By James Blackburn

Paul Hewitt Georgia Tech Head Coach
geeknerd99 (some rights reserved)

Georgia Tech wins 80-54
Box Score

Game Recap/Thoughts

1st Half

• Georgia Tech’s defense is terrible in the first few minutes. There is zero shot blocking inside and they can not stay in front of Wake’s guards.
• Both teams are turning the ball over at a high rate.
• Tech’s half-court trap is really giving Wake Forest problems.
• Georgia Tech is making Wake pay for their turnovers – scoring lay-ups in transition.
• Wake Forest can’t guard the three very well.
• Wake goes through too many scoreless stretches – they turn the ball over and take terrible shots.

2nd Half

• Wake is continuing to struggle against Tech’s half-court trap.
• Georgia Tech is moving the ball much better this half.
• Wake is not boxing out well.
• Georgia Tech is playing great overall defense.
• Georgia Tech is not a very disciplined team.
• Tech won their first road game of the season and set a school record with steals in the win with

Scouting Reports

Wake Forest

Travis McKie (F, 6’7”, FR)

Strengths- hustles and runs the floor. Athletic, able to finish strong above the rim; had several highlight dunks in game tonight. Good active rebounder on both ends. Strong upper body. Attacks the rim hard and gets to the FT line on a regular basis. Has a nice spin move on low block.

Weaknesses- undersized for the PF position. Must improve jump shot. Had trouble finishing over taller players. Needs to improve dribbling. Poor passer. Struggles against pressure. TO prone.

Overview- McKie has been one of the few bright spots this season as a freshman for a struggling Wake team. He has been named ACC Freshman of the week several times already this season and is a probable lock for a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team. He brings energy and hustles and works hard every play. Struggled at times tonight but still fought and clawed his way to 11 points and 5 rebounds.

Tony Chennault (G, 6”2”, FR)

Strengths – Good passing skills. Good ball handler; can use either hand. Ability to get into lane, where he can pass to open man or score using creative finishes.

Weaknesses – TO prone against pressure/double teams, dribbles instead of passing in these situations. Over penetrates sometimes and gets himself into trouble. Needs to improve shooting and range.

Overview- Slowed by an early season injury, the PG out of Philadelphia is just now starting to play important minutes coming off the bench. Chennault is a true PG, good passer and capable defender. Will be counted on to lead the offense, so Harris can move to the shooting guard and play off the point.

Georgia Tech

Iman Shumpert (G, 6’5”, JR)

Strengths – Athletic, NBA size for 2G, long arms. Good slasher to the hoop, quick first step. Good FT shooter. Good overall shooter, improved from last season, gets shoulders square to rim and gets good elevation on jumper. Can shoot the 3 and the pull-up. Capable of creating own shot and can come off screens for the catch and shoot. Great scorer, can score in a variety of ways. Good one-on-one player. Improved passer from last season, showed the ability to play the PG position when needed. Good ball handler. Will/can post up smaller defenders. Active/always moving on offenses. Quick hands on defense.

Weaknesses- Forces the issue at times and shoots some bad shots- has improved on this area majorly since his freshman year. Over dribbles, turnover prone. Does not move feet latterly well on defense; gambles too much, allowing his man to get to basket.

Overview- Shumpert is having a career year- he leads Tech in points, rebounds, assist, and steals. He is a triple-double waiting to happen and is a stat sheet filler. Shumpert has improved every area of his game since his freshman year. Used to be just an athletic swingman who would shoot bad shots. Now he more mature and can pass, shoot, and dribble. I would compare his game to Josh Howard, Howard’s senior year, but is a better passer than Howard. Both players do a lot of things well, but not one thing excellent. Georgia Tech relies on Shumpert to have a good game for them to have a chance of winning. In my opinion, Shumpert would be a good and smart pick in the 2nd round. He will be playing in the NBA next season.

Glen Rice Jr (G, 6’5”, SO)

Strengths- Great shooter, can shoot off the dribble or with feet set, deep 3 point range. Athletic, had several big tip-in dunks. Good rebounder. Active. Good passer, hits the post players when open.

Weaknesses- Needs to improve ball handling, puts his head down when he dribbles in traffic. Out of control at times.

