Getting to know Admiral Schofield
Admiral Schofield was born in London, England while his father was stationed there with the U.S. Navy. Born into an athletic family, Admiral’s brother O’Brien Schofield was a linebacker for the Superbowl XLVIII-winning Seattle Seahawks. Committing to play basketball at a young age, Schofield was eventually recruited by Rick Barnes, head coach of the University of Tennessee Volunteers, to attend and play basketball for the university. Despite not being known for its basketball program, Schofield was able to elevate the University of Tennessee into the national limelight during his four years. He won a total of 88 games during his tenure at Tennessee and led the Vols to two NCAA tournament appearances. During his senior year, Schofield averaged 16.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2 assists in 31.8 minutes per game, and made the first-team All-SEC.
An emotional and physical player, Schofield was a leader for the Volunteers and ended up being selected by the Washington Wizards in the second round of the 2019 NBA draft.
Expectations for the upcoming season
During their rookie seasons, very little is expected from second-round NBA draft picks. If a second-round draft pick can fill a rotational role for the team that drafted them, it is often viewed as a successful draft pick. Schofield will likely spend most of this season adjusting to the fast style of play that is the NBA, and expecting him to average even 10 points per game would be ambitious. He will no doubt be assigned to the Wizards G-League team at some point this season, where he can have a more vital role playing more meaningful minutes.
Drafted as a small forward, he plays the same position as the Wizards first-round pick, Rui Hachimura. That being said, finding playing time could be difficult for the 22-year-old rookie Admiral Schofield. However, the new team General Manager, Dave Sheppard, understands that in the NBA successful teams need players that can shoot the three and defend multiple positions on defense, this type of player is known as 3-and-D. Schofield was drafted with the expectation to play a role for the Wizards as a 3-and-D caliber of player and provide depth to the forward position for the Wizards.
It is easy to get excited about this second-round pick. Admiral Schofield’s highlight reels include promising dunks, incredible clutch shots, but most importantly show his passion for the game and positive influence on the court as a team player.
Where Schofield excelled most during his time in college wasn’t always through his on-court play. During his college years, he quickly became a leader for the Volunteers squad and was known for holding his teammates accountable. The locker room presence that rookie players bring to a team is often a factor in an organization’s decision to draft or not to draft a certain player. Schofield will provide a positive locker room presence to a team that seems destined for a rebuild. Teams knowingly going into a season of rebuild often have off-court struggles, especially when young players and rookies are involved. Being a much older 22-year-old rookie, Schofield can provide a mature presence to the Wizards on and off the court, despite not having played his first NBA minutes yet.
Room for improvement for the Schofield
Where Schofield will likely struggle the most during his rookie season will be on the defensive end of the court. Switching between playing small forward and power forward in college, Schofield totaled 102 personal fouls in his junior year and 94 fouls during his senior year. The NBA plays at a much faster pace on the perimeter than the college game does and as he is listed as a small forward going into this season he will need to limit his fouls if he wants to stay on the floor when called upon.
Being an undersized small forward at 6’6”, Schofield will have to work harder to prove that his height disadvantage will not be a hindrance to his game. Weighing in at 241 pounds he is too large to play at shooting guard and doesn’t possess the dribbling ability that NBA guards need to have in order to protect the basketball. Despite the physical disadvantages, undersized players recently have found a place for themselves in today’s NBA. A notable example of this is Draymond Green who is an undersized 6’7” power forward. For undersized players like Green to succeed they must rely on better basketball-specific skills than their taller and larger counterparts. If Schofield can work on his perimeter defense and ball-handling he could find a way to turn his weakness into a strength.
A potential second-round steal for the Wizards?
Shooting is the driving force of the current NBA landscape and it is something that Schofield will need to continue to improve if he wants to find a role with the Wizards this upcoming season. During his college tenure Schofield established himself as a deep shot threat shooting an impressive 42% from three during his senior season and attempting more three-point shots that season than ever before in his college career. An increasingly common way of predicting a rookie’s success as an NBA three-point shooter is his college free throw percentage. During his time at Tennessee, Schofield shot an impressive 76% from the line. If Schofield is able to continue being a threat from deep as he simultaneously improves his defensive abilities, he has a shot at becoming a reliable 3-and-D player off the bench, something that every NBA team needs.
There are still several uncertainties with Schofield. Undersized forwards typically do not enjoy immediate success in the NBA, and being too heavy to play a smaller position on the floor limits Schofield’s ability to see playing time. He needs to drastically adjust his perimeter defense abilities to the pace of the NBA and avoid fouls while doing so. Ball handling is not something he was expected to do in college but he will need to add that ability to his game if he wants to find a more permanent role with this team.
Schofield will likely need to spend most of this season playing in the G-League to get accustomed to the pace of play and work on his basketball fundamentals, but with his leadership qualities and being an older rookie at age 22 there is no reason right now to think he cannot and will not improve his game. If he is able to become a valuable 3-and-D type player for the Wizards he could be viewed as one of the steals of the 2019 NBA draft after the season.
Oh, did I mention he can sing and play the guitar? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yA-FpO_Si8