Despite struggling with his consistency offensively, Roscoe Smith
found a starting spot and consistent minutes as a freshman during Connecticut's championship run, primarily due to his versatility on the defensive end. Standing at 6'8 with long arms, Smith had the length and quickness to effectively defend multiple positions for Jim Calhoun, and was often times tasked with defending the oppositions best offensive player.
Smith moves his feet well laterally, which when combined with his length and high effort level made him an effective defender off the bounce. He would be underdeveloped physically and would need to become stronger to defend the post at the next level, but he used his length to disturb post players when seeing minutes at the power forward spot for the Huskies.
He still tends to bite on pump fakes, and struggles at times fighting through pick and rolls, but both should be correctable with his physical tools and effort level.
On the offensive side of the ball, Smith struggled to find a comfort level. Taking a back seat to the dynamic scoring combination of Kemba Walker
and Jeremy Lamb
, Smith's primary role in the half-court offense came as a spot-up shooter, which isn't his forte. Smith struggled with consistency -- both in results and his form, as he often times appeared off balance on his jump shot attempts -- a problem made worse by questionable shot selection, as he settled for some contested jump shots early in the shot clock. According to Synergy Sports Technology, the 0.667 points per shot Smith scored on jump shots, and 0.755 points per shot he scored on catch and shoot jumpers, both ranked in the bottom 25% in college basketball.
To this point, Smith has not shown the ability to create much off the dribble, although he does have some physical tools that suggest he could down the line. He has a quick first step and takes long strides, and once he gets in the lane has good elevation and solid touch. At this point, his lack of a refined handle and ability to change direction are holding this part of his game back.
Most of the remainder of Smith's offense comes from getting out in transition, offensive rebounds, and cuts, where his athleticism and touch around the rim shine, and his lack of ball handling becomes less of a detriment.
With Andre Drummond
joining Alex Oriakhi
in UConn's front court, Smith is likely to be pushed further out to the perimeter for the bulk of his minutes. This may be good for his development as a prospect, as this is the role he's likely to see if he gets to the next level, but it's going to become even more paramount for Smith to further develop as a consistent set shooter and as a ball handler, particularly with highly touted recruit DeAndre Daniels
joining Jeremy Lamb
in a suddenly crowded UConn backcourt.
Smith's oustanding effort level and defensive versatility should continue to earn him minutes with Jim Calhoun. However, with the loss of Kemba Walker
, the UConn offense is going to need somebody beyond Jeremy Lamb
to step up and take on a bigger role. In order for Roscoe Smith
to be that player, he's going to have to make significant strides in his skill-level on the perimeter.