2021 Draft Watch: Assessing Caleb Love and Cam’Ron Fletcher
September 20th, 2020
By Alan Lu
Yesterday, the Boston Celtics won Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals in the 2020 NBA playoffs against the Miami Heat, and I thought it would be a good time to watch Caleb Love play, who is from St. Louis, the same city that Jayson Tatum is from. I decided to take the time to watch North Carolina’s 6-3 incoming freshman guard, Caleb Love play for CBC in a high school basketball game against Vashon that took place on February 18th, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via DJCFTV. Caleb Love is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can really take it to the rack to score the basketball, and he currently projects to go in the first round in 2021. As it was another opportunity to see him play, I also took the time to watch Kentucky’s incoming freshman forward, Cam’Ron Fletcher, and Vashon’s 6-5 guard Nicholas Kern. Here are my thoughts on how they fared, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.
Caleb Love is an athletic, skilled combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball. He is a solid shooter that can knock down shots off the catch or dribble, and he has a nifty crossover move that he can use to lull his defenders to sleep prior to scoring on pull-up jumpers from downtown. He took many threes in volume, but he showed that he can comfortably knock down outside shots, as he seemed to particularly excel at making pull-up jumpers from beyond the arc. However, he struggled to make them consistently from the mid-range area in this game.
He also showed a solid ability to score on half-court drives. He has a quick crossover move that he can use to get past defenders, and he can ably score on floaters and also can regularly finish plays in traffic. Love did a tremendous job of drawing free throws, and he showed a knack for finding ways to draw numerous fouls upon his defenders to get to the foul line. Sometimes though, he would take tough shots that would lead to misses, as he would occasionally struggle to score when he didn’t get foul calls.
Plus, he also can score on hustle plays. Love was able to get the ball around the basket, as he managed to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup. He also will draw fouls by taking the ball hard to the hoop in transition and off of put backs to get to the free throw line. However, sometimes he would miss his shots wildly when taking it to the hoop on the break due to rushing.
On the other hand, Love was fairly turnover prone in this game. He started off the ball at the onset of this contest, and while he showed some ability to potentially run the point in the future, Love was also quite mistake prone at times with the ball in his hands. He tended to commit ball-handling turnovers, as he would get the ball ripped away when handling it in traffic, and he also committed a charging foul when taking the ball to the rim another time. He also threw an errant, wildly inaccurate pass that ended up getting intercepted early on. For the positives though, he can throw solid passes off the dribble, and he can find open teammates on the break. He can make good reads when he plays under control, and there are times where he displays the court vision necessary to be able to run the point effectively at higher levels.
Also, Love did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase down balls to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he would sometimes bring the ball up the court afterwards. However, he had trouble blocking out taller players, and there would be times where they would grab rebounds and then score over him.
He also played decent defense in this game. Love is an active help defender that would play passing lanes, and he quickly intercept passes to get steals and deflections due to possessing solid athleticism and anticipation skills. He also caught a ball that a teammate poked to him to help his team force another turnover. Also, he managed to contest a three-point shot to force a miss another time. However, sometimes he would gamble for steals too much, which would lead him to wander and end up being out of position to guard his man, which would lead his team to allow scores. Other times, he struggled a bit to contest jumpers, as his lack of size would make it tough for him to guard taller players.
Overall, Caleb Love is a speedy score-first combo guard that can put up points in a hurry, and he could be a really intriguing prospect if he shows that he can ably run the point at higher levels. His ability to get buckets combined with having solid athletic gifts could enable him to be a likely first round pick in 2021, as he may have the skills to project to be a solid role player in the NBA.
Kentucky’s 6-6 incoming freshman forward, Cam’Ron Fletcher had a solid showing to lead Vashon to a solid win over CBC. He played a solid all-around game, and he is a very athletic player that can make plays to help his team on both ends of the floor.
Fletcher did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays. He has good hands to catch passes on the break, and he would frequently score on high-flying dunks in transition. He caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk once, and he also drove the ball to the rim to score on a speedy layup in transition. Plus, he also managed to score on a strong put back while getting an extra free throw after getting an offensive rebound. Sometimes though he would go in too fast though, which would lead to misses.
He also did a good job of knocking down corner threes to space the floor for his team. Fletcher showed that he can ably score on open three-point shots off the catch, and he also has a quick release that allows him to get his shot off. Plus, he also managed to score on a long two from the baseline.
He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills. Fletcher didn’t look to pass the ball too often, but he can swing the ball to find the open man on offense. However, he did commit a couple of turnovers, though. He threw a hasty rushed pass after getting a defensive rebound that got picked off early on. He also had a ball poked away after collecting another defensive board, although he seemed like he was fouled beforehand in the backcourt.
Also, Fletcher did a good job of rebounding the basketball. He would chase down balls to help his team get boards on both sides of the ball, and sometimes he would bring the ball up afterwards. However, he was called for an over the back foul when going for a defensive board late in this game.
Plus, he also played fairly good defense. Fletcher is an active help defender that will look to get steals, and he will actively contest shots to get stops on the defensive end. He ran in to intercept a pass to get a steal, and he also jumped on a loose ball that his teammate poked away to help his team get another. He also would use his length and positioning to contest jump shots to force numerous misses. However, sometimes he would bite on ball fakes when defending opponents off the dribble, and other times he would be late on his rotations. Sometimes though, he would get beat off the dribble, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.
