2021 Draft Watch: First Look at Earl Timberlake and Hunter Dickinson

September 23rd, 2020

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Miami’s incoming 6-5 freshman point forward, Earl Timberlake play for DeMatha Catholic in a high school basketball game against Paul VI that took place on January 28th, as I saw this with thanks to YouTube via Ballislife.  Earl Timberlake went up against future Duke freshman guard, Jeremy Roach, and it was a close game that went all the way to the wire, but DeMatha Catholic was able to hold on to get the win.  Here are my thoughts on how Earl Timberlake fared, and how his game may translate to the NBA.

Miami’s 6-5 incoming freshman point guard, Earl Timberlake is a very athletic, skilled playmaker whose ability to facilitate, defend, and score could enable him to potentially end up being a first round pick in the 2021 draft.
(Photo:
Will Newton/The Washington Post)

Earl Timberlake is an athletic, energetic point guard that plays unselfishly, and he also is a solid defender that can get numerous stops for his team.  He had his ups and downs, but his athleticism, combined with his ability to facilitate and defend may make him an intriguing prospect for the 2021 draft.

He excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Timberlake was able to score on a put back after leaping up to get an offensive rebound, and he possesses a solid motor that enables him to get to boards quickly.  He also showed solid speed in the open court, and he was able to score on an aggressive drive in transition. 

However, Timberlake just didn’t take enough shots on offense.  On a half-court drive, he took the ball hard to the hoop in traffic, but he wound up missing that time.  Also, he really struggled to knock down long-range jumpers in this game.  While he did draw three free throws on a step back three, he ended up missing on three of his pull-up three-point attempts from beyond the arc.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Timberlake is a pass-first, table-setter that will find people off the dribble and in transition, and he also can pass out of the post to set up scores for his teammates.  However, he was also quite turnover prone.  He tended to commit ball-handling turnovers, and he will tend to do too much and over-dribble on offense. He would tend to be called for traveling violations, and he also lost the ball handling it another time.   On a separate play, he split a double team on a drive in transition, only to be called for a charging foul.  He also threw a high entry pass that was dropped by a teammate that led to another turnover.

Timberlake also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was very active at crashing the glass, and he would haul in plenty of boards on both ends of the floor.  He would sometimes bring the ball up off of defensive boards, and he also tipped a ball to a teammate to help his team get another.

He also played solid defense.  Timberlake is a very good shot blocker that would rotate on drives in transition to swat shots due to possessing good athleticism, positioning, and timing, and he also would get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  Timberlake did a good job of staying in front of his opponents, and he also excelled at contesting shots to force misses.

In general, Earl Timberlake is a talented prospect that has solid defensive skills, and his pass-first mentality could allow him to integrate well into a complementary role at higher levels.  He will need to improve his jump shot and ability to play in a half-court offense, but he could be a prospect worth taking in the late first to the second round range in the 2021 draft, as he could end up being a similar player to Memphis Grizzlies’ guard, De’Anthony Melton in the association.

Michigan’s incoming 7-1 freshman center, Hunter Dickinson played very well to help get DeMatha Catholic a tough win over Paul VI in this game.
(Photo:
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images, via The Toledo Blade)

Michigan’s incoming 7-1 freshman center, Hunter Dickinson had an impressive showing as he really stood out with his strong offensive skills, and he played a solid all-around game to help DeMatha Catholic get the win over Paul VI.

Dickinson did a great job of scoring on quick, open spot-up threes off the catch.  He is a sharpshooter that showed off a very good ability to knock down jump shots, and he would take advantage of making shots from long-range whenever opponents would leave him open.

He also showed a fairly good ability to score in the post.  He would frequently establish getting deep position down low, and he showed a deft scoring touch around the basket.  On one play, Dickinson backed his man down to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk, and he also managed to score on a turnaround jump hook another time.  Plus, Dickinson would tend to draw free throws to get to the foul line, although he struggled to make them when he was there.  He also managed to score on a put back off of an offensive rebound.  However, sometimes he would miss on turnaround jumpers around the basket, as he would occasionally struggle to score in traffic when he wouldn’t get foul calls.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Dickinson is a fairly good passer from the post, as he showed a willingness to consistently find the open man, and he also can find cutters to set up scoring chances for them.  However, sometimes he would struggle to make plays in the post as he had some trouble when facing ball pressure.  He had a ball poked away when doubled once, and he also committed a clear-out foul when trying to pass out of the post another time.  He also dropped an inaccurate pass on a separate play, and he also threw an errant pass that sailed out of bounds on another possession.

Also, Dickinson did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was quite active at crashing the glass, and he showed that he can get tough boards to help his team on the glass.  He also played solid defense.  Dickinson did a good job of blocking shots in this game.  He rotated to swat a shot off of a drive ferociously out of bounds due to possessing solid timing, length, and instincts, and he also made a clutch block on a three-point shot to help his team win the game.  He generally excelled at contesting shots to force misses, and he also quickly deflected a pass out of bounds due to possessing solid anticipation skills.

