Quinndary Weatherspoon: Evaluation

Mississippi State locked up a good one, getting a commitment from one of the country's more talented and determined scorers.

Introduction

Depending on the event, shooting guard Quinndary Weatherspoon played the role of either alpha or beta for the Jackson Tigers. Weatherspoon didn't truly emerge until the 2014 spring, when he launched his candidacy for a national ranking — and expansive pursuit from high-major programs — at the first EYBL event in Sacramento.

He was an alpha there, scoring 23 points on two different occasions that weekend. Through the end of the travel season, he went on to average 16 points per game in 21 contests with the Jackson Tigers.

The alpha/beta thing actually didn't have anything to do with Weatherspoon. That factor owes to the presence of top-10 guard Malik Newman, a more touted player at the same position who obviously cannibalized some of Weatherspoon's shots.

When Newman played with the Tigers, Weatherspoon would adopt a more secondary role as a good teammate should; when Newman was absent, he would assert himself as a primary scorer.

To wit, Newman missed the Peach Jam due to injury. There, Weatherspoon stepped up to average 18 points per game and lead the squad. His recruitment gained steam through the summer, but rather than entertain a bigger list and greater drama, he committed to Mississippi State in late July.

Assets

Weatherspoon is a quick athlete with excellent balance. He has the ability to veer around traffic on drives and maintains body control, enabling him to advance all the way to the basket or pull up for a short, hanging jump shot. He's a natural attacking who's best when he's able to isolate his defender in space, then use his athleticism and effective dribble moves to make forays to the hoops.

He's slender now but possesses a frame that will transform into that of a power wing at the next level. Once the Bulldogs lock him into their strength and conditioning program, he should gain lean muscle quickly.

Weatherspoon is best when he's in motion with the ball

I also admire Weatherspoon's defensive tenacity and long-range potential. He uses his 6-5 size and ample wingspan to shadow opposing wings and enjoys a height/reach advantage over most. He's also capable laterally and doesn't shy away from contact, and thus he projects well to defend smaller wing guards or taller, wing forward types.

Although he didn't shoot as many free throws as I'd have expected, he did knock down 87 percent of his attempts. Clearly, getting there as much as possible looms as a top priority for him in Starkville.

Additionally, he's a fine passer on the move who makes surprisingly slick dishes in traffic. That won't be a primary talent at MSU, but it makes him even more valuable with the ball in his hands.

Deficits

Long-range shooting stands out most. Weatherspoon shot under 30 percent on threes for the Tigers, an obvious liability for a guard. He must improve his concentration and mechanics. And yet, at the same time, I saw him bury three straight long bombs at the Peach Jam — so he does possess some touch.

He also must make better choices both as a shooter and a passer. Weatherspoon committed some bad turnovers at times, forcing plays that simply were too low percentage to be worth attempting. He finished with an upside down A-TO ratio as a result. Reducing the bad will be critical in emphasizing the good. And while a good athlete, he isn't a truly explosive finisher above the rim.

Outlook

Weatherspoon checks in at No. 77 in the Class of 2015 and, if anything, may be a touch low. He's a one-on-one creator who possesses added dimensions such as fine playmaking and defense, and he at least has demonstrated flashes as a jump shooter.

He likely won't step in on day one and star for the Bulldogs, but I fully expect him to make an impact as a sophomore and beyond.


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