Incoming Iona recruit Taaj Ridley was on the court for the Uptowners vs. Prime Time at Nike Pro City at Baruch College on Thursday. The 6’7 wing from the Bronx showed some of the skills that will help him with the Gaels next season and some places where his game still needs to develop.
Ridley’s Uptowners squad was no match for Danny Green and Prime Time on Thursday in a game that decided the final team into the four-team playoffs next week.
Unofficially I had Ridley’s stats as 1-9 from the field, 2-2 from the free throw line for 4 points. He also had a number of rebounds.
Overall Ridley looked comfortable with the ball in his hands. He showed good ball-handling on the wing and was aggressive going to the basket. Of course the format of summer leagues, and especially the one-on-one action that made up most of the Uptowners’ game plan, promoted that sort of behavior, but it was good to see him taking advantage of it.
Once he got to the rim though the former John F. Kennedy HS star had trouble finishing against some of the bigger, more physical players from Prime Time. Ridley’s one made basket was a floater in the lane, but he also failed to cash in on a number of opportunities near the rim. Maybe it was a bad night, but I’d like to see him be stronger near the rim.
It’s also hard to judge defense in summer league, but one thing Ridley can definitely work on is playing taller in the paint. He needs to keep his hands up and make it harder for opponents to take it inside against him. Ridley seems to have the length to really bother opponents on defense, so I hope he takes advantage of that moving forward.
Side notes: Danny Green looked sharp. You could see why he’s an NBA type player. Also Mitch Henderson should try and convince Stephen Elmore to play basketball. It would give the Tigers another big body in the middle if they could convince him to focus on basketball instead of baseball for his senior season.