Sunday, February 28, 2010

Next Level Translation

One thing that most parents, fans, and players themselves struggle with, at the high school level, is how a player's game will translate to the college level. Most fans seen a kid who scores 20 points per game and automatically think he will be a good college player. That player might very well be a good collegiate player, but some characteristics make it more or less likely. Most casual fans can tell how skilled a certain player is, but will he be able to do those skills at a faster pace against smarter, quicker, stronger opponents?

One example of being a great player at one level and not having it translate to the next level is former Oklahoma All-American Hollis Price. Price was generously listed at 6'1". He was probably closer to 5'10" than he was to 6'1". So, his height would be a major factor in the NBA. Height alone won't disqualify you from playing at any level (middle school all the way to the NBA). A player will have to be able to offset the disadvantage with a great strength though. Usually if a player is shorter than the average he will have to be unbelievably quick in order to create separation. Hollis was very quick for the college game, but probably average or slightly below average for an NBA point guard.

The next level is always made up of better athletes and more skilled players. The NBA is disliked by many people because of the lack of effort. That is true, but they are the best in the world. NBA benches are filled with college All-Americans. Guys that might have been the best player their college ever produced might struggle to get off the bench in the NBA. Hollis Price was a consensus second team All-American and never even made an NBA roster.

Every college team is made up of guys who led their team in scoring in high school. That is true for every college level as well D2, D3, NAIA...not just D1. That is hard for most people to understand. People see someone struggle to play well in the Big Ten and assume he isn't very good. If he was in a smaller conference though, he would probably be the leading scorer for a lot of teams. It can be very deceiving to the eye at times.

One player that has started a lot of arguments between fans of Indiana high school basketball is Nic Moore. The junior point guard from Warsaw is a great high school player. Not good, he's been great since he stepped on the floor as a freshmen. There is no doubt he is very skilled, hard nosed, and a smart player. He has a few things that will likely hold him back from playing in a major conference (Big Ten, ACC, Big East, etc.)and those things include his height and his lack of ultra quickness. He is very quick for the high school game, but he has average or below average quickness for those major conferences.

A lot of people think I'm just "hating" on Nic Moore. For one, I hate the phrase "hating on" someone. I respect his game very much. I just think he has some things that would make it very hard for him to play well in a major conference. He could even play for some of the weaker teams in the major conferences, but he would likely struggle against the good teams. His toughness and competitiveness definitely help offset his height disadvantage. I don't believe it is quite enough though.

I hope this helps parents, fans, and players to be more realistic about what level they think someone can play.