First Impressions of E.J. Liddell, Alonzo Gaffney at Kingdom Summer League

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Nutinpa's picture

Really interesting b-ball squad shaping up for this season.  I see them jelling into a respectably good team before the end of the year. If the newbies are as good as advertised -- or hoped, it'll be time for Musa Jallow and Kyle Young to really step up if they want to see meaningful minutes. Otherwise, their ships will have sailed. 

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PRO8's picture

Jallow and Young don't have to be starters but they do need to be successful contributors on this team ... of course I want that from every player.

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BuckeyeBen7.7's picture

I’m so excited for this season. If Liddell is as close to advertised, he’s gonna be huge for this team. And Gaffney just needs time. He sounds like a Keita Bates-Diop, just bigger. Let him develop and by his junior year, he could be a monster.

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EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Not sure he has the complete game that KBD had when he hit campus. Agree that he'll need to stick around for us to see him in beast mode.

Liddell could be a lot better earlier than I expected. 

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BuckeyeBen7.7's picture

As KBD himself noted in the article about him tearing up summer league, he was a role player for two years first. He didn’t have a complete game either. Yet he found it his redshirt junior year. And that’s kinda what I’m seeing from Gaffney, just maybe moreso

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keith7456's picture

A more athletic Kaleb Wesson will be big for the team next year. He still needs to figure out how to not get so many stupid fouls. 

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Brah Zhole's picture

If Nerlens Noel can be considered #1 pick in the NBA draft, no reason that Gaffney kid can't be first team all Big ten

gabbagool

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chirobuck's picture

Tons of talent and potential, should be fun to watch how it all unfolds over the next couple years, I think it could go anywhere from lower tier B1G team to a national championship contender and anywhere in between

 

^ best post ever ^

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OSU_Hammy's picture

Liddell and Carton could end up both starting. This would give the bucks one of the stronger benches they have had in recent years. Washington, Young, Walker, Gaffney, Ahrens, Jallow all coming off the bench. That would be scary.

Buckeye Til I Die

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BuckminsterFullback's picture

Gives Holtmann the flexibility to adapt his lineup to a lot of different opponents; that's a plus.

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.

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PRO8's picture

Just hearing that K Wess is getting into much better shape is really good news in helping him and this team to take the next step... this can be a really good Buckeye basketball team.... 

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ibuck's picture

Just hearing that K Wess is getting into much better shape is really good news

Hoping that seriousness about his game shows up in many ways: decision making, ball-handling, smart defense, etc.

Go Kaleb!

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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Trebor40's picture

Walker, Jallow, Aherns, Liddell, K. Wesson 

Tough, physical, strong half court defense and offense - you can run plays through this line up! 

 Carlton, Muhammad, Washington, A. Wesson, Young

You just RUN! PRESSURE and RUN some more!  

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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bsk33's picture

Jallow played zero mins at SG last season. Not saying he for sure won't play any mins there this year. But I would be absolutely shocked if he started there over Luther or Duane.

I play, coach stays. He goes, I go.

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Trebor40's picture

Do you think Luther is better in the half court, honest assessment - I hope so because being strong and able finish in the half court offense is what I feel he lacked last season. I am hopeful that he could fill the SG in the half court offense because I LOVE everything else he brings. I just believe Jallow could truly be David Lighty for this team! He is strong and can stop opponents bigger guards as well as their small forwards. 

The change in response would then be

Walker, Muhammad, Aherns, Liddell, K. Wesson

Carlton, Washington, Jallow, A. Wesson, Young

Still attractive - very fast full court team. I guess I just would love to see our team force a complete change out of our opponent for stretches of the game! Instead of responding with plays we could force them to respond with our personnel and personality! 

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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bsk33's picture

I just read an article on The Athletic (from Bill Landis) discussing Muhammad working on diversifying his offensive game. Luther seems to have an effective first step, but seemed to settle way too much for mid range jump shots. I think his 37% 3pfg is more than adequate if he can be in that range again, just hopefully not as streaky as his Freshmen season. But even considering his flaws, I think his offensive skills at SG are considerably better than Jallow's.

I think the guard rotation is pretty set. I would guess that Walker and Muhammad are Game 1 starters, but it would not surprise me if Carton and/or Washington end up starting at some point or maybe even Game 1. Regardless, all 4 players should see significant mins, with a definite possibility of seeing 3 of the 4 on the court together for some stretches.

I think we all can agree that Kaleb Wesson is a lock as the starting Cented with EJ Liddell looking more and more like the starting PF. I could see Kyle Young being the primary backup for both spots with Diallo likely only getting spot duty as backup center.

Where it really gets interesting is SF. Although Dre Wesson is a near lock to start for Game 1, does he retain that spot all season? Even so does he play close to 30 mins a game like last season, or does he get scaled back to more like 15-20 mins a game? Jallow has had a very inconsistent career but his skill set is very similar to Andre's with way more athleticism. Ahrens defensive issues kept him off the floor for most of last season but he is probably the best natural shooter on the team (along with Duane) and is an underrated rebounder. And Gaffney, though very raw and not having a Big 10 ready body, has by far the highest ceiling of the 4. A lot of options (literally a senior, jr, soph, and freshmen), but only 40 mins a game available and probably a little less as we will likely see some 3 guard lineups. We also could see Dre and Gaffney playing some mins at PF. And maybe Jallow and/or Ahrens playing some at SG, but probably only if one of the 4 guards is injured.

