2021 Draft Watch: First Look at Marcus Bagley and Devin Askew

September 18th, 2020

By Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to watch Marvin Bagley’s younger brother, Marcus Bagley play in a high school basketball game for Sheldon against Devin Askew and Mater Dei that took place on December 21st, 2019, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via BallerTV.  Devin Askew is a young, skilled point guard that will be playing at Kentucky for the 2020-21 season, and I tuned in to see him play, but I came away more impressed with the athleticism and the skills of Arizona State commit, Marcus Bagley.  This game went into overtime, as Sheldon High School held on to get the narrow win over Mater Dei.  Here are my thoughts on how both of the prospects fared, and how their games may stack up currently.

Arizona State’s incoming 6-7 freshman forward, Marcus Bagley is a skilled player that could make an immediate impact for them right away in college basketball.
(Photo:
Dave Gershon Photography, via Sports Stars Mag)

Marcus Bagley is an athletic, skilled swingman that can score the basketball in a variety of ways, and he had a solid showing to help lead Sheldon High to a tough win over Mater Dei.  While he may be overshadowed by his higher profile NBA brother, Bagley may be an underrated prospect that could make an immediate impact at Arizona State for the upcoming season.

Bagley is a solid shooter that can knock down long-range shots to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He has a lot of range on his shot, as he can make them off the catch, and he also can dribble up to score on pull-up jumpers from beyond the arc.

Plus, he really excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He would tend to score on backdoor cuts, as he caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk, and he also managed to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup.  Early on, he ran in to score on an athletic tip slam off of an offensive rebound, and he also would score off of put backs and in transition.  He did a great job of crashing the glass to get offensive boards, and he also would run the floor to get open for fast break scoring opportunities. Also, he also showed an adequate ability to score on half-court drives.  He was able to score on a strong, left-handed drive once, but he missed when going to his right in traffic another time.

However, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Bagley is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he can throw long outlet passes to set up scores for his teammates on the break.  Plus, he will set screens to help his teammates get open driving lanes to the basket.  However, he tended to throw ill-advised, hasty passes that would go astray, and sometimes he would commit ball-handling turnovers.  He slipped on the floor once as he was called for traveling, and he also committed a charging foul on a drive after attempting to score on a floater. In addition, Bagley did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would leap up to get tough offensive boards in traffic, and he would go up to aggressively get defensive rebounds to help his team on the glass.

Plus, he also played decent defense in this game.  Bagley was able to block a shot hard out of bounds to help his team protect the paint, as he displayed good athleticism, timing, and instincts to do so.  He also will actively contest three-point shots to force misses, and he was able to successfully draw charges when defending drives to help get stops for his team.  Sometimes though, he would not communicate to his teammates on how to defend the screens, which would cause his team to allow opponents to score on jumpers.  Other times, he would have trouble staying in front of his man, and sometimes he would get beat off the dribble that would put his team in compromised situations.

In general, Marcus Bagley is an athletic, skilled basketball player that possesses versatile scoring skills, and he has the ability to excel on both ends of the floor at the NBA level.  His three-point shooting fluctuated over the course of the season, so he will need to consistently knock down shots from long-range, and he will need to make better decisions on offense to cut down on his turnovers.  He is a talented prospect that could project to go in the late first to the second round range in the 2021 draft, and he could end up being a solid role player in the NBA.

Kentucky’s incoming freshman point guard, Devin Askew is a skilled, offensive player that could project to be a second round prospect for the 2021 draft.
(Photo: Scott Varley, Daily Breeze/SCNG, via Orange County Register)

Kentucky’s 6-3 incoming freshman point guard, Devin Askew had his ups and downs for Mater Dei in his team’s tough loss to Sheldon.  He is a savvy, skilled playmaker that can knock down a variety of shots, and he can some solid passes with the ball in his hands, but he also was streaky with his jump shot, and he was far too turnover prone at times on offense.

Askew displayed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  He tended to favor going to his right, as he would drive hard to the basket to score on layups, and he also managed to get an extra free throw after scoring once.  He also would maneuver past defenders and then contort his body to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  However, he would struggle to score in traffic when he wouldn’t get foul calls, and he also had his shot blocked late in this contest.

He also showed an adequate ability to score on jumpers to provide his team with some floor spacing on offense.  Askew made a deep three-pointer after getting the ball on a dribble handoff early on, and he also pulled up to knock down a three-point shot from long-range from well out another time.  He has a lot of range on his shot, as he can make them from long distances.  However, he also missed a handful of threes, and he especially struggled more to score on pull-up jumpers in this game.

Plus, he also displayed fairly good playmaking skills.  Askew will push the ball up the court, and he can throw timely passes to find open shooters to set up scores for them.  He also can throw accurate passes off the dribble as well as in transition, and he has solid court vision that enables him to see the floor well.  He also managed to use a nifty behind the back crossover dribble move prior to throwing a crisp, drop-off pass to find an open teammate on the break to notch an assist early on.  However, Askew also committed a litany of turnovers in this game.  He would sometimes struggle to create separation when taking the ball to the rim, as he lacks an elite first step off the dribble, and he would sometimes pick up offensive fouls by clearing out with his arm, or by committing charging fouls by driving into defenders.  He also can be too careless with the basketball at times.  He took too long to inbound the ball once, as he was called for a 5-second violation, and he also dribbled the ball carelessly off of his own foot that went out of bounds another time.  He also threw a loopy inbounds pass that got intercepted by a defender later on in this match.

