Dom Mejia: AKA Point Guard

When I ventured to St Augustine's to take in a little Chavis League action, I must admit I was anxious about seeing Dom Mejia. I had read various reports on him that listed him as a combo guard, swing forward or a shooting guard. I cannot say I read anywhere that he was a true PG in the traditional sense. Knowing that NC State had just graduated Archie Miller, I wondered if such a player could be the answer for NC State's floor helmsman.

I was not convinced (mainly due to some pre-conceived notions) that Mejia had the necessary talent to be called an ACC type point guard after reading various interpretations of Mejia's game. After all, Eastern Coach Dave Allen told TSW in an exclusive interview that "NC State is getting a player who can play the 1, 2, or 3 spot."

I also had read Dave Telep's evaluation for Mejia at the Big Time. "At 6-4, he's sturdy and can play both spots though he's much more effective as a scoring wing."

On the other hand, I had heard he was a great team leader at Eastern High in Voorhees, N.J. where he would have team meetings with teammates at his house. This sounds like a leading floor general, not some designated utility player playing a montage of positions.

I also took note of Mike DeCourcy's Big Time report. Something Mejia said made me wonder about him actually being happy playing a non-specified position. "With his team at ABCD, Mejia was not in control of the ball. Chicago point guard Sean Dockery was, and Mejia was not pleased with the direction the team took. "I was not getting the ball," he said. "I tried to make the best of it. The stats didn't look too good. I tried to keep my composure."

This sounds like someone who needs the ball to be effective, so I was most curious when Mejia stepped on the court for Garner Road. Would I see a versatile player with an identity crisis or would I see a 6'4 point with added skills? The answer was, NC State has in Dom Mejia, a top flight point guard. Versatile? Yes, but still he is a point guard in every sense of the word.

As noted in the Simons report, all the freshmen were a bit late for the game. But when Dom hit the floor, one could see that this was his team and he lead them accordingly. He made a flurry of drives that resulted in some acrobatic lay-ups. He drove the basket on ten different occasions, scoring ten points. He also drew fouls on three of those drives, resulting in another four points from the charity stripe. He is really good at creating his own shot using exceptional quickness and athleticism. But it doesn't stop there.

He also dealt out 5 assists. Some from the top of the key, and some off his drives. What is not statistically counted is the way he used his drive to draw defenders to free other Garner players for some easy baskets. I saw this very same talent exhibited by Mike Nardi, Mustafa Shakur and JamesOn Curry at the TOC.

Defensively, Dom was great which was just added pleasure for my eyes. Nowhere had I read that he was this good on defense. He may be 6'4" which is plenty tall for a PG, but I'm willing to bet he has a wingspan of 6'7 or so. I looked at the length of his arms, and I had visions of Anthony Grundy all over again. He used those arms to nab six steals with one block shot in the game.

What I did not see was his reputation as a long range bomber. He shot only one three pointer which was a little long. What we have read is "that defenders who soften up when Mejia sneaks well behind the 3-point line usually pay for their mistake. But defenders who try to get in his face are usually sorry, too." He had 997 career points at Eastern, many coming from beyond the arc.

I came away from my night at Chavis having a better understanding why NC State has focused so hard on Mustafa Shakur while seemingly letting other good talent at the point guard spot slip away. Mejia gives Coach Sendek the luxury of being very selective on who else he adds at the guard spot for next year. I think he also knows he already has his PG of the future if Shakur chooses elsewhere.

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