Overview- Rice is the son of Glen Rice Sr, the shooter who at one time played for the Charlotte Hornets. Intriguing player, definitely a player to watch, will have a good chance at the NBA by senior year. Must continue to improve and get stronger.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers.

By Justin Shockley

January 17, 2011

Thirty-five, ten, twenty-one. These numbers are related to a lottery, although maybe not the one you may be thinking of. The thirty-five scouts, ten general managers, and twenty one total NBA teams represented at Baylor’s home game against second ranked Kansas had a lot to do with potential lottery pick Perry Jones III. While there were several potential NBA players in the game like Kansas’ freshman sensation Josh Selby (PG-SG, 6’2”, Freshman) it is no surprise that many of the NBA scouts and GMs were there to see Baylor’s Jones. Perry Jones

The Jayhawks from Kansas dismantled their Big 12 rival 85-65 with outstanding ball control and efficient shooting. The Jayhawks had an average second half but only missed six shots in the first half, shooting 79% from the field and built what turned out to be an insurmountable lead over the Bears.

Player Notes and Scouting Reports


Perry Jones, PF-C, 6’10”, Fr. (38 Min, 6-11 FG, 8-8FT, 20 Points, 3 Rebs)

Jones is a very respectable replacement for the 6’10” Ekpe Udoh who has moved on to the NBA. Offensively, Jones is more than capable of replacing Udoh, however, Udoh set the Big 12 single season record for blocked shots last year so Jones has big shoes to fill on the defensive side of the ball. Before Monday night’s Big 12 matchup Jones was averaging 13.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game with the 4th best field goal percentage in the conference with 57.1 percent.
The freshman sensation bears a striking resemblance to NBA star Tracy McGrady. In fact, Jones even plays a little like McGrady in some facets such as his shooting form, free-throw style, and demeanor. While Jones was a little too laid back at times, especially on the defensive end he showed great athleticism throughout the game. The freshman easily dunked over defenders in half court offense and showed tremendously soft hands when catching the ball on the interior. Jones rarely hesitates when going up for a shot and his quick leaping ability makes it difficult for opponents to defend him.
Perry Jones relies too much on his leaping ability to grab rebounds and is not as sound at boxing out as he should be. Jones has good touch out to around 17 feet but will need to improve his consistency on his outside shot. The 6’10” potential lottery pick showed surprisingly good court vision and ball handling ability considering his size and seems to enjoy creating shots for teammates. Jones is a good on ball defender as well as a solid free-throw shooter and has overall fluid movement on the offensive end.

LaceDarius Dunn, PG-SG, 6’4”, Sr. (35 Min, 3-9FG, 6-7FT, 13 Points, 3 Ast, 5 TO)

Dunn was one of the main catalysts in Baylor’s impressive showing in last year’s NCAA Tournament where the Bears made it all the way to the Elite Eight. Dunn has good height for a guard, good overall strength, and can shoot lights out. However, Dunn has flown under the radar most of his career and is an undervalued player at the college level.
The senior guard tried to take everything in stride in the first few minutes of the game, not rushing or forcing bad shots. This is impressive in itself for a senior with range playing in front of a throng of professional scouts and GMs. Points were hard to come by all night for the Bears and so were possessions so Dunn did well to get into double figures.
Overall Dunn has a smooth jumper, although it was off against the Jayhawks and he moves fluidly with and without the ball. Dunn did take some questionable shots and it seemed as if he was trying to shoot the Bears back into the game by himself. Dunn needs to improve his ball handling, court vision, and ability to handle pressure as evidenced by five costly turnovers.


Marcus Morris, SF-PF, 6’9”, Jr. (31 Min, 10-14 FG, 4-5FT, 25 Points, 5 Rebs, 3Stl)

The slightly shorter half of the dangerous Morris twins, Marcus Morris was the high scorer in the game and showed why is making a run for Big 12 Player of the Year. Marcus showcased a tremendous mix of inside-outside play and it is likely that scouts thought highly of his solid post moves coupled with his ability to bring defenders outside and hit the three. Going into the contest, Marcus was leading the conference in field goal percentage with an impressive 60 percent.
Morris needs to improve his ball handling because he often dribbles to high and makes it easier to get the ball taken away. In addition, Marcus needs to improve his consistency on the defensive end because his intensity seemed to wane at times. Overall the Morris twin is strong, has above average athleticism, and is a consitent scorer with decent range.

