UCAM Murcia’s Ovie Soko is in the midst of a breakout season. The 27 year old british native, born in London, is opening eyes with his aggressive playing style both in the BCL and in the ACB. Unlike last year, where injuries kept him out off the gym for quite some time, Soko is finally fully healthy and ready to shine. If you want to get to know Ovie Soko a little bit more, feel free to read this story about him: http://www.championsleague.basketball/17-18/news/ovie-soko-next-man-up
If we talk strictly about basketball, there are a few things that are intriguing. Soko is a foul drawing machine, excels as a roll man in pick and roll situations and has untapped potential on the defensive end. His athletic and strong finishes either get him a high percentage shot at the rim or a trip to the free throw line. His average of 5.4 FTA per game would even be higher without counting the first couple of games to start the season, where he clearly needed some time to get into his Rhythm.
Soko is not a player, who fakes opponents out of the way with pure and excellent footwork. He is not a low-post professor. He rather bullies his way to the rim and uses his quick first step to his advantage. His right-handed hook shots aren’t always pretty, but they are at least useful to keep the defense active.
There aren’t just offensive highlights though. Soko might be 27 years old, but there is still untapped defensive potential. Soko is really solid as an on-ball defender and can switch on some occasions. He likes to give up the drive instead of the long range shot, with mixed results. Sometimes he’s a little flat-footed and guards go by him way too easy, but at least he’s recovering really fast and challenging these shots. He might not be a great shot blocker, but with some improvement he could really do well overall in a switch-heavy system.
There are obvious weaknesses nevertheless. Soko’s jumper isn’t reliable at all (10/68 3FG) and his misses are all over the place. He needs to take some long range shots in order to keep the offensive flow going, but those shots are an automatic win for the opposing team
We already seen footage of his post-ups and it’s obvious, that he rarely uses his left hand. His finishes are almost always right-handed and he gets himself into tough positions, where a simple off hand layup would seal the deal.
Another big weakness is his lack of awareness. Soko gets caught ball watching, misses rebound opportunities and blows defensive rotations. His off-ball performance isn’t great at all.
Having all this in mind, the perfect place for Soko might be a team, that really relies on switches and positional versatility. On offense you would like to see him next to a rangy big like John Bryant (Gießen) or Jarrod Jones (Karsiyaka). Maximising his potential as a roll man would really be frightening for other teams.