After leading Norfolk State to its first NCAA Tournament in school history, big man Kyle O'Quinn
continued an already memorable senior season by powering #15 seed Spartans to victory against #2 seed Missouri. O'Quinn posted 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks on college basketball's biggest stage in one of the most shocking upsets in NCAA Tournament history against Ricardo Ratliffe
, a legitimate prospect in his own right. Though Florida would ultimately shut down O'Quinn and end Norfolk State's tournament run in the round of 32, O'Quinn validated many of the strengths and weaknesses we observed last November
, though against superior competition.
At first sight, O'Quinn more than looks the part of a NBA big man, standing 6'10 with a solid 240-pound frame and a long wingspan. He is a below average athlete at best, however, lacking much in the way of standout quickness or explosiveness. While this was hardly exposed against MEAC opponents, his struggles against Florida and Marquette, in particular, seem to be fairly prescient of the trouble he may have adjusting athletically to the next level.
On offense, O'Quinn is a versatile, albeit unorthodox player, demonstrating the ability to score around the basket and from the perimeter while averaging 19.5 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted and shooting an incredibly efficient 61% from inside of the arc.
Nearly 30% of his offensive possessions come in the post, where, according to Synergy Sports Tech, he converts a solid 54.8% of his attempts. On film, O'Quinn still shows a solid arsenal of post moves with his back to the basket, even if his lack of quickness and explosiveness remains a significant concern projecting to the next level. So too does the fact that he struggled so mightily against Florida and Marquette's post defense, where he wasn't able to simply bully his opponents with sheer strength the way he's accustomed to. O'Quinn looks excellent in the post against weaker MEAC competition, but with few exceptions he remains largely unproven against NBA-caliber post defenders.
Another area of concern is his unorthodox perimeter game. By the numbers, O'Quinn is an awful perimeter shooter, connecting on just 18.8% of his attempts and failing to crack 30% shooting since his freshman year. As we have expressed in the past, his miserable shot selection seems to be the primary culprit, though he could certainly stand to develop more consistent shooting mechanics. Moving inside of the arc, he a bit more successful, occasionally showing the ability to knock down spot-up jump shots from mid-range.
Also worth mentioning is his much-improved aggressiveness and focus in the post in the post, reflected in his career high 7.6 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted and his willingness to take the ball stronger to the rim, He has also done a better job of moving without the ball this season, as well, and does a good job of finishing off of cuts.
The only way to classify O'Quinn's offense is as unorthodox because he tries to do so much with mixed results and it still remains to be seen what exactly he'll be able to do consistently against NBA-caliber defenders. We likely will not see him launching contested 30-footers or taking his man off of the dribble from the perimeter at the next level, but O'Quinn's ability to hit mid-range jump shots, crash the offense boards, and finish off cuts are all legitimate, coveted skills.
On defense, O'Quinn is a mixed bag, as he dominated subpar competition on a nightly basis for almost four years with a very limited sample size of what he can actually do against high-major competition. In games against Florida, Missouri, Marquette, and Virginia Tech, O'Quinn strung together impressive defensive possessions, but struggled to maintain his focus. In general, he seemingly lacks the lateral quickness to guard more perimeter-oriented big men and his general awareness does not look great. Furthermore, he struggles to close out on shooters, looking slow-footed and uninterested at times.
That being said, he is an excellent shot blocker, largely because of his long wingspan, and his 3.3 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted, for the second straight year, ranks him amongst the top players in our database for the second consecutive year.
While he was an fringe prospect coming into this season, he is certainly on scouts radars now. Far from being an elite prospect, O'Quinn is an ideal player for the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where scouts will be watching to see if he can continue to score and rebound while showing improved decision making against better competition. In addition to good showings in Portsmouth and in private workouts, he should also prioritize improving his conditioning, so as to maximize both his physical and athletic potential. His NCAA tournament performance was revealing, but it is within a larger body of work and O'Quinn still has quite a bit of work to do before he's a lock to hear his name called on draft night.