PG – 6’1, 175lbs – Born 15th March 1996
Passionate advocates of college basketball like to cite the supposed superior effort level and defensive intensity in their defences of why it is a better, purer product than the NBA. The reality that those advocates struggle to acknowledge (or deliberately ignore) is that college basketball players do not try harder; they just are not as good or as athletic, and therefore they make it look harder. Nevertheless, any time a scrappy undersized guy dives on the floor, this validates the belief and makes them feel good about it. One such scrappy undersized guy is (or was) four-year Notre Dame point guard Matt Farrell, who just completed his first professional season here with Delaware after a short pre-season stint with Rytas in Lithuania, summer league with the Miami Heat and two days under contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.
All these teams see in Farrell a genuine level of hustle combined with unselfish floor general instincts. Not having great size or athleticism, Farrell is nonetheless a good user of screens to get into the paint, and even though the defence knows that he is doing so with a view to either kicking out to a shooter, hitting the roll man or throwing up a lob to whoever is lurking near the rim – fair to say he got on well with Norvel Pelle this year – that does not make it easy to stop. Farrell will only attempt the layup himself if it is very open, yet the way he can move the defence around and keeps trying to attack and collapse is a virtue. Combined with sensible simple passing, swings, ball reversals and the like on the perimeter, pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop sets and smooth compact outside shooting of his own, and he helps offensively without being spectacular or the go -to guy to create off the dribble late in possessions.
The hustle is most obvious defensively, but then, it needs to be. Farrell is not big for a point guard nor athletic, and in the professional arena, those he will be dealing with just got much bigger. This is only further exacerbated in switches, and scrappiness alone will not prevent Farrell from being targeted by opponents. To counter this, Farrell will need to always have the high level of motor he has exhibited at times, but even then he is up against it. Farrell is fundamentally sound but not ideally equipped for the professional game; he is good and will play for a long time, but his upside is capped by his physical profile.
– 20th June, 2019
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