Regardless, predicting mins for this team is difficult, especially at the SF spot. I guess that is a good problem to have. Better than 2 years ago when it was: 'Man, I hope Tate and/or KBD do not get hurt. If so, we are really screwed.'

I play, coach stays. He goes, I go.

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wigmon's picture

Hard to argue any potential starting lineup as the only sure thing seems to be Kaleb at center.  The three will be very interesting.  I too assume Andre starts, but I do think he sees less mpg than last year.  He split time between the 3,4  and even 5 because Young played quite a bit at the 5 and had injury issues and Holt didn't think LeDee was ready.  This year, you'll have Young, Liddell and Gaffney at the 4 and another body in Diallo at the 5.  That doesn't mean I don't think we see Andre at the 4 at times in a small lineup, but not nearly as much as last year.  So then how many minutes will Jallow and Ahrens play at the 3?  My opinion is that Andre had pretty much reached his ceiling.  Thats not to say he might not do things a little better this year with the experience he got last, but he's not going to be taking people off the dribble and he's going to get points by spotting up for 3 or maybe taking a smaller guy into the post.  He's at best an average rebounder and I am not nearly as high on his perimeter D as others (not saying he's awful, but just kinda average).  Jallow on the other hand seems to have some room to grow and is a better athlete and Ahrens showed me a little better athleticism than I expected.  None of these guys are likely to give us much in the way of creating on offense.  Ahrens is the best shooter, Jallow is the best defender/athlete and Andre is a little better when you look at the total package and experience.  I tend to think Andre's minutes are going to be in the 22-24 minute range if Liddell is good enough to be the starter at the 4.  I don't know if Jallow and Ahrens will split the other SF minutes or one takes the majority of it.  My best guess would be Jallow getting 12-15, going small for maybe 5-7 and Ahrens gets spot minutes depending on the opponent and the defense they are playing.

And this only a minor disagreement, but I think Carton has the highest ceiling of the frosh (not just this year, but long term).  He has a good handle and is just as quick and explosive for a PG as Gaffney is for a 3/4 and he's got a college ready body.  If he finds a consistent shot, he's probably not going to be in college for more than a couple of years.  I would say Gaffney has the most room to grow because he is starting from a lower point as far as basketball maturity and skill set, but I see Carton having the best pro career of the frosh.

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bsk33's picture

I meant that Gaffney had the highest ceiling of the 4 players competing for SF mins: Andre Wesson, Musa Jallow, Justin Ahrens, and Gaffney. I agree that Carton probably has the highest ceiling out of the 4 Freshmen.

I play, coach stays. He goes, I go.

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wigmon's picture

My mistake.  Where Gaffney plays and how he develops will be interesting.  He has decent handles (better than Jallow) and is obviously a good athlete, but I don't know that he is all that quick laterally, though admittedly its a small sample size I am using.  I'd peg him as more of a stretch 4 right now and has some work to do if he wants to be a 3.

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Trebor40's picture

It is exciting that I had a hard time filling in that pair of roster options BECAUSE of the talent not its lack! 

I am just hoping that we do not reach for the "Lets get smaller to be more athletic" game plan - I want to see our guys live out on the floor and develop a strategy to get themselves out of difficult situations instead of always being subbed out and that includes K. Wesson - If they are going to call something let it be punishing not the "oh I am a bull in a china shop" scared to break anything, Dials had similar problems, yet would bust your ass and that to me is all the difference in the world between the two men. Wesson being careful makes him look un-athletic which lends itself to cheap foul calls as he appears to blunder into people. Dials was so forceful that when he did make incidental contact refs seemed to give him the benefit of the doubt because "No when Dials fouls a dude you know it!" This enabled him to play looser with far less pointless trips to the bench!  

I would rather be on hand with 10 men then elsewhere with 10,000 - Timur Lenk

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andretolstoy's picture

Can we get a couple of seasons from these kids? 

If you die before you die, then you won't die when you die. 

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iowabuckeyes's picture

Gaffney is a foot taller than Mookie Cooper and both weigh 190 pounds.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

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ibuck's picture

Gaffney is a foot taller than Mookie Cooper and both weigh 190 pounds.

OK, I won't pencil in Cooper as SF. 

(Mookie's big enough to play RB or H-Back though.)

If Gaffney gains strength / pounds and Mookie gains an inch or so, is that OK? 

BTW, great hoops coverage, Colin.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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Icouldnotgofor3's picture

Biggest observation at this point is this team has some real serious depth coming off the bench. Holtmann and crew are primed to make a serious run in the BIG 10 this year. 

"On a couple possessions, Wesson took it off the bounce and attacked the rim, which he'd like to have in his arsenal as a senior." If Jallow can follow suit and perfect this, this team just gets that much better. 

NOTE: I think we give the Tar Heels all they can handle in Chapel Hill this fall. I like our chances...

Saban on a cart eating cold pizza

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