(A great look at JT from a Rider fan. -- TZ)
I read some of the draft night blog and while Jason is not from the ACC or Big East and not a glitzy Jay Bilass favorite, I think you will be very pleased with JT. While he was an under the radar skinny forward recruit as a high school junior he was always skilled. He signed with Rider before his senior year and led his highschool team to the state championship and a 28-0 record. As a freshmen JT helped lead Rider toe the MAAC championship game and was a starting player. Soph year he grew another inch and gained weight, he was relied on more to help lead a young team 5 seniors graduated from the year before, it was a very difficult year with no real point guard the team finished last. Jr year another inch in groth and he started to mature physically 20-10 and a 500 record. Sr year 20-12 and another maac title game. two starters were knocked out in the first game of the tourney Rider won the game in the semi finals JT put the team on his back and led Rider to the finals. In his four year career at Rider I saw JT play about 70 times and watched numerous practices each year. JT a quality respectful young man. Each year of his career he has improved he runs the floor very well, can handle the ball, when other teams pressed Rider JT would often break the press and bring the ball up the floor. He works very hard and wants to do what is required for his team to win. He would rather score 10 points and help the team win then score 40 in a loss.
Jason is a work in progress he has some skills that few big men have. He does have some weakness also, he needs to improve his leg and core strength, he needs to work on his lower body flexibility and I would like to see him attack the rim and dunk more but that is a pet peeve because I can't dunk. Many of the scouts that I talked to this year all felt when he gets the lower body stronger he will be a very good player in the league and have a long career.
I am worried that the fans may want him to be a star this year and if he struggles adjusting to the NBA the fans may turn on him. If you meet him or get the chance to talk with him he will win you over, he just plain 'gets it'
As a friend of his and a fan I hope he has a long career and returns the Kings to the playoffs and wins a title. I know JT does not have the luster of Randolf, Lopez or others but when the shine wears off of the other picks and JT does what he can do I hope he will be added to another of the good draft picks that GP has made. I look forward to being a east coast Kings fan and following JT starting July 11 in Vegas.