Posted On: 02/11/17 10:28 AM
There’s an easy way to get on the floor when you’re a young player at any level, and that is to defend. Whether you’re an undersized guard or a 6’10” rim protector, playing hard on the defensive end and getting results against good offensive players is a way to stay on the court because the coach simply can’t pull you off the court! Here’s a look at five sophomores in the state who have done a great job on the defensive end early in their career.
Qudus Wahab | 6’10” PF | VA Academy
The 6’10” Wahab is still raw offensively, but it doesn’t stop him from altering and blocking shots regularly. He has tremendous length and great size (obviously) to allow him to contest without leaving his feet, but he’s also got great timing when leaving his feet to block shots. He’s also a good outlet passer and runs the floor well, so his blocks often turn into easy transition opportunities for his team. Figures as much, as his teammate Ejike Obinna, who’s heading to Vanderbilt, is one of the best shot blockers in VA.
DeMarr McRae | 6’1″ WG | John Marshall
One of the easiest ways to see the floor as a young player is to make shots and defend, and that’s what McRae did as a freshman for John Marshall. Now the starting two guard for them, he always pulls the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer, and he loves the challenge. He’s intense and will deny the basketball the whole length of the court, but he’s also a smart help defender who will come over and take a charge or use his athleticism to contest a shot. More than anything, he has a mental toughness that all the great perimeter defenders have.
Daryl Anderson | 6’6” WF | Millwood School
When you have length like Anderson, it’s always good to know how to use it defensively which he does. Anderson’s typically put on the best shooter when he’s in the game, and he does a great job fighting through screens and making them shoot over his long arms. He’s surprisingly quick laterally, and most importantly he takes pride in shutting down the best of scorers.
Julien Wooden | 6’5” WF | Northside
Much like Anderson, Wooden is a long and athletic forward that’s capable of guarding both inside and outside and is usually used to deny the best shooter on the other team. His foot speed needs to get better, but he has good instincts and does a great job using his length to contest jump shots. He’s also good in press situations, where he can shoot gaps and get easy buckets in transition.
Bryan Phillips | 6’1” PG | Maury
Phillips has the right frame to be a great on ball defender, because he’s both strong and quick allowing him to keep defenders in front of him. His has a very strong lower body, allowing him to sit in his stance and dog ball handlers the length of the floor. His athleticism allows him to hit the defensive