They are ready.
That’s the case with Marshall University men’s basketball recruits Chase McKey and Kyle Braun. They are just true freshmen, but during six workouts in the last two weeks the 6-foot-9 McKey and 6-2 Braun already have shown they are capable of contributing immediately.
Uh, no thank you.
Right, Danny D’Antoni?
“Chase McKey is smooth,” said Marshall’s veteran head basketball coach. “He’s going to have to learn how hard it is you play and how quick you’ve got to go from one thing to another.
“He’s certainly talented enough and athletic enough. We’re going to work on his shooting. Terrific passer off the dribble for somebody 6-9, 6-10. He can play a point guard-like position. Terrific passer. Smart. Understands the game. And defensively he will be around the ball and I think he will get better and better as he gets stronger. He’s got to get stronger.”
Right now, McKey’s shooting range is 12 feet and in.
“Yeah, shooting-wise, it is,” said D’Antoni. “But the thing that makes him good is he can take the ball out and ball-handle out further. And he can play like a guard and penetrate and then pass.
“So he’s good to go with our offense because he’ll make you come and get him or he’ll dribble up in there and force somebody to come and make a pass. Or he can, like I say, once he gets inside that foul line now, he’s got multiple shots that he can get to the rim. He’ll be fine that way.”
Then there’s Braun. Not to be mistaken with brawn.
“Kyle Braun is — and I hate to say this — he’s built like I was,” said D’Antoni with a grin. “He’s a little bit bigger. He’s 6-2. We measured him. So, he’s 6-2 and I was trying to get to 6-foot. I’d say I was 6-foot, so I could get somebody to go out with me. But I was probably more like 5-11 and a half. I’d say I weighed 155 pounds and he weighs about 170.
“Terrific athlete. Can run. He’s very fast, and he gets up over the rim when he jumps. He’s a little bit like Stevie Browning, who can get up over the rim, catch and dunk — even for his size.”
Then there’s Braun’s personality.
“One of those kids that comes in and on every possession he’s going to play hard,” said D’Antoni. “He already understands the speed of the game and how hard you have to play and how alert you have to be. He shoots the ball extremely well. He’s got a real quick shot, and he runs the floor very well.
“He can play as a sub at the one [point guard] or the two [shooting guard]. He can play either of our guard spots. Especially one of our lead-ball guard spots. We don’t expect him or anybody to totally bring it up the floor by themselves, and he’s capable of filling either one of those two slots.”
At the end of the day, are McKey and Braun still going to play like freshmen?
“They are prep-school guys,” pointed out D’Antoni. “They’ve been out of high school for a year, so they’re going to come a little faster than you’d think they would. They’re a year away from high school.
“We expect quick development from them, which I think we’ll see. They’ve already had a little bit better competition above the high school level, so they should be good to go there.”
That’s why McKey and Braun are ready.