I just felt like posting about him. 11'4" reach on a 1 step vertical. He basically dunked from the freethrow line against OSU in the tourney last year in case you didn't know. When was the last time someone did that in a game? This kid's gonna be great.
I was actually a freshman at MU the same year as Rickey Paulding, so I've been around his career from the very beginning. The first time I ever saw him play I was blown away by his athleticism. He's a high riser and he had an NBA body the day he stepped foot onto the campus. However, the most impressive thing to me was his shooting improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year. I honestly had very little hope for him as a shooter and I always figured he'd be a slasher who wouldn't develop a consistent shot until a year or two into the NBA. So he definitely has the ability to surprise me. However, with that said, I think he's going to be in for a rough time this year and I expect his stock to fall significantly over the course of the year, maybe to the point where he'll surely want to return for his senior campaign. The reason is that it will be a whole new ballgame with defenses geared at stopping him. Playing with Kareem Rush and Clarence Gilbert takes a lot of the focus off you and it makes you job much easier, but he'll be expected to be the man this year and I'm weary of how he'll respond. I have no doubt in my mind that he'll score more points and make more plays, and he'll be the guy with the ball in his hands at the end of the game. But I think he's going to struggle in this role because right now I don't think he has the mindset to take control of a game against teams like Oklahoma and Kansas. Maybe I'll be proven wrong. Hopefully I will be because I like a lot of what Rickey has to offer, but I'm still a little worried. Just keep this in mind. Imagine a great underclassmen running back when the offensive line he's used to running behind graduates. So the running back comes back and it's going to be harder on him and he'll have to create more yardage for himself than he's used to. Who knows how he'll respond? But I don't think he's one of the great winners and leaders in the NCAA right now, so I can't recessarily see him stepping up to become an All-American or anything like that. But this might be just another case where I'm wrong.
I think he'll do better than Rush did as the main option
Rush was never used to being the first option because he grew up in his older brother's shadow, but Paulding never had to do that. Plus he's more versitile than Rush. He can drive and finish, he can shoot the three, and he's got a great midrange game. And it's not like he'll be the only guy who's scoring. AJ and Travon should be much improved, plus I've heard reports from campus that Jeffrey Ferguson is surprising a lot of people. It seems that he's got three point range now all of the sudden. I think he'll end up a great player. All he needs to do is be able to play 15 or more minutes a game without becoming a liability because of his lack of strength and he'll do some things just because of his athleticism. Plus this year they'll have a true pointguard running things, Ricky Clemons, from a juco in Idaho. With Clemons, AJ, and Travon starting there will be plenty of scoring on the floor, plus freshman Jimmy McKinney could really surprise some people and prove that he was vastly underrated in the rankings, which he was. He's a top 20 player, not a top 50 one.
I've always really liked Arthur's game. I think he's one of the best things MU has going for them next year. And I think Trayvon has potential, but so far he's still falling short. I'm always waiting on him to dominate, but so far he's never shown that type of aggression. I actually kind of root for him more than the others just because we had a class together our freshmen year and so if he ever makes the NBA I can do some bragging, but he's going to really have to step up. And I'm definitely hearing good things about Clemons and McKinney (especially McKinney), but then again we always hear great things when they are coming into the program. I remember everybody was psyched about Trayvon and Wesley Stokes, but Trayvon hasn't lived up to the hype yet and Stokes is already out the door. So I'm going to wait and see before I judge.
moTIGS, you seem pretyt knowledgable about Missouri hoops, so let me ask you this: how do you see the point breakdown looking next year? What do you see all the guys averaging, because I'm interested in how you project this team. Personally, I know we've been talking about Paulding and I'm going to project him at about 18ppg next year. And I see Arthur getting around 13-14, and Trayvon getting about 14. I guess I'm just not willing to make any predictions about Clemons or McKinney yet because I've never seen them, but right now I still don't see a legitimate threat on the team. I don't see anyone who the defenses will have to double-team and free up Paulding. When Kareem was around he commanded respect and drew defenders to him, and when Gilbert was hovering around the 3-pt line he stretched the opposing defense. I don't think that opposing defenses will have that type of problem against Missouri next year, so I think it will be harder on Paulding. I think he has loads of potential, but I'm still worried about him.
That's what I think their averages will be around next year. I'm being cautious and not trying to predict too much. I think next year's team will struggle a little early, but will start getting it together around the middle of the season. By the end of the season they should be playing their best basketball. With all the new faces and new roles there will undoubtedly be some issues to begin with. McKinney will be relied upon to do a lot, and if either him or Clemons struggle it will be hard to win, because those are the only two pointguards we have. I think our post game will be key, and Johnson should be able to command some double teams. I think Travon will finally put it all together this year and become the player he could be. For the brief moments last year when he was playing with fire he was great, and if he can do that this year he could easily score 15+ a game and grab 10 rebounds. The one thing that I don't think will be a problem is Rickey Paulding and double teams. There are enough weapons on the team that he won't be relied upon to do everything, and his game is more suited for dealing with multiple defenders than Kareem's was.