Levan Alston: Evaluation

Levan Alston

The name Levan Alston may sound familiar to recruitniks, particularly those well-versed in Philadelphia basketball lore.


Introduction

Levan Alston has a lot to live up to, and thankfully he's well on his way. The quick, sharpshooting guard is the son of Levan Sr., who emerged onto the basketball scene from Philadelphia in the early 1990s — he played with Rasheed Wallace for powerhouse Simon Gratz — and later transferred from New Orleans to Temple for college.

And the junior Alston may be even better than his pops. The so-called 'Slim Reaper' (per his Twitter account) pieced together a highly impressive run for Team Final on the EYBL circuit this past spring and summer.

He averaged 14 points per game for a team that advanced to the Peach Jam, indicating that he boasts obvious talent for the major college level. After the summer he announced a list of six finalists heading into fall: VCU, Temple, Penn State, Notre Dame, Penn and Marquette.

Assets

Alston excels as a scorer and particularly from long-range. He erupted for several huge games with Team Final, drilling multiple three-pointers at some of the country's most talent-laden events.

Over the course of his 21 games on the EYBL circuit, Alston shot 39 percent on threes, taking roughly five long bombs per contest. He clearly views that aspect of his game to be critical to his objectives, and rightfully so. He wields a smooth stroke that frequently finds the bottom of the net.

Albeit far from physically mature, Alston knows how to be effective

Alston also possesses a slightly above-average first step and shoots fairly well on the move. He has a floater he lofts in occasionally and can fire in 14-17 footers as needed, though he's definitely more prolific from long-range.

Defensively, he averaged over two steals per game on the circuit. He uses quick hands and feet along with excellent anticipation to seize the ball and race the other way in transition.

Beyond that, he understands how to excel playing within the team concept and doesn't prioritize individual goals ahead of collective goals.

Deficits

Alston isn't the Slim Reaper for nothing. He's very, very thin, likely two years away from achieving a workable college weight. Some players obviously can succeed being that thin, but as a shooting guard with average size — and good, not great athleticism — he needs the added bulk.

That's partially why he sometimes struggles to finish contested shots and isn't more effective driving all the way to the rim. Alston shot 43 percent from the field overall, not significantly better on twos than he did threes. He also is capable of better than his 72 percent from the free throw line, but with repetition that problem should dissipate.

Outlook

Alston clearly holds great collegiate options and did more than merely pay lip service to academics, as the presence of Penn on his list suggests. Patience with him will be important while he builds himself physically, but long-term he projects as an excellent three-point shooter, plus some.

I always like players who get steals, and not just for the direct benefit. Those possessing the reflexes, timing and desire to take the ball from the other team usually learn to migrate those skills to other areas of the game as well.

Alston is a talented, proven producer at the top of the grassroots level and should enjoy an outstanding college career at the program of his choice.

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