Tuesday, February 23, 2010

J.P. Tokoto, in person

Where was Bo Ryan on Saturday night? Like me, my dad, my brother-in-law and his dad, we were at the Menomonee Falls gym to watch Falls play Wauwatosa East. Or, more accurately, we were there to watch J.P. Tokoto.

Sorry to say, but I don't have much original analysis to add to what has already been written about J.P. But here's my take if you missed the others.

-Tremendous, tremendous athlete. A legit 6-6, thin, but should be able to add weight and strength without losing his leaping ability. When he strides he gobbles up the court.

It was senior night, so Tokoto, a sophomore, didn't start. He came off the bench a couple minutes in, but didn't really do much until halfway through the second quarter. Then he made his presence felt. A Falls guard made a scrappy steal, missed a shot, and Tokoto followed with a monster putback dunk.

-He had, I think, three more dunks and several more layups. Against a team with decent size, he still showed enough discipline to stay close to the rim, where he was most effective.

-He was also dominant on the glass, and made his presence felt as a shot blocker.

-I liked his demeanor on the court -- not cocky, good hustle, seems humble.

-On the other hand, his shot is not good. Someone sitting nearby said the rotation on his jumper looks like a tornado, which was an apt description. I only remember him taking one jump shot, a stepback elbow jumper, which he missed. The ball ricocheted off the front of the rim at an odd angle, definitely not the way a pure shooter's misses bounce. He also missed a free throw attempt the same way. He didn't take any 3-pointers, which I thought was a good thing, showed discipline.

His ball handling also needs work, but the jumper should be his priority. It's probably not possible, but I'd like to see him spend all summer just doing skills work. Working with a shooting coach, someone who could help him refine his ball handling, do strength and conditioning work.

There is no need for him to play on the summer AAU circuit. His status as a top recruit in his class is solidified, and he has scholarship offers from all the nation's top programs, and Marquette. If he's going to be a dominant college player, he'll need to be a better shooter and ball handler.

It's self-serving to write this, obviously, but I think he would thrive in the Swing. He's like a more athletic, not quite as strong version of Alando Tucker. He's probably a long shot to end up in Madison, but he could do worse with his college choice.

On a related note, Falls has another springy 6-6 player, Jonathan Phillips. I'm told Phillips is Tokoto's cousin, and that he has an offer to be a preferred walk-on at Wisconsin.

Oh, and Bo appeared to have brought his wife along to the Falls. Guess that's part of the deal of being a coach's wife, but imagine Bo selling Kelly on that trip: "Hey honey, wanna go watch J.P. Saturday night? Valentine's Day? Couldn't we see that after the game Sunday? I swear, we will. We can eat at Saz's ..."


Anonymous said...

I was also at this game and Jp did have 3 or 4 very nice dunks but didnt play very well over all but Jp tokoto is a stud. I have never seen someone jump so high and explosively before in a wisconsin highschool basketball game. You are very true that jp needs to work on his jump shot but he should definetly keep on playing AAU basketball. Jp also has very good ball handling abilty for a 6"6 swing player.

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