Friday evening at Nike EYBL Peach Jam brought about an intriguing match-up between Team Final (PA) and The Rens (NY). Unfortunately, it was a game that was meaningless from a standings stand-point for both teams - leading to The Rens sitting two starters and both teams liberally employing their bench players.
Regardless, it was still an opportunity to observe Villanova verbal commit, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, and Class of 2017, recruiting targets Lonnie Walker and Jordan Tucker.
Tucker played only 20 minutes but posted some quality numbers with 21 points on 7-14 shooting from the floor, 5-9 from three-point range and 2-2 from the free-throw line. He also garnered 4 rebounds, dished out one assist and committed 2 turnovers.
VUSports observed Tucker in several Peach Jam games this week. He has improved his game over the past season in several ways. He has improved his body - and as a result his strength and quickness has improved. He has improved his dribble-drive game - making him tougher to guard beyond the arc because he is now more of a threat to take the ball to the rack. Thirdly, Tucker has improved the tenacity with which he approaches the game. A year ago, he was somewhat reluctant in times to mix it up when things got physical ... this summer, he is attacking the basket and relishing contact.
As other observers in the gym were commenting during games where his three-point shot wasn't dropping - "what happened to Tucker's jumper" ... VUSports was thinking "but what about all the other stuff he is doing this year?".
Here are my observations/notes from this game (infiltered):
- strong dribble move and finish at the cup
- caught the ball in transition on a dead run - somehow gathered it to put it on the deck once - but missed the runner
- excellent drive and finish at the rim
- stripped on the perimeter
- don't like the jump pass on the routine perimeter play
- that was a deep wing three - just missed it though
- mishandled the ball on a drive - TO
Tucker made five threes in the game and they covered the full spectrum of threes - one on the right wing, one on the left wing, one from the left corner, a deep one from the left wing and a sweet, jab step - step-back three-pointer from a couple feet behind the arc. Tucker has the physique and jump shot to be a quality stretch 4-man at the Big East level. He also has enough handling and passing skill to play some minutes at the 3 as well. He doesn't have super-quick, blow by speed and he doesn't have fabulous hops ... but Tucker is a solid all-around player who demands attention from opposing defenses. He is quick enough laterally and a heady enough defender to guard multiple positions as well. He may not be able to guard a "burner" guard but he could stretch him out a little with his size and length and force him to take a long path around the defense.
Walker dropped in 13 points on a 5-14 shooting performance from the floor with 2-2 FTs made and 1-5 3PFGs. He did a nice job on the glass with 8 rebounds to go with 3 assists, 3 turnovers, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot. Walker didn't play as hard and as impressively as he did in his games yesterday but he was generally solid in this game.
Here are observations/notes from this game for Walker:
- corner trey - Bang!
- great explosion and finish in transition
- drive and kick to find Russell for the trey
- mishandled the ball trying to turn the corner on Tucker
- drains a floater in the lane
- missed a pull-up, left elbow jumper - just rattled out
- drove the ball into a crowd - TO
- dribbled around one man and blew by another to the tin for a right-hand lay-up
- backed a guy down on a post-up move and drew the foul
- steal - stripped Tucker
- drained a pull-up, left elbow jumper
- grabbed a D-board - pushed it cost-to-coast but missed a left-handed lay-up
DCR scored 13 on 6-12 FGs and 1-2 FTs. Though he grabbed a bunch of rebounds, the official box score does not list him among those who grabbed boards. He had 3 assists, 2 turnovers, and 3 steals while playing with his normal, high energy motor.
Here are the unfiltered notes on "DaDa"'s play in this game:
- backdoor alley-oop - FLUSH!
- lay-up - showed good hands to recover the ball on a busted play and then drive it past a guy
- sweet rejection!
- chased down a D-board and used a between the leg dribble to get the ball out in transition quickly
- missed a 6-foot, right-handed, jump hook
- got a D-board and quickly dribble it out on the break - out to 3/4 court before passing
- made an up and under move and got his shot swatted
- challenged a shooter out on the wing and then turned and beat the guy down the floor - would have been a lay-up with a better pass to him
- flew in from the wing with the ball, one bounce dribble, soared to the rim for a lay-up
- easy lay-up because he worked to get into position for the pass from a driver
- drove the ball from 10 feet and kicked it out to a 3-ball shooter
- crammed home an alley-oop pass