Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Medlin Preparing For Playmaker Role At S4G

For Shooting 4 Greatness Academy's Mike Medlin, versatility is a weapon.

 The 6-foot-8 guard enters his senior season at the Raleigh, N.C. prep program wearing multiple jerseys.

Shouldering the roles of go-to-guy, lead guard, emotional leader, playmaker, and defensive anchor, Medlin possesses the skill-set and all around know-how to embrace the Mr. Everything title.

 It's a responsibility Medlin, who has interest from a unique variety of Division-I programs throughout the country, is well prepared for.

The Hartford, Conn. native averaged a team-best 26 PPG for S4G during the 2015-16 campaign.

He showed major promise, most notably when he erupted for 46 points and 25 rebounds against Sandhills Community College.

He had a 26-point and then a 30-point showing against perennially potent Hargrave Military Academy. Against a blossoming 22Feet program, which rose to relevance following a statement win over Oak Hill, Medlin went off for 32.

Memphis, Western Kentucky, N.C. StateMercer, Alabama, Mississippi State, North Carolina A & T, Jacksonville State, Norfolk State, Delaware, and a bevy of others have expressed interest in Medlin.

He's still a bit slighted that his hometown Huskies haven't made any effort to reach out to him.

Medlin grew up as an avid fan of memorable Huskies teams, soon becoming enamored with the games of Kemba Walker, Jeremy Lamb, Hasheem Thabeet, Jeff Adrien, A.J. Price and several other program greats.

"This year, I'm trying to get UCONN because they haven't shown any interest in me. That was always my dream school. You know how when you're a kid and you find a team you like and you tell yourself 'one day, that's going to be me out there?' I always said one day I would be playing for them so that's why I have the relationship with UConn, being that I'm here in Hartford and they play in our backyard (in the XL Center)."

If UConn passes on Medlin, the multi-layered scoring threat surely won't be discouraged.

"I had North Carolina State in the gym to see me last year. I also like the idea of going somewhere lesser known and becoming a problem, like at Jacksonville State and Dalton State or somewhere out there.

Dalton State, a Division-I NAIA coached by the legendary Tony Ingle, is currently in steady pursuit of  Medlin.

Ingle authored a 26-4 record during the 2014-15 campaign, a season they would culminate with the 2015 NAIA Championship in Kansas City, Mo.

Ingle was at BYU during the late 1980s and helped revitalize a downtrodden Kennesaw State program.

At KSU, Ingle inherited an ailing, dungeon-dwelling program and turned them into a reputable Division-II power. Ingle led them to a 25-win season in 2002-03, helping propel them to an NCAA Division-II national championship in 2003-04.

An athletic guard with a freakish wingspan, Medlin's shooting touch from distance and ability to score in traffic and transition leak-outs are all aspects S4G head coach Kyle Solomon takes for granted. It's his ability to transfer to the orchestrator role where Solomon seeks day-to-day improvement.

"Coming into the season, Mike is expected to be more of a playmaker. I want him to learn the point guard position and really get other people involved and become more active on the glass," said Solomon, whose program has groomed a number of Division-I guards the past few seasons.

"He shoots 40 percent from 3-point territory. He's very fast, he runs the 40-yard dash in about 4.4 which is extremely impressive. Because of his quickness, he gets in the lane and he gets a lot of fast breaks."

His shooting ability flourished this past season at S4G, where he opened up his beyond-the-arc game. Now he's working on his handle and ability to quarterback the game.

Solomon, a highly-reputable area trainer known for arduous and innovative workouts, will apply just about every unique tool and motivational maxim to ensure his best player maximizes on his capabilities.

Currently, Solomon is helping Medlin with game situations. Increasing his mindful awareness and helping make his teammates beneficiaries of pinpoint passes, Medlin has bought into Solomon's rigorous training regimen.

"He's waiting on UConn to be honest," Solomon said with a laugh. "He's still a bit disrespected that they haven't contacted him or been in touch with him at all. Remember, he's a Connecticut kid and they all grew up watching UCONN games."

Should he take a post-graduate year at S4G, Solomon is confident he could help bolster his professional stock.

Is his game tailor-cut for the NBA, down the road?

"Yes. Very much so. You see the way the draft is now with a lot of Europeans and a lot of uncertainties, Mike could eventually become a late first round pick if he can sustain it all."

Solomon has helped nurture one fringe NBA prospect in Dequon Miller. A gritty 5-foot-10 guard at Missouri State via Motlow JUCO, Miller averaged 12.7 points and 3.7 assists for MSU. Miller was instrumental in leading MSU to a signature victory over Oklahoma State, scoring 21 points and scoring the game-deciding layup with 7.3 seconds remaining.