Buzz is always interesting but it’s not always right. Buzz can be wrong for a lot of reasons. There was no doubt that Jahlil Okafor had superb post skills, for example. He has elite post skills.
The problem is the game changed and a player who is pretty exclusive to the post is no longer as big an asset as he used to be. Even Victor Wembanyama has a three point game. It’s not unusual anymore; the more unusual thing is someone who lacks it (it’s going to be interesting to see how Dereck Lively adapts to the NBA, not to mention Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe. Lively brings shotblocking and rebounding and the promise of offensive improvement but Tshiebwe is a 6-8 inside player and that’s a hard sell these days.
So Buzz can be on target, off target or, at times, wildly off target. So what about the buzz on incoming Duke freshman TJ Power?
This article from the Athletic is from September and normally we don’t link that far back, but it’s an interesting look at Power with comments from his high school coach, Jamie Sullivan.
The hardest thing to predict about a young player is not his athletic potential. It’s commitment and IQ.
And Sullivan says he sees a lot of both in Power. Check this out: “He’s just got the brain...
“A lot of guys, they think scoring is the only way you can impact the game...TJ doesn’t think that way, which is very rare...I’ve been here 25 years, and when you’re talking about pros, they not only get it with their physical attributes, they have it upstairs, too, in their heads — and that’s what he’s got. He can conceptualize the game. He can adapt. He can understand the game plan, he can zero in and focus on small idiosyncrasies of what you want him to do.”
This description reminds us a bit of Mike Dunleavy, Shane Battier and, going back a ways, Jim Spanarkel.
Dunleavy remember came in as a very skinny freshman and quickly became a one-man bench before he came down with mono. Battier was so good on defense that Mike Krzyzewski just told him to “run around and make things happen.” And Spanarkel just outsmarted and outfought more talented players.
Toss in nice form on his jumper and his versatility and there’s a lot to be excited about with Power, not least of all the good headline opportunities.