Sonny Weems closed out his college career on the highest note possible, putting together an excellent NCAA tournament leading 9th seeded Arkansas to the second round, where they were blown out by North Carolina. It probably wont be the 8-20, 22 point game he finished up with against UNC, but rather his game-changing performance in the first round against 8th seeded Indiana (31 points, 12-14 FG) that raised quite a few eyebrows from the many scouts in attendance. In hindsight, this weekend will probably end up looked at as being just what the doctor ordered in terms of kick-starting the pre-draft process into high gear for him.
In terms of physical attributes, Weems grades out very well at the shooting guard position, showing excellent size at 6-6, a solid frame, a good wingspan, and very nice athletic ability. He is very agile, fluid and quick off his feet, and even explosive in some instances, fitting the bill and then some for an NBA wing player.
Most of Weems offense comes off his jump-shot, where he is at his best coming off screens and elevating from mid-range distances. He sets his feet quickly, and has a high release point on his jumper, adding in a slight fade-away that makes it pretty difficult to guard. He can put the ball on the floor once or twice and pull-up off the dribble semi-well, creating very nice separation from his defender in the process, a testament to his athletic ability. His shooting mechanics are not consistent and he has a few fundamental flaws that hinder him from being much more effective from long range, but his good touch and solid overall scoring instincts allow him to get by with what he has at the current level of competition he plays at.
Weems jumper loses accuracy when hes unable to fully set his feet before he releases it. He has plenty of wasted motion, starting off with the fact that he brings the ball down before bringing it back up, and then cocks it behind his head for good measure, which doesnt allow him to get it off as quickly as he should. He seems to kick his feet out unnecessarily after elevating off the ground, fading away for no particular reason, which hurts his percentages as well. In the tape we saw, he looked infinitely better with his jump-shot when he made a conscious effort not to fade away and came down on two feet, something he should certainly work on to maximize his potential as a shooter.
As a slasher, Weems is strong and athletic enough to get to the rim off one or two dribbles and will generally finish well once he gets there, but hes not crafty enough to consistently create his own shot even at the college level. His ball-handling skills are poor, as hes unable to change directions in traffic or execute any real advanced moves against opposition. He doesnt like finishing with his left hand, gets to the free throw line only about twice a game, and also lacks polish on his mid-range jumper.
Defensively, Weems is extremely poor, clearly lacking awareness and fundamentals, not getting in any type of real stance, getting lost within his teams scheme on a regular basis, and often resorting to just gambling for steals and chasing after the ball instead of rotating and playing sound defense. He has all the tools to be extremely effective in this area, so its a bit surprising why he cant translate them into success on this end of the floor. His junior college roots likely have a lot to do with it.
Weems is a team player, though, not being selfish in the least bit, and looking more than willing to give up the ball within his teams offense. He executes their sets crisply and seems to have pretty good court vision, particularly in terms of making post-entry passes.
All in all, Weems still seems to have nice upside despite being finished with his college career, and could emerge as a viable NBA player down the road if hes willing to work on his very obvious, but very correctable flaws. Becoming a consistent shooter and a reliable perimeter defender should be his first priorities, but hes a guy to keep an eye out for, even if he doesnt make it in the first go-around. He has a chance to make a strong impression in a few weeks at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, where he should be one of the more interesting player for NBA teams to take a look at. We should keep in mind that hes still only 21 years old.