Thursday, January 6, 2011

Be Careful Not to Overrate Jeron Teng

First, the numbers: 104 points (37/70 FG, 1/5 3PT, 29/34 FT), 24 rebounds (20 offensive), 6 steals, 2 blocks, 0 assists, 1 turnover.

Next, the scouting report: listed at 6'1", Teng played the small forward spot, though he definitely does not have the shooting touch most people associate with that position. Instead, Teng operates mostly in the paint, hitting 8-foot jumpers reliably, or bullying his way into the lane. This was made easier for him due to the lack of height on the Grace Christian team. Despite double, triple, and even quadruple teams, Teng would usually opt to take shot forced shots, banking on his athleticism to get the rebound and the easy put-back. Teng's 0 assists was indicative of his score-first mentality, though it may just be a statement about his team's composition and depth (or lack of it).

Teng and his teammates run a pressure defense, and they took good advantage of it, forcing 42 turnovers, with 30 steals. That led to more shot opportunities (124 to 84), most of them uncontested, letting Teng pad his stats even more.

Though the game was clearly over as early as the end of the first half, when Xavier was up 68 to 32, Teng was clearly gunning for the Tiong Lian league scoring record of 64. He would top that with four minutes left in the third on a pair of free throws, and would later reach the 100-point summit with a minute and change left in the fourth. In all, he played 35:22 minutes.

What makes Teng's performance impressive is the fact that at 16 years old, Teng still has a lot of growing and learning to do, before he graduates high school. If he manages to grow an inch or two more and work on his jump shot, he could be a great recruit for many schools.

The converse though is true as well. A 6'1" shooting guard in the collegiate level is not going to make a lot of waves, especially if his range is limited. He'll also need to work on his court vision and find open teammates, especially if he continues to draw multiple defenders.

And as is typical in such cases, one might want to pass judgment on the quality of the opposition, in this case, the, as of writing, 1 and 3 Grace Christian High School squad. One might even choose to look down on the Tiong Lian league as a whole, saying that it's not as competitive as perhaps, the juniors ranks of the UAAP or the NCAA.

In any event, the word is: caution. The younger Teng brother has all the tools and opportunities to really become a great player. But the track record for super-star scorers in the collegiate level is spotty at best, and a more well-rounded game might be the best thing for him and his future career.

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