Summer league is in full swing on the courts and it is the best time for programs to experiment, learn, grow, and ultimately tune their skills. Not the largest names maybe out there, but it is still a good time to observe teams and see what they’re working with. No one is going through the ringer in my observations, it is simply a fine tooth combing of what I saw on the floor. Let’s get started!
The Hawks are a mixed bag of thoughts and observations: On the one hand, they have a settled identity revolved around perimeter control on both ends of the floor, culminated through their aggressive approach to trying to force steals on defense and a trigger happy perimeter shooting. Their hustle for loose balls is also a solid compliment for the Hawks.
On the other scope: They were getting crushed on the boards, they weren’t very patient on offense and instead went straight for the first shot attempt, their free throws are rusty, they lacked any significant post presence, and their consistency needs help. Some good, but plenty of work over at Nelson. Grade: C
Things were messy for the Indians on Sunday, with bright spots that faded out into larger issues at hand. I loved the post presence they establish in the key, which makes any layups or mid-range into a guaranteed contested situation. They were really solid on the boards, great at the charity stripe, their ball movement in a set offense was also solid, plenty of hands got to touch the rock, and they had much potential to win if it weren’t for the flaws.
The top talking point has to be their lack of ball control, almost no opportunity to establish a set offense with constant turnovers. They were hesitant to take open looks from deep and instead relied on their posts, which scaled down their ability to execute significantly. It also looked like chemistry was an issue, as the team wasn’t on the same page in multiple facets. Just like with Nelson: Some good, but plenty of work at Scappoose. Grade: C-
The Bowmen had a rough time trying to do anything on Sunday. I admire their aggressiveness and hustle, but everything else was rusty. In short: Rushing shots, trigger happy from deep, turnover prone, cramped together in set offense, foul plagued. They also don’t have their stars on the floor, just like most teams in summer league. It wasn’t their prettiest moment, but they can always get better and look better by the end of summer league. Grade: D
Ida B. Wells
The most impressive team of Sunday morning belongs to the Guardians, who came to Forest Grove with an all-freshman to be sophomore team. They played smart on defense and forced a boatload of mistakes, not to mention the block party they were having in the paint. On offense, they drew fouls on drives to the rim regularly, even finishing some of the toughest attempts.
They could use work on free throw consistency, along with tuning up their perimeter shooting, but all else looked good from Wells. Major impressions were left from Mckenna Reed and Autumn Hart, they both looked excellent and are possibly stars in the making for the Guardians. Grade: A-
The Celtics have a new coach in 2022, providing a glimpse into the new era in Keizer. A good takeaway came from their diverse ball handling, both in set and transition offenses, which produced them plenty of buckets. Their aggressive approach to defense paid some dividends, but they were also able to settle back when they needed to. Some bright sights of their perimeter offense also came out on Sunday.
Learning how to finish off wins will likely be a topic at practice, as will be finding consistency, executing inbound plays, and just building chemistry in general. McNary has plenty to work on, but also some positives to takeaway. Grade: C
The Warriors were a fun one to check out, especially with their various swings in performance. Props go to their clear chemistry on the court, a nice inside-out offensive blend, their ability to stay patient, and ability to draw fouls in the paint. Plus, their no quit attitude got them an OT dub over McNary.
My markdowns on them came in various types: Their fouling was a bit undisciplined, they had OK rebounding at best, they were burned in transition defense, they could use sharper perimeter scoring, and consistency was just a general struggle. Some positives, some negatives. Grade: C
This team was night and day. When they were clicking, a strong chemistry consumed the floor and showed in their gameplay. They have a good blend of offensive showing on the court, plus you cannot knock their defensive fight or resiliency.
When things weren’t going well, turnovers completely plagued their offense, the rebounding faded away, and their defense struggled to keep up with the opponent. It was truly a tale of two different teams. This grade was hard, but here’s my best shot. Grade: C
I am very excited about this program. The length they showed in the paint and on the boards was eye-grabbing, as was the hybrid offensive scheme they were running. On defense, they were pretty decent overall, especially in a half-court set. The energy that they presented on the court was also encouraging.
There are kinks to work out though. The transition defense needs to be a focus, as does executing on free throws consistently. Learning how to close out games instead of letting the opponent back in will also be talked about, as will working on strategies for when they hit a slump. I would say more good than bad for Newberg. Grade: C+