Beyond the Lottery: Kenneth Faried

Morehead State University power forward Kenneth Faried ranked third in the NCAA in rebounding his sophomore year. After his junior season, the 6’8” 225-pound Faried finished in the number two glass cleaning spot nationally. And in this past 2010-11 hardwood collegiate campaign, the four-year starter led the 345-team Division 1 in boards (averaging 14.5 per contest) and was named a second-team All- American. Faried is the all-time collegiate leader in total rebounds with 1,673. He passed a record that had stood since 1997 by a guy with some basketball cred – future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan.

The 21-year-old New Jersey native wasn’t heavily recruited out of Newark’s Technology High School, but found a great home with the Eagles at the fairly small, rural public college in northeast Kentucky. Over his four seasons in the Ohio Valley Conference, the ultra-energetic 2X OVC POY improved not only his bread-and-butter skill of rebounding, but also his scoring, shot-blocking and field goal percentage.

His NBA-caliber athleticism, jumping ability and constant willingness to bang and perform the dirty work of an effective, smothering defense-focused player are his main strengths. Although he racked up most of his numbers in a smaller D1 conference, Faried played well against top-quality, ‘glamour’ programs when MSU faced off against bigger foes. In fact, he collected 17 rebounds in 13th seeded MSU’s stunning upset of 4th seeded in-state rival Louisville in the 2011 Big Dance.

Scouts have stated that Faried may be too small to play the 4 at the next level and that his offensive repertoire is limited, especially his face-the-basket skills and free throw shooting. However, the pluses with this hard-working Garden Stater are difficult to overlook. His intangibles in regard to hustle, motor, body-positioning and active hands cannot be taught. Not to mention there is the huge potential upside of landing on an NBA team where he’ll get to focus on sharpening his strengths without the burden he faced at Morehead, where he was often asked to do everything in order for the scrappy Eagles to succeed.

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