H: 6' 10"|
W: 237 lbs
(31 Years Old)
|RSCI: 95||Agent: Keith Kreiter ||
High School: West Nottingham Academy
Hometown: Mount Airy, MD
Drafted: Pick 23 in 2006 by Nets
Best Case: Jeff Foster
Worst Case: Etan Thomas
Overview: Hustle player with the tools to make an impact off the bench from the center position. Big wingspan makes up for the fact that he is slightly undersized. Possesses good mobility, leaping ability, and overall physical strength. Had a solid college career at UConn, although he was deemed somewhat of an underachiever by the time he left. Was a freshman when the Huskies won the NCAA Championship in 2004. Named Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, and then regressed a bit as a junior. Still landed in the first round when he declared. Stepped in and saw minutes immediately for the Nets. Offers good energy, rebounding, and athleticism, but hasnít developed the skills to be more than a roleplayer. Seems to lack some passion for the game. Has shown some improvements in his fundamentals and defense, which have helped him function more effectively as a backup. Not going to post consistent offensive numbers due to his role and limited skill-set. Saw his minutes nearly cut in half between his second and third year due to roster movement around him.
Offense: Offers catch and finish ability, which makes him efficient as heís learned not to try and do too much. Uses his mobility and athleticism to earn most of his shot opportunities. Gets most of his touches off of cuts, offensive boards, and rolling to the basket. Moves well without the ball and has learned how to fill the lane very effectively both in transition and in half court settings. Gets essentially no opportunities to create his own shot, allowing him to do what he does best. Doesnít show any polish in the post or the ability to hit a jumper with any range. Most of his mental errors occur when heís wide open from the midrange and he pulls the trigger, since his sub-50% free throw percentage is an accurate representation of his jump shooting on the whole. Excellent offensive rebounder who plays his part in the offense. Takes advantage of his touches at the rim by using his explosiveness and strength to finish or get to the line. Shows questionable touch when he is forced to take shots when off balance.
Defense: Decent defensive player who isnít able to make as big of an impact as he did on the college level. Doesnít show a lot of intensity guarding the perimeter Ėnot getting in much of a stance or using his quickness well at all. A little more aggressive on the interior, showing a bit more focus when defending the post or coming over to help a beaten teammate. Shows nice explosiveness when defending short range shots going away from the rim, which he attempt by staunchly defending penetration directly to the rim. Will get beaten off the dribble when he has to keep up with two or three dribbles when closing out on the perimeter. Doesnít look terribly comfortable when he has to move away from the basket, though he gets a hand in the face of shooters when he can. Able to contest shots, but doesnít often go straight up on the shot. Uses his muscle to fight for rebounds, but could stand to show a more consistent energy level on the defensive end to better use his quickness.
Boone is an athletic big man who runs the floor extremely well and possesses very good quickness and footspeed. He moves well for a player his size in all directions, especially laterally. He is a very good leaper off one foot, but is just average off two feet. Physically, he has an excellent frame that will carry about as much weight as needed, with broad shoulders, strong legs and an excellent wingspan. His wide body and low base allows him to establish position deep in the post for rebounds or occasional garbage points around the hoop. He is not a soft player and does not seem to have too much of a problem throwing his body around. He has solid fundamentals and is generally a very intelligent player with a good court demeanor when things are going well.
Offensively, he is limited, but his length, strength and hands allows him to score some points on occasion inside the paint, and especially in transition with how hard he runs the floor. From baseline to baseline, there are few big men who are quicker than Boone in this draft, and it wasnít rare at all to see him get out in the open floor and beat guards down the court. He is also a solid interior passer who knows how to make the simple pass to give his teammate the easy bucket. All in all, he is an unselfish player who doesnít mind living on scraps and doesnít need to be a focal point of his teamís offense to be effective.
As a rebounder is where he is likely most attractive initially. He has all the physical tools to become a factor here, including an above average wingspan, outstanding hands, quickness, timing, and an excellent knack for anticipating where the ball will end up next. The offensive glass is where he shines the most; as almost 50% of his rebounds over his three year college career have come from there.
Boone is also an excellent defender, featuring terrific footwork, a fundamentally sound defensive stance and imposing positioning immediately when his man gets the ball. He will bump his chest right into him and glide quickly laterally from left to right. He has a good understanding of the game here, showing very well on the pick and roll and knowing when to rotate on help defense inside the paint. His quick hands and feet along with his length make him a threat to disrupt the post entry pass and come up with the steal on any given possession.
In terms of intangibles, Boone is intelligent both on and off the court, being both an excellent student and a solid citizen. He will do the little things in order to win, and does not have much of an ego like some top NCAA players from large programs too. In terms of his resume, itís hard to argue with his credentials. Heís won about as many games as any junior in this draft, was a three year starter at arguably the best college basketball program in America, played under an outstanding coach, and has numerous accolades under his belt.
As a 6-10 center, Boone is a bit undersized for the position. Despite being a terrific NCAA defender, does he have what it takes to defend much taller NBA Centers than him? Also how will he fare on the offensive end where he is limited as it is already?
Developing something that resembles a face up game could put those fears to rest, because at the moment, Boone doesn't have it at all. He refuses to put the ball on the floor or take shots outside the paint. He is very limited offensively as it is, with fairly average touch around the basket that makes him blow easy baskets at time off offensive rebounds, although this might have to do more with his lack of focus than anything. While he is a good leaper off one foot (which helps him block shots from the weak-side), he is not nearly as explosive off two feet. When attempting to finish seemingly easy baskets, he doesnít always go up strong enough, which means that heíll have his shot blocked. This also has to do with the fact that Boone can be very tentative at times in almost everything he does when things arenít going extremely well for him or his team, not really having that killer attitude youíd like to see from a projected role-playing hustling type.
