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FILM SESSION: Scouting Seton Hall’s leading scorer Desi Rodriguez

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Desi Rodriguez is a 6’6 senior wing who leads the Pirates at 17.8 ppg. He can score it on all 3 levels and is a physical presence with a soft jumper.

He comes in shooting 50% from the floor and 38% from long range. This is the guy NC State needs to focus on stopping. That’s why we took the time to check out some of Seton Hall’s big wins and examine what Rodriguez does that makes him effective.

Here is what we found:

Pull-Up Jumper

Rodriguez wants to take you off the dribble, but he’s not super quick. This means he has to find other ways to keep his defender off balance. He does this by adding in a pretty consistent mid-range jumper. But there’s a catch. He only shoots is going to his left. Actually, we couldn’t find any clips of him going right and pulling up. However, he has a knack for getting to his left, and when he gets space, he can hurt you.

He has very good elevation and a high release, but this is not the strongest part of his game. If you have an option to give up the pull-up with a hand somewhat close to his face as opposed to taking away the shot and letting him drive, you give him the pull-up all day. He can get it going, but at times he uses too much power on his elevation and his shot can go flat off the bounce.  They key here is to stay in front of him and not allow him to get on your shoulder. If you face him up and make him shoot over you, his percentage will dip.

 

3-Point Shooting

Rodriguez is a unique player no matter how you look at it. He’s big, he’s physical but can also shoot it from deep. He hits an impressive 38% of his  shots from long range, but after watching a good amount of footage, he does have some tendencies to be aware of.

You can’t let him spot up. His 3pt% increases by a lot when he’s left open. If you’re wondering why, take a look at this clip below. Rodriguez spot up 3 is a lot more controlled and repeatable. You’ll see he has less elevation and uses his upward momentum on the release instead of to create separation on his jump. This makes him a more accurate and fluid shooter from long range.

Now let’s see the difference when he’s shooting off the dribble from 3. He’s not as comfortable with this part of his game. In fact, it’s rare that Rodriguez breaks you down or uses a screen and rises up for 3. He can hit it, but his percentage definitely dips when he’s going long range off the bounce.

Why?

Well, it seems as if he’s really honed his 15-foot pull-up. On that shot, he’s forced to really elevate and keep his release high since he’s usually in traffic. This is using a good bit of his energy to raise up, but it works because it’s a shorter shot. He seems to use those same mechanics off the dribble from 3, but with the distance obviously longer, he if forced to power his shot with his arms and thus, it becomes a lot less fluid. This causes his shot to be less accurate and causes it to come off flat. If you’re going to let him get a shot, you want it to be off the dribble from 3 with a hand in his face.

 

Attacking the basket

This is where Desi is dangerous. Again, he’s not super quick, but he’s usually a lot quicker than the guy he’s guarding. However, against NC State it’s likely he’ll start out with Al Freeman on him. Freeman will give up about 3 inches, but he can pester Rodriguez and get him out of his comfort zone.

That is an advantage to going small against the Pirates. Once Rodriguez turns the corner on you, it’s just about over. He’s got such a wide frame and he’s outstanding at using his body to create contact and separation. Couple that with his soft touch around the hoop and you have a guy who can put points on the board quickly.

Check the clip below. Rodriquez has a nice handle and he’s trying to toy with his defender, but obviously, the defender didn’t’ pay attention during his film session. If he did, he wouldn’t have fallen for the between the legs hesitation. If Desi wants to step back and shoot a 3, let him. The risk/reward there is in your favor. Also, watch the defenders feet. He leads with his right foot and closes his hip up to the lefty drive, which is exactly what Rodriguez is looking for. We’ve watched a lot of game film on this guy and we’re confident in saying that Rodriguez is not very dangerous going to his right.  So sit down, keep a hand up and whatever you do, don’t let him get on your shoulder going left.

