Thursday, April 18, 2013

In the Spotlight: Anthony Barber

Anthony Barber
Position: Point Guard
Ht: 6-2, Wt: 165
Hometown: Hampton, Virginia
College: North Carolina State
Class: Freshman - incoming

  • Speed in the open court is unmatched… can get end to end with the ball in his hands in a flash
  • Ability to push the ball with either hand – going North / South
    • Lefty in and out dribble
    • Cross over with either hand
  • Ability to create fast break opportunities with his speed
  • Does a nice job mixing up his speeds and accelerating past the defense… good burst
  • Supreme Quickness
  • Great usage of the pick and roll, finding his teammates at the rim
  • Sees the floor well, good feel for where his teammates are 
  • Has the tools to become a very good on the ball defender… size, foot speed, active hands at the 1

  • Shooting mechanics need work to develop consistency from the outside.   Looks more comfortable pulling up for a mid-range jumper, struggles when pushed outside his comfort zone.  Jumper comes out with a low-release, as if he’s pushing the ball
  • Needs to expand offensive repertoire in the half-court set… relies heavily on the high screen and roll from the top of the key.  Needs to have the ball in his hands to be involved
  • Immaturity questions – read his Twitter feed – needs some schooling on how to represent his brand.
  • Has to add muscle to his frame to take the pounding he will get as his game advances
  • Does he have the polish?   Can he be a guy that his teammates look up to?


Barber is someone that will stand out any time you watch him play, because he has a flare (in a good way).    He’s play’s an exciting style, with the ability to get anywhere on the court with the ball in his hands.  He’s elusive with tremendous quickness – as quick as any 1’s in the NBA.

Offensively, he really needs to focus on developing a more consistent jump shot from the outside.   Right now his mechanics are off – release is low, like a set in volleyball – he’s not much of a threat when shooting from the perimeter.  With his current stroke, the opposition will be able to play off him, offsetting his speed advantage to a degree.  In a way, it will neutralize his first step.   If he can work on improving his consistency from the outside, becoming more of a threat, his game will go to another level.  Forcing the defense to start playing up on Barber and fighting over screens, he’d be a very tough player to contain / keep out of the paint.   And in the half-court set, when the ball is not in his hands, he’d need to be accounted for…. And thus, he’d start to be much more active (without the ball).

On the defensive end, Barber has the tools.   He has good length for a 1, outstanding foot speed, lateral quickness and active hands.    He gets anxious to get into the open court, so he’ll have to learn some discipline, not leaking out too early to start the fast break…. staying focused defensively until securing possession.

But my big focus next season with Anthony Barber will be:  Can he translate his incredible talent into being a productive NBA point guard with leadership skills to run a team? 

One one hand, he had big-time potential, if he works hard and allows his game to develop.  But on the other, he can also become a one-and-done guy, leaving way before he's ready... never to be heard from again.

We’ll be watching closely, very optimistically.

In the Spotlight: Julius Randle

Julius Randle

Position: Power Forward
Ht: 6-9, Wt: 225
Hometown: McKinney, Texas
College: Kentucky
Class: Freshman - incoming
DOB: 11/29/94

  • Plays with a tenacity… high intensity… very competitive / determined
  • Extremely versatile on the offensive end
  • High skill set – Inside / outside ability, which makes him a tough player to match up against.
  •  Tremendous ball handling skills for a 4… Can grab a rebound and take the ball end to end
  •  Good face up game with the ball in his hands – advanced for his size
  • Shows a nice hesitation dribble, to his left
  • Great scoring ability – will find a way to put the ball in the basket
  • Crafty footwork in the paint
  • Nice shooting form from the outside
  • Strong player with good body build… As he continues adding muscle, he needs to keep himself toned enough to maintain his quickness / not slow himself down

  • Heavily relies on facing the basket
  • Can’t be too predictable when facing up
    •  If he’s going left – he’s going to the basket
    • If he’s going right – he’s pulling up for jump shot
  • Needs to work on going to his right hand 
  • Overpowers players at this level – won’t work as he gets to the next level
  • Needs to improve his ability to score over bigger players
  • Plays with a lower energy level on the defensive end… needs to stay as hungry to lock down as he does score
  • Average foot speed and later movement.  (would love to see him show that he can guard 3’s)


Combine his very rare skill set, with his desire to be great and Julius Randle is a very enticing prospect at the NBA level.   His ability to attack the opposition off the dribble and play with his face to the basket at 6’9 / 225 lbs, makes him a very tough player to match up against.   He’s very versatile with a competitive attitude, and seems like he’s ready to put in the hard work it will take to be a stud.

At this level, Randle can dominate simply by over powering the opposition.  He’s a good athlete, not earth shattering, and the game will continue getting tougher as he advances, and wont be able to rely on out-sizing the opposition.   But he’s someone that has all the tools to be a big time player, at any level.

It will be interesting to see how Randle’s used on the offensive end during his freshman season at Kentucky, given his propensity to drift outside and desire to play on the perimeter.   We’ll be watching closely to see how he adjusts to playing against bigger / longer defenders night in and night out and the improvements he makes with his back to the basket.

As important will be the progress Randle makes on the defensive end, both individually and in the team concept.    Some will come from awareness (rotating from the weakside, hedging out defensively on the pick and roll, etc.), but much of the improvement will come from desire.  

Randle will likely be one and done and is one of our top 5 prospects heading into next season.