As a 6-foot-9, 240-pound basketball player that is also a 4 year letter-man in football, it didn't come as a surprise to hear that Luke Worthington's primary strength is rebounding. It wasn't surprising to hear from his father John that Luke is really physical underneath the basket. I didn't expect to hear in our interview though that college coaches love Luke's ability to defend the pick and roll. "One of the things that is very attractive to most of the coaches, and again I'm basing this on information that I get from most of them, I think what impresses them most is how strong he is on defense. As well as just his supporting role with the pick and roll, I think that's one of the things that I know many of his teammates and others who have watched and played with him, he probably actually gets more credit for how aggressive he plays on D and some of those other areas. But you don't really see that on video so I know that as BYU coaches were able to watch him play over the last year I think that was also some of the comments I heard from them, just how he's got a motor that just kinda never stops... Coaches are surprised that he is so quick for his size."
And although I expected him to be a good rebounder, I didn't expect him to be this good: "One coach that he was seriously considering going to their school said 'To be totally honest with you, Luke's probably one of the best rebounders of that size and that age that I have seen in quite some time.'" Luke was the 5th leading offensive rebounder in the 40 team EYBL AAU league. This is a league that is so competitive, that Luke was the PF on his team at 6-foot-9. A few of the familiar names in that league were 5* 6-foot-9, 240-pound Julius Randle, the new number 1 recruit in the country in the 2013 class, 5* 6-foot-10 280-pound Jahlil Okafor from the 2014 class, 5* 6-foot-10 265-pound Dakari Johnson also from the 2014 class, and Jabari Parker. Luke averaged 8 points and 7 rebounds a game in this league, and helped his team to a top 16 finish to earn a spot in the Beach Jam tournament. "He did well... He's a tough kid... always playing up has forced him to play a very aggressive style of ball... If you were to talk to 20 coaches that know his game, I would be shocked if they didn't list rebounds as one of his number one or two strengths. In fact I'm almost positive most of them would say it's his number one strength. He's just a banger under the boards and he's going to get that ball."
And when he gets the rebound on the offensive end he has been able to put it back up and score some points, but that's not his only way of scoring in the paint. "He does use the hook a lot, I would say he uses the hook or a disproportionate amount of his points are clearly in the paint and are either getting somebody else's board and just putting it back up... I would assume that a large portion of his points are coming either from the hook or just coming with a rebound and putting it in the basket." He's certainly a back to the basket post player, and he can use either hand on his hook shot and around the basket.
Which begs the question, what position will Luke play for BYU? Davies plays center at 6-foot-9 235-pounds, which is pretty comparable to Worthington. Luke's skill set opens a lot of different options for the coaching staff on how they use their big men. He is pretty big for a PF and should be able to find success underneath the basket when guarded by an opposing PF in the WCC. On the other end of the floor he is quick enough to guard a smaller PF on the perimeter or in the mid-range game, which opens up the option to play Worthington at PF with a taller player at center. Should the Cougars go with a smaller lineup and play Luke at center then his strength and size would enable him to body up and guard a taller center, and give up very few offensive rebounds. He may not have as high of a vertical as Davies, which helps Davies protect the rim and match up against taller centers, but his lateral quickness will enable him to be effective in patroling the paint if playing center for BYU.
With Chris Collinsworth unfortunately having to hang up his sneakers, Luke is presented with a better opportunity to potentially play right away. If he is able to earn the starting PF spot in 2013, with "Stone Cold" Nate Austin at Center, they could present an interesting dynamic for opposing teams. Austin's game resembles Hartsock's in his ability to shoot from outside and hit the midrange jumper, while measuring 3 inches taller than Hartsock, and 2 inches taller than Worthington. With Luke and Austin on the floor at the same time, Austin would play center on defense, but might play more of a power forward role on offense. Allowing Worthington to bang underneath against the opposing PF while their center guards Austin out on the perimeter. A BYU front court like that could really give WCC coaches and big men fits.
And why did Luke choose BYU? Although he is LDS, the church factor wasn't one of the primary reasons why Worthington will be a Cougar next year. "I think it probably came down to three or four things, Luke has always done very well in school, he is a 4.0 student so academics are a big deal to him. So he wanted to go to a school that had a very strong academic record. He wanted to make his decision based on the basketball strength of the school, and then the third would be the entire coaching staff, just what his chemistry was with the coaching staff. I think, to be honest with you, we were out there a few weeks ago and we walked off the campus and it was clear to him that this was probably where he was going to end up just because he really thinks the world of Coach Rose, and just has a tremendous amount of respect for him and his assistants. I think that Mark Pope did an outstanding job really recruiting Luke and understanding him as a player, as a kid and as an individual, what his make up is all about... It came down to a clear win for BYU, and what put it over the top was the coaching staff to be honest with you... He really feels like Coach Pope is somebody who can really help him develop and grow and be stronger as a player. The kicker is Rose, that was the icing on the cake." Worthington had offers from close to 35 Division 1 basketball programs including Utah State, Butler, and DePaul from the Big East, and it was the combination of BYU's strong academics, highly successful basketball program, and top quality coaching staff that earned his commitment.
Cougar fans can look forward to seeing Luke on the basketball court next year, as he will be playing four straight years at BYU and will consider a mission after graduation. It sounds to me like he is thinking either the NBA or a mission, and it doesn't get much better than either option. John said that Luke is extremely driven, more so than John can understand where such drive even came from, so Cougar fans can expect Luke to work extremely hard to reach his goals from now until graduation.
Follow me on twitter: @lancewarchibald
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial