By Kings.com Fan Correspondent Alex Kramers
Past: Tyler Honeycutt – the 35th-overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft – could end up being a steal for the Kings, who projected the UCLA small forward as a potential mid-first round pick.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and a then-PAC-10 leading 2.1 blocks per game, and his 68 total blocks were the third-highest single-season total in school history. Honeycutt was a first team All-Pac-10 selection, and received the John Wooden Award as the Bruins’ Co-MVP in 2010-11.
He poured in a career-high 33 points on 11-of-15 shooting (5-6 3FG), to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and one block against powerhouse Kansas University on Dec. 2, 2010, drilling the game-tying three-pointer with less than 10 seconds left on the clock. A stifling defender, Honeycutt recorded at least one block in 27 out of 33 games last season, including a career-best eight swats – the most by a Bruin since Jelani McCoy’s school-record 11 in 1995 – in a win over Oregon State on Feb. 12, 2011.
A three-year volleyball letterman in high school, Honeycutt credits the sport in helping him fine-tune his footwork and timing to become a skilled shot-blocker in basketball.
Present: Honeycutt participated in new Sacramento teammate Jimmer Fredette’s All-Star exhibition game, and showed many of his all-around skills, including phenomenal leaping ability on several dunks, smooth passing with a beautiful no-look alley-oop and his notable quickness on the defensive end. The Kings rookie finished with 14 points (7-14 FG), 10 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and one steal. One of the game’s best highlights came when he stole the ball, ran coast-to-coast and finished a fast break with a one-handed slam off a pretty lob from Fredette.
Future: Honeycutt has drawn favorable comparison to Detroit Pistons star Tayshaun Prince – a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team member – due to his long wingspan, excellent elevation and quick instincts, which allow him to contest shots and force turnovers. The Kings rookie has the tools to become a similarly elite man-to-man and perimeter defender, who possesses the size and athleticism to cover both shooting guards and small forwards.
“I think Honeycutt is somebody who has a chance to defend several positions, and he’s young. He’s a hard worker,” said Coach Paul Westphal. “He figures to be an excellent defender and has some offensive abilities as well.”
A versatile forward, Honeycutt moves well without the ball. He excels at slashing to the basket and scoring in transition, and is an efficient long-range shooter, leading UCLA in three-pointers (55) last season. Demonstrating a great feel for the game and the ability to become a facilitator with excellent court vision, he also finished second among Bruins in assists (93).
With his all-out style of play on the defensive end, as well as his ability to run the floor and finish the fast-break, Honeycutt will quickly win the praise of Sacramento teammates and fans alike.