ABCD: Chris Taft Spotlight

HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Don't let Chris Taft's lack of on-the-court expression fool you. This kid can play.

The 6-9, 230-pound Brooklyn big man might not be expressive, but with his athleticism, soft touch and smart play, he'll be a quality college player.

"He has a very good feel for the game – he doesn't force things," commented New York-based analyst Tom Konchalski. "When he gets the ball in the post, if he doesn't have a shot he'll kick it back out."

After 14 points and a few rebounds in the opener, Taft vowed to play better.

"I didn't really show it today because it was the first game, but I'm going to show a lot more later on."

That evening, he had 20 points and six rebounds. Was that what he had in mind?

"Nah, I can do better than that," he said.

The sole knock on Taft is that he isn't consistent – that he tends to disappear for stretches.

"Conditioning is the key," Konchalski said. "He's got to work on increasing his endurance. He runs fluidly, but he can't run hard for long stretches of time."

Speaking to Taft's potential, Konchalski recalls a Saturday evening in late April at the IS8 tournament, a spring AAU event in New York city, where Taft showed just how good he can be.

Playing in a game that featured a dozen college-bound stars, including Villanova-bound Jason Fraser, Taft stood above the rest.

"In the first half, he was the best big guy on the court," Konchalski said. "He outplayed Jason Fraser. He bodied him, he really fought for position in the post, held his position, and would just catch and score. He got in foul trouble in the second half, and that's when the game changed."

With an official visit to Pittsburgh already under his belt, Taft is working on planning the remainder of his officials.

"I'm going to do one more in the summer and the other three in the fall," he said, mentioning that Maryland and North Carolina were schools he expected to visit.

Taft has spent the spring and early summer working on improving his academic situation, as North Carolina has told him needs to happen before a scholarship offer is made. Taft said noticeable improvement has been made.

"I've sent them my transcript, so now I'm going to take a visit," he said.

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