Summer League Sizzle – First Impressions
Craig Yamada made the trek to North Seattle Community College to check out Day 1 of the summer league. Here are his notes. Give him a follow on Twitter! (@uwcraigery).
The NBA season is over. Baseball season is in full swing. And I could care less because basketball summer league is in session. Today marked day 1 of the North Seattle Community College summer league where a variety of different UW basketball players showed their talents back on the hardwood. After four hours of sitting on the hardwood benches, we wanted to share some of our observations with you. As you can expect, you must temper expectations out of the gate as these game don’t feature much defense or discipline. It’s basically a glorified pick up game.
Several UW players were no shows today as many are making home visits to be with their families before Summer quarter begins. Missing in action were CJ Wilcox (Kevin Durant Skills Academy), Scott Suggs, Jernard Jarreau, Desmond Simmons, Martin Bruenig, and Hikeem Stewart.
Game 2 featured Abdul Gaddy’s team. Gaddy showed up a bit late to the game and did not get a chance to warm up. But that didn’t stop him from going straight into the game once he entered the gym. The first thing I noticed about Gaddy is that he looks to be down at least 7-10 Lbs. He looks lean, mean and a bit quicker from where we saw him in March. His body type is similar to what we saw coming out of high school with more lean muscle. He struggled a bit in the early going, but soon got his outside stroke going.
He netted a total of 15 points as he was guarded closely by Kansas bound Anrio Adams. Rio was giving Gaddy some fits early on as he picked him clean off the dribble on a couple of occasions. Gaddy looked to be up to his old habits. He did a lot of a shake and baking but was not really able to get to the hole at will. It looked like the same old Gaddy in terms of his skill set and ability. Had Gaddy had a better supporting cast, I am sure a lot of his passes would have been converted for more scores. Once Bruenig gets back next week, I expect to see much improvement.
Game 3 featured the first look for many UW fans of Mark McLaughlin. McLaughlin definitely played as advertised as a pure volume scorer. The guy has a high basketball IQ and did well taking his man off the dribble with a mean cross over. “Big Mac” definitely shined in this game today from all over the floor. Most of his points came from inside the paint which is definitely surprising given his game film from TCC where he launched countless shots from downtown. Sterling Carter from Seattle U was guarding Mark in the second half, but Mark still managed to get his way to the hole with silky smooth handles and spin moves to free himself up in open space in the paint.
Mark definitely fits well into a high octane Romar-esque offense. In transition he is deceptively fast as he can get from one end of the floor to the other by gliding down the court. His ability to get to the rim and finish creatively in transition reminded me a bit of Terrence Ross. Though he is no where near the athlete Ross is, he definitely has the potential to be a more of a complete scorer as he can score from deep and can also get to the hole at ease with his handles. Again, we need to see Mark play against D1 level talent before we can fairly make any comparison to a player of Ross’ stature. Ross’ crossover is untouchable in my opinion, but Mark’s is used differently. Mark uses his crossover more so to get to the rim while Ross uses it predominantly to free himself up for jump shots. They are different players to say the least, but can both fill up the cup with confidence. The comparisons to Tre Simmons were somewhat valid in regards to his outside game, but I see much more potential in McLaughlin. At times tonight he looked like a quicker version of Brandon Roy when he got to the hole with his fluid movements and smooth finishing ability. He also displayed a nifty little floater once he got into the lane.
Mark finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds on his night. The one area I definitely foresee a need for improvement was on the defensive end as he lazily got back on defense for most of the game. Naturally these games don’t lend themselves to superior defensive effort, but would expect Romar to whip him into shape by the tip of the first game. Mark is rail thin and looks like he could gain 10 pounds of muscle to handle bigger and stronger guards in the Pac 12. I also would have loved to see more of his post game which I had seen in his TCC game film, but he definitely has the ability to post up smaller guards and finish. Again, this is way too early to gauge, but from what I saw today, Mark will be challenging for starter/6th man minutes from Day 1.
I was only able to see half of Game 4 featuring Shawn Kemp Jr. and Andrew Andrews. Andrews netted a total of 6 points in the first half on 2 of 4 shooting from deep. Kemp followed suit with 4 points on 2 of 4 shooting in the paint. Kemp looks like he is in much better shape in comparison to when I saw him in this same summer league last year at this time. He looks to have leaned out quite a bit and looks more agile on the floor. The rust was definitely apparent in his game but his body condition is something Husky fans can look forward to for this season. Shawn is the only true “in the post” PF that the Huskies have this year and will need to step up with bigger minutes this coming year. Shawn converted a rim rattling alley oop off a poorly thrown pass from one of his teammates early in the game.
Andrews was playing great on the defensive end today from the opening tip. You can tell he has been working in the weight room as his opponent could never get by as he bodied up his man with chest bumping and his lateral quickness all game. This kid’s demeanor just makes me that much more confident about this year’s team. He has the mentality of a winner and you could see that displayed in his play today. He ran the team like a floor general today as he put his teammates in great positions to score. With his bulldog aggressiveness, he can get to the hole more effectively than Abdul Gaddy at this point. He doesn’t do as much flashy dribbling as Gaddy, but is more effective at beating his man off the dribble with a quick first step and draws contact from the defender as he drives to the hole. He wastes no movement when he is intent on getting to the hole. His ability to get to the hole is very reminiscent to Mr. Irrelevant (IT).