There are some players that don't have to stuff the box score to have a huge impact on winning and on a game in general. St. Benedict's sophomore point guard Myck Kabongo is one of those prospects and showed exactly why Friday and Saturday at the prestigious Marshall County Hoopfest.
In Friday night's game against Jackson Provine (MS), a 72-56 win, Kabongo showed a capacity crowd what a floor general running a team is supposed to look like. While Kabongo's box score numbers of 11 points, two rebounds, three assists and three steals isn't overwhelming, his play was that of a player with a tremendous understanding of his team, controlling the game by dictating pace and ability to have an impact on winning without recording the pretty numbers.
Kabongo, while he had only three assists, made the correct pass on nearly every possession. His understanding and feel in transition is as good as it gets on the high school level. As can be the case with point guards, the assist numbers can be overrated, but it is the passes that set up the shots to each teammate in the best position to score that is what is important. The sophomore distributed the ball with proper timing in spades.
While the native of Canada is quickly earning the reputation as dynamic point guard on the offensive end, the 6-1, 160-pounder pressured the ball well, slid his feet well and used his long arms and quick hands to makes steals and deflections.
Saturday night was more of the same, but this time, Kabongo hooked up with teammate and Texas commit Tristan Thompson on three alley oops that drew oohs and ahs from the crowd. Along with the highlight reel lob passes with perfect trajectory and touch, the rising 2011 prospect ran the team to near perfection as he did the night before.
In the 69-55 St. Benedict's win over Chicago Whitney Young, Kabongo posted 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. The elite level prospect says he played well over the weekend.
"I did well," Kabongo said. "It's natural and second nature, so it's what I do. I think I could have done better. I had a couple of more turnovers (three in two games) than I wanted, but that's about it. I think I played well, but couldn't have done it without my teammates," said Kabongo.
Watching Kabongo play, it's clear that the GrassRoots AAU floor general has a grasp on what it takes to be a big time point guard.
"It's knowing your teammates. You've got to really know your teammates. You've got to know who to get involved in the game, who is hot, who is cold, when you are down by two point who to get the ball to and always knowing you have to get the ball to the right people. It's also knowing when to shoot the ball and look for your shot in the tempo of the game," Kabongo said.
Even with the terrific start to the season, continued improvement is the goal.
"My defense has improved. I'm not weak, I've gotten stronger and my body is starting to grow now. On the offensive end, I'm starting to play physical and rebound better. Obviously, offensively it's the tempo of the game and turning the ball over where I want to keep improving," said Kabongo.
While Kabongo is just starting to earn a national reputation amongst recruiting analysts, the jet quick guard has been garnering attention from major college programs for a few months now. Early on, the Texas Longhorns stand out to Kabongo, who took an unofficial visit to Texas on October 11 and 12.
"Texas felt like my second home just like it does to Tristan (Thompson). Tristan and I are like brothers, so we felt at home. It will be a hard choice to make, but I think Texas feel like home," Kabongo said.
Even though Kabongo was impressed with his visit to Austin, more visits have been made and more will come to some of the top programs in college basketball.
"I'm looking at Villanova and Florida too. Those guys really, Wake Forest too and a couple of more the other big programs. I've also been to Villanova and Rutgers, the area schools. I want to go to Florida and see what that is all about. That it's so far," Kabongo said.