It’s not easy being the new guy in an established community. You come in and either you make a bang or you fade away.
Jon Cathey-Mackin made one hell of a bang.
I used to be a new guy. I had transferred from another school in the 4th grade and I know how it feels to walk into that first class. I know the awkward feeling when the teacher says your name and tells you to go to your seat. That their is the chance for a first impression. Some guys, like me, just walked quietly and found the furthest seat available.
Guys like Jon Cathey-Macklin though, they walk around the class, high-fiving everyone before finding the cutest girl in the class and telling the person sitting next to her to move.
BTSL 21/03/2015: PEA 56 : Nakhon Pathom Madgoat 66
That’s how it felt at least. It took barely 2 minutes into the game after the announcers announced his name in the game introduction for JCM to make an impression with Thailand Basketball fans.
He hustled like an NCAA senior with no chance of being drafted playing his potentially last game of his collegiate career. He blocked shots like they were teenage boys approaching his only daughter. If there’s one thing that JCM accomplished, it was that he made his presence known early on. After trailing by six after the first quarter in the last match-up, PEA went into the second interval with a tied score.
Then the clock struck midnight.
JCM had hustled his way for 10 full minutes in the 1st quarter and things were looking good for PEA. Too good. It took less than a minute before JCM signaled to Coach Moo to stop the game. Once the game stopped, JCM immediately went off he court looking a bit nauseating.
It’s something that I wish I had asked in our recent interview, but just pure speculation; it’s not easy to fly on a plane from halfway across the world and be fully fit within 2 days. And that is exactly what JCM did. On top of that, JCM had been away from competitive basketball since December 20th, which is an estimated guess of the Championship game in the Bolivian League he played in according to his Facebook photos. The fact that he played as much as he did with that level intensity while probably being barely 60% fit is a success story already ending the game with 16 points, 19 rebounds and 3 blocks.
The Good and the Bad
Let get some first impression reactions out of the way with JCM:
- Hustle: JCM showed that when he is fully fit in short spans of the game, he hustles like crazy. I can’t imagine how much of a menace he will be in the next two weeks when he is fully fit and used to the time zone.
- Running the Break: This is an area that I hope PEA will fully exploit. Because of his hustling habits, JCM runs the floor like a mad man (again, once he is fully fit). There are arguably no players right now who could stop JCM on the fast break with his size, athleticism, and determination combined.
- Big Man Game: JCM works well in the post up (even though he did post up only once) and as a roller in the Pick and Roll. Again, it’s going to be hard for teams to find someone to stop him once he gains steam.
- Perimeter Game: With all that being said though, this game JCM operated a lot on the perimeter. He has a tendency to pop out of the pick instead of rolling, thought that might be a result of the fatigue more than anything else. Once receiving the ball at or near the top of the key, he’d tried to break down the defense from there. He hit a step back jumper and a three, but that’s not where I would want JCM to focus his attack in a league filled with guys less stronger and smaller than him.
- Dribbling: One thing you can notice from when JCM starts to operate from the perimeter is that he is springy on his first motions and he uses a lot of hand fakes. He stretches out his body slowly before exploding. It’s a good move to catch the defender off guard once in a while, but if he does it every time, someone will eventually be able to pick it apart.
- Defense: Defense is JCM’s strong suit mostly because he hustles and he can jump higher than mostly anyone on the court. But the Madgoats figured it out quickly that he is a quick jumper and exploited that. Maybe JCM will adapt to this after a game or two, but as of now if you’re the offense, you should try getting close to JCM’s body to negate the athletic gap.
There’s a lot to like and somethings he could improve on, but JCM is certainly going to be an interesting piece in the drama which is about to unfold for the last chair for the International Round of the BTSL.
JCM at 60% made this a close game against the league leading Nakhon Pathom Madgoats. I want to see what’s capable at 100%.
In my Opinion
In this part, I talk about the things I liked and did not like from watching this game.
1. Floor General: Have we given enough love to “Arm” Nattakarn Meungboon? I think I’ve said it over and over and over again how good this kid is but I still feel that he’s flying under the radar for some reason.
He’s not flashy, but he recognizes the defense and his own offense and decides almost flawlessly what he should or shouldn’t do. If it were up to me to decide who the Best Player of the BTSL here and now, this would be my pick, no questions asked.
2. Super Mario: I don’t want you going away with the impression that JCM put PEA on his shoulder’s and made it a game against the Madgoats. He was one of their best players, but it wouldn’t have been as close if Captain “Mario” Todsapit Langsui didn’t catch fire in the first half.
He finished the half with 13 points, but he did fade away almost completely in the second half had it not been for that alleyoop pass to JCM.
3. Gameplan: PEA came in with a clear defensive gameplan to play a reverse Box-and-1, which meant 4 players playing man-to-man defense and 1 guy (JCM) manning the zone.
I guess this might have been called for a zone violation in the NBA, but this isn’t the NBA is it? JCM was left to protect the paint while letting one free man on the offense on the perimeter. The Madgoats offense took most of those wide open shots, missing some and making some. It was a bold move, but an interesting question raises up: What if “JO” Ratchadech Kruatiwa were available for this match? How much would he have effected this defense?
The gameplan on the offense for PEA was a bit less interesting. They didn’t really have a lot of off the ball movement. Most of their offense consisted of one guy pounding the ball waiting for a pick and then seeing what happens after than. Not exactly Spursian ball movement.
The Madgoats on the other hand loved moving off the ball and maybe it’s because they’ve been playing together for so long that they trust each other to make a move that won’t clog up the offense. It’s not a setup play but more like the players knowing how to handle their spacing.
4. Big Guy On Campus: I already mentioned it last time, but how thankful do you think the Madgoats are for having a guy like “Yak” Chaiwat Gaedum coming off the bench? He swings the offensive momentum entirely and he sets bone-breaking picks as well, sending the defense a message.
And when he’s on the bench, he does stuff like this:
In conclusion, a win would have been ideal for PEA and they weren’t that far away from that reality, so I suppose they would be pleased with the hope that their new import has given them and will be ready to pressure Mono Vampires for that last seat.
This weekend the BTSL will have 2 games with the schedule as follows:
Saturday, 28 March: Mono Vampires vs. Nakhon Pathom Madgoat @ Prachaniwest Stadium
Sunday, 29 March: Thew Phai Ngarm vs. PEA @ LED Building
The games will be played from 2PM to 4PM local time on their respective dates and can be viewed live at Channel 3 Family.
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Pictures by Kuk Ornvisa Thewphaingarm