|Man with basketball watches on as Talib Zanna and Rakeem Christmas visit Jack Rabbit Slims.|Talib Zanna
, Pittsburgh, Senior, 6'9 230lbs2013/14 stats
30.3 mpg, 13.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 0.8 bpg, 0.5 apg, 0.6 spg, 2.6 fpg, 1.5 TOpg, 58.6% FG, 66.7% FT
A bit short for the position, Zanna has a long wingspan and plenty of upper body strength, big enough to play the post position that his skill set is all about. His well toned frame certainly looks the part. And he plays a pretty old school centre's game.
Zanna improved incrementally but consistently over his four seasons, as attested to by his minutes per game and PER. He has rounded into a competent if unspectacular player on both ends of the court, with some power and explosion, a good role player with limitations he understands and plays within. Tough and athletic, Zanna's powerful frame is enticing, and he has added a modicum of ball skills to it over time.
Offensively, Zanna is not hugely skilled, somewhat limited to a limited right handed hook shot and only about 10 feet of slightly elbowy baseline jumpshot range. He does not create offense, for himself nor anyone else on his team - rather, Zanna relies on his activity and athleticism moreso than his skill, a finisher and opportunity scorer to some decent effectiveness. Zanna scores efficient and on very low usage, finding opportunties to finish powerfully by running the court, crashing the offensive glass extremely well and diving to open spots. He does not have the best hands, almost never passes the ball, turns it over rather a lot for someone doing so little of that, and gets few touches offensively, but he is efficient with those he gets, using a shot fake to open up a short drive, finishing with both hands, and occasionally being a pick and roll threat. None of it is especially fluid or eye catching, but it is effective and efficient, all any role player needs. If all else fails in the halfcourt, Zanna will take it wildly at a shotblocker and split a pair of free throws. Not prudent, maybe, but present.
Zanna plays equally hard defensively, to equally mixed effect. His defensive rebounding is not as good as his offensive rebounding, somewhat bizarrely considering his long arms and good effort level on the glass, and he is not much of a rim protector despite his physical tools. Nevertheless, Zanna has reined in his foul rates over the years, mostly by trying not to be a rim protector. He stays down well and now contests without fouling much more frequently.
It will forever hinder Zanna that he is slightly smaller than optimum for the highest levels of basketball. A lack of range and variety in his offense does not help. But Zanna has developed into a quality role player on both ends of the court. He may stand out at no one thing, but not are there any glaring weaknesses. That plus athleticism equals money, and Zanna should do well for himself in Europe.