Jan. 27, 2011
By Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com
The Seminoles are 5-1 in the ACC, and it’s their best start in conference play since 1993. And one of the main reasons is the emergence of a new Derwin Kitchen.
That is, an aggressive Kitchen. The spark plug. The point guard who can create opportunities in clutch situations.
“Any team where your guards are being aggressive and they’re being smart aggressive, it makes you a better basketball team,” associate head coach Stan Jones said. “Just like what Reggie Jackson is doing for Boston College, and just like what Toney Douglas did for us a couple of years ago. When your guard are aggressive, it just makes your whole offensive game plan much better.”
“That’s something that I am still learning to this day, learning when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive,” Kitchen said. “For most of the Miami game, you probably wouldn’t realize that I was on the floor because I basically was doing nothing, and then the last few minutes I started getting aggressive. And I think I shouldn’t have waited so late but it was at the right time so hopefully I can continue to learn when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive.”
It’s not just driving the lane every possession, it’s picking and choosing the right times to attack a zone or man-to-man defense.
Starting with the upset of No. 1 Duke, Kitchen scored a team high 22 points and followed that up with 11 against NC State and 16 against Boston College.
But that’s not the most impressive stat. Kitchen has 15 assists to just four turnovers in the last four games. He’s not only opening things up for himself, but getting everyone else involved in the process.
“He’s our leader. When he’s being aggressive, it seems like our entire becomes aggressive,” junior forward Bernard James said. “When he kind of hangs back, our team feels like our energy is dead so I really think we all feed off of him.”
“It definitely gets everyone else going. Regardless of the other night, I had a few layups that I think I missed but we got the tip back,” Kitchen said. “Anything helps the team when it comes to me being aggressive. When I’m more aggressive, it’s obvious that we’re a better team.”
And that’s what makes Kitchen special. He’s not an aggressive individual basketball player, he’s an aggressive teammate. And that’s what the Noles need as they head into the rest of conference play.