Olexii Len - Tempered Expectations

I'm not going to post something that says "Alex will do this", or "Alex will do that" this season.  I've said that if we could get decent rebound numbers (5-6 rpg) by the second half of the season, that would be amazing.

I just saw this about a fellow Ukranian player some of you may know of. He's Kreal Natyazhko, playing at Arizona. Kreal was the first player to commit to Sean Miller and Arizona (some irony there...) in 2009. Then came Momo, Williams and Parrom, etc.

I do this to illustrate how speculation about how a player's game will translate to college ball, when all they've played is overseas ball, may actually play out.  It's worth taking a look at the listed 6'11", 240 lb. Natyazhko, who also had a year to adjust at IMG Aceademy in Florida, before joining Zona.

From PointGuardU:


Natyazhko entered Arizona as the #11 C in and #81 player in the country according to As a senior at IMG Academy, Kyryl averaged 21.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Kyryl chose Arizona over offers from Arizona State and Pittsburgh.

At Arizona:

Freshman Year

Many thought Kyryl would be an instant impact player for Arizona, but as has been proven many times before, it is difficult for freshman big men to come in and dominate as they have done in high school. Kyryl's production was limited as he adapted to the speed of the college game. In 31 games and 3 starts, Kyryl averaged 2 points and 2 rebounds per game while hitting at 70% from the free throw line.  

Following the season, Kyryl returned home to play for Ukraine's national Under-20 team at Euro Championship. The tournament was a great success for him as he averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds a game, leading to Sports Illustrated to name him the top NCAA player in the tournament.

My Take: I'm not professing to know how Alex will fare his Frosh season, but as some of the more knowledgeable posters have presented to us earlier, do not expect huge numbers from Alex his Frosh season. It's hard enough for Frosh to put up consistent numbers, never mind some of the stuff I saw in some comments.

One thing we're starting to realize, is all of our guys, guards, forwards, and big men alike, are in good hands with the staff. They will learn a lot about the game from the coaches.  Give Alex a few years to grow into the faster paced high level game here in the states, and let's enjoy watching him improve! 

PS - Note Kreal's ranking coming in - a post speculated on what Alex would have been - well look at Kreal and look at his ppg/rpg numbers at Zona!

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