Dionte Christmas

Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
Weight: 211 lbs (96 kg)
Position: SG/SF
High School: Lutheran High School (Pennsylvania)
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
College: Temple
Current Team: La Banda
Win - Loss: 11 - 2


Blogging Through the NCAA Tournament (Day Two)

Jonathan Givony
Jonathan Givony
Mar 20, 2009, 01:42 am
Christmas had 29 points on 8-16 shooting and 8-10 free throws, keeping Temple in the game on a day where they got virtually nothing out of the rest of their roster. He was absolutely automatic with his feet set, finding a number of small opportunities to catch and shoot against Arizona State’s matchup zone, and converting on pretty much every attempt. His nice size, quick release and the separation he creates by elevating off the floor allowed him to get his shot off very effectively all game long, which helped him account for over half of Temple’s points on the day. He also got in the passing lanes on a couple of occasions and converted in transition, either with a simple layup or by getting to the free throw line. Christmas struggled, as usual, when forced to create his own shot off the bounce, being unable to make any of his off the dribble attempts and never getting to the basket in half-court situations. Defensively, Christmas was mostly assigned the task of Arizona State’s lesser wing player besides James Harden, which usually ended up being Ty Abott or Rihard Kuksiks, who aren’t going to scare anyone. Christmas had a nice final game to his college career, but it’s not quite clear if that’s going to change anything in the grand scheme of things. For a player who relies so heavily on his outside shot (57% of his field goal attempts are 3’s) as pretty much his lone calling card to the pros, you would have liked to see him shoot much better than the 35% he averaged from college range on the season. It’s possible that in a smaller role Christmas’ percentages would rise, but he really didn’t have the type of senior year that would separate him from other shooting guards in this draft. He’ll have to perform well at Portsmouth and in private workouts to increase his chances of being drafted.

Day Four: Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament

Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Mar 16, 2008, 09:43 am
Despite Saint Joseph’s halftime lead, Fran Dunphy’s Temple squad never felt that the game was in doubt and stormed back to victory, largely due to Dionte Christmas. Christmas, Temple’s 6’5 junior shooting guard, earned the tournament’s most outstanding player award largely because of his 22 point (8/14 FG, 5/8 3FG, 1/1 FT), 4 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 steal performance.

Christmas scored in a variety of different ways, incredibly efficiently, and proved that he can find his offense even against long athletic defenders, something he was unable to do last night against An’juan Wilderness and UNC-Charlotte. Tonight, Christmas showed off his perimeter stroke, which looked incredible. He gets very good elevation on his jump shot, and has a quick release, which combined with his long arms creates a very difficult shot to block. Christmas was able to get his shot off anywhere on the court, most of the time well beyond the college three point line. Though his shot selection is not the best, his ability to get his shot off, relatively consistently, from anywhere on the floor was on display tonight. After missing his first three perimeter jumpers, he hit his next five and opened up the paint for Temple’s big men to operate. Christmas is extremely streaky, going 8/22 from behind the arc throughout the tournament, but once he gets into a shooting rhythm, it is difficult to stop him. Just ask Tasheed Carr and Garrett Williamson, a couple of the Atlantic 10’s best defenders. They played outstanding defense on Christmas and he still managed to score 22 points on 62% shooting.

One good thing about Christmas’s offense repertoire is his adaptability. Early in the first half, when his perimeter shot was not falling, he drove to the basket, where he can use his solid first step and strength to finish around the rim. Improving his handle should allow him to become a better slasher because he is noticeably slower off of the dribble. As he has also proven in the past, he is capable of drawing fouls around the rim, and though he could definitely become a better free throw shooter, he finds ways to put points on the board, even if his perimeter shot is not falling. He also shows a developing mid-range game, pulling up off of the dribble. He needs to improve his ball handling ability if he wants to be a good mid-range scorer, but the instincts are there.

He again showed a solid defensive effort, using his long arms, strength, and good lateral quickness. One problem, however, is that he uses his hands too much, which in this tournament has landed him in foul trouble in all three games. Christmas may not be an athletic specimen, but he should be able to hold his own at the next level on defense and should not be a liability.

Elsewhere, it is important to acknowledge his court awareness. While teammate Mark Tyndale gets most statistical credit, Christmas is a good passer who realizes how to move the ball within Temple’s offense. Christmas understands that this is not yet his team, and despite his 20 points per game scoring average, he is still very much a role player in Temple’s system. In addition, Christmas has learned Dunphy’s system extremely well and can make an impact on the floor even if he is not scoring. He has the opportunity and the potential to have an incredible senior season and should very much be in the 2009 NBA Draft conversation.

Day Three: Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament Blog

Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Mar 15, 2008, 05:08 am
For as well as Dionte Christmas played yesterday, he played just as poorly today. His perimeter shot was not falling, and while his form looked good, including good elevation and a quick release, his shot selection was extremely questionable. He was guarded by long and athletic perimeter defenders and did not respond well. While he eventually started attacking the basket, his handle is too suspect at this stage for him to be an effective slasher at the next level. His defensive effort on Leemire Goldwire was good and he showcased his solid lateral quickness on the perimeter, but his season low of 6 points on 2/9 shooting and 1/7 shooting from the perimeter really exposed his limitations and raised plenty of questions about his potential at the next level.

A good performance tomorrow is essential for Christmas if he wants to stay somewhat relevant in the draft discussion for next season. He is going to square off against two of the best perimeter defenders in the league tomorrow in a potential explosive match-up against Saint Joseph’s. Temple versus Saint Joseph’s, the deepest rivalry in Philadelphia, has the potential to be a shootout between Calathes and Christmas, and is just the kind of duel that the scouts in attendance are looking forward to evaluating.

Day Two: Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament Blog

Kyle Nelson
Kyle Nelson
Mar 14, 2008, 12:54 pm
The story of this game was Temple’s 6’5 shooting guard Dionte Christmas, who in the first half showed one of the most complete offensive arsenals in the entire tournament.

Christmas shot a blistering 7/10 from the field and got to the line 6 times in the first half and finished the game with a final line of: 29 points (8/15 FG, 2/7 3FG, 11/14 FT), 5 rebounds, 4 assists (2 turnovers), and two steals in 38 minutes of play.
He displayed a beautiful textbook jump shot from around the basket out to the NBA three-point line, and a very soft touch around the basket. He created offense for himself off of the dribble, and though he must improve his handle if he wants to maximize his mid-range potential, he already has a tremendous offensive repertoire even while his dribbling can be somewhat erratic. When his shots stopped falling in the second half, he attacked the basket, finishing the game with 14 free-throw attempts to his credit and proving that he is more than merely a one-dimensional shooter. His shot selection is certainly suspect at this point and likely a product of his team’s over reliance on his offensive output because his overall basketball IQ seems good.

On the defensive end, Christmas answered some questions. He has good lateral quickness, which combined with his length, allow him to be a good perimeter defender. He did a good job staying in front of the shorter and quicker Darnell Harris and showed the versatility to guard all of LaSalle’s perimeter players at some point during the game. He is an athlete on this level, but it is unclear at this point whether or not he projects as better than average at the next level. Besides Calathes, Christmas is likely the best prospect at this tournament and showed today that his potential at the next level might be beyond the role of a shooting specialist.

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