Tim Hardaway Jr., Scouted

Submitted by Brian on July 14th, 2009 at 11:37 AM

tim-hardaway-junior

[Editor's note: Hi. The following scouting report is from MHoops1, a respected poster on Michigan message boards across the internets. It's been posted on a premium board and another other place that sees links expire in a matter of hours, so I asked MHoops1 if it was okay to repost here; he said okay.]

I have now watched Tim Hardaway Jr. play four times in the past two weeks. Those who believe that he was coveted because he was riding on the coattails of his NBA father are, in my view, either mistaken or being incorrectly swayed  by his standing outside the Rivals and Scout Top 150s (he's #93 in the ESPN rankings, but I digress). The kid has the ability to be very, very good at the high major college level. He's very raw, which leads to inconsistency, and if you only watch him on a single day where he's missing shots and forcing things, I can see where you might wonder what the fuss is about--hell, after seeing him on the first night of the Elite Camp, I was pretty ambivalent. Two weeks later, after seeing him enough to fully understand where he's at in his development, I'm very excited about getting him.

Much has been made of his ball handling issues (some of it by me), but last night, when he was pressed into service at the point because of an injury to a teammate, he responded by scoring on three separate drives to the hole, once off a between the legs and spin move which left the college coaches sitting nearby saying "Whoa, I hadn't seen that from him before." It appears that when he establishes a dribbling rhythm, such as when he brings the ball up the court or catches it in the open court in transition, he handles very well and can attack the basket or dish off the bounce. He also hit a nice pull-up off penetration.

What he lacks at this time is the confidence to trust his ability to withstand pressure before he's gotten comfortable. That fits with his other major deficiency as well--he's a little too hyper and doesn't always let the game come to him on either end of the court. When things are flowing well, he's great, and I do not mean great lightly--the Illinois friend I watched with was very impressed, and Hardaway played on a team with 5 consensus Top 100 kids (including two top 20 in the class of '11) and two or three other kids who could go high major, and he was the second or third best player out there for long stretches. When things go badly, though, he gets a little frustrated and can disappear, particularly in an AAU/All-Star setting where everyone tends to go one on one (one college coach commented that AAU should stand for All About You). That's where I think the rankings variances come in to play.

One thing no one seems to question is Beilein's ability to develop talent. With coaching and development, Hardaway is going to be very good, and the question, to me, isn't if but when. The length, shooting ability and quick release, passing ability (he's very good in that area) and basketball IQ are there--the consistency and confidence are not yet.

MHoops also answered some follow-up questions from another poster:

How well does he fit in with a player like Morris? Do their talents mesh well (or can be molded to mesh)?

Really well. Morris' ability to attack the rim and pass are going to lead to a lot of open shots for our wings. Hardaway can knock those shots down. In addition, they both have the ability to tip balls and disrupt on defense because of their length, which should lead to turnovers and transition baskets.

How does Hardaway fit in with the likes of Douglass and Novak (I'm assuming Novak won't be a PF his entire career at UM)?

He's different--longer, more athletic, not as confident, better with the ball than Novak but not, at this point, than Douglass (although more upside in terms of penetration), not as good a rebounder as Novak, range and release like Douglass (better than Novak).

Can Hardaway make an impact as a freshman?

I don't know. He's very raw. If they were to get Ziegler, it might be in Hardaway's best interest to redshirt and get stronger.

Lastly, is he good chemistry guy?

Yes. Very good. He plays on an AAU team where everybody else is local and has known and played with each other forever, whereas he's from 1000+ miles away, playing here because his dad's from here and the guy who runs the AAU program is the father of one of his dad's best friends growing up (former NBAer Byron Irvin was the best friend). He clearly fits in well, and is liked and respected by the kids on that team.

[Me again: If you think MHoops is being generous here, note his earlier, mostly recanted skepticism and yesterday's UV, which notes that an observer from the Sun-Times took in the same tourney I believe MHoops was at and raved.]

