Basketball Season Grades: Corey Raji
I didn't know what to factor into Corey Raji's grade. He showed guts and toughness by playing with a bad groin for the heart of the schedule. Yet he clearly frustrated fans and didn't progress as much as I would have hoped. At the end of the day it comes back to expectations and Raji didn't meet them.
The good news about Raji is that what he did well, he did very well. He's an instinctive rebounder who led the team in offensive [Corrected. Thanks, conlonc] boards. Having a guy who can keep those possessions alive is the key to Skinner's offensive system. Raji was good on the glass last year and only got better this year. In addition to being in the right place at the right time, he's also shown he can grab a ball in traffic and fight for those tough rebounds. Raji excelled in transition. He runs the floor well and is a good finisher on the break.
Raji's weaknesses were pretty evident -- he had 0 touch around the basket. He failed to convert on numerous opportunities close to the hoop. I have no idea what happened. Last year he had a very good shooting percentage by filling the stat sheet with putbacks and bunnies. Now it is like he is trying to get a ball through one of those small hoops you'd see at a carnival. Raji also struggled at times defensively. Big men got some easy baskets on him. Last year we often gave him a tough defensive assignment on wing players. This year other eagles got the call.
Raji has a great career ahead of him. Anyone who can rebound like that has huge value to any team. Maybe with the expectations a little lower next year, he'll step up his game.
Season Grade: B-