St. X vs. Trinity – Positional Breakdowns: Center

If Lucas Miller can provide any offense in addition to his defense, it will be a net win for the Tigers. | Photo by Kody Nalley

If Lucas Miller can provide any offense in addition to his defense, it will be a net win for the Tigers. | Photo by Kody Nalley

It’s pretty straight forward when it comes to the center matchup in this game.  All eyes will be on the center in green and white, but the center in green and gold has an opportunity to put his own stamp on the game by bottling up the center in green and white.  This will probably be the most fun and entertaining matchup to watch, so let’s get into the details.

St. Xavier Depth Chart

– #31 Lucas Miller | 6’3″ | 197 lbs. | C/PF | Senior

-#24 Daniel Ryan | 6’5″ | 215 lbs. | C | Junior


St. Xavier Overview

Lucas Miller isn’t a true center by any means, but because he draws the unenviable task of checking Trinity’s Raymond Spalding on defense, we are putting him here.

Guarding a skilled 6’10” guy when you are 6’3″ is just inherently difficult.  But Miller isn’t afraid of the task at hand.  If he plays smart and does the little things right, he has a chance at neutralizing Spalding.

Regardless of the outcome of the game, this is going to be a long and tough night for Miller on the defensive end.  He will be jostling for position all night with Spalding trying to front him in the post and boxing him out when a shot goes up.  It may influence his offensive game.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miller frequently spacing out on offense to save his energy for defense during the game.  I don’t blame him.

Here’s a fact, though: Limiting Spalding will be way more important than producing on the offensive end.  Miller knows he has offensive weapons capable of picking up his slack, so the only thing that should be in his mind is big number 35 in the green and white.

We could see Daniel Ryan have an impact on the game if Miller gets in foul trouble, which has happened a few times this season.  He has a much bigger frame than Miller, but Ryan is more susceptible to being beat by Spalding’s athleticism and quickness.  Either way, Ryan is a fundamental player who does everything right and makes very few mistakes.  His size might come in handy tonight.

Whoever is on the floor for St. X at the center position, there is one mission: disrupt Spalding.  As you will see further down in this article, Spalding is the “You can’t stop him; you can only hope to contain him” type of player, and if St. X wants to win this game, having a body hounding Spalding at all times is crucial.

If you haven’t realized it yet, I will sum it up for you: Tonight, this position is all about defense, defense, and more defense.


Raymond Spalding (35) plays above the rim like no other player in Kentucky. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip

Raymond Spalding (35) plays above the rim like no other player in Kentucky. | Photo by Jacob Hayslip


Trinity Depth Chart

– #35 Raymond Spalding | C | Senior

– #33 Christian Terry | C | Junior


Trinity Overview

You don’t need to look very far when it comes to the Rocks’ center position.  Trinity starts and ends with Raymond Spalding.  He is the offensive and defensive anchor.  He is the 52nd best player in the nation, according to ESPN.  He is the “Rock” of the Rocks.

It starts defensively with him.  I’ve never seen a better shot-blocker in person in my life.  Not only does use his elite athleticism, Spalding has amazing instincts.  A pump-fake isn’t going to fool him; he knows that guards will try to attack his body in attempt to get foul calls, so he lets the guard come to him first, and then he sends the shot into the third row.

This kid is just unbelievable on the defensive end.  Plenty of NBA big men lack the defensive skills Spalding has.  It can’t be understated; Spalding is a defensive monster.

Like many athletic-freak big men, Spalding’s offensive game is much less threatening.  He has a few post moves, but they all going to the left with his right hand.  He doesn’t want to go left at all.  He isn’t and elite free-throw shooter either, so St. X would be smart to put him at the line instead of allowing an easy two.

Spalding means so much to Trinity that if he has to miss significant time due to foul trouble, the Rocks are in trouble, even with all the other talent they have.  Junior Christian Terry doesn’t come close to providing what Spalding does for this team.  There’s a huge drop-off after Spalding.

But again, Spalding is a superstar.  He single-handedly wins games.  And he doesn’t force things, something vital to a young player like himself.

“In games, I try not to focus on one area of a game,” Spalding told me.  “I just let whatever comes to me happen.  I don’t plan on doing anything besides playing hard and getting to the foul line.  I’ve been in the gym working a lot, so that’s the plan.”

If he is confident going to the free-throw line, St. X has to be worried.  Trinity is a huge favorite, and making Spalding ineffective is about the only avenue the Tigers have to a victory.

The bottom line: If Spalding even has an okay game, much less a good game, the final result might not be pretty for St. X.


About Jacob Hayslip

Senior at Saint Xavier High School. Editor-In-Chief of WSTX Sports.

Posted on January 9, 2015, in Tiger Basketball and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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