Let’s look at another one. This time (below) Rodriguez is going off a ball screen. Note how the defender of the screener decides to sink low and cut off the pass. This allows for a downhill drive that is basically unstoppable. NC State is going to have to hedge that screen high and hard to keep Rodriguez from turning the corner. It’s not a bad bet either since when he has the ball in his hands he’s really laser-focused on scoring and rarely showcases any real vision in the passing game. He averages just 2 assists per game.

 

Rebounding

Rodriguez is Seton Hall’s 3rd best rebounder and averages about 5 per game. What is interesting is that he doesn’t really do much damage on the offensive boards. It’s likely the case that their big man, Angel Delgado, is such a good offensive rebounder (he has 124 on the season) that there isn’t many left for Desi. But, watching clips we saw a different story. He’s active in the paint and extremely tenacious when he misses a shot. He’s going to be in there and going to be throwing around his weight, especially against what will likely be a smaller defender so State needs to put a body on him on every shot attempt.

 

Defense

Defensively, Rodriguez is decent. He’s physical, he had good balance and footwork,  but again, he’s not super quick. He does put good effort in on the defensive end at times and will get out in the passing lane and jump a pass. Below is an example, although that one was kind of gifted to him.

Where he may struggle is being pulled out to the perimeter by someone like Al Freeman. He’s got length and size, but Freeman is a very tough assignment. He can do damage off the dribble attacking the rim, or he can step back and beat you from 3. Seton Hall may be forced to go small and get Desi matched up with Dorn, which would be a more even showdown.

 

Conclusion

Desi Rodriguez is a handful and a very talented player, but he’s not without his flaws. He is much less effective going to his right and his shot off the dribble tends to go flat. If NC State can really focus in on forcing him into situations where he’s uncomfortable then they’ll have a big advantage. There’s also the fact that Rodriguez has been battling a foot/ankle injury that cost him 3 games recently. He returned during the Big East Tournament to play against Butler, but he wasn’t ready. He only got 16 minutes (he did score 8 points), but he wasn’t explosive and didn’t seem himself. Pirates head coach Kevin Willard said Rodriguez will play against NC State, but think he’ll be closer to 70 or 80% for the game.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Lou Pascucci

    March 12, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks guys. I love doing breakdowns like this, just wish I had more time to do them. It also really interests me to see how certain players find success. This kid is good, but by no means do I think NC State isn’t going to be able to handle him

  2. Dof87

    March 12, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Nice write up. Thanks for the time and work it must have taken

  3. Papajohn

    March 12, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Excellent analysis, thank you!
    This is a pretty good team Even without Rodriguez, they lost to Villanova by only a point. So definitely not a one player team.

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NC State Basketball

#10 NC State Women’s Basketball Defeats Georgetown 76-65, Ties 2nd Best Start in Program History

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The #10 NC State Women’s Basketball team defeated Georgetown 76-65 in their first true road game of the season yesterday, improving to 10-0, tying the 2nd best start in program history (1990-91 & 1997-98). If the Wolfpack win the next 4 games, they will tie the 1999-2000 squad’s school best 14-0 start.

Freshman Center Elissa Cunane led the Pack in scoring, with 23 points off the bench (career high). Graduate Senior Guard Kiara Leslie chipped in 18 points, hitting 4 of her 5 three-point attempts. She is shooting 44% from beyond the arch on the year. Redshirt Junior Guard Grace Hunter, the Pack’s leading scorer, filled the stat sheet with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists. Junior Guard Aislinn Konig was the 4th Wolfpack player in double figures, with 12 points on 4 three-pointers (4-12).

Senior Forward DD Rodgers had a whopping 20 rebounds, which marks the 5th highest single-game total in school history.

NC State held the Hoyas to 36.8% shooting, and out-rebounded them 49-28.

The Wolfpack will try to claim sole possession of the 2nd best start in school history at home against Maine next Saturday at 6pm.

(Photo Credit: GoPack)

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KenPom Ranks NC State 25th After Western Carolina

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NC State beat Western Carolina 100-67 last night, improving to 8-1 on the year.

Stat guru KenPom’s formula ranks the Wolfpack 25th after the victory.