Markieff Morris, SF-PF, 6”10”, Jr.(33 Min, 9-10 FG, 19 Points, 9 Rebs, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk)

Markieff Morris may be one of the most improved players in college basketball this season and showed that he has the ability to fill up a stat sheet on any given night. Markieff started re hot for the Jayhawks, going seven for seven in the first half and showed that he also has really good range for his size.
While Markeiff is still playing in the shadow of his twin brother, he is making it clear that he really has a strong game as well. Markieff does not seem to like contact as much as his sibling but more often ops for finesse type moves in the post. At times Markieff tries too hard to get blocks and finds himself out of position for getting rebounds. While he needs to improve his conditioning and how much he relies on his brother for support, Markieff has good skills that could translate into significant minutes in the NBA.

Josh Selby, G, 6’2”, Fr. (29 Min, 5-11 FG, 3Ast, 3 Stl, 3 TO)

With his height and athleticism, Josh Selby improves the point guard position left vacant by Jayhawk great Sherron Collins. However, only time will tell if Selby can live up to the high standard of poise, ball control, and scoring ability that Collins displayed during his collegiate career. Selby did show some flashes of greatness in the game, like his outstanding agility and lightning-quick first step but also made some freshman mistakes along the way. At one point in the first half Selby had a great steal but then made the bad decision to shoot a three-pointer during the fastbreak. Selby took several questionable shots that may have been disregarded by many because Kansas had such a sizable lead but in a tight game, those ill-advised shots can be costly.
Selby needs to improve his outside shooting range, his intensity on defense, his decision making, and his ability to lead. In essence, Selby is a typical freshman in college basketball except that he has talent and potential that is far above average. Selby has the ability to become one of the best point guards that Kansas has ever had if he does not opt to go pro early. Selby is a very good young point guard with loads of potential; however, he is not ready to be an NBA player at this time.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers.

Famous coaches teach you success! GET COACHED! offers basketball scouting reports for college, high school and pro basketball.

Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo (R) and Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng go for a loose ball during the fourth quarter at the United Center in Chicago on January 8, 2011. The Bulls won 90-79. UPI/Brian Kersey
By James Blackburn

Bulls Win 90-79

Box Score

Note- Noah did not play for the Bulls due to injury.

Game Recap/Thoughts

1st half

  • Game is a battle between division leaders.
  • Boston is the best passing team in the NBA- EVERYONE on the team can pass, including big men.
  • Boston is a half- court team, Bulls like to run, but also can play half-court basketball.
  • Boston did a great job on the boards early in the game. Bulls started getting a lot of second chance points at end of 1st quarter. Ended the quarter on a 10-0 run.
  • Turnovers hurt the Bulls the entire game, especially in the first half. Ended game with 21 TO’s. A lot of the TO’s were unforced. Bulls looked sloppy most of the game.
  • There is a night and day difference when Rondo comes out and N. Robinson comes in the game for Boston. Boston needs a better back up PG. Robinson is TO prone, shoots bad shots, and can’t defend very well. He is out of control on offense and reaches in too much on D.
    2nd half

  • Boston is a veteran team and they play like a veteran team. They are smart/poised/ and under control as a team. When the Bulls would go on a run, the Celtics would not panic. A lot of this can be attributed to Rondo.
  • Coach Rivers should have given more minutes to L. Harangody in the 3rd quarter. Glenn Davis did not have one of his best games.
  • The Bulls crowd started shouting “MVP” when D. Rose was at the FT line in the 3rd quarter.
  • The Bulls did a poor job of defending Davis on the perimeter. They went for his shot fake multiple times, even though Davis had missed the 15’ jumper all night, allowing Davis to get to the rim and draw the foul.
  • Big win for the Bulls ending a 2 game losing streak to 2 non-playoff teams.
  • Bulls got the win because they knocked down open perimeter shots off great ball movement in the 4th and they protected the paint.
  • Celtics lost because of the inability to guard the P/R with Shaq in the game and they turned the ball over on crucial possessions at end of game.

