2022 Draft Watch: Evaluating Daimion Collins

May 26th, 2021

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Kentucky’s incoming 6-9 freshman forward, Daimion Collins play.  He’s been getting some draft buzz for the 2022 draft, and he is a candidate that could get selected in the lottery next year.  Therefore, I decided to take the time to watch him play in a February 27th, high school basketball game for Atlanta High against Mineola, with thanks to YouTube via Texarkana Gameday.  Collins had his ups and downs, but overall he was able to make a string of impressive plays down the stretch to help lead his team to get the win.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared, as well where his game may stack up for the NBA.

Kentucky’s 6-9 incoming freshman forward, Daimion Collins is a very athletic high-flyer whose ability to finish plays above the rim and strong shot-blocking skills could enable him to be a first round pick in the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Daimion Collins is a very athletic big man that primarily excelled as an interior player to help his team get a tough win over Mineola.  He showed a knack to score off of one-on-one situations, and he also grabbed many rebounds and was a terrific shot blocker in this game. Collins showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He ran the floor to catch a lob pass to score on an emphatic, alley-oop dunk midway through this match.  He also quickly drove up the court to score on a thunderous jam late in this game.  He also was able to score on tip slam as well as on a put back another time.  Plus, he also will absorb the contact to draw fouls upon his opponents to frequently get to the free throw line.

He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  Collins drove hard to his right to score on an emphatic, two-handed slam.  Collins would often barrel to the hoop to draw many free throws.  He would often do so on aggressive, straight-line drives, but he can sometimes use ball fakes or subtly dribble moves to also draw fouls upon his opponents.

Also, Collins showed an adequate ability to score in the post.  He has a fairly basic set of moves that he will go to score over smaller defenders from the block, and he also is quite adept at drawing fouls to get to the free throw line.  Collins aggressively dribbled to his left to score on a quick, switch of hands layup.  He also lowered his shoulder to score over a smaller defender while getting to the free throw line.  He also used a drop step move to his left to score on a switch of hands layup. However, he can sometimes get his footwork jumbled up, which can lead to misses.  He would sometimes miss on awkward, turnaround jumpers.  He also missed on a switch of hands turnaround jump hook another time.

He also struggled to make shots from further out, and he also would sometimes display spotty shot selection.  On one good play, Collins was able to calmly knock down a pull-up three over a smaller opponent on the break.  On the downside, he really struggled to score on threes or mid-range jumpers either off the catch or dribble, and he would tend to settle for taking long two-point shots too often.

Adding to that, Collins displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  For the positives, he was effective as a passer out of the post.  He can find open shooters, and when doubled once, he was able to quickly find a cutter to notch an assist.  He also threw a long inbounds pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  He also will look to make passes off the dribble at times, and he also set an on-ball screen to help a teammate score on an open jump shot.

On the downside, sometimes he would be careless when handling the basketball, which can result in turnovers.  Collins can tend to over-dribble into traffic, and he would struggle to protect the ball and try to do too much on offense.  He can tend to be too loose with his handles and he would end up losing the basketball, and he also fell and traveled on the ground another time.  He also continually would get the ball poked away when handling it off the dribble or in the post.  He would sometimes telegraph his passes, as he had a ball deflected out of bounds, and he also appeared to get away with setting a moving screen on a separate possession. Collins did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would quickly leap up and chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor due to possessing good athleticism, motor, and instincts.  He also would sometimes push the ball quickly up the floor after getting defensive rebounds for his team.

Plus, Collins also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He is especially effective as a shot blocker in the paint, and he would often rotate on drives and in the post to swat shots due to possessing good athleticism, length, and timing.  He would sometimes swat shots and direct balls to his teammates, and he also excelled at rotating to contest shots off of drives to force numerous misses.  He also managed to jump an entry pass quickly to get a steal.

However, even though he would rotate and be in the area to contest shots in the paint, he would sometimes choose not to contest shots, which would cause him to give opponents easy baskets at the rim.  He also tended to sag too far off of shooters when defending out on the perimeter.  He also would sometimes overcompensate and be too aggressive when defending opponents off the dribble, as he would sometimes miss on a steal attempt or bite on a pump fake, and he would sometimes be late on his rotations or end up out of position defensively.

