A.J. Hammons, a true center committed to play his college basketball at Purdue, chatted with us a little about some of the concepts used in playing the post. Hammons is playing his senior high school season for Oak Hill.
Plays hard- plays the passing lanes well- excellent foot speed – good lateral movement. Is a nightmare for ball handler- cause’s problems and turnovers. Athletic- long 6’3” guard- changes speeds well to get to rim.
Pro level first step- can get to rim. Good looking jump shot- gets feet set- and follows through on 3 point shot- plays beyond his years. Not afraid to shoot – is unselfish and is willing to move the ball against the zone. Has an effective floater. Length and athleticism help make him solid rebounder- boxes out on most shots as well.
Needs to improve FT shooting. Must improve off ball defense- hugs man too much, and does not see the ball- is an excellent on ball defender, but needs to improve team and help defense (Purdue is not helping much at all as a team, appears that they want HPU to beat them 1 on 1, rather than give up the 3). Is a tweener at 6’3”- more of a 2 than a true PG- is quick enough to guard a 1, but is not big or strong enough to guard a 2 at the next level. Is willing to make the extra pass on the perimeter, but once he puts ball on the floor- he is going to shoot- eyes go down- is focused on scoring the ball- does not drive to create, like he would need to do at next level playing the 1. Can score and play the 2 on the offensive end at next level, but can’t guard a 2. Combo guards who are primarily scorers are a dime a dozen. Telegraphs some of his passes.
Redshirt freshman from Chicago- top 100 recruit coming out of HS in Chicago.
Being an undersized shooting guard, he must have something that will make him stand out from the rest of the combo guards around the country- he must develop a skill set that will make him appealing to pro teams. Johnsons does stand out as reliable shooter, to go along to his athleticism and slashing ability and he is an excellent on-ball defender- must work on his playmaking ability and still has to learn defensive rotations at this level. HPU played a zone defense most of the game- I believe Johnson would be much more effective against a man to man. Full of energy- looked in excellent shape. Needs to be more assertive against zone- looked too comfortable to just move the ball at top of key- but to his credit, did not try to do too much- and made the easy play and pass- did not force the issue. Looked good in his first true test as a college basketball player- it will be interesting to watch him develop over the next few years, since he is just a freshman.