Caveats apply based on small sample size, but here are my thoughts and observations after 1 week:
Donnal - let’s face it, our interior defense isn’t stopping anyone in the B10 once the entry pass gets to the post player, and Mark is no exception to that. He simply cedes position to easy and fails to jump vertically to contest the shot. Mark has done a pretty good job of being in good position when rotating on PnR defense, forcing a few charges and picking up a few steals. Offensively, he not a post threat at all, but seems to do a decent job of keeping the ball high when trying to finish. Wish we could see a bit more pick and pop action with Mark. Still seems very tentative and not all that confident on either end of the court. JB really needs to work with Mark on setting screens, he doesn’t make himself wide or set a screen with a solid base
Chatman - has been rough for Kam in the early going. Was downright awful on defense vs Hillsdale, had a few lapses against Bucknell, notably not getting proper depth during the second half that yielded an easy dunk. Overall, much better though. If Im JB im telling Kam just stick to the basics, keep yourself between the opposition and the basket. Kam is so far behind on D right now that things need to be very simple for him. Does seem to be a decent on ball defender though that uses his length to deflect passes. Offensively, his shots aren’t falling, but that hasn’t deterred him from taking shots. I like that, it signals to me that he has confidence. His passing is a huge attribute because Kam doesn’t need to score to have a positive impact for us. One thing I’d like to see him do is finish much stronger, he’s missing a lot of bunnies going up soft. Kam is getting to the rim relatively easy, just needs to finish. Rebounding hasn’t been as good as I’d like, but not bad either.
Irvin - noticeable improvement in terms of strength, has finished through contact a few times. No way he could’ve done that last year. Better vertical as well, he is finishing over and through defenders at the same time if that makes sense. Defensively, Zak is still suspect as a one on one defender, he just struggles with lateral movement (see Bucknell’s first basket), but he has improved as a team defender in terms of making quicker rotations and not getting lost on screens. Still not an ideal 4, but he does hold position against post players a bit better than last year. Offensively, his skillset really hasn’t improved to be honest, he’s still just a catch and shoot player. He’s lost the ball several times trying to dribble both in the half court and transition. Overall, he’s pretty much the same player as last year with more volume and better defense. He is pretty much freshman THJ in terms of skill, but he will look better because he has 2 players to create looks for him. Better D than freshman THJ though
Levert - looks great to me, shot wasn’t falling tonight (took a lot of off balance shots), but he is getting to the rim at will and making his teammates better off PnR passes. Still struggling with the midrange jumper though. Caris is only an average on ball defender, but he’s great at jumping the passing lanes and creating TOs. Less space cadet moments on D where he gets lost on screens.
He is the de facto PG in the half court. Think he will have a huge year.
Walton - wow…his physical transformation is really something. That kid is lightning fast on the break and is visibly stronger, he’s been absorbing and finishing through contact with no problem. His decision making has greatly improved, hasn’t forced much of anything, he looks to be in total control out there. Has made a few nice passes off PnR as well. He is a one man fast break with his combination of speed, handle, shiftiness, and verticality. He is special in transition. I think he is the best rebounding player in college at that size. That quality can’t be understated given our issues in the frontcourt. Defensively, he is our best one on one defender, has really moved his feet well thus far. I know Levert gets all the hype, but I honestly think Walton is our best 2 way player, and might be our most important player.
Doyle - same defensive issues as Donnal, can’t stop post players from scoring once they get the ball on the block. Offensively, he is really struggling to get proper position in order to handle an entry pass. Much more assertive than Donnal when going up around the rim, he’s not afraid to use his body. This isn’t going to be a great year for Ricky, but there is some potential there down the road. Does set a screen better than anyone on the roster
Wilson - offensively he is very raw, doesn’t really do anything well to be honest. Same problem as Kam in terms of finishing soft. His jumpshot isn’t very pretty either. Offensively, we’re not going to get much from DJ this year. However, I have been VERY impressed with Wilson on pick n roll D, DJ hedges and recovers much better than any other big on the roster. His lateral movement has been impressive (I was wrong), but his straight line speed leaves a lot to be desired (weird). His primary attribute this year is help side D and blocking shots.