)

Also one of both of our favorites of the event. Smart, really understands the game and what’s happening around him, he’s athletic and defends well. Works hard the entire game. Not going to wow you with highlights but impresses with his ability to score the ball in a myriad of ways. Was player of the year in his conference and an All-State performer. He averaged 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assist a game this past season. Definitely has the ability to play at the next level and has the maturity to get it done.

Denzell Hosch, 5’10″ PG/SG (Charis Prep)

Good scorer who can shoot and get to the rim. Good team player. Vocal, and obviously a leader. A dynamite scorer who cannot be left open and will burn the defense, but also knows how to run the offense. Solid in many areas. NC A&T and Winston-Salem State have offered him. Appalachian State and UNCG have expressed interest. His team today gelled together very well – they filled the lanes on the break and shared the ball well.

Lacurtis Latimore, 6’1″, SG (Trinity Christian School)

Strong and active scoring guard who is hard to stop when he has the ball in his hands. Can score on the break or from the half court set. Can finish in traffic, even with contact. Dangerous when he’s got the ball, but needs to work on making an impact when he doesn’t have the ball in his hands.

Aaron Smith, 5’9″, PG (Mt. Zion)

Solid, strong guard who can create his own offense. Mature enough and good enough passer to play the PG spot, but also a solid scorer who can play off the ball effectively as well. Very disciplined guard who understands the game and plays with poise and strength. A winner, talks on the floor and competes. Has a nice pull up jumper and his scoring ability keeps the defense from collapsing on the big men.

Top Overall Players (All Star Team)

Christian Hairston, 6’7″, SF (Greensboro Day)

Chase Ward-McEwen, 6’2″, PG/SG (Parrot Academy)

Lindsey Johnson, 6’1″, PG/SG (Cary Christian School)

Denzell Hosch, 5’10″ PG/SG (Charis Prep)

Lacurtis Latimore, 6’1″, SG (Trinity Christian School)

Aaron Smith, 5’9″, PG (Mt. Zion)

John Egbunu, 6’10″, PF/C (Mt. Zion)

Most Outstanding Player

Both James and Marcus independently decided on the same player as the top player at this event, Christian Hairston (6’6″, SF, 2013).

There were three players who were not listed on the roster sheet, but would have made this list. We are still working to track them down.

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Now Featuring…

Basketball Elite is proud to welcome Andrew Macaluso to our group of regular contributors. Andrew will be bringing his own take on basketball related content and will help us continue to expand our coverage. Andrew is currently finishing up the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English at Indiana University. He’s interned with and done work for Dime Magazine. Had an article feature on ESPN about Deron Williams and is currently a contributor for sites such as SLAMonline.com and EndangeredHoops.com. He’s the most optomistic writer on the planet.

Be on the lookout for Andrew’s upcoming work and be amazed at his deft skill of insightful basketball discussion.

By James Blackburn

Bulls Win 83-75

Box Score

Game Recap/Thoughts

* The Bucks are a very talented team from top to bottom – with depth at every position – but are underachieving this season. Very surprising from a Scott Skiles coached team.
* The Bulls are becoming a force to be reckoned with in the East with Noah back in uniform.

* The Bucks rely too much on 1 on 1 and isolations. They turn the ball over too much and shoot bad shots.

* The Bucks should be going inside to Bogut a lot more than they are.

* The Bulls pass the ball well and are capable of playing in the half court as well as getting up and down the floor in transition.

Derrick Rose
Keith Allison

* The Bulls have all the ingredients to push deep into the playoffs: Defensive minded team and coach, MVP candidate/Go to player (Rose) shooters (Bogans, Korver), post scoring (Boozer), rebounding (Noah), Role players (Deng,Brewer), and hustle players (Gibson, Asik), and veteran leadership (Thomas, Scalabrine).

Scouting Reports

Bucks

Andrew Bogut (35 min, 2-10 FG, 16 reb, 2 assist, 6 TP)

Strengths- Good footwork in the post. Good rebounder. Has decent post moves. Had a big dunk on Asik in 2nd quarter. Good passer out of post.

