Friday, August 14, 2009

Player Profile: Kemba Walker

Looking Back: Kemba Walker came into UConn with high accolades and didn’t disappoint. He had problems at first handling his speed and finishing plays off, but by mid-season his lay-ups stopped rolling off the rim and started to drop. He was able to handle the ball pressure teams like to throw at freshmen, and he made them pay as he blurred by them. He rarely showed any freshman lapses on both ends of the court and became the best player off the bench, winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He had no problems taking over the point to spell Price, and the team never had the offensive lulls under his command that plagued them in the previous seasons, but that could be a testament to playing around experienced players. When Dyson went down for the season, Price and Walker played together and the ball was primarily in Walker’s hands, which shows the confidence that Calhoun has in his prize point guard. Kemba finished the season strong and became an integral part of the rotation.

The Good: His speed is his deadliest weapon. He is one of the fastest players in the country and is learning to play at light speed. He can create havoc in the lane and has tremendous court vision. He doesn’t make silly mistakes that turn the ball over and makes the right reads. He likes to play up-tempo and looks to push the ball whenever he can. He is a great defender and if he finishes out his four years, which is unlikely, he could go down as one of UConn’s best. His speed lets him body up on a player and not have his opponent turn the corner on him, which creates a lot of charges.

The Bad: He hasn’t displayed an offensive game yet, other than fast breaks, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one. He was on a team with established players with set roles. His job wasn’t to score, but to give the scorers the ball, but he needs to be more of an offensive threat on this team and he hasn’t shown it yet. His outside shot isn’t reliable and he needs to be more assertive when the ball is in his hands which it will be a lot.

Looking Ahead: There is no doubt that Kemba can handle the starting job at point, but he will have to change his game somewhat and look for his shot more. If he isn’t averaging double digits in points, then this team has no shot at the conference title or postseason success. But if he displays that offensive game that he showed in spurts last season and he makes a deep run in the Big Dance, then he could find himself a lottery pick in next years draft.

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