Comments

Erik_in_Dayton

July 14th, 2009 at 12:13 PM ^

Back during basketball season I remember the board having a big discussion about the ceiling of Beilein teams. Given the ability to spot up-and-comers like Smotrycz and Hardaway, and given Beilein's above-noted ability to develop talent, I think they're going to be able to make some pretty deep tournament runs (barring injury and the like).

This is just my non-expert opinion. "Call it what you will - a hunch, women's intuition." - Frank Drebin

panthera leo fututio

July 14th, 2009 at 12:13 PM ^

Thanks for putting up this scouting report. Lots of good news - I especially like the parts about a nascent handle and a release and range Like Stu.

The '10 class is starting to make me very happy. Adding Zeilger to Hardaway and Metrics would make for a legitimately awesome class.

WolvinLA

July 14th, 2009 at 12:20 PM ^

If we can pull in Zeigler, and with the increased praise that Hardaway and Metrics have been getting (the latter especially) this will be the best recruiting class we've in a long time, maybe since that year we pulled in Ray Jackcon and a few others.

jmblue

July 14th, 2009 at 2:29 PM ^

We've actually had several very highly-rated classes since the Fab Five:

1994 - Ward/Taylor/Baston/Mitchell/Conlan. Also #1 in the country, although it didn't live up to the hype.

1995 - Traylor/Bullock/White. This was top 5 as well.

1999 - Blanchard/Crawford/Gaines/Anderson/Groninger. Top 5 again. Some great talent, but only two of them were around for their sophomore year.

2002 - Horton/Hunter/Brown/Abram/Ba. Top 10, possibly top 5.

If we sign Ziegler, it might be our best-ranked group since '02, and maybe '99. At any rate, we can be confident that Beilein will get the most out of them, unlike some of our previous staffs.

BlueBulls

July 14th, 2009 at 12:40 PM ^

This is a great scouting report, as most of what we get are blurbs about 3-4 sentences. Now we can have more of an understanding of what type of player he is and how he might fit as a teammate.

El Jeffe

July 14th, 2009 at 12:50 PM ^

Totally naive and hypothetical but honest question incoming: what are the NCAA rules regarding a verbal commit's contacts with recruits?

Like, say, hypothetically, can the likely very well-to-do son of a former NBA all-star with an insane crossover invite some kid from, oh, pick any central MI town, and invite him for a weekend on his father's yacht in, oh, pick any southern FL city? And if the subject of where they plan to go to college comes up, well...

I think I know the answer to this b/c of whose money would be funding the hypothetical trip, but what if two kids were pals growing up and from the time they were ages 6-14 the central MI kid always spent the summer with the south FL kid's family? At what point does it become problematic? When Beilein officially starts recruiting Zei- uh, the kid from central MI?

Erik_in_Dayton

July 14th, 2009 at 12:59 PM ^

I believe a player and his family can do whatever they want as long as they aren't doing it in coordination w/ a university. I'm pretty sure Mike Conley Jr.'s family paid for a lot of stuff for Greg Oden when they were in high school, for example...I think Matt Leinart's family paid for stuff for Reggie Bush, too (which was not in the context of recruiting, but neither was it an improper benefit so long as they weren't doing it at the behest of USC).

Now that I think of it, I shouldn't say that a family can do *whatever* they want. They can't say, "Come to USC with my boy and I'll give you $10,000." What they can do, I believe, is say, "You're my son's friend? Well heck, come live in this house I bought on campus!"

WolvinLA

July 14th, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

Yeah, that's how I understand it as well. It's not a lot different from a guy like Ricardo Miller saying "Hey come up with me to AA for the weekend" or RM simply hanging out with guys like Marvin Robinson before he committed. I know it's not the same as going out on TH's yacht, but I think the principle is the same. Essentially, THJr and Trey are equals wrt UM, albeit one has verballed and the other hasn't. Neither have signed anything, and as long and Beilein doesn't come along on the cruise (or Bill Martin, as much as he's like to) I think you're hypothetical would be OK.

swimzoo2000

July 14th, 2009 at 1:10 PM ^

I have a question. How does the son of NBA star get to this point in his life and still be considered RAW? Did he stay away from/ out of basketball when he was younger to avoid his dad's shadow? Is he just a late bloomer? This just struck me as odd for the son of an NBA star.

