2022 Draft Watch: An Early Look at Chet Holmgren and Moussa Diabate

April 11th, 2021

By Alan Lu

This time around, I decided to take the time to watch 7-0 center, Chet Holmgren and Minnehaha Academy play against Moussa Diabate and the IMG Academy in a February 6th game, with thanks to YouTube via QuadVisual.  Holmgren is a very skilled big man that operates like a point center, and he is a tremendously skilled, all-around player that is considered to be like a unicorn of sorts among big man prospects for the NBA.  The IMG Academy had far more talent on their roster overall than Minnehaha, so IMG ended up cruising to a double-digit win.  Still, Holmgren made some solid plays on both ends of the floor at times, even if he didn’t have his best game, and he was a tremendous shot blocker in this game.  Here are my thoughts on how Holmgren, Diabate, and other prospects fared on this day.

7-0 center, Chet Holmgren projects to be the top pick of the 2022 NBA Draft next year.
(Photo:
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images, via Fansided’s Busting Brackets)

Minnehaha’s 7-0 center, Chet Holmgren had a good showing in his team’s loss to the IMG Academy.  Though he struggled with his outside shot, he showed a variety of skills on both ends of the floor, and he is also did a terrific job of blocking shots in this game. Holmgren showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He was able to go to his left to score on a smooth, gliding layup.  He also drove to his right and used a spin move to score on a turnaround jumper due to possessing good agility and footwork.  He also has a solid first step to the hoop, and he would draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Holmgren was able to get the ball on a cut while running off of a screen, and that enabled him to score on an emphatic, two-handed dunk.  He also got the ball on another cut, and he dribbled in to score on a strong, two-handed jam another time.  On the downside, he also missed on a put back attempt falling away, as he struggled to score when going up against a strong opponent around the basket.

Also, Holmgren showed off solid low post scoring skills.  Early on, he was able to score on a turnaround, fadeaway jumper from the baseline.  He also showed a knack for drawing fouls when posting up to get to the free throw line.  On the downside, he had trouble holding low post position after leaping up to get an offensive rebound, and he ended up missing on a contested low post shot off the glass in traffic once.

He also hoisted up plenty of threes early on, but Holmgren was unable to connect on any of his three-point attempts from beyond the arc.  His form looked good, and he showed the confidence to take them both off the catch and dribble.  He nearly made a pull-up three on the break, but it rattled in and out that time.  Also, Holmgren struggled to make his free throws in this game, and he will need to both improve his free throw shooting and shooting stroke in the meantime.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average.  For the positives, Holmgren is a tall, skilled ball handler that can comfortably handle the ball in the open court, and at times can impressively maneuver around defenders.  On one play, he pushed the pace off of a defensive rebound, evaded swipes from multiple defenders when brining the ball up, and Holmgren threw a crisp, no-look kick out pass off the dribble to set up a score for an open, corner shooter due to possessing good ball handling skills and court vision.  He passes well off the dribble, and he would look to find the open man to get them the basketball.  He also was able to dribble towards the hoop and then pass the ball back to a cutter due to possessing good court sense.  He also would set solid on-ball screens to help his teammates score on open jump shots and drives to the hoop. 

On the downside, Holmgren was quite turnover prone in this game.  He would sometimes get balls poked away by smaller defenders when handling the ball.  He also tended to commit charging fouls when driving or posting up, which would lead him to commit offensive fouls and turnovers, though a couple of times, his opponents appeared to flop on those plays. Plus, Holmgren did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often leap up to get boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to get a couple of tough boards in traffic.  He would also tend to bring the ball up and push it quickly up the floor, and he even used a quick, behind-the-back dribble move to do so once.

Holmgren also played very good defense in this game.  He did an excellent job of blocking shots, as he would often due to so off of drives and in the post due to possessing good length, athleticism, and timing, and he showed that he can ably defend out on the perimeter as well as in the post.  He successfully stayed with an opponent on a drive from the perimeter, as he then blocked a shot so hard it ended up becoming a wedgie.  On another one of his blocks, when defending in the post, he didn’t bite on a pump fake, and he managed to block an opponent’s up and under move down low. 

He would use his length to successfully challenge three-point shots as well as shots around the basket.  He also stayed with an opposing ball handler on a drive and used a sideline as an extra defender to force his man to pass the ball.  Holmgren is a smart defender that is a tremendous shot blocker, and he has very good length and defensive positioning skills, and he also was able to get Diabate to not shoot the ball well in this game.  On the downside, he would sometimes not pick up a man in time, and he would occasionally be late on his rotations, which would lead to scramble situations.  Another time, he sagged a bit too far off his man, and he ended up allowing his opponent to score on a deep three.

In general, Chet Holmgren is an athletic, very skilled big man that has the skills to be a point center, and he also is a fantastic shot blocker that has strong defensive skills.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter, and he will need to improve his free throw shooting in the meantime.  He will also need to play on a team where he can get to play with substantially better teammates, but also be on a team where he can receive a lot of playing time in games.  If he goes the college basketball route, he may be best served to play at Gonzaga, as his former high school teammate Jalen Suggs had tremendous success there recently. Holmgren is a very talented prospect that projects to be a top 3 pick in the 2022 draft, and he is a uniquely skilled big man that could end up being a very good player in the NBA.