Scouting Reports


Derrick Rose (38 min, 10-19 FG, 15-19 FT, 5 reb, 4 TO’s, 36 TP)

Strengths- Strong/athletic/Explosive PG. Slashes to the rim hard and finishes strong. Protects ball well when attacking the basket. Showed an improved jump shot- has ability to shoot pull up off screen and roll situations. Good FT shooter and gets to the line a lot b/c he attacks the rim. Has an unusual 1 handed floater/pull up shot that he along baseline. He shoots it when he is off balance, but he hits it with surprising effenciency. Well conditioned player- played almost the entire game, but never seemed to slow down or lose speed or momentum.

Weaknesses- TO prone- jumps in the air to make passes most of the time. Forces the issue at times- shoots bad shots- plays out of control at times. Needs to continue to work on 3 pointer and show that he can hit it consistently.

Overview- One of Rose’s best games of the season. Rose has improved every year and continues to establish himself as an elite PG in the NBA.


Ray Allen (39 min, 7-13 FG, 3-5 3pt, 4 reb, 19 TP)

Strengths- Knock down shooter- who can hit the set 3, the set midrange, and has the ability to come off screens and shoot- very quick release. Underrated passer despite his 0 assists. Is a good defender especially against another shooter- shut down Kyle Korver this game.

Weaknesses- Needs to do a better job of finishing with contact at the rim. Has a tough time of creating his own shot against a good defender.

Overview- Allen shows game in and game out why he is the leader of 3 pointers made amongst active players. Defenders respect his shot so much, that Allen is able to get to the rim in a couple of dribbles because the defense plays so tight on him. Does not get the credit he deserves of being a solid overall basketball player who really knows the game, because of legendary shooting ability.

Rajon Rondo (37 min, 6-14 FG, 5 reb, 8 assist, 5 st, 13 TP)

Strengths- Changes speeds very well. Showed a nice touch on up and under lay ups and had a nice left hand finish over the defense. Great passer- if someone is even remotely open, they will get the ball. Poised, under control, a great leader. He seems to never be rushed or in a hurry. A true PG- he does a great job of directing traffic and directing the offense- making sure that guys are in the right spots to run the play. A true quarterback on the court. Does not rush his jump shot- good form- he knocked down a few 17’. Very quick hands on defense. Smart player and defender.

Weaknesses- Some times over penetrates and gets his lay up blocked. Needs to do a better job of getting over/ fighting around screens and overall P/R defense. Needs to continue to extend range of jump shot. Did knock down a couple of jumpers, but needs to make it consistent so the defense will respect it.

Overview- May be the best pure PG in the NBA this side of a healthy Steve Nash. Is like another coach on the floor. Directs the offense and is not afraid to tell fellow future Hall of Famer teammates where to go and what to do. People have been saying for years that if Rondo could develop a decent jump shot, he would be an all-star level PG. Well I am saying he is already an elite PG with out a shot, once he improves his midrange- he will undoubtedly be the best PG in the league.

Luke Harangody (13 min, 0-1 FG, 2 reb, 0 TP)

Strengths- He didn’t necessarily fill up the box score but this was a solid showing for the rookie out of Notre Dame. Strong and physical player. Very good rebounder who boxes out well. Is not very athletic but makes up for it with toughness. Is a good defender, who hedges screens well to stop the ball handler from turning the corner and then gets back to his man quickly. Hustle player who gives 110% on every play. Has a low release on his jumper and shoots it from the side of his head, but he showed this summer that he can shoot and has 3 pt range. Moves his feet well for his size.

Weaknesses- Needs to be more of a threat on offense. Had a rookie mistake at the end of the 3rd quarter- passed the ball when the shot clock was at 1, when he should of shot.

Overview- Very smart player. I thought he deserved more minutes this game. Was coming off his first double-double the night before in a win over Toronto. Even the Celtics like him, Coach Rivers minutes for the rookie have been erratic. Minutes are soon going to be hard to come by when Perkins and Garnett come back from injury. I believe Harangody will become a good player in this league. Reminds me of other players who are not the greatest athletes, but have found ways to be effective in the NBA because of heart, hustle, rebounding, defense, and strength. Such players include ex-Celtic Leon Powe, current Celtic Glenn Davis (who eats a lot of his minutes) Dejuan Blair, and Paul Millsap.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers.

By Marcus Shockley

One of the focuses of BasketballElite that we’ve worked on over the past year is to bring in a lot of the basketball life that people don’t know about, specifically that basketball that is played outside of the NBA. That’s why it was great to feature pro point guard Rashuan Davis a few months ago.

