First Impression of Ovie Soko

After a slow start likely caused by jet lag, Ovie Soko dominated the PBC Pro-Am and showed as much individual talent as any other big man in the Pittsburgh region. He also proved one of the most versatile with an inside outside game unmatched by any other college aged interior player in the league.

Quick Comparable: Soko will be a stat stuffer in the mold of Damian Saunders, but with fair rather than outstanding defense.

Strengths: Soko is able to shoot from anywhere inside NBA range. He finishes strong inside and gets after put backs. He can put the ball on the floor to create his own shot and receives passes well. He is a strong defensive rebounder both in terms of technique and anticipation. He always seems to be in the right place to grab a board. Soko is able to trigger breaks with good vision in transitions and accurate long passes. He sees the court well in the half court as well. He has quick hands that generated a number of steals. Watching him, it's clear that he enjoys playing the game. Off the court his young teammates seemed to like him and even look up to him. He has a great sense of humor and is a really fun player to watch.

Weaknesses: Soko struggled with one on one defending in the league. Players seemed to get past him easily and he was not aggressive in challenging shots. Unlike Saunders, he seems much more suited to strictly play the 4 defensively even though he is clearly larger. Soko settled for his jump shot too often this summer and I'd like to see him set up shop inside. While I enjoyed his antics, I thought he did a little too much clowning around.

Outlook: Soko has the potential to be a difference maker and fan favorite on the bluff. However, he struggled with consistency at UAB. If he can put together complete season two years from now, he should be in the conversation for Conference Player of the Year. As good as Soko was, I think he has another gear.