TOC: Clint's Props and Knocks, Part I

With the Tournament of Champions in the books, <i>Inside Carolina</i>'s Clint Jackson breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of the 2003 Tar Heels targets at the TOC, with "props" and "knocks" on Brian Butch, Sean Banks, Chris Taft and Major Wingate. Check back tomorrow for a look at the 2004 targets.

Brian Butch (7-0, 215, C)

PROPS - Butch had a great weekend overall. The smart and skilled big man put up huge point totals and he didn't do it against the Sisters of the Poor either -- he did it against some elite players at his position. Butch has great extension -- with his frame, long arms and high release. He's aggressive and seeks body contact in the lane. He fights hard for position, even though his body is light and not as strong as many of his other highly rated counterparts. Butch can shoot, he can face the basket and put it on the floor, he has a soft jump-hook and he drains his free throws with ease. Butch isn't an outstanding leaper or runner, but he uses his extension and savvy to score over stronger and more athletic big men at his position. He also plays hard and is very competitive. He definitely has the fire and desire, and winning the ball game is his priority once he steps on the floor.

KNOCKS -- Butch could use some more pounds. He's put on 30 since last year, but could probably use 30 more to hold position and rebound better. He often goes after blocks and leaves himself out of position for the rebounds as well. His method of running the floor is a bit awkward right now, and that's probably due to the fact that he's still growing and could top off at 7-2.

Chris Taft (6-9, 235, C)

PROPS - Taft excels around the basket. He likes to post up and can utilize his strength and agility to maneuver around his defender and get to the hoop. He runs the floor well and has good strength for a big man who seldom touches the weights. Being unfamiliar with his teammates, this wasn't a great weekend to evaluate his game. He never really got in-sync in the offensive flow when we watched him and that really effected his overall performance.

KNOCKS -- The most obvious glaring weakness this weekend for Taft was effort. He seldom got aggressive on the boards and often didn't run the floor with CONSISTENCY due to his limited touches on offense. In the half court set offense, if the guards had fed him the ball and let him do his thing, it would probably have boosted his attitude on the court and we think that would have also boosted his effort on the boards. Basically, we'd like to see an upgraded level of effort.

Sean Banks (6-8, 185, WF-SG)

PROPS -- Banks is one of the best ball-handling guys at his height in the country. He's smooth with his movements and sees the floor like a smaller guard. But what sets Banks apart is his long and lean physique. He's a tremendous shooter off the dribble and can attack the basket as well. If you defend him with a smaller guard -- Banks knows how to use his height to exploit it. And if you defend him with a bigger forward -- he knows how to use his perimeter skills to exploit the matchup. He's a scorer, passer, slasher deluxe who can play almost four positions on the floor if needed. He has the potential to be the second best point forward in the class of 2003, behind LeBron James, in our opinion. He's got the potential to be a superb perimeter defender and will block more shots on the outside than you'd imagine.

KNOCKS -- Banks has trouble rebounding and doesn't always box out on the boards. Often at times this weekend, the Playaz used him in the back of the zone on defense and he didn't get real physical on the boards. He also needs to upgrade his defensive intensity at times. There have also been questions about his attitude by those close to him and by schools that recruited him. While we saw no indication of an attitude problem at the TOC, a few big-time schools that stopped recruiting Banks cited it as their reason for doing so.

Major Wingate (6-10, 245, PF-C)

PROPS -- If you see Wingate on a good day, there are few in his class that can match the types of things that he brings to the floor. For one, Wingate is an athlete deluxe. He has strength, he has ball skills and he has the ability to rebound and block shots like a star center. He handles the ball well and keeps his head up when running the floor. At times, Wingate also can show some nice shooting skills and has the range to knock down a few three-balls. He can be a dominating player when he wants to be.

KNOCKS -- His mental approach to the game of basketball is very suspect. He is too hard on himself for blown plays and mistakes and often pouts on the floor. Once he starts this cycle, it can often last for long portions of the game. His derogatory attitude towards his own play often affects EVERYTHING that he does on the court -- from his hands, to his shot-selection, to his effort and rebounding. We'd also like to see Wingate be more active for rebounding positioning as he frequently settles for whatever position that he has at the time of the shot.


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