Meyers Leonard Revealed
June 29, 2012, 4:57 pm
With the shadow of Greg Oden looming large, the Blazers selected another center from the Big Ten last night. Like his predecessor, Meyers Leonard has been criticized for lacking the determination and maturity to succeed in the NBA. Paul Klee, Illinois basketball beat writer for The News-Gazette
, joins the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano to talk about the Blazers’ first-round draft pick Meyers Leonard.
Despite his great size and tremendous upside, many Blazer fans have qualms about the seven-footer and whether he can break the curse that haunts centers drafted by Portland.
John and Paul talked about Meyers Leonard’s early life and the adversity he had to overcome when his father passed away. Leonard’s father died tragically in a cycling accident when he was six years-old. He describes Leonard's early childhood in Illinois and when he began to play basketball. He also recaps his high and college basketball career.
Paul comments on the perceived lack of maturity shown by Leonard. He reveals that Leonard’s basketball skills are lacking, especially his overly emotional play and his poor offense. He talks about how Leonard can overcome some of these shortcomings on the court.
Paul then discusses Leonard’s college career at the University of Illinois. He breaks down the poor postseason play by the Illini and how Leonard contributed to Illinois lackluster performance in the NCAA Tournament. He explains how Leonard essentially check out during his last season and how this cost his teammates.
Paul also talks about how Leonard will fit into the Blazers roster and whether he is good enough to earn playing time during his rookie year. Paul discusses is he can compliment LaMarcus Aldridge’s game and provide him some help at the center position.