Possibly the most improved player in the country up until this point in the season, its stunning to see the type of bulk Kyle Visser
has managed to add to his frame over the past 8 months or so, let alone what that newfound weight has done for his all-around game. From a frail, soft and often underachieving backup, who lost his confidence quickly when things didnt go his way, we now find a 255 pound man who has improved his athleticism dramatically, is enjoying taking and dishing out contact, and is producing at an astounding rateincluding a career high 27 point, 14 rebound outing this past week against South Florida.
Now that hes no longer a string-bean, the reason for his appeal seems quite obvious on first glance. Visser is a legit 6-11, and possesses a well-proportioned frame that seemingly should be able to add plenty more weight. He has very good hands and excellent touch around the basket, and surely isnt a stiff when it comes to his athleticism and reflexes. Not freakishly explosive, Visser is still a pretty mobile guy. He runs the court extremely well, and is able to get off the floor to challenge shots or finish on his own. When double-teamed in the post, he doesnt force the issue and knows how to find the open man, and generally shows an excellent attitude on the court and a pretty nice feel for the game, as you might expect from a two-time member of the ACC All-Academic team. As mentioned already, hes not afraid to mix it up even one bit and looked very aggressive on both ends in the three games weve seen of his (Bucknell, Vanderbilt, DePaul).
As you would hope from a player his size, Visser does most of his damage with his back to the basket. He seals off his man well, and is big and strong enough to establish deep position in the post. Once he catches the ball thanks to his excellent hands, he has terrific touch around the hoop to convert from difficult positions, even high off the glassas evidenced by the outrageous 65% he shoots from the field. He knows how to move off the ball and cut to the basket for easy finishes, and his teammates definitely look to get him the ball in a position to score. His footwork in the post is definitely improvable, the mechanics of his jump-hook need work, he could possibly finish a little stronger around the rim, and he at times lacks the balance and a strong enough base to make his consistently take advantage of his shorter matchups, but these all seem like things that a 21-year old late blooming big man can and should improve on.
In terms of a face-up game, Visser doesnt show much if at all in this area. His shooting mechanics from mid-range are not very good and he doesnt have any real ball-handling skills either from the mid-post or out on the perimeter. He shoots only 60% from the free throw line, and this hasnt translated into being able to knock down mid-range jumpers from the footage we saw this year or last.
As a rebounder, hes aggressive and fundamentally sound in the way he boxes out, and therefore is fairly prolificaveraging 9 per game on the season. He isnt quite quick or explosive enough to go out of his area, but the ones he does capture as a position rebounder leave a good impression.
Defensively, he gets baited into cheap fouls at times by being overly aggressive in his rotations. Slashing guards will enter the lane looking for contact, and Visser will often give them exactly what they want by leaving his feet prematurely and drawing a foul. Considering his importance to Wake Forests squad this year (his teammates are young, incredibly inconsistent and are for the most part poor decision makers), that means hes often forced into playing matador defense just to avoid tacking on fouls and leaving for the bench, something that would kill his teams already slim chances of winning any given game. He is able to take advantage of his size and relative leaping ability to block your occasional shot, but this doesnt seem like something that will translate over to the NBA considering the frequency in which he does it against poor competition. What was interesting to see was the way he sticks his hands in to poke away in-bounds passes and come up with steals
something that confirms the fact that he has pretty good awareness on the court and the reflexes needed to react quickly to things around him.
Nearly halfway through the regular season, were still struggling with the decision of whether to jump on the bandwagon 100% or not. Visser has put up solid numbers against some decent teamsDePaul, Georgia, Bucknell, Air Force, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech for example, but all of those teams cant be considered anything less than extremely weak in their frontcourt. Visser looks extremely comfortable dominating the 6-8/6-9 centers hes been facing, but we cant wait to see how he does playing against some legit ACC big men. Sean Williams
comes to town in exactly a week. Josh McRoberts
, Tyler Hansbrough
and Brandan Wright
follow, as well as Ekene Ibekwe
and others later on. If Visser can keep up this type of production through the ACC regular season, it wouldnt be a shock to see him land himself a spot in the first round of this years draft. His team isnt doing him any favors with just how flat out awful theyve been this year, so winning some games in the ACC wouldnt exactly hurt either.