One of the nicest surprises weve come across in any of the gyms weve been at, we never would have imagined coming away so impressed with Brian Cusworth following the showing he had in Portsmouth in early April.
Here we find a legit 7-footer who is well proportioned with a great frame, a pretty nice wingspan, solid coordination, and some very legit athletic ability. Hes spent the last 5 months since finishing off his collegiate eligibility at Harvard here in Las Vegas, working tirelessly on his conditioning and skill-level, and the results arent hard to notice. Cusworth looked incredibly well schooled in all of the drills that were thrown at him, showing pretty nice touch out to 15 feet, a good looking turnaround jumper out of the post, and excellent stamina. He can jump, run, move, etc the way you would want a player his size to legitimately, and had himself quite a showing in the five on five game once he settled down.
Cusworth went up against Patrick OBryant and scored on him again and again, utilizing nifty footwork on his pivot moves around the basket, switching and finishing with either hand, throwing in reverse lay-ups, showing a nice little step-through, and being extremely active finishing through contact. He hit the glass pretty hard, and even got in the passing lanes to remove any real doubt regarding his agility.
It was a pretty impressive showing, but it wasnt without negatives. For one, Cusworth appears to be a complete black hole. Anytime the ball goes into the post, you can forget about it having any chance at all of coming out, regardless of the situation hes in. He takes very difficult shots in traffic and especially from the perimeter, showing plenty of inexperience and a definite lack of poise with the ball in his hands.
He appears to be hell bent on proving that he can play with athletes of the caliber that was around him, but ended up forcing the issue considerably time after time, especially early on. Once he settled down he ended up doing extremely well, but you can tell that he was trained to be his teams go-to guy at all costs in the Ivy League, and that mentality is hard to completely erase in such a short period. This appears to be what happened at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in early April, where he had quite a poor showing, looking extremely nervous and out of his element, making some very bad decisions and not helping himself out at all in the process. There will obviously be a learning curve for him to adjust himself from playing in the Ivy League to a higher level of competition, but there seem to be some really nice tools to work with. It will be very interesting to see how he develops.