Send it in from heaven! God'sGift Achiuwa in action.
Red Storm men's basketball should be renamed the all-name team. With ballers like Sir'Dominic Pointer and Nurideen Lindsey (and the rest), the roster has names to remember - different, creative, uncommon (in the United States), multi-syllabic.
But no name is bigger than God'sGift Achiuwa. The man who will hopefully inspire the Twitter hashtag #GodIsOnOurSide really has that name, and it was given to him by his religious parents. Friends apparently call him Gift for short.
The attention is always welcome. But will God'sGift's game match his name? I suppose no game can, really, but let's look at what Gift can give St. John's on the court, below the fold.
This preview is adapted from our post from the day God'sGift signed with the Red Storm.
Gift is 6'8 and upwards of 230 pounds, a burly man in the post. He scored 23 points per game, grabbed a number of offensive rebounds (5 per game), and took some three pointers. He shot 56% from the field, 65% from the free throw line.
Overall, given the level of competition at Erie Community College (a lower-level Junior College), fans shouldn't expect such gaudy numbers from Gift. Like South Florida's Jarrid Famous, expect some points, a solid rebounding effort, but few blocks.
Of course, Famous was much taller and less athletic, and that has an effect. On a running team, Gift could be a trailing man on a fast break. Gift could be an agile scorer in the post like Justin Brownlee was for the Red Storm. Or he could be the physical defensive/ rebounding force that Justin Burrell was.
With a roster lacking any other true bigs, Gift will have to be BOTH of those.
Therein lies the problem.
It would be a miracle for Gift to be able to handle defending the post foul-free with no help, and no spells from other forwards. A tall walk-on who can defend well enough and absorb fouls would be nice. But the Red Storm will have troubles in the paint. They were already going to be a thin team inside. The loss of Norvel Pelle to ineligibility really hurts the post play.
Expect God'sGift to see all the minutes he can handle. I'd expect some good activity, hard fouls, about 6-7 rebounds per game, 7-8 points per game, and hopefully some excellent position defense. But watching how the staff deploys Gift this year will be a study in coaching creativity.