Moussa Diabate will be heading to Michigan to play for them next season in college basketball.
(Photo:
247Sports, via Bleacher Report)

Michigan’s incoming center, Moussa Diabate had his ups and downs for the IMG Academy in his team’s double-digit win over Minnehaha Academy.  He excelled at attacking the basket early on, but he struggled to score consistently as he especially struggled to score in the post with Holmgren back there to defend him.  He also did not rebound the ball very well, but he showed some handles and defensive skills in this game. Diabate thrived as a scorer in transition in this game.  He ran the floor to score on a powerful two-handed dunk early on.  He also ran the floor and drove up court to score on a thunderous jam another time.  Plus, he also managed to score on a strong, acrobatic finger roll layup off of a drive in transition while getting an extra free throw.

He also showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble.  Diabate used a quick ball fake to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk off of a right-handed baseline drive.  On that occasion, he showed a solid first step to the hoop, and he was able to score convincingly on that play.  Another time though, he used a pump fake on a drive to his left, but he ended up getting his shot blocked.

On the downside, he struggled to score in the post.  He would tend to get his shots blocked, even though he would use nifty moves to hoist up a fade-away jumper and an up and under move, and he struggled to score due to the strong defensive prowess of Chet Holmgren.  Diabate showed solid footwork, but he would tend to take tough, contested shots that would lead to misses.  He also attempted a corner three, but he ended up missing on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.

Also, Diabate displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  When posting up, he was able to throw a sharp pass to find an open shooter.  He also is an athletic big man that handles the ball fairly well.  He also set an on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open driving lane another time.  On the downside, on another post-up play, he drove in from the high post, but was called for traveling to commit a turnover. He didn’t grab many rebounds, but Diabate was able to chase down balls to get rebounds on both ends of the floor, and he was especially active at collecting offensive boards in this game.

Diabate also played very good defense in this game.  He excelled at blocking shots due to possessing good length, athleticism, and timing, and he was able to swat a three-point shot hard once.  He also rotated to poke a ball away to get a steal, and he also jumped on a loose ball to help his team get another.  He was quite adept at drawing charges when defending drives and in the post.  He also showed solid length and footwork to defend out on the perimeter as well as in the paint, and he excelled at contesting shots to force misses.  On the downside, there were a couple of times where he got beat off the dribble when defending opposing ball handlers, and it would lead him to commit touch fouls as a result.

In summary, Moussa Diabate didn’t have his best game, but he is a very athletic, energetic big man that defended well when he was on the court.  He will need to improve his jump shot and low post scoring skills, but his athleticism and defensive prowess could enable him to make an immediate impact at Michigan.  Currently, he may project to be a second round prospect for the 2022 draft.

IMG Academy’s 6-2 high school junior point guard, Jaden Bradley played very well in his team’s win over Minnehaha.  He excelled at making plays on both ends of the court, and he is a speedy, skilled playmaker that showed off versatile scoring skills and strong defensive skills in this game. Bradley excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball.  He showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also used a spin move to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper. 

He excelled at scoring on quick drives in transition.  He was able to score on a crafty, switch of hands layup, and he also went coast to coast and used a ball fake to score another time.  He has good speed, balance, and body control to regularly score on fast break drives.  Plus, he also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble, and he would tend to go to his right to score.  He was able to score on a floater, and he also scored in traffic over a taller player another time.  Sometimes though, he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses, and he struggled a little more when he would go to his left to try to do so.

Also, Bradley displayed solid playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that would look to find the open man, and he would throw drive and kick passes to his teammates to notch assists.  He also showed a penchant for throwing accurate long outlet passes to set up scores for his teammates in transition.  On the downside, on one drive to the hoop, he stepped out of bounds that led him to commit his lone turnover that time. Plus, Bradley also rebounded the ball well.  He showed a knack for collecting defensive rebounds, and he was able to push the ball up the court on one possession.

He also played good defense in this game.  Bradley showed a knack for poking balls away to get a plethora of steals for his team, and he also intercepted a crosscourt pass to get another steal.  He did a tremendous job of poking balls away to force turnovers, and he also was able to contest jumpers to force some misses.  On the downside, he would sometimes struggle to defend taller players, as they would shoot over him to score on a couple of occasions.

Overall, Jaden Bradley is a very athletic, skilled playmaker that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he looked to have played the best amongst all players on his team in this game.  He is a very talented prospect that could end up being picked very high in the 2023 draft.

IMG Academy’s 6-7 high school junior forward, Eric Dailey Jr. played very well in his team’s win over Minnehaha.  He excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor to help his team get the victory. Dailey excelled at knocking down jumpers to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He showed a penchant for making open, spot-up threes, and he also stepped back to make a pull-up, mid-range jumper from the left elbow. He also did a very good job of scoring in the post.  He would get deep position and outmuscle his opponents to score around the basket.  Dailey also used a pump fake to draw free throws another time.

