To make it into Big Duke Ball’s “Top-100 Returning ACC Basketball Players” list, there are often a lot of great stories about the journey. “Great” may not be the way to describe No. 81’s journey, but interesting no less.
2010-11 STATS: 3.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG (.475/.511/.000)
Jon Kreft is a story about redemption. He’s a former standout high school center who got caught with cocaine up his ass. Literally. While I’m sure we could all talk about our own “getting pulled over by the cops with drugs up our anus” stories, his scholarship from Florida State was pulled and the 29th ranked center in the Class of 2006 was going to jail.
Luckily for him, Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton didn’t give up on him. In fact, he helped him land at Chipola Community College. After two seasons of CC ball, Kreft was invited back to Seminole Nation.
Of course when seeking redemption, it helps to be a seven-footer, weighing in at about 260 pounds.
Anyhow, prior to last season, some had thought Kreft would be a key ingredient in the Florida State front court, thanks to the departure of center Solomon Alabi. However, due to the emergence of Bernard James and the play Okaro White and Xavier Gibson, Kreft struggled to find playing time. He played just under 10 minutes per game after becoming eligible in mid-December.
So the question moving forward is, with only one more year of eligibility left, can he find more time on the court?
Kreft is an athletic and versatile big man, with good physical strength. He also has a 56-inch wingspan, which makes him a huge space eater, which in turn makes him a perfect fit in a tough Seminoles’ defense. He doesn’t take a lot of shots on the offensive end, but he does have a good 15-foot jumper and a couple post moves worth bragging about.
However, despite having good mobility for a man his size, Kreft tends to play too much defense with his hands, instead of his feet, which results in way too many fouls. In fact, he was 2010-2011’s foul king. Congratulations.
Now to answer my own question I asked above about playing time…the fact is, nothing has really changed since last year. Both James and White are clearly more effective inside and will start for the Seminoles.
Potentially Kreft could pass up Xavier Gibson in Hamilton’s rotation. In fact, Kreft averaged more minutes than Gibson in the final month of last season.
However, two points need to be made.
First, I believe Gibson is the more talented of the two. He just struggled to stay healthy last year and I think that killed him, opening up the door for Kreft. If Gibson is at 100-percent, I have to believe he is the better option. Although I m really just talking about the difference of a couple minutes more per game.
Secondly, don’t forget about incoming transfer Kiel Turpin. The 6-11 junior transfer was ranked #97 on this list, but don’t be surprised if he gets some minutes. Sure he’s a bit skinny, but he’s a better defender than Kreft and since he’s only a junior, he potentially could be starting next season.
If this is the case, Kreft’s minutes could potentially shrink his senior year.
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