EDITOR’S NOTE: Sean Leroy was also attending last night’s summer league action and decided he would share his opinions too. This gives you two different perspectives from the same games. You can read Craig Yamada’s here.
Monday night marked the opening of the Seattle Summer League at North Seattle Community College. Though the majority of Huskies slated to participate were absent, Abdul Gaddy, Mark McLaughlin, Andrew Andrews and Shawn Kemp Jr. were present. Below are some observations and highlights.
Abdul Gaddy was a late arrival but subbed in early in the game. Anrio Adams, Rainer Beach and incoming freshman for Bill Self and Kansas, drew Gaddy’s number on the defensive end. Adams picked his pocket a few times, but for the most part Gaddy was able to find his own shot. While a bit cold on the perimeter, Gaddy was aggressive with dribble penetration, particularly in the second half. He wasn’t afraid to mix it up in the paint either, rebounding and scoring with putbacks. With the athleticism the Huskies have had at the guard position in the last few years, it is easy to overlook the totality of Abdul’s game. What he may lack in short bursts of speed (ala Derrick Rose), he makes up for with excellent ball and body control. He has the ability to keep the defender on his hip and use his long arms to create the additional space necessary to get to the cup. Gaddy’s running mate for the night – Martin Breunig – was absent. Hopefully next week, we’ll see be able to see how they work together.
Mark McLaughlin played the third game of the evening. Husky fans, get to know this kid. I noticed some of the folks sitting around, mentioning they would purposely stay in order to see McLaughlin’s game. Though I’d seen plenty of tape on McLaughlin, I’d never seen him in person. My first impression upon watching him warm up – “He looks like a Husky wing”! Long, lean, quick and adept at handling the rock and shot creation, McLaughlin was, in large measure, the standout performer of the evening. From the perimeter, from the paint…it didn’t matter, McLaughlin looked at home. One facet of his game that Husky fans may not be aware of, is his uncanny ability to use his off-hand when going to the rim. Doing so, only adds variety to his already lethal and creative game and keeps opposing defenders on their heels. McLaughlin seemed to genuinely enjoy himself, talking and smiling with the officials and fans alike.
The crowd had thinned out somewhat by the time the final game rolled around, but all eyes present were on Andrew Andrews. As I said above with Mark McLaughlin – get to know this kid’s game. The only point which obscured Andrews contribution is his team was very guard-rich, with the likes of D’Vonne Pickett Jr. of Seattle U (tip of the hat to Pickett). Regardless, Andrews consistently demonstrated why Husky fans should be so excited for his emergence. I recall an interview with Andrews when he committed to UW in which the interviewer asked him what the coaching staff wanted him to work on. Andrews replied “strengthening my handle and keeping low”, (when he dribble drives, for instance). I’d say he’s put in work! On one possession in the second half, Andrews took the ball at the top of the key, and with the defender no doubt asking “What’s he going to do? Pull-up? Cross me over? What?” Andrews took the ball, and with a couple set up dribbles, spun right so hard, so fast, it took not only the defender by surprise, but the audience too. I know he busted my ankles and I was in the third row! Andrews also shows an above average perimeter game and real nice court vision.
Shawn Kemp Jr. (Sr. was in the building too!) played with Andrews. Kemp Jr. has a lot of potential and the opposing defense recognized this, oftentimes clogging the middle in an attempt to disrupt his rhythm. Early in the game Kemp caught an alley oop that seemed to be parallel to the floor and not really rising. It didn’t matter, as Kemp caught it, brought it left and flushed it home. I was encouraged by Kemp’s effort on the defensive end, rebounding and generally disturbing the paint. He didn’t score many points, but was effective while on the floor. Kemp, is one of the Husky bigs that has a chance to contribute this season at the 4, provided he is aggressive and wants it. The talent is there for him to garner respectable minutes as a sophomore. One side note, hopefully not an unfortunate one – he sat for much of the second half and seemed to have an ice pack on his right knee. He didn’t appear to be in pain, so hopefully it is something he can work through.
Games continue next Monday, 6pm at North Seattle Community College. Admission is free, parking is free and the basketball is more than worth the look.