The Mikan Drill

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Summer scouting: Jacob Pullen

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Kansas State is a chic pick to win the Big 12 this season and Jacob Pullen is the no doubt star of the team. You have to respect his beard and you must have more respect for his game. He is not flashy at anything but he is a hard worker who has a couple of ways to get some working class buckets. Let’s take a look at the player that is working hard to bring the Abe Lincoln beard back:

Strengths

Finishing around the rim

Draft Express disagrees with me here but I think finishing at the rim is something Pullen excels at. He is not big enough to take it right at players but he recognizes the situation and can adjust his shot to avoid the block.

In the first clip, we see him beat his defender with one hard dribble to the baseline. Once he gets to the basket, he finishes with his left hand on the right side of the basket, as one defender is on his back and one is coming up on his right. Even though it is his weaker hand, he has the confidence to finish with his left hand and protect the ball with the body. If either player was going to block that shot, they were going to foul Pullen with the body.

Here we see Pullen split the hedge on the pick and roll and improvises with a floater over the last defender for the finish. In the process, he takes a little contact but still hits his mark.

I think Pullen has the chops to finish around the rim at the collegiate level. His ability to do this at the NBA level is certainly in question but for this upcoming season, he has the desire and grit necessary to finish in the paint among the big men.

3 point shooting

Pullen shoots around 40% from 3 point distance and he has nice form to accompany this percentage.

KSU loves to run this play for Pullen, with him running off of two players on the baseline for a 3 pointer. As you can see, he is comfortable running it either way. This play works for Pullen because most big men won’t hedge there because the screener will have an easy slip to the basket.

Pullen finishes the play with a shot that features a quick release and elevation to decrease the chances of being blocker. He needs these features because he stands only 6 feet and will be up against taller defenders. Just like we showed above, he is crafty enough to come up with ways to prevent being blocked.

Here is another clip that shows he is comfortable shooting the 3 in situations other than coming off the baseline:

Weaknesses

Fundamental Passing

The one thing I noticed from Pullen is that he loves the one handed passes. While some of the passes in the clips are effective, it is a sign of a bigger issue, which to me says he is lazy when he passes. Even if he puts zip on the one handed passes, he does not have the accuracy he could have if he took the time for the two handed pass.

There are times that a one handed pass is a good play; however, in general, I think that the two handed pass is the more fundamental pass and shows the attention to detail that a ball handling guard should have.

In this clip, Pullen gets the pass to the intended recipient but this sets us up for the next clip. The tagline to this website is ‘Respect the Fundamentals’ and a one handed pass is not fundamental basketball. Again, there is a time and a place for the one handed pass but it is not something that a guard should be using for every pass. It makes for lazy passes and poor passes, such as this:

Here, Pullen has a pretty good (not perfect) angle for entering the pass into the post. However, he chooses to one hand the pass and it is a little off target for his teammate. If he would have used two hands, he could have had more control over the ball and made a more accurate pass.

This is something that Pullen needs to tighten up and its all about discipline. He needs to focus on making sound passes that his teammates can handle.

Evaluation

I don’t think Pullen does anything outstanding on offense but he is a crafty player who just finds ways to score and has a good enough jump shot to be respected. He is a bit undersized and a tad slow to be a great defender but he will be adequate for KSU.

I think Pullen is a candidate for Big 12 player of the year and we could see him on the AP all-american team. I expect him to will his way to around 20 points per game next season and be a crucial part of the offense for the Wildcats.

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