I must admit that it is rather intimidating trying to follow FlCeltsFan but I have tried to ferret out some information on some of the more unknown players with the Celtics in Orlando. Just how good of a job she does became apparent in the number of hours on the internet I spent trying to add anything noteworthy.
I'm really amped about the possibility that Clifford Ray may have some young talent with which to work. In my best of all worlds, all three of the "furriner" big men would pan out. Sheed's contract would bring back Wright, Azabuike, and Morrow from GS; KG, Baby, and Wright get us through November; one of the hefties would "arrive" in December; and Perk and another youngen are worked in after the new year.
Hope you enjoy and it whets your appetite for Monday (C's vs OKC Thunder 5PM EDT on NBA TV).
Vyacheslav Kravstov C, 7-0, 270, Ukraine
Strengths: One of the best post prospects in Europe He has great physical potential, is a supreme athlete; with an excellent attitude Plays with courage and desire, and has surprising maturity for his age A true center. At 7-0 260 and with a big frame, has the size to play center in the NBA Has a great attitude, and shows a high level of desire Has the toughness and demeanor that you want in a post player He's got the face of a child but a man's body and plays with a physical nature His instincts for the game and ability to play at a high level is rapidly improving Very strong rebounding the ball Really has an imposing physique and should get stronger He can be involved and make plays without having the offense focus on him Foot speed and agility is excellent for a player his size An aggressive, fearless player, unafraid of contact Has solid touch around the basket using lefty hooks and jumpers Defensive minded. A solid defender and shot blocker in Europe but probably just average by NBA standards, but has the physical attributes to be a solid NBA defender in the future Does a solid job managing his fouls
Weaknesses: Still unskilled offensively He must expand his offensive game and complete his physical growth Scores a lot of his points on garbage baskets Still needs work on his post up game. Needs to improve the speed at which he thinks the game and reacts to situations offensively The European style of play has less posting up and isolating bigmen NBA readiness is a ways off. Compared to countryman Kyrylo Fesenko, he has less offensive ability but better defensive skills
A bit more on the Semih front (from 2007 without edits): Outlook: As far as Im concerned, the only person who can prevent Semih from being drafted is Semih Erden. The potential is undeniable, though at this point it appears he's wasting a good amount of his talent. Lets hope hes conscious enough of that and can tap into his outstanding potential.
As far as his more current progress reports, there seems to still be lapses in focus and effort. However his less than overwhelming numbers seem to be partially due to the fact that his coach favors catch and shoot basketball and the team has five centers.
From a Phoenix Suns’ blog (Janning will play for their summer league team in Ls Vegas): Matt Janning: The Northeastern combo guard is 6-5 and makes plays off the pick-and-roll with a good handle and has the most athletic hands this side of Jared Dudley. Note: His height is listed at 6’2” and even with BIG shoes he isn’t going over 6-4 in spite of the fact that he was listed by the Huskies as a G/F.
Matt was invited to a free agent mini-camp by the OKC Thunder and early on was listed on their Orlando roster. This excerpt from the UConn Men’s Notebook hints at the esteem/fear Matt inspired in college:
‘UConn closed its 59-57 first-round NIT victory over Northeastern with an 11-3 run and had to dodge a few bullets, mainly from guard Matt Janning.
Janning, who had 29 points in Northeastern's 69-60 loss at Gampel Pavilion two seasons ago, missed an open three-pointer from the left after Jerome Dyson gave UConn the lead with just under a minute to go. On the next possession, again with Northeastern trailing by two, Janning missed a contested runner.
With Kemba Walker failing for a second time to extend UConn's lead from the free throw line with 12.7 seconds left, Janning, chased by Dyson, could not get the ball on the final possession. Bataille Baptiste missed an open three-pointer at the buzzer.
"He can't touch the ball," coach Jim Calhoun said of Janning and the final possession. "Make someone else beat us."’
It’s always have to take with a grain of salt the accolades thrown at players from “directional” schools (I guess that goes double for “two-directional” colleges) in non-major conferences. Even so, the pre-tournament breakdown noted that “Janning is considered to be the best shooting guard” in the Colonial Athletic Association. Then again from the same Colonial Conference came #15 pick Larry Sanders from VCU.
Finally there are questions about Janning’s lateral mobility and defense in general. An assuring note comes from the Summer League Post Ups on the Celtics page of NBA.com (how neat is it to already have feedback from the first day of practice?): “One player who did stand out at the defensive end was Matt Janning, a lanky, 6-foot-4 guard out of Northeastern. He really seemed to have a fantastic feel on the defensive end tonight and was singled out by the coaching staff on a couple of occasions for his crisp rotations and anticipation on help defense. If he keeps that up, he'll surely leave an impression on these coaches when Boston's staff heads back north next week.”
May be in the early running for most often misspelled (and mispronounced) name along with Artsiom Parakhouski and Vyacheslav Kravstov. I’m not sure if is some kind of keyboard dyslexia but many articles have Lafayette spelled Layafette as well within the same piece, sometimes in the same paragraph. This will probably come as a huge relief to Semih Erden and Luke Harangody but is probably keeping Tommy Heinsohn up nights already. I can already see it as Oliver, Luke, Art, Semi, and VK.
From a basketball perspective Oliver is already well traveled having won NJCAA Div II player of the year at Brown Mackie, been named all-Conference USA as a Junior at Houston, and spent time with both the Erie Bayhawks and the Ft Wayne Mad Ants of the NBDL. How about a sbnation scouting report: Assets • Solid all-round at the point guard spot: a good passer & perimeter shooter and a capable defender who rebounds well and has a nose for steals. Can score when needed. Flaws • Needs to work on ball security. Lacks mass and will get posted up by bigger NBA guards. Career Potential • Backup point guard.
Good to see some info on Janning and Lafayette. I came up short on those guys. The Hoops Market reported that the Celtics have signed Erden for next year. Could be the 3rd string center if they pick up a veteran like Miller. The player I am most intrigued with is Kravstov. He sounds like my kind of player. Strong, tough and mean and plays in the post. I'm looking forward to watching him in SL. Thanks for filling in the blanks. :)