The Shining: Trevor Keels
If you're looking for a prospect who can create nightmares for the opposition, then Duke freshman Trevor Keels is your guy.
As I continue to watch the seconds click, the clock suddenly turns to 1:00 A.M. While many use this time to sleep, this is where I find myself tunneling down a rabbit hole of Draft Wonderland. It’s quiet here. The outside world has turned itself off, but this is where your eyes clock in and you let your fingers attack the keyboard with a possessed mindset.
The “questionable” late night cup of coffee just doesn’t seem to be kicking in with it’s usual amount of strength tonight. So I’m going to have to try to find a different alternative that could somehow spark the extra fire. I’m never one of these guys that simply knows who they are going to write about the week ahead. If anything I often find myself throwing a tennis ball against the wall like Jack Torrance in The Shining.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
As I travel through the Matrix which is the dark world of Synergy, I keep shuffling through prospects left and right. Making notes about who I want to save for later, potentially for more in-depth video breakdowns. Still, I need someone to ignite the engine and get the blood flowing.
Then it happens.
It’s as if I just found myself opening a door and I wasn’t mentally prepared for what was going to come across my screen. Yes, I was consistently thinking of breaking down this prospect moving forward, but I didn’t realize how excited I was actually going to be once the film started to roll. Suddenly, my eyes are glued to the screen. I don’t know if I’ve blinked in the last 43 minutes. I might be having an out of body experience. Someone call the doctor. Is this the actual Shining?
To fully understand the experience that we are going to go through, you need to have some knowledge about the cinematic masterpiece known as “The Shining.” If you don’t (how dare you) let me give you the quick spark notes. A young family man by the name of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is offered a job to basically oversee a hotel during the offseason. The hotel shuts down during the winter due to snowstorms and there’s a history of people getting “cabin fever” while living there. Torrance is even warned that there’s been recent acts of foul play at the residence. A motivated Torrance accepts the job, as he’s a writer who thinks it will be a great way to escape and focus on his work. Throughout the film, Torrance starts to become a demonic presence, mainly due to the fact that he’s stumbled upon footage of Ben Simmons in open gym sessions. The Shining also features one of the creepiest musical themes of all time, which is what I’m currently playing on repeat right now at 2 AM…so yes, I’ve traveled to a dark place.
ARE WE ALL CAUGHT UP NOW?
Back to work…From the moment I first watched Trevor Keels during Duke’s opening night game against Kentucky, I quickly became a fan. The 18-year-old freshman doesn’t look like a basketball player. He looks like a linebacker who works a night job as a bouncer at a local rowdy bar. I have a weakness for players that look like they are going to do everything in their power for the opposing player to have nightmares after the game. Trevor Keels could be the closest thing we will see to Freddy Krueger playing on a basketball court.
Keels doesn’t just welcome chaos to the basketball court, he invites it to a steakhouse and presents it with a four-course meal. The 6’5” 221 pound machine moves around the court like a possessed demon. His statistics won’t wow you at first, but it’s what Keels does all over the court that has me foaming at the mouth. So far this year, the freshman is averaging 11.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 35.9% from the field and 30.2% from three…
But he’s also averaging 2.1 steals per game…and he’s got the motor and tools that every NBA team will want. Let me show you why.
Trevor Keels is just an absolute gamer. This is the type of player where you don’t want to chase stats, because Keels just knows how to make an impact when his team needs him. I don’t know if Love is a strong enough word when I watch his ability on the defensive side of the floor. Keels thrives off of passion and determination. He plays with an incredible combination of grit and desire. Close game here which features Duke trailing Gonzaga with a little more than five minutes left to go in the game. Look at the defensive pressure that Keels applies. There’s so much about his on-ball defense that impresses me.
Keels just invites the opposition to his torture chamber. It’s mind games with him. He baits people in like a car salesman that knows he’s got the upper hand in a transaction. His quickness and anticipation make him a nightmare each possession.
What I’m so impressed with when it comes to Keels on the defensive side of the ball is how VICIOUS he is with his hands. He’s absolutely lethal when it comes to creating chaos and taking advantage of any mistakes by the offense. If you show him the ball he’s going to attack it with power. Notice the quickness with his feet and then the recognition here to make a play on the ball.
Another great example of just the incredible combination of lateral quickness and hand speed that Trevor Keels has a defender. Notice how quickly he pressures the ball and invites him into his torture chamber. Just by Keels stepping up and making the effort to get right up into the ball handler, he quickly creates the perfect angle to get this swipe.
When Trevor Keels attacks the ball he attacks like a damn King Cobra. Call me old-school, but I absolutely love when a defender’s first instinct is to get on the floor for a loose ball. Trevor Keels makes plays that bring energy to your team and it’s all from giving a s**t and wanting to beat the man across from him on each play.
Another great example of Trevor Keels just baiting an opposing player before attacking with purpose. Keels keeps waiting on this play and the moment he sees the ball handler look back towards the bench, he attacks and makes a big play right before the end of the half.
SO YOU WANT SOME OFFENSE? Fine, I’ll feed you some offense. As I talked about previously, Keels won’t wow you right away when you look at his shooting percentages. I’m not worried at all, as Keels has the ability to become a multi-level scorer. What’s so impressive to me is his explosiveness and desire to go right at bigger opponents. Keels doesn’t just get downhill with bad intentions, he looks for defenders to go right at, daring them to bring on the contact.
I just wanted to showcase what we are looking at when it comes to the Duke freshman as an outside shooter. It’s fluid and there’s definitely some upside to his game, especially when the consistency comes around. Keels isn’t afraid to launch from outside and he can get hot. Once the shooting percentages start to come around, he’s going to be a name that could get hot in NBA Draft circles in a hurry.
Had to end this one with an “attention grabber.” I absolutely love the footwork and burst that Trevor Keels has to his game. Great little rocker step here before Keels sees a window and attacks downhill with desire. Look at how ridiculous this finish is. That’s a grown man move. Sign me up.
There’s going to be a lot of NBA teams that are going to have their eyes on Duke freshman Trevor Keels moving forward. He’s shown that he can be a momentum changing type of presence with his play on both sides of the floor. With an NBA-ready frame and a great combination of explosiveness and anticipation, Keels is going to have plenty of fans in Front Offices. If the shooting percentages can start to come around eventually, Keels is going to start buzzing QUICKLY. If anything, he’s going to keep attacking on the defensive side of the ball like Jack Torrance with an axe. Seriously…go watch The Shining.