I know I had said otherwise but I decided to stick closer to home last instead of driving 30 minutes or so to see super sophomore Jaquan Lyle play in Southern Indiana’s Toyota Teamwork Classic. I was able to catch another elite prospect instead. This prospect stems from the women’s side of the court. Tyra Buss is a 5’6" sophomore from Mt. Carmel, IL and she has already seen a lot of recruiting interest from much of the power Midwest schools. Minnesota, Purdue, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Texas were all reported to be in contact with her by the end of her freshman year. One would imagine this means that Indiana has a very outside shot of landing such a highly regarded prospect, but they said the same thing about Gunner Kiel (wait… what?... he did?... oh).
Buss definitely has a ton of talent in her 5’6" frame. The competition she had to face last night wasn’t on par with so it was tough to get a full handle on how she would fair against a better team. It does show a lot of respect that the competition came out playing a triangle and two defense on her. She was basically shadowed by two defenders everywhere she went and I imagine their orders were to keep her from even touching the ball. They didn’t do a very good job, though they did hold her to a "disappointing" 37 points. When she has a tendency to drop 50+ on teams that is what most people that show up want to see. The real key in how good she is though, is how she scored those 37 points.
There is no denying that Buss is a good shooter. She regularly would step back and shoot men’s college distance three pointers. Buss was more than capable of stepping out to that range with good form and knocking them down. Even though she didn’t hit very many of them last night (1 for 6 by my count), it was easy to see that on a hot shooting night most of them would fall. She always was damn near automatic from the free throw line. Her form is smooth and easy and helps her repeat the same motion over and over. That clean shooting motion helped her convert on 22 of 27 free throws. This brings us to the other key part of her game, ball handling.
There is no doubt she’s been dribbling a lot since a very young age. Every crossover or hesitation move is second nature and fast. Speed is probably her best asset. Despite being double teamed all night she was able to get defenders to turn their hips and then she could turn the corner and take off. Speed kills and Buss has that. Really the biggest part of her game is just finding a hole and taking it to the basket to get fouled. She rarely looks to finish a contested layup, she just takes the two shots and converts. That is probably the weakest point in her game that I saw. Buss flops on everything. A lack of strength and a flare for the dramatics had the refs not calling should be fouls by the end of the night. Gibson Southern did a good job of roughing her up and every time there was contact you’d have thought she was shot. By the end of the night the refs became apathetic.
On defense she will need some work if she plans to compete for the very best at the next level. She eye guards her mark and an experienced point guard would exploit that by looking her off. She had the speed last night to make up for a bad read or step in one direction last night but against tougher competition they could eat her up. Strength becomes an issue here as well. She’s more than strong enough to compete with small schools in Southern Indiana and Illinois, but she’s going to have to add some upper body strength to battle with the big girls in the NCAA. Overall, Tyra Buss is a hell of a scorer and for a sophomore is fairly polished. Strength and defense are what she’ll have to work on, but her scoring ability should be more than enough to land her at an elite women’s program.