Perhaps the best pure point the Longhorns have seen since T.J. Ford, freshman Myck Kabongo has a chance to completely change the style of Texas basketball if given the chance.
Kabongo’s best attribute is his explosive speed. He gets from end to end in a heartbeat and has the agility to blow by any defender. Add this to his excellent ball-handling, and you get a guy that can potentially make any opponent look stupid. Kabongo has slick handles, as he comfortably dribbles with both hands and could be described as a “ball-on-a-string” ball handler. Although he can get a little flashy with this at times, it plays to his advantage more often than not.
A player that sees the floor extremely well, Kabongo displays an innate ability to find open teammates anywhere on the court. His can penetrate into the lane past defenders to provide many opportunities to drive and dish on a consistent basis. If his teammates can take advantage of opportunities on the perimeter, Kabongo has a chance to get 10 assists a night.
Kabongo has a very high basketball IQ, playing well beyond his years. His ability to make good decisions has made him a top point guard prospect in the class of 2011. Although he is a bit more turnover-prone than some would like at this stage, he possesses the ability to make the right decisions any time he wants.
“I’m an extension of the coach,” he said. “My job as a point guard is to facilitate. I’m trying to get my teammates in spots to score and make their jobs easier.”
He is an excellent on-ball defender with the ability to be a true lockdown defender if he puts his mind to it. Any basketball fan would enjoy watching him on defense, as he constantly puts himself in the right spot to disrupt the movement of the ball.
It should be noted that Kabongo’s best attribute could very well be his personality. He is considered a tremendous leader, both vocally and by example. It’s almost impossible to find any film of him losing his composure, which should translate into much success at the next level.
“I’m calm, but on the courts I know the fine line between having fun and taking the game seriously, and I take the game very seriously,” he said.
The only true flaws that can be seen in Kabongo’s game are his inconsistent jumper and small frame. When Kabongo fills out his frame, he will be an above-average finisher as the extra strength would allow him to not shy away from contact inside and allow him to finish more on his own rather than dishing when bigger defenders step up in the lane.
Much like any novice college player, Kabongo has an inconsistent jump shot that will only get better with practice. His shot seems a bit flat, but he shows the ability to knock down shots if defenders decide to sag off of him enough.
If he adds muscle to his frame and develops a consistent jumper, he could easily turn from an average scorer to a virtually un-guardable player at the point guard position.
While Kabongo’s game is very hard to compare to any current or former star point guard, his game seems most comparable to Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies — a true floor general with the quickness and intelligence to get past any defender, and a truly intelligent all-around defender, one with the ability to make any team better.
Kabongo should fit in well with the scheme of defensive-minded Rick Barnes, but if Barnes is willing to let Kabongo play at his own tempo, the Texas team could quickly turn into a fast-break and attacking team that will look to score the majority of their points in transition. Much like T.J.
Ford was able to control the tempo of a game, Kabongo has the talent — and most importantly the speed — to dictate the pace of any game. If Kabongo is given the right amount of freedom, fans could witness the start of an era of Texas basketball that is more exciting than any before:
Run-and-gun offense at its finest.
“Whenever you push the ball up, it’s a great thing,” Kabongo said. “It’s to my advantage; I love playing fast.”