Kivuvu, a third-year academy player who made the jump to the men’s squad last year, will look to build on his time with the seniors in the 2021/22 season. At 18 years old, KV’s potential is clear as day and the upcoming season will offer him a great chance to develop alongside a roster of seasoned pros.
Standing at 6’8”, Kivuvu will add size and depth to the Rockets’ frontcourt rotation. His physical profile allowed him to dominate physically at the youth level, and while he will need to work harder to impose himself with the men’s team he certainly has the tools to wreak havoc in the paint. He averaged over three rebounds in only ten minutes per game over his 15-game run for the men’s team last season, suggesting that he is already physically developed enough to give battle-hardened vets a challenge down low, and he will only continue to pack on muscle over the coming years. Coach Pearson has been impressed by KV’s work ethic ahead of the new season, commenting that he “has done a great job to prepare his body physically for this level and he has an eagerness to develop that we are looking forward to harnessing throughout the season.”
While KV will absolutely need to grow as a player to earn more minutes on a loaded roster, he’s already shown flashes of remarkable versatility on both ends of the court. He’s shown great rim protection at times, blocking shots and acting as a deterrent to opposing guards driving to the hoop. With time and experience, his physical attributes suggest he could be a defensive stud in the future and his paint presence translates to the offensive side of the ball too. Though his attempts were limited, he shot over 65% for the men’s team last year. His motor and size allow him to impose himself on defenders in the post, brushing off smaller players for easy looks at the rim.
While many young players with KV’s physical gifts can be prone to tunnel vision at times, passing up easy shots for teammates when they get the ball down low, KV has also proven himself a willing and capable passer. Whether kicking the ball out or hitting a cutter from the high post, KV’s time with the youth team saw him making passes that suggest he can operate well within the flow of an offense where he has strong shooters around him. If he can develop into a threat capable of collapsing the defense with strong play around the basket, he could generate a lot of good shots for Coach Pearson’s offense.
With the size and length to be a disruptive defender and buckets of potential on offense, KV is a hugely exciting talent and is ready to make a big impact inside for the Rockets this season. We can’t wait to see him develop this season as he takes to the court in the number 14 jersey!