When we last spoke with Rashaun Davis, he was about to head overseas to play professionally in Bosnia, not somewhere that many Americans are familiar with. Over the Holidays, I caught up with Rashaun and was able to get his thoughts now that he’s had a chance to get some court time and try and get acclimated. Here’s his update on his foray playing basketball in Bosnia:

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers.

By James Blackburn

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard celebrates with guard J.J. Redick (front) after beating the Boston Celtics during NBA basketball action in Orlando, Florida December 25, 2010. The Magic beat the Celtics. REUTERS/Kevin Kolczynski (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Christmas Day Game

Magic Win 86-78

Box Score

Note: Rajon Rondo did not play due to injury.

Game Recap/Thoughts

First Half

  • Celtics are definitely better playing Half-court basketball and the Magic are better in transition.
  • Magic came out and punched Boston in the mouth, going on an 11-0 run. Boston took the Magic’s best shot and ended the quarter ahead 20-19.
  • The Magic took control early dictating the tempo and forcing Boston to run and getting out on the break. Boston then started to slow the game down and ran their offense to get back into the game.
  • The Magic took and made good shots when they got out in transition. When Boston forced them to play half-court basketball, they look uncomfortable and out of sync.
  • Boston started off playing very poor transition defense. They were giving the Magic wide out shots and did a poor job of finding the shooters such as Redick and Turkoglu.
  • Boston really misses Rondo. They were without a PG who could get to the lane and create.
  • Paul Pierce played the PG when Robinson was on the bench.
  • Boston is a very good passing team. All their players are good passers, including their bigs ( they are even better w/ Rondo). Boston loves to down screen on both blocks and curl shooters like Pierce and Allen. Both of those players do a great job of recognizing if the defense traps off the screen or if they are late rotating on the screener. When there is space, they will make you pay if the midrange J. If you cheat it and come high, they both can throw smooth and quick passes to KG or any other big for easy buckets.

Second Half

  • Orlando looks a lot more comfortable in the half court and is starting to knock down open looks that they were missing in the first half.
  • Boston’s defense still allowed shooters for Orlando to get open looks. They needed to make their shooters go to the rim, where shot blockers were there to protect the rim.
  • Boston lost the game partly because of their shot selection. Pierce, Robinson, and Allen settled for poor shots. They went away from what was working for them in the first half and resorted to one-on-one offense. They did not pass the ball nearly as well.
  • Boston did a poor job of pick and roll defense in 2nd half allowing Nelson to get his rhythm.

Scouting Reports


Dwight Howard (33 min, 1-4 FG, 4-10 FT, 11 reb, 5 fouls, 5 blks, 6 TP)

Strengths- Showed his power and strength on the defensive end early, showing the ability to guard Shaq one on one in the low post. He was able to keep Shaq from doing what he wanted down low. Showed some improved footwork in low post, but his best offense is still a rebound and dunk. Good shot blocker. Does a good job of drawing fouls.

Weaknesses- Inconsistent FT shooter, gets frustrated too much with the officials calls.

Overview- One of the poorest offensive performances of the year for Howard. Was scoreless until the 2nd half. Was in foul trouble most of the game. Did a good job on the defensive side of the ball, but was non existent on the offensive end. It will be interesting to see how Howard performs in the rest of the Magic meetings with Boston. When Perkins returns, the Celtics will have plenty of bigs to throw at Howard in Perkins, Shaq, Jermain O’Neal, and Davis.

Hedo Turkoglu (32 min, 6-10 FG, 4-8 3pt, 4 ass, 4 reb, 16 TP)

Strengths- Great shooter who is deadly when his feet are set. Does a good job of finding his spots in transition. Has the ability to create his own shot when needed, but is more effective on the catch and shoot.

Weaknesses- Not a great defensive player, slow feet.

Overview- Hedo started off strong hitting several 3’s in the Magic’s 11-0 run to start the game. Hedo should continue to look more and more comfortable as he gets reestablished with his former team.

Jameer Nelson ( 28 min, 3- 9 FG, 4-4 FT, 3 ass, 6 TO, 12 TP)

Stengths- Good shooter, although he struggled with his shot today. Decent defender. Has a good floater in his arsenal as well.

