Myck Kabongo: Breaking Down the Texas Longhorn's Skill Set

Ryan ReschContributor IIIFebruary 7, 2012

Myck Kabongo: Breaking Down the Texas Longhorn's Skill Set

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    Texas point guard Myck Kabongo is undoubtedly one of the most highly recognized members of the Longhorn basketball squad.

    He was a highly touted recruit coming into this season and wants to give his team the best opportunity to win. He has helped put the Longhorns in the right place in multiple games, but the struggling Longhorns have only battled to a 15-9 record.

    For a disappointing Texas team, Kabongo has a bright future ahead of him at the college level and at the point guard position, should he choose to stay next year.

    The following will break down and analyze Kabongo’s skill set.

Passing

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    Key Statistic: 5.2 assists per game

    Analysis: Myck Kabongo is a true point guard and has fantastic passing skills to prove it.

    He is a very unselfish player who wants to give his teammates the best possible opportunity to make a play, whether or not he is involved in the scoring. To couple with that, he has a great set of eyes when it comes to analyzing the court and is usually spot on with his passes.

    He also has the ability to draw defenders to him, allowing other Texas players to get open on the perimeter and set up nicely for the pass.

    Even though he does have nice vision, he can sometimes turn the ball over by passing into coverage.

Rebounding

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    Key Statistics: 3.1 rebounds per game

    Analysis: Playing at the guard position, no one is expecting Myck Kabongo to start playing heavily in the paint and crash the boards.

    That being said, he can use his decent height to play under the basket when it is necessary and help box out players to allow for a Texas rebound. He put this trait to good use in high school, averaging 5.3 grabs a game, but, as presumed, his effectiveness here has dropped to only 3.1 rebounds per game in college.

    On the plus side, Kabongo does have some good breakaway speed, which allows him to explode onto the ball when it comes to rebounding on the perimeter.

Defense

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    Key Statistic: 1.2 steals per game

    Analysis: Myck Kabongo does possess a good set of athleticism, which he uses to play strong on the ball.

    He was known in his high school career for his lateral movement and this has translated to the college game well enough.

    He can sometimes be beat, however, when he is pressing players that are taller and longer than he is. He has been criticized for this lack of size when it comes to playing strong man defense.

    He is not necessarily lightning in a bottle when it comes to the defensive side of the ball, but he is smart when it comes to utilizing his speed to create a play. 

Ball Handling

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    Key Statistic: 3.0 turnovers per game

    Analysis: Ball handling is one aspect of Myck Kabongo’s game that has not come under a lot of scrutiny.

    He is a very fluid player when it comes to dribbling the ball up and down the court and has a nice set of moves when it comes to throwing off his man.

    It is interesting to note just how Kabongo uses his lack of selfishness when it comes to handling the ball. He plays fast with it in his hands and utilizes a great sense of hesitation to throw off a man just enough, to where he can make a great short pass to an open man.

    Sometimes he can get a little too wrapped up in his vision and extend the ball a little far from his body on the dribble, occasionally allowing for a turnover.

Scoring

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    Key Statistics: 9.8 points per game

    Statistics: For Myck Kabongo, scoring is not the number one priority. He knows his position at point guard thoroughly and thinks about his teammates' point count before his.

    His shooting game has not transferred very well from the high school level. Even though he is the third highest scoring Longhorn on the team, going for the basket is not his strength. He is only sinking 42 percent of his field goal shots.

    He was never expected to do very well from the arc at the college level, and this criticism was well placed. He does not necessarily take many three-point shots, but when he does he is not wholly reliable.

    Being a true guard, Kabongo has done well when it comes to scoring, but could work on his overall shot for when he is open and has less than an open field in front of him. 

Intangibles

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    Key Fact: His coach has openly ripped him multiple times this season.

    Analysis: Myck Kabongo’s great vision has already been discussed, but he also has a high basketball IQ when one compares him to other freshmen around the league. This is seen in the way he plays the guard position and just how aware he is on the court.

    On the flip side, head coach Rick Barnes has publicly derided his star freshman for not being able to lead an offense and not executing on plays. It appears to some analysts as though Kabongo has increased his college level play as this season has gone on, but Barnes’ rants still pervade.

    Teammate and other star player J’Covan Brown touted Kabongo’s leadership ability by repeating a speech Kabongo gave to the team following coach Barnes’ criticisms, “We need to stop worrying about what Coach is going to get on us about all the time. He’s going to say something, but just move on from it. Don’t start pouting, getting down on yourself, just move on from it. That’s going to help us start getting wins.”