Also, Askew was able to get his fair share of boards to help his team get some defensive rebounds in this game.  He was able to chase down several balls to get them, and he was able to push the ball up the court off of a defensive board late in this game.

Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  Askew is an active help defender, and he will play passing lanes to help his team get steals.  He ran in to poke a ball away to a teammate in the backcourt to get a steal, and he also caught a tipped pass from a teammate to help get another.   Though he would give up considerable space to three-point shooters, he would close out hard on them to help his team force misses.   Sometimes though, he would tend to have lapses defensively.  He was caught ball watching on one play, as he didn’t close out on a shooter fast enough, which led him to allow his man to score on a three-point shot that time.  Another time, he didn’t tell a big man to switch to a mid-range shooter in time, which led his team to being late on the switch to allow the score.  He also can sometimes get beat off the dribble and off of cuts, which can put him out of position on the defensive end.

In summary, Devin Askew is a skilled playmaker that can make a variety of shots and effectively run a team at the point, but he possesses less than ideal size or physical tools for that position, which can limit his defensive potential at higher levels.  He will need to take better care of the basketball and make more jump shots consistently.  Right now, he may project to be a second round prospect, and in a favorable scenario, he could end up being an effective rotation player similar to former Los Angeles Lakers’ guard, Jordan Farmar in the association.

Other Notes:

Mater Dei’s 6-9 high school junior forward and USC-commit, Harrison Hornery is a tall jump shooter that really excelled at making quick, open three-point shots off the catch.  He can knock them down in give and go situations, as well as on pick-and-pop plays.  He also showed the ability to score on hustle plays as well as draw free throws on aggressive drives to the hoop. 

He also was an active rebounder and defender, and he would contest jump shots to force misses.  However, he also showed a penchant for committing careless turnovers at times, and he would sometimes struggle to defend his man, which would lead him to commit fouls.  Though he is not an overwhelming athlete, Hornery is a skilled, mobile big man that shoots the ball well, and he could end up being a solid role player for USC, as he was a good get for the Trojans.

Appalachian State’s incoming 6-2 freshman guard, Xavion Brown played well for Sheldon to help his team get a tough overtime win over Mater Dei in this game.  He is an athletic, combo guard that can attack the basket and he would throw down thunderous dunks off of hustle plays.  He is a good scorer off of cuts and in transition, and he also managed to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup off of a drive to the hoop. 

He is also an unselfish player that will move the ball to get assists, but he will need to improve his outside shot, as he didn’t take many shots in general, and missed his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.  Brown also rebounded the ball well, as he would aggressively leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor. 

He also played decent defense in this game.  He is an active defender, as he was able to draw a charge on a drive and deflect a pass out of bounds, and he would contest shots off the dribble to force plenty of misses.  However, he would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, as there would be times where he wouldn’t cut off penetration, and he would commit fouls and allow scores.  He also struggled to defend taller players, as his lack of size made it tough for him to contest their shots.

Overall, Xavion Brown is an athletic, energetic combo guard that can make a series of solid hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to improve his jump shot and show that he can defend taller players in games, but he looks to be a good get for Appalachian State, and he could end up being a solid player for them in college basketball.

Sheldon High’s 6-3 high school senior point guard, Josh Williams also played very well to help get his team a narrow win over Mater Dei.  He is a speedy playmaker that showed a solid ability to score on floaters off the dribble, and he also can make quick three-point shots off the catch.  He also scored on a quick, turnaround jumper after getting the ball in the mid-post, and he also was able to score on a savvy cut to the hoop.

Plus, he also showed off decent playmaking skills.  Williams can throw accurate, long passes to find teammates on the move, as he can find cutters and teammates on the break to set up scores for them.  However, sometimes he would commit careless ball-handling turnovers.  He was called for a carrying violation once, and he also charged into a defender to commit an offensive foul another time.

Williams also did a good job of rebounding the basketball, as he would chase down balls to get them, and he would sometimes push the ball up the court after getting defensive boards.  He also played fairly good defense in this game.  He was able to poke a ball away to a teammate to help his team get a steal, and he also leapt up to intercept a pass another time.  He also was able to get into his opponent’s feet to force a miss when defending in the post, and he would actively contest jump shots to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend taller players, and he also would sometimes sag too far off his man, which would cause his team to allow scores.

Overall, Josh Williams is a smart, skilled playmaker that can effectively run a team at the point, and he consistently made solid plays with the ball in his hands.  He is a player that can ably play in NCAA’s Division 1 college basketball.  Though he lacks the ideal size or physical tools for his position, he is a productive player that consistently played well when he was on the floor, and he could be an intriguing prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

Sheldon High’s 6-5 high school senior swingman, Dontrell Hewlett also played well in his team’s close win over Mater Dei.  He is a fairly athletic, energetic player that passes the ball well, and he also can score on hustle plays around the basket.  He also drew a lot of free throws towards the end of the game, and he was able to convert on plenty of them when he was at the foul line.  Plus, he also was effective at rebounding the basketball, and he also played adequate defense in this game.  He would often contest shots to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would struggle to defend his man, which would lead him to pick up quick fouls.  Overall, Hewlett had a solid showing in this game, as he played well on both ends of the floor.  He will need to improve his jump shot and be more assertive on offense moving forward, but he is an intriguing prospect that may have the talent to play in NCAA Division 1 college basketball moving forward.

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