He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  Dailey used a spin move to score off of a drive to the basket.  He tends to prefer going to his left, as he was able to draw free throws another time.  He also ran the floor and caught a long pass to score on a powerful dunk off of a drive in transition.  Sometimes though, he would rush his shots, which would lead him to miss shots in traffic.

Also, Dailey showcased satisfactory playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also can throw crisp, accurate interior passes to find teammates on the move.  He generally passes well off the dribble, and he has good court sense to find them in stride.  On the downside, he threw a hasty pass that got intercepted once.  On a drive to the hoop another time, he ended up stepping out of bounds. He also was able to leap up to get his fair share of defensive boards in this game.  On the downside, he also fouled an opponent on a tip shot due to over-aggressiveness.

Plus, he also played solid defense in this game.  Dailey did a good job of poking balls away and deflecting passes to make things difficult for his opponents, and he also was able to pounce on a loose ball to help his team get a steal.  Plus, he showed a knack for contesting jumpers as well as shots in the paint to force misses.  On the downside, sometimes he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, which would lead him to commit touch fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he accidentally screened his own teammate when defending a cut, and he likely should’ve called for a switch, as his team allowed a score that time.

Overall, Eric Dailey is an athletic, physical forward that can make plays on both ends of the floor, and his ability to shoot and score the basketball should serve him well at higher levels.  He may be a very underrated prospect, and he could potentially be a first round prospect in the 2023 draft.

IMG Academy’s 6-4 high senior guard, Tamar Bates played fairly well in his team’s win over Minnehaha.  He didn’t take many shots in this game, but he made them efficiently, and he shot the ball well to help his team get the victory. Bates excelled as a shooter in this game.  He was able to make threes both off the catch and dribble, and he also pulled up to knock down a mid-range jumper. He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Bates was able to score on a strong put back in traffic.  He also drew free throws after hoisting up a turnaround jumper off of a backdoor cut.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Bates can throw solid passes off the dribble, and he was able to make a drop off pass to set up a score for a teammate at the rim.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he also will sometimes push the pace after getting rebounds and steals.  On the downside, he would sometimes play too wildly on offense.  When handling the ball up court, he lost the ball to an opponent in transition.  Another time, he caught a ball after running off the ball to get it, but he then shuffling his feet to commit a traveling turnover.

He also was able to leap up to get his fair share of rebounds in this game.  Bates also played fairly average defense at best.  He is a fairly athletic guard that is an active help defender when he is on the court.  He would get his hands on passes to help his team get steals and deflections.  He also quickly doubled an opposing ball handler on a drive to help force a passing turnover.  On the downside, he would tend to get beat off the dribble to commit fouls and allow scores.  Another time, he rotated but didn’t even contest a three, as he allowed his man to score on that occasion.

Overall, Bates had a solid showing in this game, and he shot the ball very well amid limited touches on offense in this game.  He is a skilled sharpshooter that could play on a good division 1 team in college basketball, but he will need to improve his shot creation skills and defense.  Most likely, he will need to stay in school for several seasons, but he could project to be a shooting specialist at the NBA level if he can continue to hone his game and progress as an overall player.

Minnehaha’s 6-3 high school senior guard, Isaiah Davis played well in his team’s loss to the IMG Academy.  He especially excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he looks to be an underrated prospect that may be well deserving of a Division I scholarship in college basketball for next season. Davis did a good job of scoring in the post.  He would use strong drop step moves to score down low, and he also scored quickly another time.  He did get his shot blocked once, and he also missed an open layup another time. He also excelled at scoring on quick drives to the hoop.  Davis has a good first step to the basket, and he showed that he can finish plays using either hand.  On the downside, he also missed on a quick, rushed floater. 

Plus, he also shot the ball well from beyond the arc.  Davis was able to make open threes both off the catch and dribble in this game.  Also, he showed the ability to score on hustle plays.  Davis was able to score on a quick put back after grabbing an offensive rebound.  He also drew free throws on a tip-in after running in to get another offensive board.  He also got the ball on a backdoor cut, but he ended up missing on a contested layup that time.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average at best.  Davis looks to score quite often, but he can throw solid interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates, and he also threw a crisp interior pass to a cutter to get an assist once.  He also can throw solid passes from the post.  On the downside, he also can tend tobe inaccurate with his passes, as he threw one that got intercepted, and another sailed out of bounds.

Adding to that, Davis showed an adequate ability to rebound the basketball, and he would leap up to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He also played perhaps above average defense.  He was able to use his length to poke a ball away from an opposing ball handler to nearly get a steal.  Sometimes though, he can struggle to guard his man, which would lead him to commit touch fouls. Overall, Isaiah Davis is an athletic, physical combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball.  He will need to improve his playmaking skills, but his ability to knock down shots makes him an intriguing prospect, and he could be a player that could be worth keeping tabs on in the future.

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