Scott Brooks says Serge Ibaka is a talented player who is improving every day

By DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.com Published: October 6, 2009
Advertisement
;
When Scott Brooks came to the defense of Serge Ibaka last week, the Thunder coach was simply sticking up for his player like he has with his entire roster since taking over in Oklahoma City. Only this time, in defending his rookie big man, Brooks inadvertently and uncharacteristically fed into expectations rather than tempering them.

Brooks objected to any description of Ibaka as a raw big man. The coach called the label unfair and said the 20-year-old Congo native is much more than a project.

"Raw players can’t run, can’t jump and can’t shoot,” Brooks said. "They’re just tall and have potential. I’ve been cut because we’ve had raw players on the team that they were trying to develop. Serge is a talented guy that brings it. And he plays with a lot of effort.

"I know that he’s young, and he’s only been around the NBA for four months. But I’ve been around players that I would say are raw, and I would not consider Serge raw. I consider him a very athletic bright guy that wants to get better, and I see improvements.”

Ibaka’s rapid development was on display Monday night in an open practice at Midwest City High.

On one possession, Ibaka coolly nailed a jump hook in the lane. A few possessions later, he soared over fellow rookie Byron Mullens for a one-handed dunk. And between finishing off numerous dump-off passes in the lane with two-handed jams, he gobbled every rebound that came his way.

The big man can indeed play.

"I’ve been with Serge all summer,” said No. 3 overall pick James Harden. "He’s been improving every single day, whether it’s his jump shot, rebounding or post moves.

"And his English is getting a lot better, too. But he’s just improving every day. He’s becoming a great player.”

While Ibaka still isn’t fluent in English, the language barrier is becoming less of an issue. Brooks joked that he uses exaggerated hand signals and facial expressions to relay his message to run faster, jump higher and rebound and go up stronger.

"I give Serge a lot of credit,” Brooks said.



Trending Now


AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Sharks in Cape Cod Town Draw Tourists, Flipping the ‘Jaws’ Script
  2. 2
    77% want illegals sent home, 81% say it's a serious issue
  3. 3
    VIDEO: Dog Reunited With Owner After 2 Years Passes Out
  4. 4
    The editorial everyone's talking about: The New York Times calls for federal repeal of marijuana ban
  5. 5
    Sarah Palin launches online channel as she rips ‘media filters’
+ show more