The Haverford School guard has made a name for himself in the Inter-Ac division over the past four years. This season, he scored 548 points for his team in 28 games (19.57 PPG). He was the Gatorade Pennsylvania Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Lets take a look at some of his strengths, weaknesses, and how he will fit in at Temple in the seasons to come.
Alston has a silky shot. When he catches it in rhythm it's a thing of beauty. He releases the ball high enough so larger defenders cannot block it and has fantastic arc on his shots. Although his elbow sometimes sticks out more than it should, it does not get in the way when he purely strokes the ball. When the senior starts hitting jumpers in rhythm, he's hard to stop. Alston is also credited to having "a high basketball IQ", according to one of The Empire's inside sources. This is well demonstrated in his ability to execute the pick and roll. Not only does he use this as a way to create for himself, but also as a way to create for others. Alston is always willing to make the extra pass, making him a standout player. Coming off screens, he is able to attract help defense and easily kick it out to open teammates. It is impressive to see a kid his age with such offensive maturity. He knows when it is time to attack and not. Alston is crafty and methodical around the rim. He can use multiple moves and both hands to maneuver around the paint. In addition, the Pennsylvania Player of the Year has solid length and size to play the off guard position at the next level. In crunch time, he does not hesitate to have the ball in his hands. That trait is a necessity at Temple. We have seen it in many Owl guards, such as Khalif Wyatt and Juan Fernandez, who have proved to be fearless with the game on the line. Lastly, Alston is a solid ball handler. This gives him a slashing ability that helps him get to the rim. Moreover, when pressure presents itself, he does not panic and is able to hold his own. Alston can escape the "in-your-face" defenders without a whole lot of trouble.
Despite his plethora of strengths, Alston has multiple flaws he needs to fix. On the defensive end, he often leaks too early. This gives way to offensive rebounds for the opposing team. Even when he does stay in the half court, the four star recruit does not box out nearly as much as he should. He gets caught too often watching shots go up and offensive players speed by him. Moreover, Alston does not shoot the ball great when contested. This causes him to finish unbalanced and get out of the rhythm he holds during open shots. He needs to learn how to keep his release and jumper the same at all times. Around the rim, Alston could improve. He does not always finish the tough shots that present themselves. But this will also come with gaining some weight and muscle mass. According to ESPN, the senior weighs 175 pounds. If he wants to compete and bang at the next level, Alston will need to bulk up.
Good Fit or Bad Fit?
Good fit. Alston has all of the skills to become a superstar at Temple. I believe he could even contribute as soon as next season. The Owls lose guard Jesse Morgan, who took 192 three point attempts for Temple this year. It was a team high. Alston's sharpshooting will be significant for a team that struggled at times last season in this category (30% from three). His high basketball IQ and offensive maturity will be significant in an offense that often settles for ill advised shots. Alston's struggle to box out will be something that Coach Dunphy will easily help him learn. All of his struggles are things he could fix with the continuation of improving his shot and a little guidance from the Owls' coaching staff. Coach Aaron McKie has worked with Alston before and happens to be his godfather, according to a close source. This connection will be instrumental in his development. All in all, I see no reason why Levan Shawn Alston will not fit in a Temple. He should be a fantastic addition and it will be a pleasure to see him grow over the next four years.
Picture courtesy of Levan Alston's Twitter page
-Temple loses to Penn State in the first round of the NIT tournament