The selection of J.J. Mann came as a bit of a surprise to me as there are a hand full of players in the OVC that averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds a game. Dennis Ogbe of TTU, Josh Piper and Sherman Blandford of EIU were on list to name few. The primary difference between those players resume is only Mann plays for the defending OVC champs.
As I began evaluating the coaches selections for the ALL OVC team I often look for players to be the vocal point of a team’s offense while being a stable rock on defense. While Mann is a solid player, his first crack at being atop of the scouting report will start this year. I believe there is a reason to be skeptical.
They most utilized part of Mann’s offensive game is his spot up shooting and his off the ball cutting. During the 12-13 season he shot 38 % from 3 and threw in a few well time cuts in the process. He has a great series of ball fakes that he uses when he catches a defender closing out hard to the 3 point line. He has a nifty ball fake to use his 1 or 2 dribble pull up and a pass fake that sends a rotating defender to the next wide open shooter. His understanding of spacing and angles allows him to be one of the best Spot up players in the OVC. Mann does not take bad shots and is great at anticipating when his opportunities while arise. He would be a great fit as a long range sniper in any offense, but he is essential in head coach Rick Byrd’s system.
His off ball cutting shows his that he is focused on every possession. He makes sharp cuts and bails his teammates out of trouble when they are being pressured. He remains an active offense player which makes up for his lack of individual playmaking.
The problem with both off these being his main source of offense is they are mainly based on the abilities of his teammates. Belmont’s offense was built around a penetrating guard that could kick to shooters that maintained perimeter spacing. Sure, he must knock down the shot and make sharp movements. But, what bothers me is the creation of those opportunities were created by 2 players that will not be back this season. When your assist leader graduates it will create a natural void for playmaking responsibilities. During the 12-13 season, Mann did not consistently demonstrate the ability to consistently create for himself and others.