CITYBEAT: City Hoop Round-up; Southwestern Academy

Posted: January 1, 2011 by Marcellus Miller in Citybeat, High School

By Marcellus Miller | Great Lakes Hoops

The Knights complete the city hoop round-up at the quarter pole and may be the hardest one of all to get a handle on.  My colleague at GLH wrote that they set basketball back in time with their slow-paced, 2-3 zone defended, methodical loss at the hands of Fenton.  Yes, Fenton…but I believe that the staff there is thinking that if they can reduce the number of possessions in the game by slowing it down, they will increase their chances of winning.  Hey, it worked against Arthur Hill, who was ranked in the top ten class A teams statewide.  That huge victory is the only one the Knights have had so far though and there in lies the problem.  Their biggest downfall seems to be ball-handling in a city where every kid loves to dribble.  Seems strange, doesn’t it?

Their best and most potent player has to be Marques Pool.  Somewhat of an anomaly last year with his up and down play, Pool has become more of a consistent force so far this season.  As the team’s leading scorer, the ball ends up in his hands more often than not.  He has to remain aggressive about putting that ball in the bucket for the Knights to have any success.  He has a nice touch from the 3-point line and can make a quick difference from out there if you’re not careful.  I would like to see his ball skills improve, but he is definitely a player that coaches want to have.

This team will go as far as big man Cory Jones takes them.  As much of an inconsistent threat as Pool was last year, Jones is now.  He has the ability with his long arms, aggressive nature, and soft touch to be a beast around the basket.  But far too often, we get something less than that.  I don’t know if it is the guards’ inability to get him the ball in the right places or what, but I know that he needs to be scoring in the teens if they want to win.  He also has a propensity to get in foul trouble, which may be another reason for the primary 2-3 zone defense.  He can also block shots, which is a commodity that every team needs.  He improved greatly over the summer, having played with the MML squad, mostly with his willingness to accept a larger role in the offense.  How that role is defined moving forward will make or break this team I think.

Kendrick Roberts has been compared on this site  to former Knight Ty Ward at times.  While their athletic prowess alone (Roberts is a recent football signee of Western Michigan) is similar, the comparison ends there.  Roberts reminds me more of former Viking Stanley Beard.  They both have length and athleticism to spare, but also decided not to use them enough to make the impact they should.  He is strong, can jump, and has the quickness to dominate on the baselines at this level.  That domination has yet to be seen but he could provide the spark that allows this team to win some of those close games.

I know this may seem crazy, but the X-Factor in all of this may be a JV player.  Hold on, before you go calling me crazy, this JV player also happens to be the best prospect at point guard that they have as well.  Malik Young is a freshman by class, but his basketball IQ is much higher than that.  He already has a 35-point effort to his credit on JV (which included a half-court buzzer beater), and played with the varsity squad all-summer.  I have to think that the coaching staff are going to move him up at some point this season and it won’t be just to wave a towel to cheer.  He is another super talent in the list of freshmen and sophomores in this city.

The Knights have proven capable of staying in games with their style of play, but I just don’t see it getting them many wins.  I predict that they will finish 0-4 in the city with 4 close games.  They may be a year away from serious contention in the city, but with a big man and a PG in tow for next year, watch out…

  1. Skywalker says:

    any predictions on whether Goodrich can make it 3 years in a row over NW tonight? With Fenton over SW last week, it could make quite a statement for the suburb teams against City teams. My gut tells NW wins, though I have a feeling Goodrich will be up for this game. Any thoughts out there?

  2. prepfan says:

    After watching the Knights play this evening, the problem is not they can not handle the ball it is they do not take care of it. Lazy pass after lazy pass. They do not seem to know how to get the ball into the post. As for Mr. Young, lets give him another year in the weight room before facing the big kids of the valley. Yes he has the game but a little on the small side. I hope he can fill out that frame over the summer. They also need to learn how to box-out playing a zone to many second chance baskets. Have to say at gut check time they stepped up again.

    • Marcellus Miller says:

      He is small, but he has been playing with older and bigger kids pretty much his whole career thus far. Will lack of size limit him somewhat? Sure. However, he has shown no fear in the summer circuit and he can hold his own. For a team that needs ball handling (and passing is included in that), he could be an answer.

  3. Undeniable Talent 2010 says:

    I do not agree with the size situation. Noopy was not at all big when he was a freshmen and played amongst the big boys. If you have talent you will be able to play no matter what. This young kid averages almost 15pts a game in AAU and there is big guys all over the aau circuit. All I can say is give him a chance and then we can see if he can handle it or not.

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