Niagara Gazette

Sports

June 20, 2009

BASKETBALL: Flynn is product of NFHS' point guard legacy

The Niagara Falls basketball community collectively chuckles each time an analyst questions whether Jonny Flynn can play NBA defense. We know Flynn wasn’t raised on the passive principles of Jim Boeheim’s signature defense, the 2-3 zone. Rather, he’s the latest and greatest in a long line of Cataract City point guards who take pride in going chest-to-chest at the point of attack.

“It’s our trademark,” says Tim Winn, who led LaSalle High School to state championships in 1995 and 1996, then eschewed a scholarship offer from Syracuse to sign with St. Bonaventure, where he recorded 319 steals in four years.

“Even on our worst day, we’re going to defend.”

But, in the run-up to Thursday’s NBA draft, many of the people making public projections of how Flynn will perform in the pros have never seen Winn play, much less Modie Cox, Dewitt Doss, Demondi Johnson, or Marcus Henderson. They evaluate Flynn based on his two years at Syracuse, where he was a brilliant offensive player inhibited by the Orange zone on the other end of the floor.

After Flynn worked out last week for the Sacramento Kings, who hold the No. 4 pick in the draft and seem determined to draft a point guard, a writer from the Sacramento Bee asked Flynn how playing at Syracuse prepared him to defend NBA point guards.

“It doesn’t prepare you at all,” Flynn said with a laugh. “You sit in a zone all day.”

The quote was used in a blog entry titled “Can Flynn defend?” Several other draft Web sites linked to the post. An April scouting report on Flynn written for reputed Web site DraftExpress.com states, “it’s questionable how he’ll be able to defend at the next level given his small size and wavering commitment to defense.”

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