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A Few Tai Webster Highlights

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Watched some of that New Zealand HS national championship game.  I'm sayin' there's more talent in District 11 of Texas HS Class 5A hoops.  The game between Rowlett and Lakeview featured a much more impressive display of basketball, quite honestly, than the New Zealand National Championship game.  Hate to say it, but I don't think either of those New Zealand teams could hang with Rowlett High.  Now, granted, Texas has a much larger population than New Zealand.  But I don't think they could hang with Omaha Central, either.  In fact, South Sioux from last year probably wins the New Zealand National Championship.

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I watched a good portion of the video too....I will say this.  It looked like Tai could have done anything he wanted, at anytime and honestly it never looked like he was going hard at all.  He missed a lot of those shots, but that doesn't bother me as guys are going to miss shots.  The competition obviously isn't great in that video, but I'm guessing if Tai went "all out" he would drop 40 if he wanted too.  I remember his dad having a quote that he needs to be "challenged" because he wasn't where he was at.  We have to hope with some good coaching, and good push from teammates that his skills fully come out.  I gotta trust Miles on this and I know Fran Fraschilla is very high on him.  Remember, in the Olympic qualifying games he averages I want to say 16-18 points a game vs grown men. 

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Watched some of that New Zealand HS national championship game.  I'm sayin' there's more talent in District 11 of Texas HS Class 5A hoops.  The game between Rowlett and Lakeview featured a much more impressive display of basketball, quite honestly, than the New Zealand National Championship game.  Hate to say it, but I don't think either of those New Zealand teams could hang with Rowlett High.  Now, granted, Texas has a much larger population than New Zealand.  But I don't think they could hang with Omaha Central, either.  In fact, South Sioux from last year probably wins the New Zealand National Championship.

 

Within the past few days I've watched both the semifinal and final games of Westlake as well as the Rowlett game from a couple of weeks ago where Hawkins scored 25. Rowlett would gut either of those NZ teams with ease in my opinion. The level of play and overall athleticism wasn't even close in my opinion, Webster being the only exception.

 

Rowlett features three Division I scholarship players in their starting line-up, led by Jeffrey Carroll, the small forward who's going to Okie State. Their PG, Austin Luke, is going to Belmont on scholarship.

 

Central would also destroy either of those two NZ teams. Central vs. Rowlett would be a great game.

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I watched a good portion of the video too....I will say this.  It looked like Tai could have done anything he wanted, at anytime and honestly it never looked like he was going hard at all.  He missed a lot of those shots, but that doesn't bother me as guys are going to miss shots.  The competition obviously isn't great in that video, but I'm guessing if Tai went "all out" he would drop 40 if he wanted too.  I remember his dad having a quote that he needs to be "challenged" because he wasn't where he was at.  We have to hope with some good coaching, and good push from teammates that his skills fully come out.  I gotta trust Miles on this and I know Fran Fraschilla is very high on him.  Remember, in the Olympic qualifying games he averages I want to say 16-18 points a game vs grown men. 

 

Fraschilla said that his opinion on Webster was based on having seen every one of his Olympic qualifier games back in July, plus conversations with people he knows in New Zealand. We've only seen highlights of those Olympic qualifier games. He had 21 against Angola, which was his high scoring game. Overall his shooting percentages in qualifying competition were outstanding, and quite a bit higher than what I saw in his last two high school games. I believe he was over 50% shooting overall and 62.5% from 3-point range for the national team. His shooting in his final two high school games was inconsistent, but he didn't take a ton of shots.

 

Here's my take on Tai after watching all of the highlights everyone contributed over the past week, and specifically his two HS games, which were painful to watch, by the way.

 

Webster is extremely quick. He's both fast and quick. He gets up the court very quickly in transition, and he has an ability to change direction and accelerate quickly. He's just a very explosive player, and he handles the ball extremely well. I feel like he tried very hard to be diplomatic and get his teammates involved instead of just taking the game over himself. He probably could have driven to the rim on every possession if he really wanted and just drawn foul after foul.

 

Webster is a player who has the mindset to get to the rim, and is effective at doing so. In terms of finishing around the rim, he was inconsistent in the two HS games, but did have some very impressive highlights. Many times it seemed like he'd make a half-hearted drive to the basket just so that he could kick it out to teammates and get them open shots, probably never intending to score in the first place.

 

Webster is a good passer with good court vision. There were a number of times in which he dished it to teammates and they either weren't anticipating it or just couldn't handle it. I attribute this to the level of talent surrounding him. Those guys just aren't in his league. I saw Tai make some great passes in the two games I saw, but also saw him get careless with the ball at times, which led to some turnovers. He'll need to clean that up.

 

As a shooter, he has nice touch and good form. He also has 3-point range. His shooting wasn't great in the two games I saw, for whatever reason. I saw him take shots from all over the court, and he seems like a guy who could get in a good rhythm if he had more consistent shooting opportunities. Again, Webster seemed to me to be trying deliberately not to be a ball hog. He could have taken a lot more shots than he did.

 

Defensively, he gave very good effort in the two games I saw and had some nice steals. He'll need to continue to improve in this area.

 

Tai's foul shooting is mediocre based on what I saw. He was about a 50% free throw shooter in the two games I watched. He should be able to improve on this, as he has a very natural free throw shooting motion already.

 

I believe Webster has the tools to be a great point guard for us. He could play the 2, but his speed and quickness, height, court vision, leadership and ball handling skills seem to lend themselves to the PG position. Hawkins, on the other hand, is taller and not nearly as fast down the court in transition. Though he's a really good passer and also has great ball handling skills, he seems to fit the 2 better.

 

Webster seemed to raise his game to the level of the competition with the national team. Hopefully he'll do that at Nebraska. I'm sure it will take him some time to adjust to the speed and physical style of the B1G, but he adjusted to international play very quickly, and that was a huge step up from the rec ball he was playing back in NZ.

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I thought the big man on the other team in the NZ title game was pretty decent.  Good size and athleticism.  Had some ability.  Probably would do well in prep school here but would need to spend that year to learn the American game and develop a bit.  But, certainly, he had potential. 

 

But, those were the only two guys that I saw whom I thought had any kind of game, really.  The big guy on Westlake wasn't horrible. 

 

Webster is clearly the best player on the floor but he was playing sloppy and that probably had to do with playing down to the level of the competition.

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