Saturday, May 30, 2009

Basketball Season Grades: Rakim Sanders

[We now continue with the longest delayed series in atleagle history...]

When pinpointing the difference between last season and the '07-'08 campaign, you don't need to look much further than Rakim Sanders. Always considered to be the most talented recruit of his class, Sanders showed this year he has the ability to lead a team, create mismatches with any player in the league and make a big play when the game is on the line.

Sanders accession didn't seem like a sure things when the season began. Early on you saw many of the same issues from his uneven freshman year. He'd be off on his shots. He'd shoot too much. He'd get in foul trouble. Slowly he turned a corner and the bigger the stage the better he played. His shot selection and defense were huge factors in our upset of UNC.

Despite his progression, Sanders still has areas in need of improvement. His handle in the open floor is not great. Even down the stretch he still had games where he committed stupid fouls. Considering how often he is touching the ball and the offense we run, he needs to improve his assist to turnover ratio. (Or even just be more careful with the ball.)

If he continues to improve Sanders should be all ACC next year. I am very excited for what he may do (and not just because of his late game heroics). His size and strength and ability to play inside and out could make him deadly when our offense is clicking. Think of all those easy baskets Smith and Dudley got in the flex. That could be Rakim next year as he pounds smaller wing players. Ultimately, he has the tools to be great. This year he showed glimpses of that greatness and the willingness to work to get there. For that he gets a strong grade.

Season Grade: A-


Claver2010 said...

Very fair for Rakim. I think his "clutch" factor is huge as we are going to need someone now that Rice is gone to take the important shots at the end of the game. Him falling in love with the 3 ball is frustrating considering his size and ability to score down low.

Raj said...

1, i am happy that you gave him such a high grade. I know the BCI guys wont be so happy, unless Trapani gets an A.

2, i do think he is the most talented player on the team, but i dont think he can play in the flex and be consistent.

I guess only time will tell

Erik said...

I agree he gets some dumb reach fouls, but wisht o point out that he also muscles his way to a really high number of steals, by just taking the ball from a dribbler. I hope he doesn't lose that aggressiveness, but maybe know how to be timely when those attempts.

One of the better aspects of having Sanders ont he team is the unlimited references to Eric B & Rakim, such as the NESN guy who always calls him the Basketball Fiend.