Thanks to anyone that can shine some light on this one.

David

July 14th, 2009 at 2:07 PM ^

I've had the same thought. It seems like ballhandling, for example, would have been one of his biggest strengths. That's one of those things that depends more on practice than innate skill/athleticism.

MGoAero

July 14th, 2009 at 2:16 PM ^

The vast majority of professional athletes' children do not become professional athletes. Hardaway's son is going to be at an up-and-coming, and historically successful basketball school in a major conference. He's pretty damned good! Not that he cares what some blog posters like you and I think, but I'm sure he feels enough pressure as it is, being Hardaway's son.

jmblue

July 14th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

Yeah, but for the son of what many consider the greatest basketball player of all time, that's still a comedown. Jeff Jordan was supposed to have great athleticism as well, but didn't have the skills. I think a lot of athletes' kids have the ability, but just don't have the same crazy burning desire to succeed that their parents had. They've grown up in comfortable surroundings and may not feel like they need sports to come through for them.

jblaze

July 14th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

or a lack at an elite level is understandable. I mean Jordan's ability is 1 in a million (even his son's don't have that).

The question is, how can they be raw? Weren't these kids around the game their whole lives? Aren't their father's friends also athletes, teammates?

The only thing I can think of is that they grow up a little soft, and don't have the need to make a living from basketball (meaning that they can go to school and become whatever they want, maybe unlike their parents.)

I don't know, that's just a guess.

MGoAero

July 14th, 2009 at 7:23 PM ^

Can rawness not be equated with a lack of natural ability? And in this sense let me be clear that by 'lack', I only mean in comparison with Tim's dad. If you saw me playing basketball you'd say I'm pretty raw, because I lack any natural ability whatsoever. I think that, in the view of the author and of many, rawness basically = less natural ability.

WolvinLA

July 14th, 2009 at 3:02 PM ^

The last 10 years of Michigan basketball have been pretty tough, but Michigan has some very rich basketball tradition. Not like Duke or Kentucky, but we're no slouch. We'll be back up with the big dogs soon, and people will be throwing us in with the household names.

BaltimoreWolverines

July 15th, 2009 at 1:17 AM ^

It seems as though the scouting reports are not about his skill but more his consistency. I've read many reports that say he has perfect form. He is not consistently composed, and that is another area in which an athlete could be raw. Perhaps with experience he will round out and be able to be the one with the ball for the last shot. And it seems he is a ballhandler when he has the ball from the beginning of the play, but when asked to create for himself off of a pass to the wing he hesitates and appears to be a poor ballhandler. This is another thing that is mental and not physical. I'm sure his fundamentals are above average at worst.

mgovictors23

July 14th, 2009 at 9:44 PM ^

This is great to hear I think this recruiting class is going to be special. Just Hardaway and Smotrycz is good enough but if we get Zeigler this class will be the best we have had in a while. Also now we actually have a coach that can develop the talent that we get.

Tater

July 15th, 2009 at 8:28 AM ^

It is great to have a coach who can actually help kids improve from year to year. It was extremely frustrating to see a coach of Amaker's pedigree fail to develop players. When he was there long enough, it began to affect recriting, too. Once that became the "book" on TA, negative recruiters (which probably means "all recruiters") used it against him.

When I first read about Beilein's program that he puts everyone through, it was the proverbial "breath of fresh air." Now, recruits know they are going to improve if they go to UM.

I think the next major step in the development of the program would be for a few JB-coached players to do well in the NBA. Once that happens, UM should be able to get some elite recruits again.

And, considering what JB can do with mediocre talent, it is scary to think of what he could do with a few five-stars on his roster.

StephenRKass

July 15th, 2009 at 12:53 AM ^

I'm old enough to remember the recruiting of the Fab Five. IIRC, once Howard fell, the rest committed in close succession. With Metrics and now Hardaway in the fold, I have to think this has a great positive affect on Zeigler. I'm especially thrilled that all three seem to be the kind of guys who will stick around for several years. . . more than one and done.

The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades.