Its not quite clear how Bryan Gates got Cory Violette to accept coming to the D-League this year (hes an established player in Europe, with little to no NBA upside), but its pretty obvious that were talking about a huge asset to have at this level.
Violette is an undersized power forward with a wide body, great hands, and underwhelming athletic ability. Hes the type of tough, active player who is always around the ball and really knows how to get after offensive rebounds, thanks to his excellent timing and positioning, as well as the tenacity in which he plays with.
Violette is big and strong enough to be a presence in the paint at this level. He doesnt have a great deal of moves, but hes extremely smart and patient with the ball in his hands, making good decisions and not able to get the job done either with simple footwork or a terrific pass out of the post. He has really nice touch, especially on his turn-around jumper, but is limited somewhat by the fact that he plays below the rim, not being a great finisher in traffic. He also sets great screens, and might be able to face the basket a little bit (he hit one nice looking NBA 3-pointer tonight)even if this wasnt a part of his game that he wanted to show too much of.
Defensively, Violette lacks size and has poor lateral quickness (the main reason why hes almost certainly not an NBA player), but he puts a tremendous effort in and gets the job done at this level against the mostly mediocre big men we saw him matched up against.
The best part of Violettes game might be his passing. Hes extremely intelligent in the way he reads the defense, making quick and accurate touch passes on a number of occasions that got his teammates easy baskets, either directly or on the very next pass (the hockey assist). Hes equally effective passing out of the low or high post. Having two experienced and unselfish players like Violette and Randy Livingston (as well as Lance Allred) is probably a good place to start when trying to figure out why Bryan Gates Idaho team has won their last 11 straight games.
Its not quite clear why Violette decided to take a steep pay cut to come play here in Idaho, but hes really doing a nice job. The overseas scouts we talked to were clearly impressed, so maybe hell end up landing himself a much better job next season than the one he had in Italy last year.