Weaknesses- Poor P/R player, needs to do a better job of turning the corner. Can’t get to the lane and create. More of an undersized 2G, than a true PG, which the team needs.

Overview- Nelson struggled early in this game, but recovered nicely in the second half, finding his rhythm and hitting some big shots down the stretch to help put the Celtics away. The Magic need a PG like Chris Paul and Rondo, who with their speed can get into the lane at will and kick to the Magic shooters or throw the lob to Howard. The Magic have been looking for the pieces to put them over the top and to keep them competitive in the East. I don’t think they will be able to really compete for a championship until they get a new PG.


Shaquille O’Neal (12 min, 1-3 FG, 1 reb, 1 blk, 2 TP)

Strengths- Can still hold his own on the defensive side of the floor. Is a presence down low. Howard did a good job on him today and kept him from scoring and getting comfortable offensively.

Weaknesses- Foul prone. He is just not the same on the low block anymore. Just a couple of years ago, every time Shaq caught the ball in good position under the goal, it was either a dunk or a foul. But today Howard was able to block or intimidate Shaq’s shot even when he got deep position.

Overview- His age is starting to show, but he is still force. Howard might be able to push him around, but there are still very few centers in the NBA who can do that to O’Neal.

Paul Pierce (40 min, 6-14 FG, 5 ass, 8 reb, 18 TP)

Strengths- Creative offensive game. Good P/R player, who makes good decisions w/ the ball in these situations. Is a duel threat offensively who can take it to the rim and finish w/ contact and can shoot the 3. Loves to go right but can go left as well. Not the fastest or most athletic player, but has a smooth and creative offensive game. Very strong player with good upper body strength.

Weaknesses- slow release on jumper and has unusual footwork putting 1 foot far in front of the other. Sometimes settles for the jumper.

Overview- Pierce will go into the HOF as one of the best all-around offensive players to ever play the game. He always looks like he is slow and is just coasting but is well conditioned and is not afraid to take the big shot.

Nate Robinson (42 min, 2-15 FG, 6 reb, 4 ass, 7 TP)

Strengths- Athletic, strong rebounder for a guard. Solid defensive player. Scores in bunches and is a good spark for the second unit normally, but is very inconsistent. Decent 3pt. shooter who can create his own shot.

Weaknesses- Over dribbles, not a good shooter ( decent 3 pt. shooter, but not a good pull up or mid range shooter. and takes a lot of bad shots. Does not have a high basketball IQ. Is at his best in the open court, but is in the wrong system because the Celtics are a half-court team. Does a poor job of setting up the offense. At times it looks like he does not want the ball and is timid and then at other times as soon as he touches in he lets it go, which is 90% of the time. Has poor shooting mechanics. Rondo is even a better shooter in my mind and will become one if he becomes moor confident in his mid range jumper.

Overview- Not a PG, more of a combo guard who normally comes off the bench to ignite the offense and the crowd. Started and played a lot of minutes due to Rondo being injured.

Avery Bradley (5 min, 0-0 FG, 1 reb, 0 TP)

Overview- Solid showing today for the rookie PG out of Texas. Although he did not fill up the box score, I think the coaches liked what they saw today from Bradley. He is a very good defensive player with quick hands and feet. He pressures the ball from baseline to baseline. Reminds me of Sean Singletary because of his size and defense. He did a good job of orchestrating the offense and not trying to do too much. Hopefully now with the injury to Rondo, he can find his way into the rotation more, especially with the erratic and inconsistent play of Robinson.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers. Banner

By Marcus Shockley

Scoop Jardine

Image Courtesy

Game Notes

Syracuse doesn’t return the firepower and senior leadership that made them so formidable last season, but they are still talented as a crop of new starters must work to replace the lost talent. Still running Jim Boeheim’s effective zone defense to thwart and slow down opponents, the Orange are off to a strong season start.

Perhaps the biggest factor in Syracuse’s early season success is the newly-svelte Rick Jackson, who shed 35 pounds in the off season. He’s blowing up and down the court, hammering the boards and offensive putbacks while playing himself into a legitimate NBA prospect. When the Orange faced off against Michigan State, no less than 60 pro scouts were in attendance, and even though the NBA draft is eons away at this point, Jackson has already shown that he looks like he might be worth a pick. He’s also gone from a role player to being possibly the most consistent player on Syracuse’s roster.

