Both Duke and Gonzaga have a winning history when it comes to NCAA Basketball. While Duke has most definitely tucked away more national titles, Gonzaga is always a strong seed contender and may have a shot at de-throning Duke in the 2006 tournament. This in mind, it would make sense that the nation’s two top players are members of these teams.
Adam Morrison (Gonzaga) and JJ Reddick (Duke) have been in somewhat of a fierce pseudo-competition with each other since their season openers. However, no one ever predicted that their stats would be as close as they are as the season winds up for March Madness. Where most people look at a players points as a guage of how well they play, the truth comes out of the woodwork when you start factoring in other stats, such as rebounds, distribution, shot blocks, takeaways, and the well-known FG%.
Gonzaga’s Morrison expresses great talent on the offensive side of the ball. He has great maneuverability, and can dribble into a three or long jump-shot most any day of the week. Also, he has a very nice first step, making his presence in the lane very well-known. As a distributor he has great instinct and is mentally quick enough to know which holes will open and which ones will be shut down. However, on the defensive side of the ball he could use some work. He’s tall, which is an excellent trait to possess when you are in the forward position, but he is lanky. Also, he is a poor rebounder and shot-blocker, which cuts back extensively on his opportunity to have double-double games. With a little bit of strength training he should see some improvement in his defense for his senior year, and maybe a higher bid in the NBA Draft.
Duke’s JJ Reddick, who has recently become the all-time points leader for the ACC, is a streaky shooter, but his form is pure. He has excellent eleveation, and always releases the ball at the top of his vert. His hot and cold streaks are not to be blamed on his mechanics, but more on his shot selection. Part of this is due to the fact that his range is unbelievalble, and he is well-known for taking three’s from well beyond the stripe. He is adept at using his outside shot ability to pump-fake and open up mid-range jumpers, and has a strong finishing presence in the lane. However, as with Morrison, Reddick’s defense could use some work, and after his last performances against Georgia Tech (5-21, 22 pts.) and Temple (3-10, 11 pts.) it would be safe to say that he needs to do some serious work before coming into the madness of March.
When you break it down, these two young men are both incredibly talented athletes who have achieved great things in the sport of College Basketball, but my vote would have to go with Adam Morrison as the better of the two. Even though Morrison had an iffy performance against San Diego a few days ago, he is consistent when it comes to points and FG%. Also, San Diego is well-known for keeping Morrison under 20 points.
Morrison ends his season with an average of 28.8 pints per game, and Reddick, who sits at 28.0 average points per game, has two more games ahead, facing off with Florida State and then rival UNC.