NCAA Tournament Scouting: San Diego State (2) vs. Connecticut (3)

By James Blackburn

San Diego State

West Regional Semifinals- 2011 NCAA Sweet 16 matchup
Connecticut wins 74-67

Box Score

Game Recap/Thoughts

1st Half

• UConn is getting only one shot every trip early in the 1st. half – State is doing a great job on the boards.
• Leonard picked up his 2nd foul with a un-sportsmanlike technical 4 minutes into the game – had to be taken out – we will see how this effects State the rest of the half.
• UConn is shooting contested shots – poor shot selection.
• San Diego St. is getting whatever it wants on the offensive end. Going inside out.
• SDSU is getting in foul trouble early – they have 2 guys with 2 fouls each with over half of the 1st half remaining.
• UConn is going one-on-one too much – not a lot of movement. State on the other hand is running a lot of good sets.
• Leonard is back in with 9 minutes left.
• UConn is using a lot of clock on the offensive end – having to take bad shots to beat the shot clock
• SDSU loves to run the floor – they are doing a good job in the half-court too. SDSU is also doing a great job of entering the ball to the post.
• SDSU’s big’s do a great job of passing out of the post.
• UConn closed the half on a 19-5 run because of State’s turnovers and the fact that UConn is starting to run their sets and shooting better shots.

2nd Half

• SDSU goes to Leonard for the 1st play.
• UConn is setting ball screens for Walker and letting him create.
• UConn should start denying the post entry pass or double the post – SDSU is able to get the ball to their big’s way too easily and once they get the ball, they have space to operate.
• SDSU just took the lead with 13 minutes to go in the game – going inside out and UConn is settling for poor shots and doing too much one-on-one and not running the play.
• UConn’s freshmen are taking some quick shots early in the offense.
• UConn takes a timeout after some recent sloppy play, resulting in SDSU 4 point lead.
• SDSU is losing the mental battle this game – Franklin picked a un-sportsmanlike technical with 9 minutes left for a shoulder bump after a time out.
• The game is starting to get chippy and the refs are calling it tight.
• Game is full of runs by both teams – UConn is on a 9-0 run right now, mostly by Walker, with Leonard on bench with 4 fouls.
• UConn has no answer for SDSU’s post players.
• Big 4 point play for SDSU’s Gay with 3:45 remaining. Big momentum swing.
• Lamb with a big steal to secure the win for UConn.
• UConn is just the 2nd team to beat San Diego State all season, the other one being BYU.

Scouting Reports

Connecticut

Kemba Walker (G, 6’1”, JR)

Strengths: shifty- can get to the lane/rim at will- changes speeds well. Moves well with out the ball. Great shooter – has NBA 3 point range. Can shoot off the catch, off the screen, and can create his own shot – very good form. Gets good elevation on jumper. Plays hard and plays a lot of minutes – well conditioned – never came out of the game. Dived on the floor for a steal. Good anticipation on defensive end. Explosive scorer – can score in bunches when he gets going. Good body control in air. Array of offensive moves in his arsenal – loves to pump fake and step in to mid range jumper. At his best when isolated at the top of the key and is given freedom and space to create. Gets to the FT line at a high rate.

Weaknesses: over dribbles, good FT shooter- but tends to drop his hands after follow through – causes him to miss, he needs to hold his follow through. Goes to his right most of the time – needs to improve left – even though he did show the ability to use his left this game.

Overview: Better at the off guard than at PG – more of a scorer than a play-maker. Tweener – some NBA scouts/GM’s will question how much Walker can contribute at the NBA level because of size. The guy can play – he is a competitor and a winner – had a terrific game tonight – showed off his full arsenal and ability to score the ball in a variety of ways. He wants the ball in clutch situations and when the game is on the line. He comes from a good program and a good conference. The Big East is known for producing good NBA players. He would be a solid top 15 pick in my opinion.

Roscoe Smith (F, 6’8”, FR)

Strengths: Ability to shoot the 3. Long and athletic – gets off the ground quickly. Still raw in the post – but showed a nice drop step. Good rebounder. Had a nice back door cut in 2nd half – and had a nice reverse acrobatic finish.

Weaknesses: needs to get stronger in the upper body – opponents post players get deep position on him – results in foul trouble.

Overview: Highly touted freshman – was a Jordan All-American. A player to keep an eye on – still raw in many areas, but I see a lot of potential in him. The NBA is in his future.

San Diego State

Kawhi Leonard (F, 6’7”, SO)

Strengths: Good rebounder. Can face the basket, put ball on floor and attack the basket, can advance the ball up the court with the dribble after securing the rebound. Active and physical player, strong – constantly moving – full of energy. Good enough ball handler to bring ball up the court and initiate the offense. Underrated passer. Attacks the basket hard – explosive going to his right. High release on shot.

Weaknesses: Prefers to go to his right – needs to improve left hand. Needs to improve shooting – extend range (shooting less than 30% from 3 this year). Slow release on set shot. Needs to improve shooting overall.

Overview: Got a technical foul 4 minutes into the 1st half because he was talking to the opposing players – it was his 2nd foul – had to come out (1st technical of his career). Body is NBA ready – solid effort tonight – scored, rebounded, and assisted. Should be a solid role player in the NBA.

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