Jahii Carson has been getting it done at every level for a minute now. From Mesa HS to the AAU circuit with the Compton Magic to the PAC-12 with Arizona State, he has put up big numbers. Having been named to the All Pac-12 fist team during his first two seasons in Tempe, it was only fitting that the next challenge be the NBA.
While academics kept Carson off of the hardwood in ’11-12, he didn’t miss a beat once he was cleared for takeoff. He was third in the conference in scoring as a frosh and fourth in assists, then followed that up with ranking third in scoring and sixth in assists during his second go-around. More importantly, he improved as a leader and carried the Sun Devils to the big dance in ’14.
Though his numbers certainly jumped off of the page at you, a lot of people still have questions about the 21-year-old’s game. At just over 5-9 without shoes, he is more of a scoring point guard. He also only averaged 4 assists per game during his sophomore campaign and needs to get more experience running the pick-and-roll. During his training in L.A. with Wasserman Media Group, that’s been the major focus.
“He knows that he needs to show that he’s a lead guard,” Jahii’s trainer and former Knick Fred Cofield said. “He can set the offense and get people in the right place, but he needs to be able to break down the defense and make other guys better.”
We got a chance to take glimpse at the progress that Cofield was talking about during the WMG pro day. Carson exploded through pick and rolls with crazy bursts to finish above the rim. He hit a series of pull-up Js, high-lofting floaters, and nasty dunks. He even busted out his patented self-bounce dunks, immediately drawing the attention of 100-plus NBA executives who were in attendance.
Moving on to shooting the rock, Jahii had no problem extending his range out to the NBA three-point line. He had nice elevation on his J and effortlessly connected. While there wasn’t a D on the court, you could tell how much separation he was going to be able to create and there were times in which his change of pace made you think you were watching NBA2K with a dude who just hit turbo. As impressive as his workout was, only game situations will answer the biggest questions that surround this playmaker.
“We’ve got him doing pick-and-roll, we’re talking to him about where the help is coming from, and then when he beats somebody, what is the next rotation. He’s starting to understand the game more,” Cofield explained. “When you go to score, you have to make somebody better. He’s a once in a lifetime athlete who gets his head at the rim sometimes.”
Given the recent success of diminutive change of pace guards in the League such as Nate Robinson, JJ Barea, and Isaiah Thomas, there is definitely a place for Carson in the League. As with most of the aforementioned guys, fit will be essential. “For one, you don’t see that type of athlete. You can’t name many guys who are the athlete that he is,” responded Cofield when asked why he thought Carson was a sure-fire NBA player. “He has the quickness and athletic ability. He’s making an effort to be better on defense. He knows that he needs to make guys better and set the table.”