Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NBA Scout Breaks down Kentucky, Louisville Players (UPDATED)
I spoke with one veteran NBA scout who attended the Louisville-Kentucky game and here are his thoughts on a few key items and players.
On Julius Randle, who was forced to leave the game with cramps in the second half but looked dominant beforehand, going for 17 points: “He can score. He’s a beast inside. He’s hard to guard in college. He’s going to be guarded by the same size and more athletic guys in the NBA, but in college he’s unstoppable down there on the block. He’s gotta develop a mid-range game. He’s just not going to be able to bully his way to the rim at the NBA level every possession. Just keep driving left and driving left, spinning back left, they’re going to figure it out pretty quickly. He’s gotta develop a mid-range game, but as far as college he’s just a beast down there. You can’t guard him one-on-one in college.”
On Andrew and Aaron Harrison, who combined for 28 points, 8 rebounds and 7 turnovers and came on strong down the stretch while Randle sat on the bench: “Both of them should stay. To me, I think both have regressed from where they were coming in with all the hype they had. Aaron’s a better shooter. They both struggle to guard perimeter quickness. They both are not consistent shot-makers. Andrew’s just OK. He’s never going to be able to break any NBA point guard down and at 6-5 you’re not going to be able to post him. I just think they should both stay in school. There’s nothing that either one of them brings that makes you say, ‘Wow, this guy is my point guard or my two guard of the future.'”
The scout said the body language thing — which many say is improving — wasn’t an issue for him.
“I never really worried about that. They’ve been the better players on their teams for a number of years. There’s a lot of hype surrounding them. I’ve never heard or seen them to be bad kids at all,” the scout said. “I don’t even factor that into the equation.”
On James Young, who went for 18 and 10 on 5-for-17 shooting: “James Young helped himself. The guy’s going to have to get stronger, but he’s a got a knack for scoring. He’s got a beautiful stroke. He can shoot the 3-ball. He’s got a bright future I think.”
On Russ Smith, who went for 19 points on 7-for-20 shooting: “Tough, competitive, small scoring 2 guard who needs the NBA D-League to spend some quality time at the point to see if he can play the position at the NBA level. Otherwise, he is a European player.”
On Montrezl Harrell, who managed just 6 points and 4 rebounds as Louisville’s frontcourt players came up empty: “What did he do? What did he do? He’s a zero. He didn’t even get off the bus.”
On Chane Behanan, who went scoreless with 7 rebounds: “Did he come to the gym, did he show up?”
On Willie Cauley-Stein, who had 2 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks: “What’s he do? He blocks some shots. He has no offensive game. You can’t even go to him. He doesn’t even look at the basket. He’s not even a threat. He’s just another big guy that can block some shots, run the floor. He can go out and guard on the floor a little bit. I think he can guard some 4’s, some 5’s out on the floor. But he’s a zero offensive threat.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.