Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Stands Out at NBA Combine
Former Arizona Wildcats forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson most likely isn’t getting drafted as a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, mostly due to the fact that he doesn’t have a workable mid-to-long-range jumper, which is sort of a necessity as a full-time NBA swingman.
However, beyond any shortcomings Hollis-Jefferson may have a shooter, he is a player that teams in the middle of the first round are already drooling over. He’s a spark plug on the court, igniting energy and enthusiasm in his teammates by diving for loose balls, running all over the floor on fast breaks and guarding literally anybody his coach tells him to.
His defense and energy already have scored him points with scouts, and now, at the NBA Combine, he’ll be given the opportunity to wow executives with his charisma. He’s pretty close to the complete package, and that’s exactly what he’s been telling teams so far.
“Honestly, I tell them to expect an A+ guy, one who’s going to play hard, one who’s determined, one who’s going to be great,” Hollis-Jefferson said at the Combine. “All players want to be great. They talk about being great, but who actually shows the greatness signs? Great players are emotional and really passionate about the game. And I’m really passionate about the game.”
That passion shows, especially on the defensive end. While his defensive stats (1.2 steals per game, 0.8 blocks per game) at Arizona last season aren’t necessarily elite, he guarded all five positions in college and has the quickness and length to handle a number of different assignments at the pro level too.
“Immediately I know I can come in play defense if a coach needs me to play the team’s best player, second best player and so on,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “I can bring that impact, energy, excitement. Players play better when they’re enthused, and I can bring that.”
This is what he thinks he can do in the NBA right away. He’s clearly a confident kid, which is not something for which he’ll be apologizing any time soon.
“I used to be a quiet kid, and I got more confident as I get older,” he said. “I’m not a basketball defensive genius. That’s along the lines of when I get older. A man isn’t fully developed until he’s 25, so by then, I’ll be a defensive genius. Right now, I’m a couple steps ahead of my generation.
“I’m playing chess out there, and lot of guys are playing checkers.”
Yes, he actually said that. And he smiled the entire time.
“[Confidence comes from] knowing myself and feeling more comfortable as a man,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “When you’re a kid you feel like, ‘I don’t want people to say certain things about me,’ or, ‘I don’t want people to feel certain things about me.’ But at the end of the day, the only person that can judge you is God. You’ve got to answer to him, and I feel comfortable with myself.”
He’s a hard kid to dislike, but the jumpshot is a problem. However, unlike some prospects, who might pretend that their weaknesses don’t exist or are at least blown out of proportion, Hollis-Jefferson won’t even talk about criticism.
“The word is I’m not a good shooter,” he said. “But I’m not at the stage of proving anyone wrong; I’m at the stage of loving the things that I do well. The things that I can’t do well, I’m working on them. You just get better over time.”
In other words, draft me because of what you know I can do. Don’t draft me because of what you hope you can change. Maybe he really is wise beyond his years.
“Life is a bunch of challenges, and you’ve got to be able to take those challenges and work through those challenges,” he said. “I accept challenges. I’m not afraid of it, I don’t shy away from it… This league’s about toughness. At the end of the day, who’s tough? Who can last? Who’s the man?”
His answer: “Give me your best punch.”
NCAA Changes Shot Clock to 30 Seconds
The NCAA rules committee went into a meeting on Thursday night with a handful of proposed rule changes to consider for the upcoming season of college basketball, but one of them has actually generated quite a bit of interest since it was approved early Friday afternoon: starting next season, the NCAA shot clock will drop from 35 seconds per possession to 30.
The reason behind the change is the same reason the shot clock was implemented in the first place; offensive numbers have been down in college basketball for years, and the competition committee seems to believe that a faster game with more possessions for each team will ultimately result in improved offensive efficiency.
There are plenty of reasons to believe that this one rule change won’t heal all that ails the college game, but it is, at the very least, a pretty interesting start.
The shot clock was introduced in 1985 and was originally set at 45 seconds. For eight seasons that’s how much time teams had to work in a possession, but the rules committee changed it to 35 seconds back in 1993 and that’s where it has been ever since.
Plenty of smart college basketball people are excited about the change:
We are getting a 30 second clock!!
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) May 15, 2015
While others a little more skeptical:
One thing that @tsnmike & I agree on is that allowing college basketball to continue to become wrestling, length of shot clock won't matter.
— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) May 12, 2015
Either way, it’s a shift that shows the NCAA is open to changes that could potentially help the overall quality of gameplay, and that, more than the rule change itself, is what most people are celebrating in this announcement.
The rules committee also made a few other changes in regard to timeouts:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) May 15, 2015
These changes were a little more universally lauded.
Basketball Insiders’ Combine Coverage
The 2015 NBA Draft Combine is underway and Basketball Insiders is on the ground in Chicago doing interviews, shooting videos and producing content.
All of our combine-related articles and videos appear on that page, so you can see what the players have the say and stay on top of the all of the action in Chicago.
Keep an eye out over the next few days for even more videos, articles and analysis.
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