Cal Basketball Class Of 2011: David Kravish Evaluation

When he first committed to be a Golden Bear, David Kravish was a bit unheralded and unappreciated. "Why'd we go with him?", dozens muttered. Kravish was from a suburb in Kansas City, Missouri, from a school that produced high-quality. Not enough, the doubters said He wasn't Yay Area enough, not a Juan Anderson or Kyle Wiltjer-type that Mike Montgomery needed to nail down to get us rolling to greatness.

No matter. Watching his recruiting tape, it's clear why Monty likes Kravish--he is a sound offensive player who with time and strength can develop in an all-around Pac-12 producer. He doesn't astound you with his athleticism, but he more than atones for it with his quick decision-making and all-around offensive skills.

You have to grab the gene pool lottery to be athletic. It takes a little bit more to be skilled.

(via dkrav81)

Low post game

The thing I appreciate the most about Kravish is his ability to use the backboard. I'm a sucker for the bank shot, and Kravish does a good job at getting the ball to his spot, pushing it off glass and into the basket. While he won't have as an easy a time at getting the shots he wants at the spots he wants in the Pac-12, Kravish does seem to be very good at keeping his dribble alive to get a better shot. He has the up-and-under move around the basket when his defender tries to force him baseline, he has the pull-up jumper to move away from the double team.

Most importantly to me, he has a great sense of what to do when he's in the post. He doesn't bring the ball low and makes his decision soundly and effectively. Being able to make quick, decisive reads and reactions are essential to being a solid post player at any level, and it'll serve him well once he develops into his body.

High post game

Kravish's mid-range game shows promise too. It's not the fluid jumper that you'd like (very flat arc, so it's not as likely to go in the basket if it's off-target), but it seems like Kravish is a step ahead of former Cal big man in having their outside shot in place before becoming Bears.

It's not to say that Cal hasn't had big men take and make jumpers in the past--they all have. But it took Jamal Boykin and Markhuri Sanders-Frison until their senior season to develop a strong mid-range game and Harper Kamp until his junior season to really add that fact to their game. Richard Solomon still needs that facet, as does Bak Bak, because otherwise they're only effective underneath the basket and defense are content to sag inside on pick and roll/pick and pop opportunities.

Finally, the passing. Almost every Monty offense has featured a big man at the high post, and Kravish should continue that tradition. He looks pretty adept at finding the cutter 

Since he's going to be getting at best second-unit time next season, he could stretch that floor and help the spacing when the bench is out there. The Cal bench last year was a messy thing to watch on offense, and a big man jump shot could go a long way.

Defense

Like Solomon last year, he's not really ready to guard the post--guys like Josh Smith would baptize his youthful soul. Like Solomon last year, he'll be better off coming from the weakside to block the slashers while a primary defender like Kamp/sophomore Solo handles the main big. And he probably won't be as gifted a rebounder.

What can really help him his first season are his long arms. If he gets switched on pick and rolls, he has the height to make it a difficult contest for the ball-handler. If he plays out to guard a wing player, he can make it a difficult shot for the player. Kravish averaged three blocks a game for a reason, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's able to translate that to the next level and average around a block a game next year.

Links

  • Examiner.net: TEAM FIRST
  • "Let me tell you something about David," Broncos coach Mike Hilbert said. "I heard him talking about his goal of getting this team to state and that really impressed me," Hilbert said.

    "He’s a kid who’s 6-10. He’s getting all the attention in the world. He’s going to California, and he just wants to get his team to state.

    "That tells me a lot about David as a person and as a player. I am so pleased that he’s your Player of theYear because he really deserves it.

    "You look at his stats – 13 points a game and just over 10 rebounds – but it was his defense that made us such a good team.

    "He could score when we needed him to score. But it seemed like just about every night you knew you were going to get 10 to 15 points and six to 10 rebounds. And he could block shots and change the direction of shots – and no one worked harder.

    "He was a great player to coach and a wonderful young man to be around."

  • KansasCity.com: For LS North's Kravish, it's good to be the king
  • He likes to play with the skills he learned in summer ball. He has a feathery midrange touch and showed it by calmly turning over Truman defenders’ heads and sinking several baseline jumpers. Kravish also frequently showed himself to be a believer in team ball.

    In the third quarter, Kravish caught the ball up high and penetrated only to pass to teammate Adison Nicholas. Although Kravish seemed to aggressively create a seam on the low block for an easy score, he was actually clearing out his defender so that Nicholas could drive in for the baby jumper

    "He’s very unselfish," Nicholas said. "He’s definitely about the team first and himself second. At the end of the season, he just wants that state championship."

Caveats

It's worth noting that nearly all of Kravish's attempts are against zone defense; he has nearly a foot on many of the guys guarding him in this tape. It's also why you see mostly Kravish dunks rather than low post moves; it's much harder to set up in the low post when defenders are holding their areas and trying to intercept the ball rather than guard their man--if you don't have guards who are good with entering the ball into the post, you'll have issues.

Speculation: This could also be why Kravish's statistics aren't overpowering (13 points and 10 rebounds). A lot of guards aren't confident enough in their passing skills to handle a zone attack, so they'll end up jacking up bad jumpers. Even the Miami Heat succumbed to that type of defense in the NBA Finals on occasion.

Conclusions

Kravish will be a bench player his freshman season, but I think he has a good shot to move his way up to starting power forward his sophomore year (he should be there by his junior campaign). There was no question Solomon would play last season, but that was purely by necessity. Kravish will be out there as a rotation player unless he has that rough of a go defensively or Robert Thurman reveals himself to be son of the Minotaur. 

Can he develop his body? All the tools are there for him to be a good high post option for most of his career, but he needs lower body strength to become a solid conference big man. Otherwise he could be spending too much time getting muscled out of position and either giving up easy baskets or hemorrhaging fouls.

But let's remember this is Monty we're talking about. It's been a long time since a big man has disappointed under his tutelage. I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt and project that Kravish will be a productive bench player his first two seasons and work his way to solid if not spectacular junior/senior numbers.

That's not at all a bad place to be.

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