Most of his baskets are of the garbage type variety, off put-backs and offensive rebounds against smaller and weaker NCAA players. Working on developing more post moves, better footwork, establishing deeper position in the paint like he does when rebounding and finishing in a wider variety of ways would benefit him immensely.
The most concerning thing about Boone has to be his mental approach to the game. Watching him play, following him throughout his career, and speaking to people that have been around him over that time, there are major question marks about just how much he enjoys playing basketball. He shows very little passion and enthusiasm out on the courtódisplaying especially concerning body languageóand you have to wonder just how hard he is going to want to improve over the next few years, as some question whether he is lazy. His heartbeat has been questioned repeatedly and UConn Coach Jim Calhoun tried every trick in the book to get him to fulfill his potential, without success for the most part. He regressed significantly from last year in every major statistical category except fouls, while only playing 2 minutes less per game. Off the court, he is an excellent kid, but on the court he might just be too nice for his own good. In addition, heís been wildly inconsistent throughout his college career, ranging from terrific performances to absolutely being a non-factor on the court and in the stat-sheet.
Boone can be considered a late bloomer. He wasn't heavily recruited out of high school by the top schools and decided to go to prep school (West Nottingham Academy) for a year to polish his game before college. In his first NCAA season, he started in 37 out of 38 games next to Emeka Okafor and had a very solid year, averaging 6 points, 6 rebounds and almost 2 blocks per game. Boone played extremely well in the postseason for UConn, especially in the Big East tournament when Okafor went down, and was rewarded for his efforts with a National Championship ring that he had a big part in.
As a sophomore, Boone exploded onto the national scene early on with a terrific showing in UConnís out of conference schedule. He had terrific chemistry with Charlie Villanueva, but slight injuries made him fade significantly down the stretch. He still ended up averaging 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game, on an outstanding 61% shooting from the field and 66% from the free throw line. Boone was named the BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-BIG EAST Second Team selection.
As a junior, things were much tougher with the emergence of Hilton Armstrong, Rudy Gayís development into a college star and talented freshman Jeff Adrien breathing down his neck. His numbers dropped across the board, to 10.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks on 56% shooting from the field and 55% from the free throw line.
Boone looked on his way to establishing himself as a lottery pick last summer after Charlie Villanueva left for the NBA and he was primed to stepped into a much bigger role on the offensive end. That never really happened, as Boone was incredibly inconsistent throughout the season and regressed in almost every facet of the game. After UConn lost in the Elite Eight, Boone may have felt like he was going to be the last man standing at UConn his senior year due to the graduation of Hilton Armstrong, Rashad Anderson and Denham Brown, and sophomore Rudy Gay and fellow junior Marcus Williams leaving early for a likely spot in the lottery. Boone has never been comfortable as a go-to guy and could have felt that another poor season would completely eliminate him from first round consideration in 2007. He entered the draft, later hired an agent, and decided to skip the NBA pre-draft camp. Some think he has a promise from the New York Knicks at 29, but if he doesnít get drafted there, there is a definite chance that he will slip to the 2nd round.
Boone has all the physical tools in the world to be a contributor in the NBA, itís mostly the mental part of the game that people question. It could very well be that a change of scenery is what he needs to motivate him, but no one can say that for sure.
Though Boone didnít really get a chance to establish himself on the offensive end of the floor, he continued to struggle at the free throw line, something that has hurt him all season. On the two field goals he missed, he displayed little body control or touch around the rim, and when given the ball he wasnít able to create anything in the post. Boone also ended up in foul trouble against the much smaller front court of George Mason. He picked up his third foul early in the first half, and had to sit for a long period of time. For an NBA prospect like Boone, you expect him to look dominant at least during stretches in big games, and he was nowhere to be found in the final game of his junior year. He will probably decide to at least test his stock and enter the draft, but one more year of learning from Calhoun would really benefit Josh Boone.[Read Full Article]
It's unclear at this point whether Josh Boone will decide to stay at UConn another year or test the waters to see where his draft stock lies at the moment, and the way he plays here in the tournament could very well likely be the deciding factor in that. Boone has been extremely inconsistent this year once again, ranging from being uninvolved and extremely passive on the offensive end to an unstoppable force on the glass that is willing and able to put up double figures on any given night thanks to his excellent size, length and willingness to run the floor and finish in traffic.
Boone's ability to control the boards and intimidate rivals inside the paint with his shot-blocking skills is the type of advantage that few teams in this tournament possess. NBA teams will want to see a bit more than that, though, which is why they would probably like to see him have at least 1 or 2 big games, showing that he is able as well as willing to take advantage of the type of physical attributes that few players in this draft have.
All in all a very disappointing effort for UConn's hustling big man. Offensively he was a complete non-factor despite being matched up with players that he had the ability to dominate inside with his size, length and athleticism. Boone looked extremely content for the most part doing his work on defensively and on the glass and letting UConn's other talented cogs shoulder the offensive load. It's unclear how much his summer injuries have hampered him, but the Huskies will surely need him to do a better job accross the board once they enter conference play in the revamped Big East. The Huskies would be well served to make sure their big man gets the ball inside more as well. Right now Boone is still living off the hype he created for himself with outstanding performances in the first half of the season last year, but has looked nothing like a top 10 or lottery pick since then. Both Boone and UConn's coaching staff contend that he could very well stay in Storrs another year, because that's just the kind of guy he is.[Read Full Article]