Overall, Hunter Dickinson is a tall, big-bodied center that can shoot and score the basketball, and he also is a solid rebounder and defender that tends to put himself in good spots to make plays consistently when he is on the floor.  He may be a very underrated prospect, and if he can continue to play well and hone his game, he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Duke’s incoming 6-2 freshman point guard, Jeremy Roach had his ups and downs for Paul VI in his team’s loss to DeMatha Catholic.  He is an agile, skilled playmaker that can score the basketball in a variety of ways and run a team’s offense, but he also was inconsistent in making shots and also struggled with turnovers in this game.

Roach showed an adequate ability to score on aggressive drives to the hoop.  He tends to favor going to his right, but he was able to score on several acrobatic, layups, and he can quickly get to the rim.  However, he tended to miss floaters, and he also would sometimes take tough shots that would lead to misses in traffic.

He also showed an adequate ability to knock down jumpers.  Roach was able to make a pair of spot-up threes off the catch, and he can effectively knock down long-range jumpers from beyond the arc.  However, he really struggled to score on pull-up jumpers, and he especially had trouble making mid-range shots on offense.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Roach is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he will throw timely passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He can find them on the move, and he also does a good job of throwing interior passes off the dribble to get his teammates the basketball.  However, he would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers due to carelessness, and he would sometimes mishandle the basketball. 

Plus, Roach was able to get a pair of defensive boards, and in this game, he showed a willingness to help his team get some rebounds on that end of the floor.  Roach also played above average defense.  He also ran down a loose ball that his teammate deflected to him to help his team get a steal, and he also deflected a pass out of bounds due to possessing solid range and quickness.

In summary, Jeremy Roach is a table-setting point guard that can do a little bit of everything, but he will need to take smarter shots and also cut down on turnovers on offense.  Currently, he may project to be a borderline second-round candidate for the 2021 draft.

DeMatha Catholic’s 6-4 guard, Jordan Hawkins excelled as a shooter and scorer to help his team get the win.  He did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes to space the floor, and he excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he scored on a tip-in and also would draw free throws on cuts to the basket.  Overall, he is an agile combo guard that shoots the ball well, and he could be a prospect to keep an eye on in the future.

Paul VI’s 5-9 point guard, Dug McDaniel played very well in his team’s loss to DeMatha Catholic.  He excelled at making quick threes off the catch as well as at scoring on quick drives in transition, and he is a feisty defender that would hound opposing ball handlers to get a plethora of steals.  He also would jump passes to get steals and deflections, and he really excelled at helping his team force turnovers.  While he showed off average playmaking skills on offense, he can find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for them, and he can throw solid passes off the dribble.  However, he also had a couple of his passes intercepted another time.

Overall, Dug McDaniel is a tenacious defender that excelled at pestering his opponents to get many steals and stops for his team, and he did a good job of making shots efficiently from all over the floor.  He will need to cut down on his turnovers, but he is a skilled point guard that could be a prospect to watch in the future.

Paul VI’s 6-5 then-high school junior guard, Trevor Keels turned in an uneven performance in his team’s loss to DeMatha Catholic.  He showed that he can score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he also scored on a roll to the rim.  Although he made a trail three on the break, Keels struggled to consistently knock down threes or mid-range jumpers in this game.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Keels has good foot speed, and he showed that he can quickly get into the lane and throw long passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates on the break.  He also rebounded and defended well.  He was able to rotate to block a three-point shot to a teammate, and he also poked a ball away when rotating to the post to get a steal.  He was quite active on the defensive end, and he is a solid defender that can consistently get stops for his team.

Overall, Keels is an athletic, combo guard that can do a little bit of everything, but he will need to improve his jump shot moving forward, as that could increase his odds to make an NBA team’s roster someday.

DeMatha’s 6-3 guard, Will Reynolds did a very good job of throwing down impressive dunks to score the basketball, and he also made a wide-open three off the catch.  Early on, he ran in to score on a magnetic tip slam, and he also drove in to score on a high-flying jam later on.  Reynolds is a very athletic player that thrives at scoring in transition, and he is a very underrated prospect that has the skills to play in NCAA’s Division 1 college basketball in the future.

Other Notes, Part II:

The video quality of this film was actually pretty shoddy, as there were parts of this footage that were quite blurry, and it did not even look to be standard definition-quality.  Also, the uniforms of DeMatha Catholic did not help, as their light jersey and numbers blended in together, so it made it very hard to see certain jersey numbers.  The only consistent way to know who was on the floor was by listening to the telecast, but every once in a while, some information would be left out, like who made the pass on the play, or so forth.  For anyone else that had planned on watching this film for scouting purposes, I would not recommend it, as the video quality for this game was just not very good.

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