Kidd: Decision to transfer came down to ‘a better situation for my style’
Highlights, not merely the limelight, is what Stanton Kidd said he needs.
Kidd has been granted a release from N.C. Central, where this past season he was the second leading scorer on the basketball team with 14.7 points per game.
In the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, Kidd was the league’s No. 3 scorer, but he said there’s more about his game that he needs to display in order to attract NBA eyes.
Kidd, who made a verbal commitment to Colorado State in the Mountain West Conference, said it is not a matter of him being too big for the MEAC. It’s just that the MEAC, he said, isn’t big enough to offer the space he needs to routinely show NBA scouts what he could do for their teams.
Kidd played just one season at NCCU, arriving from South Plains College, a junior college in Texas. He has given credit to NCCU reserve forward Karamo “K.J.” Jawara for helping him adjust to Division I basketball in Coach LeVelle Moton’s system. Kidd said Moton taught him to be more vocal on the court, but he needs more.
“A better situation for my style, and also a little bit higher than the MEAC,” Kidd said. “I’m not saying that the MEAC is a bad conference, but the talent that I was looking for and that I was looking forward to, I wanted it to be a little bit higher.
“When the pro scouts do come, they’ll see that I’m doing it against equal talent.”
Washington Wizards scout Gene Banks, the former NBA forward who played for Duke, was courtside at NCCU’s McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium in January when Kidd scored 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds against Morgan State.
Kidd said he has to prove that he can put up strong numbers against higher-profile schools, the Wichita States and the Marquettes, two NCAA Tournament teams that beat the Eagles this past season. Kidd had 22 points and nine rebounds against Wichita State, 19 points and eight rebounds against Marquette.
“Basically, I felt as though I was playing out of position for a while, and I couldn’t really deal with it,” Kidd said.
Kidd tallied four double-doubles for NCCU and scored at least 20 points in seven games.
“When it came down to it, for me to go and play pro ball or pursue my pro dreams, I would have to be able to face the basket more,” Kidd said. “I felt as though I was more of a garbage man — nothing against nobody.”
Kidd (6-7, 215) said he went to NCCU thinking he would play both small forward and power forward. He said he didn’t get to play much at the three spot for NCCU, which would have allowed him to handle the ball more and create.
Yet dominating the basketball is not the main thing, Kidd said, explaining that he just wanted the freedom to grab a rebound and push the break instead of having to give it up to point guard Emanuel “Poobie” Chapman, who is 10 assists aways from becoming NCCU’s all-time leader in that category.
“Sometimes I see an opening, and I feel as though I can make those certain plays,” Kidd said. “But I’m not trying to take the limelight away from Poobie, because that’s who got me most of my points.”
Kidd, who is from Baltimore, said NCCU’s offense would go through him as the trail guy, but the opportunities weren’t there for him to rub off screens and get shots.
“But I never complained; he needed me to play,” Kidd said, referring to Moton. “I’m a tough kid. That’s how I was raised — don’t spoil nothing for anybody else. Go through it, and then once you get a chance to think about it, you think about it long, you think about it hard and then you go with your decision.
“I didn’t want to mess up our chances of going to the ‘Big Dance’ and all that stuff, so I stuck with what I had to do. But it was going to be changes, I knew, after the season was over. I just didn’t want to be a cancer because something wasn’t going right with me. So I had to wait until it was the right time to settle it.”
Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax said Kidd can play outside at the three spot or get on the block as a four. His game could translate outside of the MEAC, Broadnax said.
“He’s got the skill set,” Broadnax said. “It definitely depends on the work ethic. We had to know where he was and put a body on him. Tremendous athlete.”
Kidd has one year of eligibility left, which would give him less time to mesh at the school he chooses. Now there’ll be another learning curve wherever Kidd lands, Broadnax said.
Broadnax, who played at Georgetown under John Thompson along with Patrick Ewing when the Hoyas won the national championship in 1984, said a player averaging 15 to 20 points a game in the MEAC has a body of work that stacks up well against someone averaging three to five points per contest in, say, the Big Ten.
“As a scout, I want to see what he does,” Broadnax said. “In the MEAC, we play enough major programs that people could evaluate talent.”
Kyle O’Quinn, who played in the MEAC at Norfolk State, recently finished his rookie season with the Orlando Magic. And former NCCU forward Dominique Sutton is coming off his rookie season with the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.
Kidd appreciates those examples.
“I thought about it; it is possible to get seen at Central,” Kidd said while in Baltimore resting a stress fracture on his shin.
Kidd said he likely would make his commitment to Colorado State official during a visit there June 26-28. Utah State, Towson, Kent State and Mercer have shown interest, Kidd said.
“There have been schools calling, and most of the guys that have been calling have that up-and-down type of flow of playing, which is what I’m used to playing, because that’s what I played in junior college,” Kidd said. “I mean, we played up-and-down at Central, but we also had more than 20-something sets.”
Such is the business of basketball — guys going from program to program for a shot at the NBA, Moton said.
“We respect that,” Moton said about Kidd’s decision. “Stanton was such an integral part of our team this past season, and it will be disappointing to see him go.”
Kidd, who recently turned 21, will have to sit out the coming season if he transfers to another Division I school, according to NCAA rules. He said he will use the time to work on his game and finish coursework for his undergraduate degree. Moton said Kidd was on track to graduate this coming May.
Kidd and NCCU junior Jeremy Ingram recently were named to the second team of the N.C. Collegiate Sports Information Association Men’s Basketball University Division All-State Team and both were first-team All-MEAC performers.
NCCU went 22-9 overall, 15-1 in the MEAC this past season. That added up to a second-place finish in the league and NCCU’s first 20-win season as a Division I school. Moton will come up with something to keep that going, Broadnax said.
“It’s disappointing any time you see a kid come into the MEAC and leave,” Broadnax said. “But at the same time, it’s the next man up, as far as we’re concerned. We lose seniors, but we have to make adjustments.
“I’m pretty sure (Moton’s) trying to figure it out, and he’s going to work it out and we’re going to be bumping heads again.”