A look at: John Flowers

BlueGoldNews.com watched the games of the Red Oxen at West Virginia's basketball camp. Here's a look at an individual player and what he might bring to the Mountaineers this season. Now, the final overall player and the lone signee in the 2007 class, John Flowers.

The forward is perhaps West Virginia's most athletic player. He lacks the touch of Wellington Smith or Jacob Green, but he can handle the ball on the perimeter and drive by similar-sized players. Flowers needs work backing foes down, and he does not score well on turnarounds or finishing in the low block. His game is more outside-in in the form of drives and the ability to finish a variety of ways.

Flowers can hit the mid-range jumper, forcing foes away from the basket before driving by them. His main problem is that, unlike Smith, he can't pull them much beyond that because his outside shooting is not as accurate. He showed a great nose for rebounds and the ability to find a body and block out during a shot. He is also very effective defensively, with good lateral quickness and solid reach.

The 6-7, 210-pounder's main asset, however, is his defensive presence, which adds a hard-nosed aspect to his team. He routinely blocked players twice in a row and battled Smith well. It reads here that Smith had the better offensive game, but Flowers was a better defender. He was quicker than Smith or Green, and showcased a style and attitude not seen at West Virginia. He will play in your face on both sides of the ball, and he would be a very good fit at almost any program as he is not the typical pure shooter WVU head coach John Beilein often recruits.

As such, Flowers will have to work on his outside touch. He did that last season, and was better able to score inside and out as the Leonardtown, Md. native averaged 21 points and 12.5 rebounds as a junior for St. Mary's Ryken High. In the three games watched, Flowers would often hoist a few three-pointers early, and continue to shoot if they hit. When a couple in a row missed, however, he concentrated on taking the ball inside and attacking off the dribble. Thus, if the Mountaineer coaching staff can get him to make shots consistently from the outside, Flowers' confidence will likely improve and, besides an added aspect of his game, he will be able to pick and chose his means of scoring, giving him more freedom and creativity.

His verticality and pure talent are among the best West Virginia has recruited under Beilein. Flowers has great leaping ability and can soar to the basket on breakaways. He also showed athleticism in warm-ups, when he glided in for several dunks or lay-ins that were above the rim. He has enough jumping ability that finishing via an alley-oop is another weapon, and his natural rebounding talent will allow for many put-backs on errant shots from his own team.

Flowers seems a natural fit for small forward, but he will need to shoot better. That might not be as much of a liability at West Virginia, because most of his teammates will be able to can the three-pointer. At most traditionally-oriented setups, Flowers would have to be the third-best, or perhaps second-best, shooter on the floor. That's not the case in Morgantown, but the Scout.com four-star recruit will need that ability to maximize his game and his ability to contribute more early. He said he wanted to work on his jumper and his strength during the summer, thought the latter seemed fine even against fellow Division I players at the WVU team camp.

Flowers is also blessed with tremendous genetics. His father, Nate, is 6-8, accounting for much of his son's solid frame. His mother, Pam Kelly, played power forward for Louisiana Tech from 1979-82. She was a three-time All-American, the first player in school history to score 2,000 points and still holds the NCAA record for most free throws made in one NCAA game, with 12 in 1982. Cheryl Miller also made 12 in 1986.

Kelly helped Tech to three consecutive Final Four appearances and two national championships, the latter of which was the first ever for women's basketball in the NCAA. She also won the Wade Trophy and the Broderick Award as the nation's outstanding woman college basketball player in 1982. In her four seasons as a starter, Kelly scored 2,979 points in 153 games, an average of 19.5 per game, and grabbed 1,511 rebounds.


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