Ducks should have a ball with eraser Bol
Like his late father, Bol Bol is built like a pencil, so it makes sense he would be an eraser on the basketball court.
Manute Bol was the oddest of oddities during his 10-year NBA career from 1985-95, a 7-7, 200-pound native of Sudan who twice led the league in blocked shots but shot only .407 from the field and never averaged as many as four points in a season.
Bol Bol is listed at 7-2 and 220. As with his father, he looks like he could slide through a keyhole on his way to the bathroom.
The 18-year-old showed he has a chance to be a much better player than his father Friday night at Moda Center while playing for the U.S. team in the Nike Hoop Summitt.
Bol scored 12 points, hauled in 14 rebounds and blocked six shots in 28 minutes despite being on the losing side of an 89-76 decision to the World team.
The University of Oregon-bound Bol was 6 for 11 from the field, scoring twice on dunks, twice on put-backs, once on a jump hook and once on a 15-foot set shot from the foul line. Most of his misses were from the perimeter.
"I missed a few shots, but I fought through it and tried to play hard," Bol said. "I thought I played OK."
Bol is gangly, slow, unathletic and doesn't run the court well. Despite all that, he'll be an intriguing weapon next season for Oregon coach Dana Altman. Bol has poor footwork but pretty good hands, and if teammates can get him the ball in the right position, he can be a double-digit scorer just by dunking a few times and finishing around the basket.
Then there is the defensive prowess. He's like a fly-swatter chasing the buzz of a bee. He has good instincts at that end, sometimes timing his block so he doesn't even have to jump.
Even though Bol had three blocks in the game's first three minutes, the World team kept going at him with shots at the rim Friday night.
"It was like they were playing with fire," Bol said.
The World players got burned a few times, but also had some success getting past Bol for layups. Charles Bassey, a 6-11, 235-pound junior at Aspire Basketball Academy in San Antonio, Texas, scored 13 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. The native Nigerian got the best of Bol more often than not.
Bol, the No. 4 recruit nationally according to ESPN, played at three different schools through his high school career. As a sophomore, he helped Bishop Miege High in Roeland Park, Kansas, to a state championship. As a junior, he averaged 16.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks for Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, California. As a senior, he averaged 20.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada.
Next year, in a likely one-and-done appearance in Eugene, he'll bring his talents to Duckville. I asked U.S. coach Mike Jones, who coaches at fabled DeMatha Catholic High in Hyattsville, Maryland, how Bol's skills translate to the college game.
"His game translates anywhere," Jones said. "He's such a tremendous rim-protector. His offensive skill set ... being able to handle the ball at his size, they can't block his shot. And on the defensive end, he can block shots and rebound the ball. He's only going to get better."
Bol still has plenty of work to do on his ball-handling and offensive skills. He needs to get stronger and in better shape so he can get up and down the court more quickly. Playing against college players every day will help, and Altman and his staff will help get him prepared to be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
The best player on the court Friday night was Duke-bound guard R.J. Barrett, a 6-7 small forward from Montverde (Florida) Academy who had 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 30 minutes for the World team.
I liked what I saw, too, from Jason Hoard of Wesleyan Christian Academy in High Point, North Carolina, who collected 11 points and 15 rebounds in 27 minutes. He is headed to Wake Forest.
But Bol has some chops. He's young and raw, with the wingspan of an albatross. He'll be an extremely valuable weapon, especially at the defensive end.
Oregon fans greeted him with a nice ovation prior to Friday's game. Bol smiled. He heard them cheer him throughout the game, block after block after block.
"The crowd showed me a lot of love," he said. "I'm excited for next year, just to go to school and for next season."
Joining him in Eugene will be Louis King, the 6-8 forward from Hudson Catholic High in Columbus, New Jersey, who sat out Friday's game with a knee injury. They're also working to influence highly recruited point guard Brandon Williams of Encino, California, to cast his lot with the Ducks, too.
Already, Altman has the No. 3 recruiting class in the country according to ESPN. For sure, the veteran coach is going to have a Bol.