Weaknesses- Does not run the floor well. Has zero lift on shot- midrange/ or post moves. Jerky release on FT’s. Flat shot. Looked tired and frustrated through out the game. Got double teamed a lot by the Bulls and did not react well to it.

Overall- Poor overall performance by Bogut tonight. Never really got into a rhythm- part of that is his fault and part of that is his teammates fault for not going to him enough inside. With his size and strength, I thought he settled for too many shots outside the paint and shied away from contact in the pain. Has proven through out his career to be an above average center in this league- solid rebounder and fundamental post guy.

Brandon Jennings (26 min, 2-6 FG, 2 assist, 3 TO’s, 4 TP)

Strengths- Can get into the lane easily with his speed and quickness. Has a nice left handed floater and scoop shot. Has the ability to create his own shot. Active and quick hands on defense.

Weaknesses- Needs to improve his shooting, mainly his consistency. Tends to fade when he shoots his jumper. Must get stronger- gets caught on screens easily- had a tough time defending the stronger Rose. Picked up his dribble out on the perimeter too early several times. Needs to improve his right hand- very reluctant to go to his right.

Overview- Not a very good performance at all from the 2nd year PG from Oak Hill Academy. Jennings did not look like he wanted to be on the floor most of the night- did not impact the game whatsoever- pulled a disappearing act. Jennings seems to have hit a sophomore slump as of late after having a remarkable Rookie season. Jennings took the unconventional route out of HS and went to play in Italy instead of playing college ball in the states. Skeptics thought this would hurt the highly touted guard, but he has performed well as the starting PG for the Bucks.

Larry Sanders (24 min, 3-7 FG, 3 rebounds, 6 TP)

Strengths- Good defensive player- has the ability to potential to defend on the perimeter. Long with wide wingspan. Active, runs the floor hard. Can shoot the midrange jumper- high release- nice stroke.

Weaknesses- Looked jittery at times with the ball, indecisive; too much in a hurry- needs to develop patience and slow down. Forced the issue at times- hurried some shots, took some poor shots- needs to improve decision making. Made several rookie mistakes. Needs to continue to improve overall rebounding- didn’t block out man several times.

Overview- Solid outing for the rookie out of VCU. Very raw and filled with potential- reminds me of DeAndre Jordan for the LA Clippers. He was drafted by Milwaukee with the 15th overall pick. Solid pick up for the Bucks. Plays hard and hustles- could become solid player in this league, especially under the tutorage of Andrew Bogut.

Bulls

Carlos Boozer (33 min, 5-9 FG, 3-7 FT, 6 rebounds, 13 TP)

Strengths- Good hands, very strong, good P/R player, has the ability to face up man and shoot the midrange or put the ball on the floor and go to the basket. Draws fouls well. Fundamental and hard working player. Has a well-rounded offensive game.

Weaknesses- Struggles from the FT line. Plays under the rim- not athletic- has a tough time defending the perimeter. Has an unusual shooting form- but hits the midrange with consistency.

Overview- Boozer is fitting in nicely with the Bulls, since signing this summer after leaving Utah. I believe Boozer is the piece that can take this franchise to the next level. He brings scoring, veteran leadership, and a winning attitude. Good overall game from Boozer tonight helping the Bulls get a road victory.

Joakim Noah (33 min, 4-8 FG, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, 8 TP)

Strengths- Excellent rebounder-very active on the glass- boxes out on both ends- rebounds the ball with 2 hands- puts his body on the line- best offensive rebounder in basketball and second best overall rebounder in the NBA in my opinion behind Kevin Love. Had 13 rebounds in the 1st half alone. Very strong and physical – good defender. Sets solid screens.

Weaknesses- Needs to improve overall offensive game- does not have a jumper at all. The Bucks left Noah open for the 15’ all night – he was reluctant to shoot it – did shoot it once – very bad miss as a result. Goes up strong- but needs to finish better around the rim.

Overview- Noah is a player who knows what his role is and he does not try to do things outside of his limits. Knows his strengths and weaknesses and maximizes his strengths (rebounding) and minimizes his weaknesses (offense). Competes and hustles on every play. The Bulls are very glad to have Noah back after he missed 30 games with injury.

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