Santa Clara Basketball and the NBA spoken in the same sentence. No, you did not hear me incorrectly. No, this article is not about Steve Nash. Today, Santa Clara basketball and the National Basketball Association will be murmured in the same text. Though Nash was the last player drafted from this great institution, Coach Keating has made strides to get to that next level as a program and recruit some possible future NBA talent. Though there may not be a realistic NBA draft pick on the Bronco’s roster this year, the talent is still there enough to make an impact in the WCC.
In order to get a better idea of what the talent is and to provide a deeper look into the roster, each starter on the Bronco’s squad will get his own comparison to an NBA counterpart. For us NBA junkies out there, this is a fun and exciting way to analyze players’ games by familiarizing them with well-known players.
Brandon Clark and D.J. Augustin
Dec 28, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Santa Clara Broncos guard Brandon Clark (3) takes a warm up shot before a game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Everything about the crafty point guard Clark makes me think of recently acquired Suns point guard Isaiah Thomas. They have similar play styles, they are scoring threats, and they even resemble each other in looks. The only issue though is that Thomas is listed at a generous 5’9”, whereas SCU’s Clark is 6’0”. Because of this main difference in their size, Clark’s overall game and demeanor translates more to the likes of NBA journeyman, DJ Augustin’s.
This comparison makes sense mostly because the games of these two players are quite similar but also because their sizes are nearly identical. Augustin is listed at 6’0” 182 lbs. and Clark is 6’0” 170 lbs. In Augustin’s final year at Texas, he averaged 19ppg to go along with 6apg. Last year in his junior season, which he looks to improve on, Clark put up 17ppg and 3.5 apg. These comparable college numbers are just part of the reason why these two players resemble each other. It is the fluidity with which they move, their natural abilities to find the open man on the court, and their ability to demand attention from the defense when they step on the court that shows the resemblances between these two players.
Jared Brownridge and Lou Williams
Oooo Sweet Lou. Arguably one of the most underrated players in the NBA throughout his long tenured career, Lou has averaged 10 ppg and 3.5 apg through nine years in the league. With his coined “sweet” jumper, he combines the ability to drain from deep and the knack for finding a lane to drive through to score.
In a 6’1” 175lb frame, Lou performs the rare feat of scoring at the two guard position in a prototypical point guard’s body. Brownridge is a spitting image of Williams and does the same job. Listed at 6’2” but more like 6’1”, Brownridge has about 10 lbs. on Williams, but has the exact same ability to score. His range is unmatched in the WCC, shooting 43.6%, which is better than any team in the NCAA shot all of last year. Not only is his ability to shoot from deep similar to that of Williams’ but he also attacks the basket better than most people in the conference.
Nate Kratch and Kyle Korver
Mar 31, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver (26) scores a three point shot in front of Philadelphia 76ers forward Thaddeus Young (21) during the second half at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the 76ers 103-95. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
If someone asked Nate Kratch who he has modeled his college game after since arriving at Santa Clara three years ago, he would most likely say NBA sharpshooter Kyle Korver. Everything about these two players is similar. Their size and stature, their “Cali bro” look with the shaggy long hair, and their ability to drain from downtown. Standing at 6’7”, both of these guys live and die (mostly live) behind the three point line. When watching an SCU game, it would be hard not to notice that many offensive plays are ran setting up Kratch in his coveted baseline corner for a trey.
While Kratch makes his living on the three ball, Korver too has made a successful career out of the long range jumper. In fact, he broke the NBA record for 3PT% in a season in 2009-10. Kratch will continue to look up to players like Korver to improve on his three point shooting, even though it is his greatest strength.
Yannick Atanga and Trevor Booker
The big banger Yannick Atanga fills a leadership role as a senior on the team this year, but even more importantly, he is the best rebounder on a team that finished 300th in team rebounding last year. Though Atanga will continue to work extensively on his offensive game, he will still control much of the percentage of the boards on his team this year.
A player that fills a similar role to Atanga in the NBA is Wizards forward, Trevor Booker. Last year, Atanga accounted for about 15% of his team’s boards per game. Booker contributed 13% of his team’s boards per contest. Another interesting stat to look at between these two similarly sized big men is that their scoring production is rather low compared to how many boards they produce per game.
Emmanuel Ndumanya and Andray Blatche
Ndumanya, like many other African born big men in the NBA, has a unique combination of athleticism and size which makes him a special player. Though there are a plethora of these guys to choose from in the league, his closest resemblance hails from the great city of Syracuse, NY. Andray Blatche, the long-time Washington Wizard, has this beautiful combo of size and athleticism which gives him the ability to hound the boards.
With Ndumanya out last season due to injury, he will be needed to take over much of the rebounding duties on the team this year. His 6’9” frame with a wing span stretching longer than seven feet gives him the ability to grab rebounds in a radius bigger than most other college players in the WCC. Not having to be relied on for scoring, Ndumanya will fill the same role as Blatche has done for much of his career: be a defensive stopper in the paint and control the rebounds.