View Full Version : IHS Daily Basketball Preview- Taj Gray

10/12/2005, 05:53 AM
Over the next few days, I will be doing mini-scouting reports on each player. I will look at three strengths and three improvements.

Taj Gray is, without a doubt, one of the premiere front court players in all of America. He's a likely All-American, and is on the Naismith Award Watch List. He was an All Big XII First Team performer, and was named the Newcomer of the Year in the Big XII last year.

1. Field Goal Efficiency: He hit almost 60% of his field goals last year, which led the Big XII. Once the ball gets down-low, he has a litany of moves around the basket, no matter the defender.
2. Transition Game: He's a great finisher in transition. He has a knack for filling the lane and getting to the open spaces.
3. Rebounding: An almost violent rebounder, who knows to rebound, even out of his position.

1. Outside Shooting: This doesn't mean he needs to be out shooting three-pointers. What he does need to do is start hitting the 10-15 foot jump shot. In some games, he was bound and determined to back people down, even more than one at a time (see Iowa State). At the first of the year, he was hitting this shot, but he fell in love with the one-on-one back to the basket game. If he shows that he can hit this shot, his offensive production will go high, as will his draft position, and the entire OU offense.
2. Foul Trouble: Like most big-men in their first year in D1, he had foul trouble. A lot of this had to do with ticky-tacky fouls, not moving his feet, and playing defense with his hands, and not his feet. He also needs to continue his improvement in shot blocking from the weak side. With outstanding position defenders like Bookout and Godbold (and likely Carter), he could have some monster shot blocking games.
3. Perimeter Passing: Most of this had to with a lack of perimeter shooters who understood passing lanes and screens. The perimeters shooters from last year (MacKenzie, Lavender, Williams) we good at creating their own perimeter jumper, but didn't understand how to involve a big-man. Mike Neal does. If he can improve upon this, he will help the team's offense become borderline unstoppable (aka UNC and Illinois last year).

Tomorrow: Kevin Bookout

10/12/2005, 06:22 AM
Great breakdowns IHS!! The main factor I see is if we can get the ball (quickly) away from the double team on Taj. I'm sure he can split a few but we will have a lot of open shots if we can drain em. As far as the foul trouble he is just going to have to learn as he goes. The summer experience greatly helped him play against people who are more agile in space so I think he'll be cool. I have had great expectations for the upcoming season and really think it will all come together this year. We start to find out this weekend!!

Give em hell in Mosul buddy--hope to see you in the LNC this year!!

10/12/2005, 11:01 AM
Nice post.

Gray will need more consistency before he could be considered All-American. JUCO's tend to improve dramatically their last year, though, so I think it's definitely possible.

10/12/2005, 11:36 AM
Thanks guys. I will be back on leave for the start of the season, and I look to be back for good from Iraq before the end of the Big XII season. I am stationed at Ft. Sill and am going to take part of my recooperation leave in Dallas at the Big XII tourney, and maybe the first rounds of the NCAAs......I agree that Taj's experience this summer will help him a load. I can't wait for him to school kids like they youngsters at Kansas and Aldridge of Texas.

10/12/2005, 11:42 AM
Also, I forgot, part of my analysis I compare each player to a former Sooner, and current/former NBA player.

Former OU player: Stacey King
NBA Player: Kenyon Martin

jkm, the stolen pifwafwi
10/20/2005, 04:38 PM
gray is kind of a mixed bag of former OU players - guys like sallier (without the drooping shorts), king, and mcghee. he's more active than sallier, capable of using his off hand unlike stacey, and a lot tougher in traffic than mcghee...

10/20/2005, 05:20 PM
He was tough, as well. He has King's moves. He's less like McGhee because Ace had the three and FT shooting, as well.

10/23/2005, 06:30 PM
Reminds me of Wayman,a monster around the basket but no real range.Like Wayman tends to make splashy plays but not always the routine plays.Hopefully with Kelvin pushing him he can reach WT status.

10/24/2005, 09:18 AM
I thought about Wayman, as well. However, he's not a Wayman's level, yet. Like Wayman, he was an authoritative dunker and shot-blocker. Their moves are a lot alike. However, Taj does have a great chance to be an All American. He's the best player in the second best conference (behind the Big East). The only player that plays his style, and is his size, is Sheldon Williams. Taj was listed as the second best PF in the country (behind Leon Powe from Cal). Powe is a guy who is coming back from major surgery, and it might be a bit high for him, evern though he is good.