As I get a look at each of the teams in the city I will be writing up a review of the teams strengths and weaknesses.
Bonner Springs has an unquestioned leader in BJ Watson at the point guard position. He is fast and could possibly be one of the top shooters in the city this year. He is definitely not afraid to attack the basket and take the punishment that a small guard should expect going into the lane. If there was a stat for hitting the floor Watson is definitely a favorite to win.
The danger in a scoring point guard however is what that means for the rest of the team. We will have to monitor BJ's team mates to makes sure they don't get in a mode of watching instead of staying active on offense. He will have to make sure he is keeping his team mates involved as well. With his quickness we should see at least 5 assist per game. I will be keeping an eye on his assist to turnover ratio. Not just for BJ but all PG's that are covered. Taking care of the ball is paramount.
Senior C Brett Steuart plays very aggressively and hits the boards well. He plays a bit of an enforcer role as he definitely was not afraid to get in there and push some people around. He was not shy about asking for the ball in the post as well.
Senior F Stevie Williams will bring the house down a few times this year. Without doubt he is the best leaper on the team. This shows up in his drives to the basket as well as rebounding the ball on offense and defense. I expect Stevie to be a vocal leader for this team. I commented to his dad with in the first few minutes that he looked like a completely different player than over the summer. This is a good sign for Bonner fans.
Guard JJ Jackson impressed me with his defense tonight. He did not show the ability to create his own shot but has a nice looking jump shot which will prove important as teams pinch in on Watson driving to the basket. Every team needs a defensive stopper and JJ's work ethic shows up clearly on the defensive side of the ball.
Jordan Jackson is the only under classman in the starting line up. In his first start he showed the exact same mentality he did on the football field. A willingness to take care of the basketball and limit mistakes. He also appears to have a nice spot up jump shot and toward the end of the game some ability to get to the rim. As he matures he could become a second or third option in this offense.
Coach Andrew Price went fairly deep into his bench. Jourdaine Smallwood was very steady off the bench backing up Watson. Ivory Elijah showed some burst in the game as well. I really got the impression that Coach Price was evaluating what he has available to him. I am not a huge fan of 10 man rotations so we will have to see how this plays out over the season.
Defensively I was very impressed with the different looks they gave. They played a match up zone, showed some press and a very effective half court trapping defense. There were a few instances that these defenses took them out of rebounding position but we will see how this progresses during the season.
Offensively Bonner was heavily reliant on Watson. Williams, Stuart and JJ Jackson will have to pick up some of the scoring slack. I can see some teams going box and 1 on Watson to force someone else to create. The offensive sets were very good and play well to the 3 guard look they are playing.
I will be watching closely the development of Tyler Howell. A legit 6'7" C would prove invaluable for a team of shooters. This will be the challenge for Coach Price in terms of getting him to use his size and strength to dominate down low.
I am aware of this being the first game but these are my inital impressions and what I will be watching for when I see Bonner later in the year.
Congrats to the Braves on their first win.