Long Beach, CA – Long Beach State (2–2) used a balanced offensive attack and tenacious team defense to hand Kansas State (2–1) its first lost this year, 69 – 60. Despite shooting 15 more shots than the 49ers, Kansas State shot poorly (33% vs. 43.5% for the 49ers) – especially from 3-pt land (14% on 3-of-21). Long Beach St. had better ball and player movement on offense, and more steals and deflections that lead to some easy buckets.
Long Beach State point guard Mike Caffey (6’0), while under his season averages, used his veteran leadership to direct the offense and get his teammates involved, leading to more high percentage shots than the Wildcats. The senior scored 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting, including two triples. While a bit undersized, Caffey is athletic, quick and strong, has a high basketball IQ, and sees the floor well. He has a nice arc on this shot, good shooting form, and can hit the 3-ball despite needing to work on rotating the ball more on his release. He moves well without the ball, can split a defense off the dribble, and has decent “handles.” But his assist-to-turnover ratio for the game (3/6) was poor for how much he handles the ball. Caffey is also a gritty competitor and solid defender, pressuring the ball and getting his hands in passing lanes.
Last year Caffey earned an All-Big West, 1st-Team selection for the second year in a row, and ranks 8th in all-time assists at Long Beach State. He’s also one of just seven players to record 1,000 points and 300 assists at Long Beach State, joining former 49ers and NBA notables Craig Hodges and Lucious Harris. Caffey is a good overseas and NBADL professional prospect for teams in need of a solid floor general. (Teammate SG Tyler Lamb (6’5, 205 lbs) also has decent potential and has played well so far this year, though he had an off game).
49er forward David Samuels (6’7, 225) was like the “Energizer Bunny,” causing havoc defensively and scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting while grabbing 10 boards. Samuels needs to add more muscle, but he’s very athletic, has decent shooting range (18 – 20 ft.) and good hands. He runs the floor well, can catch and shoot, and has decent footwork in the low post. Samuels has played well so far and is worth tracking, though he’ll need to play consistently well over an entire season to merit being a legitimate overseas or NBADL pro prospect.
Kansas State forward Thomas Gipson (6’7 265 lbs) has a sturdy frame and is averaging 19 points and 7.5 rebounds this year as he embraces his leadership role for the Wildcats. Last night he netted 13 points and went 7-of-8 from the charity stripe with one block. He’s smooth in the low block with good footwork and a soft touch. His career 52.8 FG% is just outside the Top 10 in school history and the highest since Michael Beasley shot 53.2% in 2007-08. If Gipson can maintain his level of play and continues to improve his post game throughout this season, overseas and NBADL pro teams should give him a look.
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