Friday, February 20, 2009

Smithfield's Mike Marra Headed To Louisville - Scouting Report

Smithfield, RI native Mike Marra is headed to Louisville to play for Rick Pitino. He has an overall rating of 88, which means he could contribute for three or four years at a high-major program or have a significant impact as a freshman at a mid-major program., according to Scout, Inc's grading system. Marra is 6'5 and is ranked as the 50th best shooting guard in the class of 2009. It looks like the NBA could be a possibility for Marra based on his skill level, especially since he already has NBA range, but he would have to develop his game in other areas first. Pitino himself said the following about Marra: "He's the best high school shooter I have seen in my life," Pitino said. "I know that's quite a statement."(Courier Journal) Quite a statement indeed.

Check out the complete scouting report on Marra, via Scout's Inc.:

February, 2009: Marra has to continue to increase his strength as he matures in order to become more than a jump shooting specialist at Louisville. He also needs to become a better ball-handler in addition to adding a mid-range pull-up to his offensive arsenal. Marra should have success adding a middle game given his very impressive leaping ability. At this point, he prefers to shoot the 3-point shot with his almost unlimited range. Marra sometimes shoots deep, contested 3s and can get streaky due in large measure to his shot-selection, which can improve for the next level. Marra does a great job of curling off screens for jumpers, effectively squaring his body to the rim and making good use of his lighting quick release on the jumper. He also will need to increase his focus and dedication on the defensive end for college. Marra can also pass the ball when he applies himself in this area and making more good passes will make his shot attempts easier as the defense will have to honor him for the pass and the shot.

November, 2008: A pure shooting guard with NBA range who will stretch out defenses. He has great size as he looks over defenders while he focuses on his target from deep. He demonstrates the ability to break open a game with his 3pt shooting as he will shoot it often and with confidence in transition or in the half court. When you watch his jumper you see how he gets good elevation from his lower body and finishes with a high release and freezes on his follow through. On his teammates dribble penetration he spots up to a passing lane along the 3pt with vision. Setting multiple screening action is another way in which he gets his 3's. With such a lethal shot he needs to use his shot fake more into a dribble pull up. Opponents that are trying to stop him must have two simple rules: never leave him and make him dribble to a shot. In the 2008 National Prep Showcase, he went 9-17 from 3's, (53%) that is remarkable. Louisville got themselves a big time shooter.

October, 2008: Marra looks like he has gained more muscle, but he has to work to become stronger as he has problems when he tries to drive the ball to the rim and stronger guards can thwart his penetrations attempts by knocking him off-balance. Marra also has problems on the defensive end when stronger guards can overpower him on their way to the rim. He will also do better on the defensive end if he devoted the same focus and intensity defending that he does to shooting the ball. Marra loves to shoot the 3-ball with range that starts as soon as he steps in the gym. He sometimes falls in love with the 3 too much and opts for it almost exclusively, shooting ill-advised, contested 25-footers at times. Due in large part to his shot selection, Marra can become streaky from deep and hit three in a row followed by four consecutive misses. When he does stroke it from 3, Marra can surprise defenders by using his quick release to catch defenders off balance. He has good leaping ability and quickness, which he should use to become a better in-between player, utilizing his good shooting mechanics in the mid-range area. He also has decent passing skills and should use those to make himself more versatile on the offensive end, which would make him tougher to defend.

September, 2008: Marra has established a reputation as one of the nation's premier outside shooters. He impressed Coach Rick Pitino enough that Louisville accepted a commitment from Marra last February. Marra made his shots, and displayed well-polished backcourt skills while making the all-star game at the elite Reebok All-American Camp in Philadelphia last July. Earlier, he had a very good shooting performance at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest in April. Marra is an excellent catch and shoot player, and excels at coming off screens, and knocking in trifectas. He has a quick release, and very deep range. However, in watching him perform at the 17-Under Super Showcase in Orlando, Fla., in late July, Marra struggled to make his shots when pressured by defenders. He appeared to lack lateral quickness. He has been working to improve in this area, which would certainly enhance his playing opportunities at Lousiville. This deficiency causes him problems defensively against quicker, more athletic wing guards. During his final year at Northfield-Mt. Hermon, playing against top prep school competition, Marra must focus upon improving his ballhandling skills, become more adept at creating his own shot and emerging as a much better defensive player. In summary, he needs to round out his entire game, rather than being focused primarily as an outside shooting specialist.

February, 2008: Marra may be the best pure shooter in the high school ranks. He can knock down the 3-ball with NBA range. Marra needs to improve in two areas to play at the highest levels of college basketball. He needs to improve his handle and ability to bring the ball up versus pressure and create his own shot. In addition he must make a better effort to defend and take on the challenges of guarding the other team's better players in high school in order to get him ready to defend at the college level.

December, 2007: Mike is a tremendous outside shooter who has extremely deep range and needs very little room to get his shot off thanks to quick release. Like many other great shooters he is extremely self-confident which enables him to shoot his way through cold spells. He is also equally effective shooting off the catch or the bounce. Marra is also a very impressive athlete who can get up well above the rim when finishing on the break, and even dunk through contact from time to time. However, he lacks the ability to create his own shot off the dribble and isn't able to attack close-outs on most occasions. Physically, he has good height and size for the perimeter although he needs to add muscle to his frame. He is an average defender at best whose limited lateral quickness can be exposed against smaller and quicker guards. Overall, his ability to make contested shots from far distances is matched by few others in the country.

November, 2007: Shooter, stroker, gunslinger - take your pick, but more importantly, he is a maker. Marra has NBA range now. Therefore, he won't have to adjust as much as some players when the three-point arc is inched further back. Mike must show more versatility by adding strength and better ball skills to his game. More athletic than he might appear.

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