Ohio Men’s Basketball: Guards Preview< < Back to
The 2014-15 version of the Ohio Bobcats will be without sharpshooters Nick Kellogg and Travis Wilkins after both graduated in the spring, but the Bobcats project to have strong guard play yet again. Losing Ohio’s all time 3-point scorer will be a blow to the ‘Cats offense, but a guards group led by seniors Stevie Taylor and Bean Willis are ready to pick up the slack. The duo can fill it up, and certainly aren’t lacking in confidence.
Without further ado, the Bobcat guards:
Along with Maurice Ndour, Taylor is an undisputed leader for the Bobcats and he will be called on to do a myriad things this season. Running the offense, putting pressure on opposing ball handlers and being a coach on the floor are just a few of his main responsibilities. Taylor played in all but one game a season ago, but he was slowed by a leg injury over the final third of the season. This year he’s back and ready to lead Ohio again.
The senior is quick as ever, possesses plenty of confidence and excels at on-ball defending. His offensive vision has improved, but he still tends to force the ball from time to time. The Bobcat guard is a streaky scorer with a nice outside shot and fantastic running and driving ability. The biggest hurdle for Taylor is staying under control when leading the offense.
Javarez “Bean” Willis
Willis is going to be a huge part of Ohio’s game plan this year. The redshirt senior is coming off of a great junior campaign with the Bobcats after transferring from Texas Tech in 2012. Willis really came on strong at the end of the 2013-14 season, and will play a big role on both ends of the floor this year alongside Stevie Taylor.
Willis is a quick guard that also spaces the floor with his shooting. He is a great shooter from distance, but his shot selection can be questionable at times. One of the most valuable things he provides is his defense. When he needs to, he can work the opposing guard all the way up the floor with his on-ball pressure. If he can work on taking shots within the offense and staying consistent, he is poised for a successful season.
Crabtree didn’t see a whole lot of action last season, but could see an increase in playing time this season. He has a nice outside shot, and could be called upon for some late-game shooting in his second year at Ohio. He is naturally more of an off guard, and his size could be a bit of a concern at just 6-foot-1, but he is strong and fundamentally sound. He can use his basketball IQ and gritty play to make a greater impact this season.
This hyper-athletic guard from Dayton, Ohio, has shown signs of good things to come for the Bobcats in practice. A sophomore transfer from Houston, his fast-paced play is hard for an opposing guard to keep up with. His ability to get in the paint and finish in a variety of ways is going to be a good asset for the Bobcats moving forward. Much like Williams, Simmons should learn what he can from watching and playing with the older guards.
Taylor is a do-it-all type of guard. The freshman from Gary, Ind., Taylor will contribute in different ways all over the court this year. He is the type of player that can be called on for a variety of different things. He has a nice stroke from outside, is extremely athletic and has a high basketball IQ. On the defensive end, his length and quickness allows him to guard multiple positions. Ohio head coach Saul Phillips has experimented with using Taylor at the point guard position in practice, and he is coming along nicely. Tight ball pressure still gets to him at times, but having the ability to play multiple positions will eventually make him a matchup nightmare for opposing teams both this season and throughout his career.
The freshman point guard from Cincinnati possesses great quickness and straight-line speed, which is very useful, but it can hinder his decision-making at times. Experience will help him in that regard, and the best thing he can do is try to learn all he can from some of the older guards on the team.
A transfer from Miami University Middeltown, Jemsion is another young guard that will learn a lot from more experienced players on the roster. Jemison hails from Trotwood, Ohio, and has potential to develop into a good two-way player for the Bobcats. The sophomore is a crafty finisher inside, has a jump shot that needs respect and is solid on the defensive end. If he can improve his decision-making with the ball, he could be a solid contributor in the future.
The freshman shares many of the same qualities as Ryan Taylor. Laster is long, is great driving to the basket and has a ton of potential on the defensive end. The Detroit native should have a big role on this team going forward. Like Taylor, he has the skill set to play and defend multiple positions, and can contribute is a number of ways. His jump shot isn’t as polished as Taylor’s, but he is a threat driving into the lane. Laster will be an offensive and defensive spark off the bench. He will be a nice piece for Phillips going forward.
Stevie Taylor and Willis will be heavily leaned on this season. The pair of seniors are the only upperclassmen on the roster at the guard position. Full of youth, the guards have plenty of room to grow and improve throughout the 2014-15 campaign.