Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

nothing says hung over like watching NBA summer league games on a Sunday afternoon

Posted by syracusan on July 15, 2007

I got a chance to catch some of the Knicks summer league game this afternoon on MSG. I can confirm that the hype on D-Nic is true. Our boy has already grown well beyond the explosive but uncertain one-dimensional scorer we knew and loved last season. All of a sudden he’s taking it to the rack with authority, scoring from all over, creating his own offense, and displaying an almost cocky level of self-confidence on the court.

Not only that, but he’s playing impressively intense defense. I can’t say he looked like a lock-down player out there, but the fact that he’s holding his own is a pleasant surprise. I thought his man-to-man would be a liability in the Association, but he’s ratcheted up his desire, effort, and energy level on that end of the floor to make up for his lack of lateral speed. He was even getting back in transition when other Knicks were lagging. Granted, he wasn’t shutting anyone down, but the key at this stage is to not show any obvious weaknesses.

More importantly, on offense he was regularly pump-faking defenders at the three point line and taking it strong inside; then finishing and/or drawing fouls. Where did all this come from? I think his senior season was personally enlightening for him. It took him three and a half years to realize how good he can be, and unfortunately for SU, we ran out of time with him while he was still on the upswing.

Here’s a blurb from the game report:

While (Nate) Robinson received the equivalent to MVP honors for Summer League, it is Demetris Nichols who has turned the most heads, and the former Syracuse star did not disappoint in his final performance before training camp. Nichols finished the game with 23 points on 9-for-16 shooting to go along with four boards and three assists. He recorded his 23 points in just 21 minutes of game time, and with his long-range accuracy is a legit threat to crack the rotation come the fall.

I’m still not sure that Nichols will convince anyone to sign him to a long term guaranteed contract right off the bat or that he’ll definitely get meaningful minutes somewhere this year, but I think at this point we can put to rest any ideas that he’s not a legit NBA player. He’s going to have some kind of a job for a long time, and that’s a happy surprise all things considered. Lets keep our fingers crossed for him that he ends up closer to the beginning of the bench than the end.

*****

I’ve been out of the loop on SU news thanks to a few weeks out of the country, but I can’t help but notice that Jimmy gave a scholarship to a kid from Philly who just finished his freshman year. His name is Dion Waiters, and he’s never played a minute of high school basketball. Wow. What is this sport coming to? This kid isn’t allowed to officially sign with SU until 2009 (!!), so who knows what will happen between now and then. He could develop into the next LeBron James, he could grow 8 inches or none at all, he could devolve into a backup by 12th grade, or any other scenario you can imagine. His hot shit rep is based entirely on summer ball from the last couple of months. Lets hope this kid is the truth, or we’re going to look ridiculous later on.

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