BALTIMORE, Md. -- The school dates back to 1784, and although the gym isn't quite that old, it's one of the city's classic "old-school" venues to catch prep hoops, with its creaky bleachers all to one side and wood-beamed ceiling above.
Friends School (Baltimore, Md.) has a lot of history, and Jan. 17 it's band-box gym was packed to the hilt (and hot), with a turn-away crowd to see Friends and talented sophomore 6-7 forward Myles Douglas host Pallotti of Prince George's County.
This was our first look at Douglas in over a year, and that last trip was only for a workout. But we had heard many good things about the long, still-growing combo-forward with the smooth game. So we made the trek down to North Charles St. for the Friday night tilt.
However, two things were working against us, as I had forgotten about a local radio show booked for the night, thus could only see a little over a half (and the first half dragged forever with fouls and turnovers, etc). Secondly, Douglas came out somewhat hesitant and tentative looking for both his shot and creating off the bounce, both things he typically does better as he expands his facing game.
A true 'tweener' forward for now, at least from what we saw, Douglas did not quite show the facing game or off-the-bounce skills we would hope to see from a touted three-man at this time. Nor a true four-man game, as he wasn't always willing to crash the glass and engage contact. As he is still growing, and his game developing (again, he is just a soph), he was kind of caught between the two positions all night, at least during this sampling.
Clearly the most gifted young (size and athletic-wise) player on the floor that night, Douglas never dominated the game, though he had a few moments.
In the first half he shot 2-for-6 from the field, including 1-of-2 from beyond the three-point arc, for 5 points. (Friends trailed 32-28 at intermission). He did pull down 6 boards but also turned the ball over four times in sometimes hesitating to make a move and his footwork lacking and travel calls ensuing. Once when he lined up in the right corner to launch a trey, he travelled while trying to collect the ball and hoist it up.
Whether it was nerves or not we are not certain, but on 2-3 occasions he had open driving lanes to the basket but never probed the defense by taking it hard. We saw a young pup with good athleticism, not great, on this night, and kinda reluctant to pull the trigger when opportunities were there. He did not get to the line in the first half. Of course, he is playing within the team system and structure more so than in spring/summer AAU ball, but we would have liked to have seen him work the in-between game more, get underneath the defense, and do some damage with his size and skills.
Twice Douglas showed his good court vision and floor game when after taking feeds on the blocks, he quickly passed to open wingmen who knocked down open treys. The one three Douglas hit, incidentally, in continuing the hesitation "theme," Douglas was open at the top of the key, double-clutched the shot attempt while thinking about it too much, but then launched it finally. Somehow the off-balance shot bounced around the rim and fell in.
After his first trey from the left side missed wide, Douglas did offer up an athletic baseline move on the left, which once in the lane he turned his body and banked in a smooth floater. That was the most, and really, only hard-take we saw, while twice he pulled down rebounds that were snatched out of his hands when he did not secure it tight enough.
He is obviously still adding strength and aggression, and when to attack the basket, but we want to see the handle and footwork tighten up a bit. There were other instances where he could have been called for travelling but the ref held his whistle. He showed solid form when he did shoot the ball, though at times showed a somewhat slow release.
Friends would ultimately lose the game by a handful, and midway through the fourth quarter Douglas was up to about 12 points and 12 boards, as in the second half he started working more inside. During the game, his long arms blocked a shot and altered a few others. Meanwhile, he got his mitts on a ball to cause a deflection in a passing lane, and then a tie-up underneath the Pallotti bucket. But we did not see much back-to-basket offense or moves when he was on the blocks.
The other thing we noticed was, well, how much the young Charm City prospect looked, walked, even moved like former Terp and Baltimore native Nick Faust. He is a thicker, younger Faust, as he has a bigger frame than Faust at this stage. But he kinda coasted around the perimeter like Faust at times, and one almost had to do a 'double-take' (he even had the same hair). Douglas has some of the same mannerisms, but not the negative ones that defined Faust late in his career. Not quite as explosive an athlete as Faust, there are definitely similar physical attributes.
Myles Douglas is a promising young prospect, perhaps the best in Charm City's talented 2017 class, as his size (again, still-growing), length and versatile skill set will only get better in the coming years. If he grows a few more inches, then his game will be more on the blocks, though he will have those perimeter skills he's grown up on. If he stays the same, then more on the perimeter where he still has some work to do with his facing game. Anyone can have a slow night, when things just aren't flowing that well, and we may have caught some of that on Jan. 17. But we do want to see Douglas become more aggressive and assertive, be it at the 3 or the 4, be it on the ball or off, as we try to project him ahead to the highest college level (and position), and see him max out his abilities. But clearly, all the tools are there.
His is a name -- and game -- locals will undoubtedly hear about for years to come in Charm City, as Myles Douglas is just scratching the surface of a promising career .
Douglas Just Scratching The Surface
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