Player Analysis by Amit Tailor – Cameron Oliver

Player Analysis by Amit Tailor – Cameron Oliver

This article was originally featured on Coach Tailor’s website: BasketballOutliers.Blogspot.com.

Happy Monday! I’d like to get back to our domestic Outliers post today and will focus on more of the Americans this week. Today, we have Nevada Wolf Pack big man, Cameron Oliver. Major kudos to a friend who put him on my radar before this season started. This is not your ordinary freshman. Oliver is listed at 6’8″, 225 lbs, but plays much bigger than that. I’ll highlight a few strengths, but I think the shot chart and film will give you an in depth look at what he is so far. Arguably one of the best freshman in the Mountain West, and definitely one of the more overlooked freshman across the NCAA landscape. As a freshman, Oliver has posted 13 points and 9 rebounds per game, and was a major factor in Nevada winning the CBI Championship. His role in Nevada’s offense has expanded, especially with Marqueze Coleman limited by injury in the later part of the season.

Some things that really stood out to me about Oliver right away include his need to dunk everything near the rim (major contribution to his high shooting percentage at the rim, all of 64%!), relentless offensive rebounding, and what’s turning into a great motor. I also think he is an emerging pick and pop threat, and has shown some ability to shoot 3’s, although not consistent yet. He’s compiled 12 double doubles and 2 impressive 2 20+ rebound games. A little deeper look at just his rebounding shows a 9.9% individual OREB rate and a 22.4% individual DREB rate. Oliver’s offensive rebounding rate might not jump out individually, but part of Nevada’s identity is offensive rebounding, so between him,Tyron Criswell, and the departed AJ West, these guys were one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the country earlier in the year.

Oliver can dominate anyone in the post, and it’s not even close. A commitment to this will make him impossible to single cover. We saw flashes of this in the conference tournament game against New Mexico. His post up and face up game continue to improve, but he’s shown some really encouraging signs, and there are times where he faces up and bullies his way to the rim. If he’s not bullying his way to the rim, he’s got a reliable turnaround jumper. This blend of inside-outside games is rare among bigs today. I’m excited to watch him develop over the coming seasons.

There’s a peculiarity about his shot chart. He is a high volume shooter from the free throw line area, but shooting only 38.6% from there. This may become a bigger part of his game, but maybe some extra reps will help him improve here, especially if he wants to become a bigger pick and pop threat. He’s also a trailer 3 shooter, which makes him an even tougher cover. And forget about trying to stop him in transition if you’re playing from behind. He’s just going to dunk it on you.

Even though he only stands at 6’8″, he plays way bigger, especially with the way he finishes. Yesterday, I highlighted Stephen Zimmerman’s inability to finish plays at the rim, but Oliver shoots nearly 14% better at the rim with 60 more attempts from in close. And he may lead the country in dunks (just go ask Matt Hubbard from Santa Clara).

One major area for improvement is pick and roll defense (but let’s be honest, most college basketball players can be better in this). With the way offenses are evolving into multiple pick and rolls and lots of ball screen continuity, a commitment to being in the right stance and coverage is crucial. Communication is another key to pick and roll defense, especially for the bigs. As he grows in Nevada’s NBA style system, he needs to become a better communicator and show some urgency in his coverage. His athleticism and agility should make him a nightmare, and he needs to be able to switch 1-4, maybe 1-5 in situations. If he is to play professionally, the question becomes what positions can he defend at the next level? 3 more years of player development in Nevada will make him a better player.

Strengths:
– Prolific offensive rebounder
– Finishes with authority at the rim
– Pick and pop threat
– Brute force post up and face up game (lightning quick first step)

Weaknesses:
– Pick and roll defense
– Settles for mid-range shots (137 attempts!)
– Drifts to the perimeter
– Driving out of control

Alas, see his shot chart below. Enjoy the film session too!

Have a look at some film below, and maybe you’ll be as excited as I am!

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