Lamarr Kimble is a tough guy. He's a strong, stocky, a little short, very aggressive, slightly wild, skilled but imperfect, and to the letter almost a natural fit for an upstart program such as Saint Joseph's.
A 5-11 floor general, Kimble's name doesn't circulate broadly among recruitniks yet he has been a regional presence for years. He debuted on these pages all the way back in 2011, based on his play at the Hoop Group Future All-American event.
He competed with Team Final but never truly blew up as an underclassman. He did earn plenty of scholarship offers along the way, however, drawing invitations from LaSalle, Temple, St. Joe's and others. His reputation and recruitment both took on a more local feel, and when you live in Philly and have multiple strong collegiate options nearby, that's just fine.
Kimble stepped up in terms of publicity this past July. He competed at the national Lawson/Oladipo camp early in the month and also with Team Final at the Peach Jam.
He committed in early August to the Hawks, giving hometown fans the opportunity to watch him for years to come.
Kimble is a tough little bowling ball of a guard. Not that he's fat, mind you, but he's amply built and definitely plays like he's rolling emphatically through the lane. Pardon the mixed metaphors, but also like a good running back in football, he seems to be moving with constant downward momentum.
|For Kimble, toughness is the name of the game|
And that's what makes him such a gifted scorer. He's pretty quick and strong, but beyond that it's his determination to take the ball where he wants to go that enables him to rack up numbers.
He also possesses that unteachable quality of scoring at odd angles. Kimble can drive at full speed to his left, get knocked sideways and still find a way to "ugly" a 10-footer home. It's that talent that propels him to success against taller, even more athletic opponents.
Additionally, he's a fine playmaker. Albeit less of a halfcourt, possession-by-possession type distributor, Kimble does see the entire court and capably finds teammates both on the perimeter and within the paint. In one game at the Peach Jam, he went for 11 points and 10 assists — a highly atypical assist number for the travel circuit.
I view defense as a potentially critical component of Kimble's game. He has the low center of gravity and physical style to disrupt the opposition, create steals and transition into offense going the other way.
Without question, Kimble must improve his jump shot. He fires up some screwballs that miss badly, though his 26 percent on threes in 21 games this summer at least occurred on only 27 attempts, indicating that he realizes that his jump shot should not be his first resort. Still, he must improve his mechanics.
He also has a tendency to pound the ball into the ground, and at St. Joe's he'll have to learn to move the ball around more crisply and generate more action as a scorer without always relying on multiple dribbles.
Kimble should develop into a reliable and consistent four-year floor general. Albeit perhaps more of a combo than a true point, his playmaking has evolved and clearly he can defend the position.
His combination of scoring ability and pestering defense also should translate well for the Hawks, which last season fielded a team that finished top 65 in adjusted offense and adjusted defense. And the fact that he's a local talent and fits the image and style so perfectly, fans almost are guaranteed to love him.