Overall, Cam’Ron Fletcher is a very athletic player that could project into a 3 and D type of role in the NBA. He is a versatile scorer that can knock down spot-up jumpers and also can score using off-ball movement, and he also can finish plays above the rim. He also is a solid defender that can guard opponents out on the perimeter. It will be interesting to see how well he will play at Kentucky, and if he plays up to his ability, he could end up being a solid role player at the NBA level.
Vashon’s high school junior guard, Nicholas Kern played very well to lead his team to a win over CBC. He is a very athletic player that excels at attacking the hoop to score the basketball, and he also is very quick with the ball in his hands. He also is a solid defender that can make numerous plays on the ball, and Kern had a tremendous showing to lead his team to get the victory.
He did a good job of taking the ball to the rim to get numerous scores off the dribble. Kern is a speedy player that can go coast to coast with the basketball, he has a series of moves that he can use to get past his man, and he would often accelerate to score on quick, acrobatic layups around the basket. He also would take the ball strong to the hoop to score. He also can draw plenty of fouls, and he will absorb the contact to get extra free throws after scoring on aggressive drives in transition. Sometimes though, he would tend to try to take tough shots in traffic too much, which would lead to some misses.
He also showed a knack for scoring off cuts and in the post. Kern would slip behind the defenses to get the ball off of cuts, which would allow him to score and get free throws for his team. He also managed to score after being left open around the basket, and he also backed down his man to draw free throws on a strong layup another time. Though he didn’t take many shots from outside of the paint, Kern was able to make an open corner three off the catch, as he had ample time and space to get his shot off.
Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills. Kern can throw solid, timely passes to find open teammates to set up scores for them. He was able to throw an accurate lob pass to set up an alley-oop dunk, and he also would find cutters to get them the ball on the move. However, he was also a bit turnover prone. Sometimes he would over-dribble, as he would occasionally lose the ball when making a move to the hoop. He also was called for committing an offensive foul after lowering his shoulder when posting up, though his opponent had appeared to have flopped that time.
Kern also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball. He would often leap up to get defensive rebounds, and he would chase down balls to get them for his team. He would tend to push the ball up the court, and he was an excellent scorer for his team in transition. He was a constant threat to score the second he would get a defensive rebound, as he can really push the ball up the court to score on fast break drives.
He also played solid defense in this game. He is an active help defender that can get steals and blocks for his team, and Kern showed that he may have the skills to be a shut-down defender in the future. Kern would use his length and quickness to poke balls away to help his team get steals, and he also rotated to block a shot ferociously off the glass to a teammate due to possessing good athleticism, timing, and instincts. He also would hustle to contest jump shots to force misses. Sometimes though, he would be late to contest shots though, and he would misplay balls that would lead his team to allow scores.
Overall, Nicholas Kern is a very athletic, energetic swingman that has a solid set of all-around skills. He will need to be more comfortable in taking jumpers from outside of the paint area, and he will likely need to work on his jump shot, but he looks to be a very underrated prospect that could end up being a first round pick in the future, as he may have the skills to be a solid role player in the NBA.
This was another opportunity to watch CBC’s 6-4 high school sophomore guard, Larry Hughes Jr. While he made some solid plays at times, he put forth an uneven performance overall in his team’s loss to Vashon. Hughes is an adequate shooter that can knock down open threes off the catch. He can spot-up to score on three-point shots, but he also was too streaky with his shot at times, and he will need to be more consistent in knocking those down from beyond the arc.
He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble. Late in this game, Hughes managed to use a series of nifty crossover moves to get past his man, as he drew a foul on a stunningly, quick drive to the hoop to get to the free throw line. However, he missed on a rushed floater when attempting to score on a baseline drive another time.
He also was able to score on a quick backdoor cut to the hoop once. However, he also had his shot blocked off of a cut when trying to score on a separate play. Also, Hughes displayed adequate playmaking skills. He was able to throw a long outlet pass to find an open teammate on the break once, and he also set a good on-ball screen to help get his teammate an open jump shot to score late in this game.
Though he didn’t get many boards in this game, Hughes was able to chase down several balls to get his fair share of defensive rebounds for his team. However, he was unable to box out a taller player once, which led his team to allow a score on a put back. He also displayed adequate defensive skills. Hughes managed to swipe a ball away from an opposing ball handler, as he poked it to a teammate to help his team get a steal. He also poked a ball away from an opponent that went out of bounds to nearly get another. However, he whiffed on a steal attempt when defending an opposing ball handler another time, which led his teammate to rotate to foul the opponent. Another time, he got outmuscled when defending in the post, which led him have to foul his man.
Overall, Hughes is an athletic combo guard, but he will need to be more consistent on both ends of the floor to be able to elevate his game and take it to the next level. He struggled to score in traffic when he wouldn’t get foul calls, and he will need to be more assertive on offense. Big things are expected from him for the 2020-21 season, as he could end up being CBC’s primary scorer. If he can work on making shots more efficiently and be a more focused defender in games, that could go a long way for him, and over time, if things pan out for him, he could perhaps end up being a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA.
Also, Boston Celtics’ star forward, Jayson Tatum made an appearance at the CBC-Vashon game that was played on February 18th. He was rooting for his dad’s school, CBC, but Vashon was able to get the win instead in a very competitive game between the two schools.