As we get into full swing in the high school hoops season, we are introducing a new sporadic feature where we look at a certain talent or trait and discuss five players that fit into that feature.
Some lists for the boys, some lists for the girls, some lists for the coaches and a variety of players along the way to give a closer look and more credit toward some players that may or may not capture the headlines often.
Our very first offering, looking at five players who we see as some of the most underrated defenders in boys hoops across the area.
CONNOR TORSON, NORWELL
Torson just had a big moment by scoring the winning points against Carroll. That should wake some people up on what Torson is capable of. But have you ever watched him defend on the perimeter? His long frame makes it difficult for opposing teams to create passing lanes. Torson is quite a fundamental player, but his soccer pedigree also makes him a guy who isn’t afraid to mix it up physically.
TE’NOAH RIDLEY, NORTHROP
If you want to talk about guys that aren’t afraid to mix it up on the basketball court, Ridley should be one of the first that comes to mind. It was no surprise he succeeded as much as he did on the football field this season. Ridley is just a ball of energy on defense and he feeds off quick, pressure moments with his almost berserk movement.
AIDEN BAYMAN, WOODLAN
Is a really good stealthy guard. He strikes best when you think that he isn’t going to. Not many other players in the area, especially the ACAC, can back tap a ball out of an opposing guards hand on the fast break like he can; he showcased that talent well in the season opener against New Haven. While a lot of the area’s best defenders are that because of speed and physicality, Bayman finding his success in a covert way is just as fun.
JALEN CAUSEY, BISHOP LUERS
He has been one of the most underrated defenders since his freshman season, where he played a nice role in the Knights advancing through the postseason. There is no surprise then why he is an important piece of their rebuilding the last two seasons. His 2.6 steals per game is second on the team this year because Causey will just come at you using his solid frame. What is better is that even though he can be hyper aggressive with his on ball defense, he is still averaging just 1.4 fouls per contest.
JOSH GROSS, WEST NOBLE
Being long and active is what makes Gross such a good defender. And a lot of guys are long, but not many of them know how to use their length the right way or at least at as high of a level. Gross stays active in the half court, using his limbs to suffocate would-be passing lanes and finding a way to insert himself consistently on the defensive end, as well when he is defending on ball as he does when he is playing elsewhere in West Noble’s defensive frame.