Through 9 games, NC State ranks 7th in the ACC.

1) Duke
3) Virginia
7) UNC
11) Virginia Tech
16) Florida State
18) Syracuse
25) NC State
32) Clemson
41) Louisville
42) Miami
56) Notre Dame
72) Georgia Tech
77) Boston College
112) Pittsburgh
148) Wake Forest

For what it’s worth, the highest the Wolfpack was ranked in KenPom’s formula last year was 39th, after starting 109th (finished 46th).

NC State started this season ranked 36th.

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NC State Basketball

VIDEO: NC State Dedicates Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum

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In 1949, Reynolds Coliseum was opened, named after businessman and sportsman William Neal Reynolds of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

In 2007, the basketball court in Reynolds Coliseum was named after Hall of Fame NC State Women’s Basketball Coach Kay Yow.

Prior to last nights 100-67 victory over Western Carolina, NC State officially dedicated James T. Valvano Arena at Reynolds Coliseum.

Valvano was the coach at NC State for 10 years (1980-90), leading the Cardiac Pack to a national championship in 1983.

He also led the Wolfpack to two ACC Tournament Championships (1983 & 1987) and two ACC Regular Season Championships (1985 & 1989).

The Wolfpack advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 7 of his 10 seasons:

1 National Championship
2 Elite Eights
1 Sweet 16

Check out the ACC Digital Networks video of the dedication ABOVE, and NC State’s is below.

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NC State Basketball

VIDEO: Daniels, Hellems & Harris Talk After NC State’s 100-67 Victory Over Western Carolina

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Redshirt Sophomore’s Devon Daniels and Blake Harris, and Freshman Jericole Hellems met with the media after NC State’s 100-67 victory over Western Carolina last night (Highlights). The video is ABOVE, and a bulleted breakdown is BELOW.

  • Daniels: It was a great experience (playing in Reynolds). The fans are right on the court. I liked it a lot. There was a lot of energy in the gym and I think we all felt that.
  • Hellems: Of course, being my first time playing in there. It was a blessing and an amazing experience to have the support from the fans and then obviously with it being loud. I enjoyed myself.
  • Harris: Playing at Reynolds was a great time. My first time. Great crowd. A lot of intensity. I liked it.
  • Daniels: You know, I think everybody knows about his (Valvano) story, but to actually play for the school he represented, it’s a different meaning. You can definitely tell how much of an impact he had on the community. It was a great experience playing here…playing for him and the fans.
  • Hellems: Just knowing the legacy that he created with the team that he coached. It’s a blessing to have NC State across your chest, knowing the history behind it. Having this opportunity to play with NC State is a blessing.
  • Harris: I thought it was wonderful that we got the W on the day they changed the arena to his name.
  • Daniels: I think I was just over-thinking it (getting adjusted to Keatts system). I was just worried about trying to get comfortable, thinking about it way too much. I just settled down, kept it simple, trusted the offense, and it came a lot easier. I just kept listening to my coaches, putting in the work and it helped a lot.
  • Daniels: We are trying to have the mindset just to stay consistent. Playing versus anybody, but definitely playing versus ranked teams at different arenas…we always get excited about that. It’s another chance to prove ourselves and get better. So, I think we’re definitely ready and we’re definitely excited (to face Penn State in the Boardwalk Classic Saturday in Atlantic City).
  • Harris: Our bond is amazing. We all fit together. We’re not selfish at all. We’re all like brothers. We just want to win and make Coach Keatts happy.
  • Hellems: Like Blake was saying, I think we’re all just creating bonds, having fun, and trusting in each other. Obviously, it showed tonight that we played good together, weather any circumstances, and the next game is going to be the same way.
  • Daniels: We’re growing every game. The more we compete together and know each other’s tendencies, I feel like we’re coming along good. We’ve played some pretty good teams. Some ranked opponents. That has helped us bond and I think we’re just going to keep on getting better. Better and stronger.
  • Daniels: Sheesh. Those wolf heads on the Gucci loafers. Crazy

(Video via WRAL)

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