In general, Daimion Collins is a very athletic, versatile combo forward that can do a little bit of everything when he is on the court.  He is an intriguing prospect that may possess a great deal of upside, but he will need to play more under control, and he will need to improve his jump shot.  Currently, he projects to be a mid to late first round pick in the 2022 draft, and if things pan out for him, he could end up being a solid player similar to Detroit Pistons’ forward, Jerami Grant in the NBA.

Atlanta High’s 6-2 high school junior guard, Alex Boston also played well in his team’s win over Mineola.  He excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender in this game, and he had a solid all-around game to help lead his team to get the victory. Boston showed a knack for making open, spot-up threes off the catch, and he was able to make a couple of them from way out.  He also managed to score on an aggressive baseline drive to the hoop.  Another time though, he missed completely when he drove into traffic on a separate play.

He also did a good job of passing the basketball.  Boston used a behind the back crossover to dribble to the post, and he then found a cutter to notch an assist.  He showed a penchant for throwing crisp, accurate entry passes and for getting the ball to open shooters to set scores for them.  On the downside, on one drive in transition, he was called for a traveling violation once, as he took one too many steps after having picked up his dribble. Also, Boston was able to leap up to get his fair share of rebounds in this game.  He was quite active at crashing the glass to get offensive boards.  On one play though, he was called for pushing an opponent when going for a defensive board another time.

Plus, he also played adequate defense.  Boston would get his hands on passes and poke balls away to get numerous steals, and he also recovered to block a shot off of a drive out of bounds.  On the downside, sometimes he would not contest shots around the basket despite having rotated to the area.  He also would sometimes struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, which would cause him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Alex Boston had a solid showing in his team’s win over Mineola.  He may not possess ideal size or physical tools to play either backcourt position, but he is a good shooter, he plays unselfishly, and he was also an active help defender in this game.  His ability to shoot combined with his basketball IQ could enable him to play in college basketball sometime in the future.

Mineola’s 5-11 high school sophomore point guard, T.J. Moreland shot the ball really well in his team’s loss to Atlanta.  He showed a very good ability to make spot-up threes off the catch.  He also made a step-back long two off the dribble, and he also scored on a quick floater another time.  He struggled more to shoot off the dribble, and he also was unable to consistently make threes from way out.

Overall, Moreland is a good shooter that can leverage the threat of his jump shot to score off the dribble.  He will need to improve his playmaking and defensive skills, as he didn’t really stand out in those aspects.  His lack of size or physical tools may make it tough for him to excel at higher levels, but his strong ability to shoot the basketball could allow him to play in college basketball, and if he shows that he can continue to play well at higher levels, it could allow him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball.

Mineola’s 6-1 high school senior point guard, Jonah Fischer also played well in his team’s loss to Atlanta.  He primarily excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game.  He showed that he can comfortably knock down threes both off the catch and dribble, and he showed off strong outside shooting skills.  He also was able to score on an acrobatic layup on a drive to the hoop, and he would go to his right to score and draw fouls upon his defenders.  On the downside, he would struggle to score in traffic when he would not get foul calls, which would lead to some awkward misses. He also is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he can pass off the dribble to notch some assists.  However, he can sometimes be careless with the ball in his hands, which can lead to turnovers.  He threw an inaccurate pass that led to a team turnover, and he also over-dribbled that led to another.

Also, Fischer was able to chase down balls to get several defensive boards, and he would tend to push the ball quickly up the court afterwards.  He also played adequate defense.  He would play passing lanes to get deflections, and he also successfully drew a charge when defending on a drive.  On the other hand, there was one play where he committed a blocking foul on a drive.

Overall, Fischer is a sharpshooter that can score in a variety of ways.  He will need to improve his playmaking skills and also show that he can guard opponents at higher levels.  His ability to shoot and score could allow him to play college basketball.  Though he may lack ideal size or physical tools, his ability to knock down jump shots could enable him to carve out a playing career in professional basketball, especially if he can show that he can consistently play well at the higher levels.

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