Posted On: 01/31/18 5:02 PM
Rogers left no doubt in anyone’s mind who the best team in the Toledo City League is last night, as they buried Waite in the fourth quarter of a 70-52 win.
It was a statement victory in the 2018 season and a peek into the future for us. We’re yet to identify any team in the Toeldo area with a stronger sophomore class than the Rogers Rams.
This trio is talented and looked the part carrying much of the responsibility last night. The chemistry between point guard Ketaan Wyatt and combo forward Da’Sean Nelson was reflected in a alley oop to Nelson from about 25-feet out against Waite’s 2-3 zone — a play only guys who trust each other execute with such fluidity.
Now, let’s look at those two and a few others on an individual level.
Christian Smith (2018), 6’5” W, Rogers
Smith is a mid-range specialist, making Waite’s 2-3 zone an invitation to find shots at the elbow. He’s clever against this look at the high post with his turn-around jumper that he doesn’t need separation to shoot. While Smith wasn’t his usual self as a shooter yesterday, he made a scoring impact throughout by crashing the offensive boards for put-backs. Smith still had a team-high 17 points which shows how lethal he can be if not given extra defensive attention.
Keyshawn Leach (2018), 6’4” F, Waite
It’s interesting with Leach because he has the size, strength, feet, and athleticism to play on the wing full-time. However, his skills haven’t quite developed in the way you’d like to see at the next level and remains a rebounding specialist. He finished with seven points and 12 rebounds yesterday in the loss, and would’ve had nearly triple the amount of points if he were consistent in the paint and at the free throw line.
JUCO teams should take a look at his film for themselves, as the high-motor kid could turn out to be a productive combo forward next season. Part of the reason he’s playing in the post regularly is definitely because he’s the tallest player on the roster.
Da’Sean Nelson (2020), 6’6” W/F, Rogers
This kid has a chance. He still hasn’t quite figured everything out, as he’s lacking defensive instincts, ball-handling skills and isn’t an elite sprinter. However, Nelson has a few traits that are hard to teach in his vertical athleticism, strength, natural incline for rebounding, and feel within 15-feet. Nelson had a couple nice assists on drives last night when he was able to feel the defense. His ease dunking the ball shows athletic progress from this summer.
Once Nelson graduates from being a role player that doesn’t create his own shots much of the time, he could jump onto Division I recruitment boards. Nelson still looks like a young kid in the face and could maybe even get another inch or two.
Ketaan Wyatt (2020), 6’2” PG, Rogers
Wyatt was efficient as a playmaker last night. He missed just two shots on his way to 12 points and forced just one on a slight heat check. He’s adapted some of the subtleties of playing point guard, opening up tight passing lanes with his eyes. The outside jumper checked out yesterday, which was helped by the fact that Waite elected to not pressure him.
Continuing to challenge himself on defense and as decision-maker against premier competition this summer is an important step.
Caleb Smith (2020, 6’4” W, Rogers
Caleb, the younger brother of Christian, isn’t quite as skilled as his sibling but might be stronger already. Although he wasn’t as impressive from beyond the arch as he was this summer, Smith found offense by being aggressive on the drive. He squares his shoulders up and absorbs contact well for an underclassmen.