The game of basketball has seen an evolution in the way is being played. Frequently, media and fans will describe this change in the game by calling it “small ball” — referencing the move of the game from tallest, powerful players playing inside to shorter, quicker player playing away from the hoop. In truth, “small ball” shouldn’t be labeled in that way. Instead, it should be termed “skill ball.” Teams are actually just playing the 5 players on the floor that can do the most all over the court.
Coaches all across the country are seeing the value of position-less, skill ball style of basketball and seek players that provide the most skill and versatility. So, what would this ideal Swiss army knife like player look and play like?
Stanford freshman forward Kodye Pugh.
Pugh is a 6-foot-8, 205 lbs 4-star recruit from Baltimore, Maryland. Kodye enters his first season at the Farm as one of the nation’s top prospects. After watching a couple highlight and workout videos, it isn’t hard to see why Florida, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Maryland, Syracuse, Texas, and Villanova were vying for his commitment.
Offensively, Pugh has nice form with a fluid release. He has shown that he can hit the 3-point shot, but perhaps he is more comfortable at mid-range. Stanford desperately needs shooting. Especially behind the arc. The returning Cardinal roster is a combined 160-516 (31%) from outside. None of the returning Stanford players with at least 10 career 3-point shot attempts did better than Marcus Sheffield’s 37.8%. If Kodye Pugh can even be a decent 3-point shooter — hitting nearly 40% of his 3’s — he will be able to command minutes this season.
Despite being 6-foot-8, Kodye can handle the ball with skilled dribbling. This gives him an opportunity to grab a long rebound and run a fast break. Highlight films often give zero input about a players ability to pass, so his passing skill level is an unknown.
Pugh is a wing that can hopefully be used to defend 3 positions. He looks to have the foot speed to extend defensively to the perimeter while also being able to protect the rim with his long arms. If he can commit to a high level of defensive intensity, he will likely have an opportunity to play key minutes for Jerod Haase’s squad.
We are thrilled to officially have Kodye as a member of the program. His personality and character fit in great with the team off the court. On the court, he is long, lean, and skilled. His talents and versatility are perfect for how we want to play.
This is a player that Stanford fans should be very excited to see play. There is good reason to hope that Pugh can be part of pushing the Cardinal forward during the early part of Stanford basketball’s next chapter under Jerod Haase.