Felton Flies in the Face of Traditionalism and Represents Modern Basketball
Today’s game is ever-evolving and out the window are traditional positions for prospects.
Players are no longer evaluated as centers, power forwards, small forwards, shooting guards and point guards, but they are looked at in a much more fluid sense. Today’s game, with the lineups being played, many players are being scouted as bigs, wings/forwards and guards.
How about we take a look at the NCAA defending national champion, Virginia’s, starting line up during that win over Texas Tech.
The primary initiator was 6’5” Ty Jerome, the other guard was 5’9” freshman Kihei Clark, the third guard was 6’2” Kyle Guy, the forward was 6’7” Deandre Hunter and their big was 6’9” Mamadi Diakite.
In this day of basketball, most lineups run with two guards and traditional twos are now threes, traditional threes are now fours and if you cannot switch on a ball screen and protect the rim, you may have a hard time finding the floor as a big.
Throughout the recruiting process, the question many asked about Russell Felton of Aiken, SC/Aiken High is, what position is he?
For me, this is the wrong question and one that flies right in the line of traditionalism. Standing at 6’4” and listed at 195 pounds, Felton has the height of a traditional shooting guard and the muscular frame and athleticism of a traditional small forward.
Also, adding to some confusion here, when you watch Felton play, no matter the setting, he does so as the primary initiator, with the ball in his hand most of the time.
The question people should have been asking is where does Felton fit on the floor?
Many people say you are what position you guard, well therein lies a problem in identifying Felton in a traditional sense as well. He guards the opposing team’s best perimeter player, whether that is the point guard, the shooting guard or the small forward.
Even when creating profiles for players on Rivals, you must choose a traditional position for them. There are no combo guards or combo forward options. You cannot have a player be a stretch five or a small ball four.
Watching Felton’s game, he fits comfortably right in the mold of a combo guard. Which is why the fit at East Carolina works.
The American Athletic Conference is the league that split off from the Big East and added Wichita State. That league thrives on toughness and athleticism.
The bell cow of last year’s class was Noah Farrakhan, the 6’0” combo guard who came in with a camera-friendly game. Add in the wings/forwards in the previous class Brandon Suggs (6’6”/210) and Tristan Newton (6’5”/205) and you have a great future of players that Felton fits right in the middle of.
So when you go by Aiken High School and you watch Russell Felton score 24 points or dish 4.5 assists or grab 8.3 rebounds or snag 3.1 steals in a game, you no longer wonder what position he is.
You realize that he fits in today’s modern era of basketball where production reigns supreme and fluid, positionless basketball is where we are.