Duke may have beat the University of Central Florida and their star big man, Tacko Fall…
But Fall put on a show!
The New York Post billed it best:
The most hyped matchup of the NCAA Tournament thus far, Duke superstar Zion Williamson vs. Central Florida skyscraper Tacko Fall, went to Fall, when the 7-foot-6 big man met Williamson by the hoop.
Four minutes into the Round of 32 game Sunday, the inevitable happened, the uber-athletic Williamson trying to see the hoop that resided somewhere behind the mountain that is Fall. Williamson collected and went up — and all it took was Fall’s straight-up arms to stuff the shot attempt right back.
No. 9 UCF then took the ball the other way and missed a jumper, only for Fall to be waiting under the hoop, a thunderous dunk to follow.
Fall who fouled out of the game, posted 15 points and 6 rebounds in the 77-76 UCF loss to Duke.
His presence in the post is a breath of fresh air, honestly! When you look at today’s game the perimeter is key.
In fact: The Golden State Warriors’ style of basketball has permeated the league for some time. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are league leaders in shooting percentage and Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins are successful as hybrid players as well.
“It’s crazy, because there’s so many great shooters,” NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“I will say that as I left, shooting did drop, it seemed like it fell off a little bit. It was like, 3 or 4 good shooters in the league, but now you see there’s a huge growth where a lot of teams have multiples and we’re talking about the BIG teams. You cant shoot on this team if you can’t shoot threes. So what’s interesting is that now there’s a gap in the middle and what’s gonna happen is, one of these kids in high school who’s gonna get really big and have really smooth moves is gonna be making baskets and making baskets that’s gonna dominate the game and flip it back over, he’ll dominate it for years. And then the game is going to have to adjust.”
One person easily comes to mind in that description is Phoenix Suns big man, DeAndre Ayton.
Ayton, a 7-footer is averaging 16.4 points and 10.4 rebounds for the Suns. Some have compared the big man to Hakeem Olajuwon. Others have said David Robinson or Anthony Davis. Shaquille O’Neal has been another name that has floated around.
“When someone like Ayton dominates and teams have to play catch up, they’re gonna have to start reconfiguring how their team is,” Ray Allen told me.
“Right now, you’re trying to catch up with Golden State, so you’re keeping space on the floor. You can’t put a slow big on the floor and you gotta shoot threes, so there’s a hole.”
Ayton’s wingspan has been projected to be at 7’5″ while his vertical leap is slated to be at 43.5″.
That line of thinking is plausible. “Yes, there’s nothing new under the sun,” CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg tolde me.
“What has been will be again at some point according to the words in the scripture. We are a copycat league when champions are during it a certain way. The three-point line has bring excitement to the game. It can help you cover weakness. I think big guys that can score and play the game will still be central. I think the shot will stay the same, but the game will gravitate as big men dominate inside.”