Playing for the NJ Playaz AAU team - and with coveted prospect Kyle Anderson - means that new St. John's 2012 guard commit Darrick Wood got to play in a number of high profile games. Despite not being the main option on the Playaz, and playing with shot-takers Myles Davis and Savon Goodman, Wood left an impression on the stat sheets and in the scouts minds.
For the players on AAU teams who are not the stars, scouting can leave as many questions as answers.
Are poor performances due to being the third or fourth option, or an indication of kinks to be ironed out in the gym?
For a player who comes off as a shot-jacker or shot-averse, is that the truth or a reflection of the traveling team's pecking order?
Everyone knows that on the summer circuit, players can be thirsty for shot attempts/ points.
Even with that in mind, below is a look at Darrick Wood in the Nike EYBL summer tournaments, where the competition is high-level and the scouts watch closely.
(The rest of this post is best viewed "WIDE" for the tables below. You can change the view of this site from narrow to wide in the upper right hand corner of the page if you are a member of the site.)
As we did for Kyle Anderson and Ricardo Gathers, below is a look at how Wood performed by the box scores at Nike Peach Jam. Statistics aren't the be-all, end-all, but they indicate strengths and weaknesses of Darrick Wood's on court game.
Below are his basic statistics from the trio of Nike EYBL sessions and Nike's Peach Jam in July.
Strengths: Putting up shots | Making plays without turning the ball over
Weaknesses: Shot accuracy | Drawing free throws | Filling the non-scoring parts of the box score
The numbers need to be understood in the context of Kyle Anderson's summer. Kyle Anderson was flirting with triple doubles at Peach Jam, eating up possessions, and involved in all plays. There was not much opportunity for another guard to rack up assists - just chances to put the ball in the bucket. And there were even fewer chances for Wood to prove he could rebound, because Anderson and Jerome Frink had that handled.
The first thing to note is that Darrick Wood, while with the Playaz, was only after one thing - scoring points. Wood wasn't much of a factor on the boards or in assists. And the lack of steals and rebounds is curious. It IS summer ball, and tough team defense/ "sharing the sugar" is not always a priority.
A deeper look reveals Wood stepped his game up at Nike Peach Jam. The first line of numbers is from the pre-Peach Jam sessions, and the second line is from Nike Peach Jam, where the NJ Playaz lost to the Oakland Soldiers.
(for the uninitiated, here is our tempo-neutral stats explanation, which sheds light on some of the terms, such as "eFG " aka effective field goal percentage, which adds credit for three-pointers made)
Darrick Wood had a fantastic time at Nike's Peach Jam. He shot much more efficiently (61.2% eFG is excellent), turned the ball over far less, and scored nearly 1.2 points per possession, which is really good (and more efficient than Kyle Anderson.
What's also interesting is HOW this change happened. Wood shot more three-pointers (42.9% of his shots vs. just under 27% of his shots). And missed a higher percentage of them. But his inside game was crisper; he shot well over 50% inside the arc.
The free throw rate - how many times Wood got to the line as a percentage of shots taken - also keys us into what his game is.
Wood is strictly a shooter. His lack of size/ strength may prevent him from playing a physical enough style to draw fouls. Darrick had a great Peach Jam; but the first fifteen games/ three EYBL sessions saw him struggle to shoot and struggle to shoot from the line as well.
Still, it seems Darrick Wood's comparison to Jeremy Lamb may be legit. Lamb also does not draw fouls - actually, both are around the same rate. What that means is that Wood has a mid range game and the ability to gain separation to get shots off - excellent talents to have. And Wood, like Lamb, doesn't get forced into turnovers, even in the fast-paced AAU tournaments.
Wood needs to improve his free throw shooting when he gets to the line and his three-point shooting. As a guard, he's not going to see the floor unless his outside shot is falling enough that defenses have to respect it. That respect will give him room to snake into the lane for runners and mid range jumpers. But he is widely described as a very good athlete, a smooth scorer, and a possible early contributor.
Looks like the coaching staff got a commitment from a nice prospect.