Posted On: 11/27/18 3:03 PM
We are still early in the basketball season. However, we are far from duck season as some of the top teams in the state are already playing. Add Pleasant Grove and Olympus to that category as they are two of the top teams in the state. This one will be extremely exciting with plenty of energy in the gym.
How good is Pleasant Grove?
In our Way Too Early Rankings, we projected that Pleasant Grove would be one of the top teams in the state this season. Through their first four games, they have lived up to that projection and then some.
Matt Van Komen is an obvious game changer. He is long and has a soft touch around the rim. His ability to protect the paint is second to none as well. With that said, in order to maximize a big, good guards are needed.
Fortunately, for Pleasant Grove, they have good guards who know how to utilize the big and can space the floor due to their shooting abilities. Casey Brown and Tyler Fairbanks have stood out early. However, they have no shortage of skilled guards to aid them in making noise this year.
How will Pleasant Grove Respond to Kawika Akina’s injury?
Akina’s injury will impact the team as he is a leader for the group. He plays hard and does the little things while providing the team with a skilled and experienced guard.
With that said, fortunately for Pleasant Grove, they are deep in terms of guards. While his impact will be felt, this team is still talented enough to compete for a state title. It will be imperative that guys play hard without one of the team’s key emotional leaders. The guards who will be playing tonight will have their hands full with the backcourt of Olympus.
As a positive, per the team’s twitter account, Akina will be getting re-evaluated in late December. Hopefully, he is able to get back on the court sooner rather than later as he provides this team with a lot of heart and toughness.
Who will slow Matt Van Komen?
One of the biggest question marks for Olympus is who will be their role players. Everyone knows that Rylan Jones and Jeremy DowDell are going to be a fierce duo that will be an absolute struggle for opposing teams to stop.
With that said, they graduated a number of prospects who played big roles for the team outside of the limelight. Jones and DowDell will need production from more than themselves in order for Olympus to keep their winning streak alive in this contest.
Max Calton brings the most varsity experience back of the post players and brings a 6’7 frame to this contest. While it is unlikely that Van Komen will be completely locked down, he will most likely be responsible for slowing him down.
Who will slow down Rylan Jones and Jeremy DowDell
Simple answer: No one. Jones and DowDell are exceptional prospects who can score the basketball as well as, if not better than, any prospect in the state. When guarding prospects like Jones and DowDell, it isn’t about holding them to a certain number. Rather, it is about making them reach their numbers in as inefficient of a manner as possible.
Pleasant Groves has some guards who are capable of making life challenging for these two prospects. Further, they have a big man in Van Komen who will protect the rim and should help Pleasant Grove with not having to help as much off of shooters.
If Jones and DowDell are able to get out in transition or Olympus is able to get Van Komen away from the rim, Olympus will have a huge advantage.
What role players will step up for Olympus?
This is the biggest question that needs to be answered this evening. There are a lot of prospects who return from last year’s team. However, few of them played meaningful varsity minutes for the group. With that said, this is also a team that won 27 games last year and will most likely reload instead of rebuild as far as role players are concerned.
Some of the prospects to watch include: Calton and Noah Benee