Watching Khadim Sy live proved Buzz Williams could have some defensive help in the near future.
Folks, I have been lucky enough in my life to witness some great high school basketball. My residence in Bristol affords me the great opportunity to watch a stellar high school tournament every year in the Arby’s Classic. However, if I invest the time to make it just about an hour up a curvy country road, there lies what most would consider one of the best high school powerhouses in the United States. This powerhouse is Oak Hill Academy.
Now, the next question many of you might have, “what does your living coordinates have to do with Virginia Tech?” The answer is very simple friends: Khadim Sy. Buzz Williams, in his short tenure at Virginia Tech, has already realized the gold mine of high school talent that is just a short ride down the road. He was quick to mine this basketball gem field, and garner a blue chip recruit in Khadim Sy.
Friday night I was fortunate enough to get the chance to watch Khadim play in person since Oak Hill played in a local tournament. Naturally I was very excited to see what this new recruit could do, and form my own opinions on how he might be able to help the young team Buzz Williams is attempting to craft. Now I had seen Oak Hill play already on television this year, but seeing a game in person, as you can imagine, gives a better look at player’s actually abilities.
First, let’s start with the physical attributes. Khadim Sy is listed at 6’9, 225 pounds. The height is pretty spot on but Sy is like most 17-year-olds; skinny. I saw Lebron James in High school and he looked like a full grown man who was at least 23 or 24 not a 17 or 18 year old senior. Khadim looks like a high school senior. There is no question when he gets to Blacksburg he will need to be put on the strength program.
The stat line from the game was not that impressive either, but considering Khadim plays for essentially an all-star team it was not surprising. He finished with 9 points 3 rebound 3 blocks and a steal. On this team, Sy is not relied on to score on a consistent basis, therefore he can hide some of his offensive flaws.
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Watching him play live, it’s plain to see Khadim is not as polished on the offensive end as many Hokie fans would hope. I don’t know if it’s the offensive game plan or just his lack of tenacity on the block, but at times it seems that Sy does not really fight for position in the post, but just floats from the middle to the block and back to the top of the key. His game can be compared to what Nerlens Noel did for Kentucky. He is excellent catching the ball around the rim and has a definite nose for the offensive glass. However, that nose for the ball did get him in trouble as Khadim did pick up a cheap foul trying to fight for an offensive rebound.
The real place where Khadim will impact the game is on the defensive end. He is going to make the Hokies a better defensive team with his energy alone. However, his length allows him to alter shots and forces the offensive team to account for him on most possessions. Watching Sy live, I noticed he had incredible length. Just watching opposing players who came down the lane having to double clutch or put up awkward shots shows just how much he was affecting their release points. Also, at times it was evident that just having him around the lane forced what would most times be a designed drive to the lane turn in to a low percentage jump shot. This is where I believe Khadim Sy’s true talent lies, on the defensive end. I look for him to be the next great rim protector and defender for Buzz Williams.
I can say I really enjoyed watching the game on Friday night. The game was hotly contested until the second half where the talent level of Oak Hill took over. I look forward to seeing how Khadim Sy will improve as Buzz Williams gets his hands on him. The talent is definitely there, even if it is very raw in some cases, and I look for Buzz to bring it out in him.
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