Friday, September 2, 2016

Gaucho Hoops Interviews Coach Derek Walker On Jalen Canty

Gaucho Hoops ("GH"):  Thanks for taking this interview Coach Walker.  How many years did you coach Jalen Canty?

Derek Walker ("DW"):  I had the privilege of coaching Jalen 3 years at St.Patrick-St. Vincent.  He's a good student, athlete, and young man.

GH:  So why did Jalen re-commit to basketball after he committed to  Washington State to play football?

DW:  Jalen originally committed to play football at Washington and Washington State.  He's a monster on the football field--he had something like 20 sacks his senior football season.  Some comparisons of Jalen include Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers, who also played basketball in college.  But Jalen loved basketball, so he enrolled at Casper College, played another year at City College of San Francisco, and then signed with UCSB.

GH:  Jalen will play the center position--can he also play the power forward position?

DW:  Yes he can play both interior positions, but he is a true 5, a traditional post player who plays inside.  He blocks shots, he rebounds on both ends of the floor.  He has good hands and it wouldn't surprise me if he grabs 12 rebounds per game.  He has good feet so he can guard.

GH:  I read Jalen lost a lot of weight once he started playing basketball at CCSF.  How tall is Jalen and how much does he weigh?

DW:  He's 6'8" and weighs 260 pounds.  He has long arms and moved well with the extra weight.  Now that he's slimmed down, he moves even better.  He has really good feet,  There are Youtube videos where you can see he is outrunning [football] defensive backs and linebackers.

GH:  Wow!  He's much faster than I thought he would be.  Can he pass out of the post?

DW:  Yes, he's a good passer.  He'll become a better passer now that he won't see as many double-teams.  In high school, Bakari Hendrix, a former star post player for Gonzaga, was the big man coach.  Jalen benefited from that coaching.

GH:  What makes Jalen stand out as a player?

DW:  At CCSF, he played with better players, controlled the paint, and was in better condition.  He rises to the occasion, and plays better against better players.  Although he was still double- and triple-teamed at CCSF, it wasn't as often as the double teams he faced in high school.  He's a good athlete, with fast, quick feet, and good hands.

GH:  What type of leader is Jalen on the court?

DW:  Jalen leads by example.  He's more quiet than most leaders.  He plays to the level of competition  He's very coachable.

GH:  Did you counsel Jalen at all during the recruiting process?

DW:  He and his family narrowed the decision to a few schools.

GH:  Why did he choose UCSB?

DW:  He looked at the rotation and the roster, and saw he could get minutes.

GH:  Did Gabriel Vincent influence his decision at all?

DW:  They're very good friends, and he looks forward to rejoining as teammates.  Gabriel is a great kid--the whole family is.

GH:  Several former Gauchos have actually played in the NBA recently, some from northern California.  We all know Big Alan Williams signed a 2-year contract with the Phoenix Suns.  Many compare Jalen's game to Big Al's game.

DW:  Yes, that certainly didn't hurt UCSB's recruiting--the ability of Coach Williams and his staff to coach up an NBA post player.

GH:  UCSB also has a reputation for developing NBA-quality wings:  James Nunnally is from Stockton, and Orlando Johnson from Seaside.  And 7'3" center Greg Somogyi recently was the last player cut at the Los Angeles Lakers' preseason camp.

DW:  Yes, OJ was from Palma.  I got the chance to see all those players at various tournaments.

GH:  How does Jalen stack up in the weight room?

DW:  Jalen is naturally strong,  He can just walk into the weight room and throw up 250 pounds.

GH:  Yes, there is a difference between weight room strength and basketball strength.

DW:  Jalen has both.  He has a high booty, and a strong lower base.

GH:  Sounds like he has a strong core.  So moving him off the low block is pretty much impossible.

DW:  Yes.

GH:  Sounds like he is comfortable playing with his back to the basket.  Can he face up?

DW:  Yes, he can play facing the basket, but he is a post player who knows who he is.  He doesn't roam the perimeter and shoot 3's, like many post players do these days.

GH:  Sounds like he is an old-school school post player.

DW:  Yes.  I really appreciate his game because I grew up playing basketball in the 80's and 90's, when post players played in the post.

GH:  What makes Jalen special?

DW:  He has a good defensive slide, so he can help against penetration.  His teammates on the perimeter will appreciate him backing them up.  He has great timing so he can block shots with either hand.  He's right-handed, but he has more blocks with his left hand.

GH:  Thanks for the great interview Coach Walker.

DW:  You're welcome.  I look forward to watching Jalen play this season.

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