Overall, the Orange do not have the outside shooting that made them so dangerous all over the court last year, but they are playing Boeheim’s signature zone defense again to perfection, frustrating opponents and clogging the lane. The big bodies that Boeheim has managed to recruit fill this role perfectly, and the guards, while not scorchers from outside, are athletic and strong defenders. Scoop Jardine, who I watched at the CP3 camp this summer, has all of the look of a flashy point guard who just needs a consistent outside shot to make him a match up nightmare. Brandon Triche, who is a more pure point guard than Jardine, and also attended the CP3 camp, doesn’t add the scoring that Jardine does, but he’s strong and a solid ballhandler and passer.

Syracuse has not been strong from the free throw line this season, and must improve in order to finish off close games.

The player who is moving into the most involved new role is Kris Joseph, the small forward who was playing in the 6th man role last year and is expected to contribute at a much higher level this season. Syracuse is also getting good minutes from freshmen Dion Waters, who adds some offense as well, and Baye Moussa Keita, a 6’10” PF/C who is long and adds serious shot blocking ability. I’d say Keita is definitely a player with some pro potential. C.J. Fair, another freshman, adds some serious athleticism at 6’7″ and can slash to the hoop and finish.

Scouting Reports

Fab Melo, C, 7’0″

Big body who automatically has the ability to bang in the paint and be physical. Right handed. A true center who eats up space in the paint. Moderately nimble, not a big stiff center, more mobile than most seven-footers. Has a lot of the raw tools to be a force in the paint in the NBA, but still is a work in progress. Has good hands. Still raw, but not a project. Still working to be consistent at the 10 foot jumper and hook shot. Needs to show he can consistently score around the rim, but has a lot of potential. Not a good free throw shooter at this point. Still needs to work on his balance and in the zone works as a lane-clogger well but can get caught out of position at times. Can pass well for a true center, but isn’t drawing double teams yet. Probably needs a little time to really see what kind of upside he might have.

Scoop Jardine, PG, 6’2″

Scoring point guard who is looking more fluid in the role of running the offense while also knowing how to look for his shot. Has good strength and a pit bull attitude at the point. Right now, not a consistent outside shooter and hasn’t proven he can get to the rim as needed, but with his strength and athleticism, could be dangerous with an outside shot. Still needs time to show he can be an NBA player, but definitely will play pro at some level.

Rick Jackson, PF, 6’9″

Runs the floor extremely well and can catch the ball on the move and finish. Left handed. Very active around the rim and a problem for slower defenders in the post. A post player who has the size and agility to potentially play at the pro level. Has lost a lot of weight in the offseason and looks very good now on the move, much more agile and active. Plays hard under the rim, follows his own shot hard, grabs loose balls and finds ways to contribute. A solid rebounder on both ends of the court. It’s hard to tell how any of the Syracuse players will be able to defend in the man-to-man of the NBA, since the Orange run a 2-3 zone exclusively, but he is active on defense as well, deflecting passes and sticking to his assignment. Jackson is not a long range shooter and he gets almost all of his points at point blank range, so it would be nice to see him develop a 10 foot jumper or hook to go with his putback offense. Definitely a pro player at some level, almost certainly will get a shot in the NBA.

Kris Joseph, SF, 6’7″

Athletic forward who is active and a high flyer. Can get up and down the court and is a physical small forward. Right handed. Has the physical size and strength for the pros already. Doesn’t have the ballhandling to play the guard position. Still looking to find consistent scoring this season. He’s most effective in transition, but struggles at times in the halfcourt and is not a serious outside threat at this point. Can slash to the hoop and is explosive when he gets a step on his man. Joseph is projected as a first rounder right now but I’m still not sure if his explosive slashing moves and transition dunks are enough to warrant a first round pick, although the season is young and he looked really solid at times last season coming off of the bench. He is scoring in double digits and laid 22 on Michigan in a close game, but too many times it seems like he’s more a complementary player who disappears for stretches and then suddenly has a couple of explosive highlights.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers. Banner

By Marcus Shockley

Greg McClinton (SG/SF, 6’6″, 2013) is a player who has length, speed with a nasty first step. We first scouted him when he was in the eighth grade and he’s grown another inch and still looks like the prospect we thought he’d be. He’s already garnered offers from Virginia Tech and Miami, but if he continues to work on his game, there will be more to come. Be sure to watch this video in HD, and check out Greg’s full court speed and ability to get to the rim at the 1:10 mark.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers. Banner

By James Blackburn

Doron Lamb

Team Report/ Game Notes

Kentucky made an early season trip down to Chapel Hill to take on the struggling UNC Tar Heels. The game was tight throughout and, in my opinion, was one of the best games of this young college basketball season so far. Carolina played well and got the big win 75-73. It will be interesting to see how Kentucky bounces back after this early let down and to see how they can cope after losing 5 players last season to the NBA. Here are a few notes, observations, and thoughts from Kentucky.

