URBANA, Ohio -- The former Beechcroft standout Datrey Long won Mountain East Player of the Week for his performance against Salem University on Jan. 5. The freshman guard tallied a new career-high coming off the bench and finishing with a stat line of 26 points and six assists, while shooting 6-10 from the three-point line and 8-16 from the field.
In the first edition of the 270 College Film Room series, I will be evaluating the positive traits in Long’s career night to give you a better feel of the type of player that he is.
Standing at 6’3”, Long has exceptional size for a collegiate combo guard especially at the D2 level. His size was ideal for this matchup since Salem mixed up some zone looks between a matchup zone and a 1-3-1 where they would occasionally trap.
With Long’s size, he can see over the top of zones and is better to handle the occasional trap out of the 1-3-1 than Urbana’s starting guard under six feet tall. Long is also the better shooting option with a significantly better shooting percentage on the year and more attempts.
The athletic tool in the freshman’s game that stuck out like a sore thumb, was his blazing north/south speed. It’s one thing to have that speed, but it’s a whole different thing to apply it on the floor which he did Saturday night in transition. Here you can see Long fighting for a loose ball, then showing his speed as a transition ball handler finishing at the rim through contact. In the second clip, he leaks out in transition after the turnover, applies his speed to get behind the defense, and finishes through contact again.
Long showcased a strong playmaking skill set with six assists, frequently those assist numbers can be misleading since the ball has a tendency to swing around the perimeter at times against a zone, but the former Cougar boasted simple, decisive, and weakside passing reads within the Salem zone. His first assist was the most impressive in my opinion. This is a relatively simple decision as he attacks the opening in the 1-3-1 zone and executes a dump off to the big. However, in order to feel confident about making that pass you have to read both strong and weakside help. You’ll see the strong side defender shade to the corner onto the open shooter after he baits on a ball fake. Then, weak side defender is way too far out to recover and it becomes an easy look to his big for a layup.
These next two assists, are Long showing off his feel for the weakside of the floor and his decisiveness. In the first clip, he attacks the zone yet again and finds an open teammate spotting up on the weakside wing. His penetration creates the opportunity for his teammate to attack a closeout and knock down a two dribble pull up. This second look flashes his decisiveness within the flow of Urbana’s zone offense. This is a really simple, but effective zone concept where you screen the middle man as an on ball screen attack with your guard and have your big or forward roll to the strong side short corner which overloads the zone and creates an easy look for a layup. With any area in the bottom of a zone, the passing angle is only there for a short amount of time, so you must be decisive which is exactly what Long does.
Throughout the game Long continued to show his off ball scoring equity courtesy of his jumpshot. With many of his three-point makes coming from spot ups within the zone. Outside of those possessions there were two scoring opportunities that showed how well he could work off movement. Here Long works off some beautiful screen the screener action in order to get a wide open look for three. Consistently knocking down jumpshots off movement is huge for a player like Long’s offensive off ball value. If he can generate hard attacking closeouts then he can use his insanely quick first step to get into the lane playing off the threat of his shot. His first step is on display in the second clip. Even though he does not finish the layup, the freshman blows by his defender solely on his first step.
Long missed both of his pull up attempts in this game, but someone who shoots 37 percent from the college three-point line as a freshman clearly has pull up shooting potential. His blazing fast speed and handle combined with the flash of deceleration in this game, could eventually make him a real pull up threat if he can hone in on that aspect of his game. Which would open up his game to being a consistent self creation threat that would thrive off high usage actions in space. Here you can see just how quickly he stops on a dime and loses his man despite missing the three point attempt.
Overall I thought this game was an extremely encouraging performance from Beechcroft alum Datrey Long. He already has off ball scoring equity, but flashed some potential of on ball scoring equity as well. The freshman has the potential to develop into a 20 point per game scorer over the course of his career at Urbana once fine tuning his on ball creation. Unfortunately, there was not much on the defensive end to evaluate as Urbana played a modified zone for most of the game where it was difficult to get a feel for any of his on ball skills, but with his quickness and top speed, I would imagine he is pretty quick laterally as well. It’s always exciting to see a young player succeed and hopefully the former first team all-city and district guard can continue to build off that performance and finish his freshman season strong.
Photo Credit: Mountain East Conference (Twitter)