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Posted On: 07/7/18 7:21 PM
On the Second Day of The Finale in Oklahoma City, a few defenders in the younger age division stood out. As defense relies heavily on effort and concentration, the athletes who are playing great defense excel in many other aspects of the game. Here are those players that I was able to witness that flourished on the defensive end on Saturday.
David Oyona 2023 Team Griffin Post
Oyona is playing up an age but you would never know it by his level of play on the court. He made his name known early and often swatting opponents shots into the stands. Already towering at 6’9 he is going to be a prospect that is not just known in Oklahoma, but nationwide.
Luke Patton 2022 Tulsa Kingz Post
Patton is a tall body on the floor that can limit many players in his division. Patton is quick to anticipate passes and can grab steals easily with his reach. If Patton can improve his lateral speed in the offseason, he can become an even greater defensive threat.
Jayden Birmingham 2021 Tulsa Kingz Wing
Birmingham was an unexpected defensive star in today’s matchup between Tulsa Kingz 15U and 405 Elite. Birmingham, matched up against a group of exceptionally talented athletes, found himself capitalizing off of 405 Elite’s mistakes and getting easy steals and blocks. Birmingham is an intelligent and vocal defender and adheres tightly to his man once the ball-carrier reaches half court. He’s prepared to make plays and makes it very difficult for opposing scorers to have any room for error.
Graham Tawwater 2022 OKC Swarm Wing
Tawwater was one of the better overall players I was able to witness today. Tawwater plays with a lot of concentration on the defensive end and appears to have a firm understanding of the importance of positioning. He swarms around on defense and crowds the floor. He is a notch above most payers his age in quickness and finds himself getting a lot of defensive rebounds, steals, and blocks from short range. Tawwater could become a threat in the class of 2022 over the next couple years.
Austin Osby 2022 OKC Swarm Guard
At 5-foot-8-inches, Austin Osby is a fairly small player but uses his speed to make himself big on the defensive end of the floor. Today, he guarded a very talented scorer against the Kansas City Pacers 14U who also had a couple of inches over Osby in height. Osby managed to not only greatly limit this particular athlete in offensive production, but also came up with a few steals that he turned into transition points.
Reece Daniels 2021 OK Power Select Guard
Reece Daniels was the most relentless defender of the action I saw on Saturday. On one occasion, in particular, he stripped away a ball-handler and dove to recover the ball, beating both the ball-handler and another opposing player. This effort was not an isolated incident, as Daniels recovered to steal after steal and caused loose balls on multiple occasions. Daniels, at 5-foot-10-inches, wasn’t the most athletic player on the floor but does have some athleticism to him. His hustle will allow him to continue to progress as a player.
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