These players have clearly put in the work this offseason and have come out of the gates hot, showing more confidence, more skill, and a comfortability with their game that has led to assertive playmaking. It’s only week one but…
These players have clearly put in the work this offseason and have come out of the gates hot, showing more confidence, more skill, and a comfortability with their game that has led to assertive playmaking. It’s only week one but these guys aren’t waiting around to show off the growth and improvments in their hoop skills.
Tenkley played with a cool demeanor against Foster Monday night, showing his potential as a rebounding stretch four who can create some plays in between. He seemed a little hesitant to shoot early on but once Tenkley let it go, it seemed like everything he shot, fell. Most of his shots came from behind the arc but he also showed some mid-range prowess and was effective inside as well. When Tenkley is comfortable and confident shooting it also opens him up to be a key playmaker for the Rams. He was using the threat of his outside shot to force hard closeouts, eliminate defenders and create gaps going to the hoop. He handles the ball well and generally makes good decisions with the ball. This game was about the full scope of all the skills Tenkley brings to the table, but it seems to start with his ability to shoot the ball efficiently.
Manville is an interesting stretch four in this age of hoops because he is equally deadly from the block as he is from the arc. He showed this time and again against and undersized North Kitsap team, taking smaller defenders inside and going right at them. With good matchup recognition, and some well executed moves – especially his step-through to the middle, swinging the ball over the top of defenders – Manville was able to abuse the interior of the defense and work his way to an efficient 16 points on the night. He still buried a few from downtown but he was really impressive in the paint.
Boyd was a big factor in Chelan’s matchup against one of the 2B title favorites, Brewster, Tuesday night. Although the Goats came up short, Boyd looked exceptionally well bringing a combination of physicality and touch inside and showing some sharpshooting from long-range. On top of that, he ran the floor well, didn’t seem to tire much, and had great hands working on the glass, tipping rebounds to himself and showing strength bringing them down. He seemed to be comfortable on every area of the court and continually put himself in positions to succeed.
Puyallup went just 4-13 last season and although this season opened up with another loss to Todd Beamer, this Vikings team has a different feel than last year’s. One main reason for that is. The 2021-22 NPSL second-team selection showed off some deep range in their season opener. It wasn’t just a one-off thing either, Sonntag hit from a couple feet behind the arc on multiple occasions, contested and with relative ease. He still operates with an excellent array of moves from the triple threat and has the size and strength to take other guards to the post. It feels like Sonntag has more options to help carry the load this season which could help him find easier looks and produce at a higher level.
Adams’ biggest areas that needed improvement from last year were his strength and aggression. It only took a few minutes of watching him go to work against Foster to see big strides in those aspects of his game. He finished a handful of plays with big dunks, ran hard to get involved on breaks, and was quicker and more decisive with his moves. It’s seemingly a big step for the lanky forward who not only looked stronger but bouncier too. He has an eagerness to finish at the rim and was constantly flying towards the hoop. He also did a great job getting rebounds and pushing the ball up the court quickly. Whether he decided to take it up himself or pass the ball up, he exercised a rapid pace with his ability to go off the rebound.
The two things that stood out the most with Davis against Timberline this week were his playmaking and his three-point shooting. There are lot more things to get excited about with his overall game, but these two skills are going to have to shine this season for his team to be at their best. As one of the Irish’s primary ballhandlers, Davis operated mostly around the arc and found some nice passing lanes between defenders inside, but also was a huge threat on the kick-outs to drain the spot up three when rotations were too slow to chase him off the line. His playmaking is unquestioned and was especially evident in the open court, but if he can continue with this consistency from three-point land his value to his team will continue to rise.
Every time I’ve seen Toms, he’s stuffing the stat sheet and doing all the little things his team needs, filling the gaps between big plays with high-energy, smart plays. That was with his AAU team. Now, seeing him with his high school team for the first time I witnessed an offensive side to Toms’ game that blew me away. He is Foster’s top playmaker, scorer, and was creating most of their opportunities against North Thurston. Hitting tear drops in the lane, breaking down defenders with his dribble, and finding ways to draw contact inside, Toms grinded his way to 15 points. Later in the week, he dropped a cool 28 points against Kingston. He is a smart player with a big motor and could start rising the ranks with more performances like these.