25 - Rakeem Christmas

6-9, 245 Power Forward/Center
Syracuse Senior
12/01/91 (32.5 yrs)
Bryn Athyn, PA
High School
Academy of the New Church
Team Site Profile
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Post Skills

NBA Comparison: Hilton Armstrong / Cedric Simmons

Strengths: His 7-5 wingspan is just one of several aspects of his terrific set of physical attributes … At 6-9, 250, he’s very athletic for his size and can potentially add more muscle to his frame without it having a negative impact … He’s long, mobile, and can run up and down the floor well … Has great timing on his jumping ability and is quick off his feet, which helps him protect the rim and rebound at a high rate … Excellent shot blocker and defender in the paint…Aggressive man-to-man defender but stays in control … Knows how to stand straight up and keep his balance when defending in the paint … Keeps himself between his man and the basket … Extends straight up when going after shots … Improving pick-and-roll defender … Rotates well into position on the defensive end because of his defensive awareness … Uses his length to extend and challenge shots, and deny low post entry passes … Does a good job at tracking missed shots and getting into position to grab rebounds (boxes out well) … Very active on the defensive and offensive glass … Talks to his teammates and directs them on defense … Able to move well laterally and cover a lot of space … Improved footwork and hands … An effective screen and roller in pick-and-roll situations … Works hard when establishing himself on the blocks … Patient and waits for things to develop on the low block … Has become more comfortable operating in the low post with his back to the basket and outside the post with his face up game … Has shown he can drive by defenders (over short distances and usually going right) when facing up … Uses his athleticism to score most of his points around the basket in the half court or in transition … Creates and finishes through contact…Can catch and finish in traffic … Explosive finisher around the basket … Has improved his ability to score with both hands and has develop a few over-the-shoulder moves … Can make quick moves in the low post with our without putting the ball on the floor … Has developed a nice hook shot and up-and-under move … His free throw shooting has improved since his freshman and sophomore seasons … Has developed a more consistent shooting motion, has better balance and a smoother release on his free throws … Displays great intensity on both ends of the floor …

Weaknesses: Tends to camp out in the paint for long periods out time … At 6-9, he would be considered undersized at the center position at the next level (projects at power forward in the NBA), and his skill set is more condusive to the center position … It would be tough to guard post players who are bigger, taller and stronger than him … When he isn’t looking to score, he needs to make quicker decisions with the ball on the block … Average passer out of post and sometimes hold onto the ball too long when approached by double-teams … Sometimes forces the action while in the low post, which leads to turnovers off bad passes … Offensive game can still be polished, and is inconsistent at times … Although he’s proven he can score with his left-hand, he needs to continue working on shooting with it … Does not have a go-to move … Needs to develop a package of consistent secondary moves as well … Sometimes has trouble making decisions when he’s forced too far out of the paint … Lacks a consistent outside shot and mid-range jumper…Release on his shot can be a bit flat and he sometimes releases the ball in front of his face … Can add more range on his shot … Does not have great ball-handling abilities … Sometimes has the tendency to bring the ball down instead of keeping it high after grabbing a rebound … Can improve the arc on his free throw shooting … Does not use his lower body to seal off his defender as well as he uses his upper body (sometimes throws him off balance) … Sometimes gets caught biting on too many head and shot fakes on the defensive end, which leads to fouls … Will need to show teams that he can really defend the pick-and-roll and on the perimeter … His advanced age (23) may shy some teams away from drafting him because they may feel he has less upside than younger bigs …

Notes: Christmas, a former McDonald’s All-American, turned in a superb 2014-15 season for the Syracuse Orange … After three unproductive and underachieving seasons, the 23-year-old senior made significant strides in several areas of his game … His role as a leader and player increased dramatically, as he averaged 17.5 points on 55 percent shooting (while facing persistent double-teams), 9.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game … The 6-foot-9 big man earned All-ACC First Team and All-ACC Defensive Team honors, and was named the ACC’s Most Improved Player … He was also selected as a second-team All-American, and was a finalist for a host of other awards (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, John Wooden Award, and Oscar Robertson Award) …

Tajh Jenkins 3/20/15

Strengths: Long athletic forward who possesses great length with a 7’2 wingspan … Extremely athletic and explosive … Has the ability to knock down consistent shots out to 15 feet … Possesses a good face-up game and a real ability to beat his defender off the dribble with his quickness … Finishes explosively around the basket with powerful dunks … Plays with a chip on his shoulder … No doubt that with his athleticism and steady progression he could lead the country in rebounding and blocked shots. 

Weaknesses: Lacks great polish in the paint offensively and a real go-to post move. He isn’t necessarily a threat on the block to isolate with … Hasn’t shown he’s capable of scoring with his back to the basket and needs to develop better footwork. … Average free throw shooter … Defensively, he rarely defends the post in man to man situations given the  fact that his high school converted to the 2-3 zone to prepare him for life as an Orangemen … Questionable motor and displays poor body language at times, has a tendency to appear dis-interested …

Notes: Has performed well at the Amare Stoudemire Skills Academy for the past two seasons and Stoudemire is a player who Rakeem’s athletic ability has been compared to. … Christmas can be an impact player on defense at Syracuse but will need to develop a better motor in order to succeed in the Big East …

Chris Clayton 1/24/11

YouTube Clip – 8/11/2009

YouTube Clip – 8/21/2009


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