Can Greg Somogyi Help the Los Angeles Lakers?

Following the 2012 NBA Draft, I wrote a piece on the greatest Gaucho baller ever, Orlando Johnson.

A fellow alumni, Johnson was a stud for UCSB on the basketball court. I enjoyed watching him display his NBA potential, and the fruition of his game was truly realized as he earned his selection as the 36th pick in the NBA Draft.

Unfortunately, Johnson always had four other teammates on the court, which wasn't a bad thing (James Nunnally was a baller), but at times it could be downright awful.

One of those teammates was Greg Somogyi.

The 7'3", 240 pound center with a 7'9" wingspan from Budapest, Hungary, averaged 12.2 minutes per game throughout his four years as a Gaucho. To say the least, those 12 minutes were often disheartening.

If the name sounds familiar, this clip is probably why. Somogyi was plastered all over SportsCenter's top plays for a rather unflattering reason during this past NBA Summer League. The clip can pretty much wrap up Somogyi's play throughout his college years — stiff, plodding, and bound to the ground.

Sadly, those descriptions become far worse once you get to the offensive end of the court. Despite being able to touch the rim without even jumping, Somogyi never dominated in the post against his fellow Mid-major opponents.

In his four years of ball, Somogyi's career high was just 16 points, and overall he averaged 3.5 points per game. Somogyi has no offensive game whatsoever, and pretty much all he can do is dunk the ball or finish a putback. Unless he gets spoon-fed, Somogyi cannot put the ball in the hoop. Although his prospect video shows a couple clips of him hitting some jumpers, those five clips or so were pulled from nearly 1,500 minutes of play, so don't get all worked up. Despite possessing a clear advantage in the post, Somogyi failed to develop a go-to move — a simple two dribble hook shot or dropstep and finish would have worked wonders.

You are probably wondering why I am writing this mean-spirited column about my fellow alumni. Well, let me answer that for you.

After playing for the Los Angeles Lakers Summer League team and averaging 1.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 7.2 minutes of Summer League play, Somogyi was signed by the Lakers on September 5, 2012, to a non-guaranteed contract.

So, pretty much, I'm a hater. My fellow alumni just signed to my favorite team. Damn. I should be proud, right? Unfortunately, I think I'm jealous.

Somogyi will essentially serve as a practice player throughout training camp, and he most likely won't make the official roster once the season opens, but hey, he can claim that he was signed to the Los Angeles Lakers — that in itself is quite an achievement.

Let's just say, the man won the lottery genetics. Pretty much anyone over 7'0" is going to draw interest from the NBA, and Somogyi is no different.

However, despite his obvious limitations, Somogyi does carry some redeeming qualities. Somogyi actually has a pretty good knack for timing his blocks. He's not Anthony Davis or anything, but Somogyi's long arms and instinctive timing are quite serviceable. In fact, Somogyi averaged a block for every eight minutes played throughout his college career (7.989 to be exact) — not bad at all, quite impressive actually. In one of his most impressive games, Somogyi posted a career high, and UCSB record, with eight blocks against Fresno St. in a narrow 64-60 victory during his sophomore campaign in '09-'10. Overall, Somogyi finished his UCSB career in second place on the all-time blocks school record with 181.

However, there is a bit of an asterisk to his defensive prowess, namely, Somogyi rarely faced anyone even remotely close to his size. The NBA will feature far greater athletes with size and speed that Somogyi has never encountered before. However, this clip may foreshadow Somogyi's NBA potential.

Overall, I'd love to see Somogyi develop into a reliable center in the NBA. He has all the tools, now he just needs to refine them. Seven footers are notorious for developing slowly, and maybe Somogyi will actually turn into something one day. Like they say, "You can't teach size" — 7'3" is 7'3", there's nothing that can change that. If you recall, D.J. Mbenga played in 49 games for the Lakers throughout the '09-'10 season, so anything is possible.

I doubt Somogyi will ever develop into a star, or even a starter, but he may carve out a niche as a reliable defensive force in the NBA. Take a look at his prospect video, there's some potential there.

So here's to you Greg Somogyi. Best of luck. I may be jealous of your NBA achievement, but I'll root for you nonetheless — especially if you are a member of the Lakers.

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