Scouting Kendrick Nunn

Four-star guard Kendrick Nunn was a huge pledge for John Groce and Illinois. Here is a look at what Nunn should bring to the table for the Illini.

Background: When John Groce got the job at Illinois he knew one of the players he needed to lockdown was Kendrick Nunn. Not only did the Chicago (Ill.) Simeon star bring high level talent, but also a measure of credibility within the state. After a hard recruiting battle Nunn picked the Illini, and here is a detailed look at what he will bring to Champaign.

On Offense: When it comes to Nunn on offense it is a classic case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you were to break down Nunn's skills individually, he isn't an elite shooter, he is slightly undersized for his position, and he doesn't have a great handle. With all of that said, he knows how to be productive.

The best way to describe Nunn is as a scorer. A lefty with very long arms and excellent athleticism, Nunn just has a feel for how to score. On his high school team he isn't the No. 1 option as that goes to teammate Jabari Parker, but he is asked to do a lot.

Going left Nunn handles it fairly well, so that allows him to create for himself going in that direction, and though defenders know that he prefers to go that way, often times he is able to still get into the mid-range and use his length and athleticism to get a clean look.

With that said Nunn really needs to tighten up his handle going right, and even going left prove that he is more than a two or three dribble guy at the college level. Since he doesn't have the handle like that, it limits him from being a point guard going forward, though in a pinch he might be asked to bring the ball up the court.

Shooting wise he posts pretty good percentage numbers, but he still isn't quite at the level where he is considered a great shooter, more a good shooter. What Nunn does do shooting the basketball is show his intelligence. He never seems to take bad or forced shots, instead he lets the game come to him and gets himself in a position where he takes good shots and then makes a good percentage of them.

At his best Nunn is using his quickness, moving without the ball, and putting himself in a position to score that way. He isn't necessarily a great one-on-one player with offensive skills that standout, but he does do a good job of putting up points and has proven to be reliable at every level during his high school career.

On Defense: This is the end of the floor where Nunn has a chance to be special. At about 6-foot-1, maybe on a great day 6-foot-2, Nunn doesn't have the ideal size to be a great defender in the backcourt, but that is irrelevant.

Nunn has very long arms, extremely quick feet, and plays stronger than what he looks. Those three things combine to make him one of the best perimeter defenders in the country, and consider his high school team plays zone exclusively so he doesn't even work on those man-to-man skills year round.

With Nunn's length and quickness he has the ability to guard point guards or shooting guards with ease. Shooting guards are bothered by his long arms and ability to really challenge shots, and point guards tend to struggle to get by him using the dribble since he moves his feet very well.

On top of that Nunn plays with a kind of reckless abandon on the defensive end where he just makes things happen. He blocks shots on the break by trailing the play, he is an excellent rebounder for a guard, and he just has a very high motor and has proven he is a willing defender no matter what the situation.

Now Nunn will have to prove he can play within a system and be more solid in terms of positioning and responsibility, but defensively he should make an impact from day one and has all defensive team potential if he continues to improve.

Overall: While maybe not a kid who will be on the first team all-newcomer squad in the Big Ten, Nunn is someone who looks like he can make an early impact. There will be playing time to be had at the shooting guard position, and Nunn will bring the defensive ability right away that coaches love.

If he can improve his shooting to get a little more consistent and put in work as his career goes on with his ball handling, his athletic gifts will really shine through even more than they already do.

A lot of the time the hardest thing for a freshman to figure out is how to play hard every day, but that is one thing that Nunn should excel with. Given that he has faced elite competition on a daily basis in high school and AAU he is more battle tested than most, and look for Nunn to have a fine career at Illinois.

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