(Photo Credit: USA Today)
Welcome to the second of our four-part series analyzing Duke’s premier players as we lead up to the IU v. Duke showdown on Tuesday, November 27th. Each article will be divided into three sections: (I) general overview of the player and comparison to his IU one-on-one matchup, (II) the player’s signature strengths, and (III) potential game plan strategies to minimize the player’s impact. In the second edition of the series, we will focus on Duke wing Cam Reddish.
Cam Reddish is one of the best wings in the nation. Entering college as the #3 recruit, Reddish has lived up to expectations. Reddish is averaging 15.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals, and 1.7 assists in 23.2 minutes of action per game. Moreover, he is an extremely efficient high-volume three-point shooter, averaging 43.2% from deep and hoisting 7.2 three-point attempts per game. Reddish has a beautiful stroke and perfect shooting form. His shot is easily replicated and seemingly effortless.
While shooting is certainly his forte, Reddish is also effective going to the rim. He has a very fluid athleticism and almost glides across the court with the ball. He is long and lengthy, which allows for easy finishes at the bucket. You often see him drive and execute simple layups. This is because of his quick motion to the basket and long arms that can finish over defenders.
Moreover, another of Reddish’s strengths is his ability to defend. He is a terrific ball defender, probably Duke’s best. Because of shooting and defending, Reddish has drawn a lot of comparisons to Paul George amongst NBA scouts.
However, it is also true that Reddish can disappear at times. When he is shooting well from three, Reddish will be extremely active and involved in the game. But, when the struggles with his shot, he becomes substantially less aggressive. This happened during the Gonzaga game. In fact, he was on the bench for a large part of the second-half because his game began to stagnate. This has always been a knock on him and scouts have always worried about his occasional bouts of perceived disengagement and disinterest. However, in reality, it is more likely that he is not disengaged but rather still trying to find ways to impact a game beyond shooting. He is still learning and maturing. It’s a process. Yet, one thing we know for sure is that his incredible talent more than makes up for these occasional spells.
Matchup comparison – Reddish will most likely be guarding Romeo Langford. This should be a terrific matchup. If IU is going to be competitive, Langford is going to have to play extremely well. Yet, Langford’s job will be much more difficult than previous games because he will have an elite defender on him. For Duke, Reddish’s defense in this game may be more important than his offense. When it comes to comparing the two, Reddish is certainly a more proficient shooter at 43.2% from three while Langford is hovering around 26% from beyond the arc. Langford does have more rebounds and assists, but this is largely because he plays a much more all-encompassing role. Whereas, because of the team’s many options, Reddish is primarily asked to shoot and defend.
Reddish’s Signature Strengths
• Three-point shooting – This is Reddish’s biggest strength. He is a consistent and efficient shooter, even at high volumes. He is currently shooting 42% from the field and 43.2% from three. He hit 7-13 from three against Army, which was his best performance to date with 25 points. Typically, he will shoot from the elbow but he can hit from anywhere on the court. He is best during catch-and-shoot scenarios.
• Free-throw shooting – Reddish is shooting 94.4% from the free throw line. This is substantially better than anyone else on the Duke roster. In fact, it is 17% higher than the next best percentage on the team (Jack White: 77.8%). However, Reddish only attempts about three free-throws per game and, on the year, has attempted about half as many as Barrett and Williamson.
• Length – He stands at 6’7″ and reportedly has a 7’1″ wingspan with an 8’7″ standing reach. However, even with these measurements, Reddish moves fluidly and is not still adjusting to his body. Everything is natural and devoid of the jerkiness that can often plague young, lengthy players.
• Foot speed – Despite his size, Reddish moves extremely well. He has a quick first step when driving and terrific footwork when defending.
• Defense – Reddish is a great defender. This is largely because of the combination of his length and foot speed described above. He is terrific at man-marking and ball pressure. Because of his great defending, he also leads the team in steals, averaging 1.8 per game. Perhaps the best overall defender on the team.
• Finger-roll – The finger-roll is another of Reddish’s favorite moves. When driving to the basket, he often uses his body and athleticism to put himself in position for a finger-roll. It is one of his go-to paint tactics.
Game Plan Strategies to Minimize Reddish’s Impact
- Make Him Drive – While Reddish can also be effective at the rim, shooting is his bread and butter. For anyone guarding him, driving is the lesser of two evils. Similarly, his shooting largely dictates his overall performance. If he is feeling it from beyond the arc, he looks to score. But, if the shots are not falling, he is not as aggressive offensively. Moreover, 7.3 of his 11.5 shots per game are from three. If IU can minimize his shooting, they can minimize his overall impact on the game.
- Be Physical – Reddish averages 2.8 personal fouls per game. That’s the most of Duke’s big four. One potential way to neutralize his great on-ball defense and length is to use physicality. If Langford and others can drive the ball to the basket and initiate contact, they can potentially make things difficult for Reddish and force him to get into foul trouble.
- Eliminate catch-and-shoot opportunities – Reddish likes nothing more than a straight up catch-and-shoot jumper. If IU is going to minimize Reddish’s impact, they must ensure that he does not get these looks. Whether it is by never losing him on defense, stopping the pass to him, or always having a hand in his face, IU has to prevent him from getting open looks. Another potential strategy would be to use physicality to bump him off of his spot to prevent him from catching in a shooting position.