  • Kentucky had serious foul trouble this game- Knight, Jones, Harrellson, and Vargas fouled out.
  • Kentucky does not have a lot of depth, especially at the forward and center positions.
  • Kentucky really needs an interior presence- they are lacking a true shot blocker. Terrence Jones is a solid defender and shot blocker, but is only 6’8”. In order to make a deep run in March, Kentucky really needs Enes Kanter to become eligible. (Note- Kentucky requested reexamination of his eligibility on Friday)
  • Kentucky is wishing Daniel Orton would have stayed around for another year- and after watching Orton this summer in Orlando and his struggles, I am sure Orton is thinking the same thing.
  • Kentucky is a good shooting team- better than last season.
  • Kentucky spreads the court well and has excellent spacing to run the DD motion offense.
  • Kentucky does a good job of penetrating and kicking for open shots. They are also very dangerous in transition.

Scouting Reports

Doron Lamb, 6’4”, G, Kentucky

Lamb had one of his best games of this year and continues to excel in all areas. He is true PG with excellent vision, good ball handling abilities and a good assist/TO ratio. He is a smart PG who always seems to make the right decision. He takes good shots and does not force the issue. He is a good floor general and makes a lot of good decisions and reads that don’t show up in the box score. He plays under control and is very poised. He is also an excellent shooter and a good rebounder. He is a good P/R player (especially w/ Jones) and that should translate to the L. He is not the most athletic or the quickest player but his good should translate to the NBA with out any problems. The question is how long does he stay at Kentucky, considering the history of young PG’s leaving Coach Cal for the NBA and excelling ( Rose, Evans, Wall).

Brandon Knight, 6’3”, G, Kentucky

Good scorer and a good shooter w/ 3 pt. range. Solid outing from the high-ranking freshman today, but fouled out late in the second half. Very quick first step.

Terrence Jones, 6’8”, F, Kentucky

Not a great game today from Jones, showed flashes of brilliance, but was limited because of foul trouble. Jones is a strong, athletic lefty, who has a good face up game with the ability to shoot the midrange or pump fake and put the ball on the floor and get to the basket, where he finishes strong. He has a smooth looking jumper and has a good FT stroke. He needs to do a better job recognizing double teams and needs to become a better passer. He also tends to force the issue sometimes and gets in trouble, which is natural for most freshmen. He is explosive going left, but struggles when going right. He is NBA ready right now, and should be picked no later than #10 in the upcoming NBA draft. If he continues to play well, he could easily find his way into the top 5 next season. His game is meant for the NBA, and he excels in P/R and Pick and Pop situations.

Hey, if you like this kind of basketball coverage, do yourself a favor and sign up for the newsletter, which is free for basketball lovers. Banner

Justin Manns is a 6’11” center, playing for Kent State and is a redshirt junior.

Justin is agile and plays his game in the paint. Slight of build, he runs the floor well and has good timing on shot blocking and put backs. He needs to add strength to keep from getting pushed out of rebounding position, but he has a lot of potential and already is a factor in paint.

Justin is not a big stiff center, his natural agility and excellent timing mean he can get to offensive alley oops and can get free for jump shots. Did not see much in the way of a drop step or other back-to-the-basket moves during this game, which could be the issue with strength and being able to establish position under the paint.

During the game he was in foul trouble late, but the fouls were somewhat questionable, as it appeared he had good position and did not bring his arm down across the player’s body as he went for shot blocks. With more aggressiveness on rebounds, improved footwork with his back to the basket and more bulk, he could be a beast in the post.

With continued work, definitely a pro player at some level. A player to keep an eye on.


Runs the Floor

Areas for Improvement

Traffic Rebounding