2022 Draft Watch: First Evaluation of Jabari Smith

April 23rd, 2021

By Alan Lu

Today, I took the time to watch Auburn’s 6-9 incoming freshman forward, Jabari Smith play for Sandy Creek in a November 25th high school basketball game against Grayson, with thanks to YouTube via Byron Henry.   Jabari Smith is a very athletic, skilled all-around player that could be a top 5 pick in the 2022 draft.  Therefore, I took the time to watch him play to assess his skills.  Here are my thoughts on how he fared on that day, as well as how his game may translate to the NBA.

Auburn’s incoming freshman forward, Jabari Smith has a good set of all-around skills, and he is a versatile scorer that could be a top 5 pick in the 2022 draft.
(Photo:
Ty Freeman/HoopSeen)

Auburn’s 6-9 incoming freshman forward, Jabari Smith is a very athletic, versatile scorer that had a fairly solid showing for Sandy Creek in his team’s loss to Grayson.  He scored early and often, and he also was able to make a handful of solid defensive plays, but he also took a lot of shots, and he showed some questionable shot selection in this game. Smith excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He showed a knack for scoring on strong put backs, and he also threw down a put back dunk while getting an extra free throw once.  He also ran the floor to score on a magnetic jam on the break.  He also managed to get the ball on a backdoor cut to score on a powerful, two-handed dunk another time.

He also showed a solid ability to score off the dribble.  He would tend to go to his right to score on strong moves to the hoop.  Smith has a good first step, and he has good strength, body control, and finishing ability to regularly score on aggressive drives to the basket.  He also drew free throws on another quick, right-handed drive to the hoop. Plus, Smith was able to make a couple of spot-up threes effortlessly off the catch to show his range and shooting skills from beyond the arc.  On the downside, despite taking a lot of outside shots, he struggled to make threes or mid-range jumpers consistently, and he especially had trouble connecting on pull-up jumpers.

He also flashed the ability to score in the post.  Smith was open around the basket, as he managed to throw down a powerful dunk.  He also dribbled to the post and used a pivot move to score on a quick, turnaround jumper due to possessing solid athleticism, footwork, and shooting touch.  On the downside, he would tend to force up tough, contested jumpers, and sometimes he would rush up difficult shots, as he ended up having several of his shots blocked.

As a playmaker, he looked to be fairly average.  Smith is a tall, agile forward that can deftly handle the basketball, and sometimes he would bring the ball quickly up the floor.  He also would look to find the open man to get them the ball, and he also was able to make a drive and kick pass to set up a scoring chance once.  On the downside, he can sometimes over-dribble into traffic, and he has a high dribble that makes him vulnerable to getting the ball ripped away from him by smaller defenders, which happened to him a couple of times in this game. Also, Smith did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass, and he would leap up high to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He also would sometimes push the ball quickly up the floor after getting defensive rebounds.

Plus, he also played solid defense in this game.  He showed a knack for rotating to block shots hard to teammates to help his team protect the paint due to possessing good athleticism, length, and timing.  He also would jump on loose balls to help his team get steals, and he also was able to deflect a pass.  He also would actively contest shots in the paint to force misses.  He also showed solid footwork to defend out on the perimeter.  Sometimes though, he would sag too far off of shooters, and he would sometimes not even contest jumpers, as he would allow opponents to score on him.  He also would sometimes pick up the wrong man or be late to guard an opponent, which would put his team in compromised situations. 

In general, Jabari Smith is a very athletic, skilled forward that has a solid set of all-around skills, and he looks to be a good bet to go in the top 5 in the 2022 draft.  He is a versatile player that has a wide array of skills, and he is a very talented prospect that could end up being a good player in the NBA.

Clemson’s 6-8 incoming freshman forward, Ian Schieffelin played very well for Grayson in his team’s win over Sandy Creek.  He showed off a solid set of all-around skills, and he is a versatile player that can knock down outside shots and also play well in the post to help his team in games. Schieffelin showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers to help provide floor spacing on offense.  He was able to make pull-up jumpers from both behind the three-point line and from the mid-range, and he also made a deep three off the catch another time.  He excelled at making threes as he can do so off the catch and dribble and he showed a lot of range on his shot, but he struggled a little more to make mid-range jumpers, and he also threw up an air-ball on a fade-away long two once.

He also did a decent job of scoring in the post.  Schieffelin was able to back his man down and use a quick, strong drop step move to score while getting an extra free throw.  He also showed a knack for drawing fouls upon his defenders to frequently get to the free throw line.  On the downside, sometimes he would struggle to score on post plays, as he would sometimes struggle to find his rhythm.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Schieffelin is an unselfish player that would tend to throw solid interior passes to rack up assists, and he also passes the ball well out of the post.  He was able to throw a nifty, behind-the-back pass to find a cutter, and he showed a knack for finding them to get the ball to his teammates on the move.  On the other hand, he would sometimes struggle to handle the ball in traffic, as he dribbled off his own foot, had a ball poked away, and committed a charging foul that led him to commit ball-handling turnovers on separate offensive possessions.  He also would sometimes throw long outlet passes that would get deflected and intercepted. Also, Schieffelin did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was especially active at crashing the defensive glass, and he would sometimes leap up high to get tough defensive rebounds.  However, there was one play where he fouled an opponent from behind, as he had pushed him in the back on his opponent’s put back attempt.

He also played satisfactory defense in this game.  Schieffelin was able to poke a couple of balls away to get steals, and he would use his length to successfully contest shots in the post to force misses.  On the downside, sometimes he would get beat on moves that would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  There was another time where he didn’t call out a screen, which led his team to allow an opponent to score on a pull-up jumper.

In summary, Ian Schieffelin is an energetic, skilled forward that played well on both ends of the court.  He isn’t overwhelmingly athletic, but he is a smart, gritty player that competes relentless on both ends of the floor.  He was a good get for Clemson, and he could project to be a solid role player at the collegiate level.  Most likely, he will probably stay in college at least three or four years, but if he plays well there, he could develop into being a fairly solid NBA draft prospect sometime down the road.

Grayson’s 6-1 high school junior point guard, Tyrese Elliott also played very well in his team’s win over Sandy Creek.  He excelled as a shooter, scorer, and rebounder in this game, and he is an agile, skilled playmaker that is also a very good ball handler on the court. Elliott shot the ball very well, especially from downtown.  He is a gifted ball handler that would use quick crossover moves to make smooth, pull-up threes on unsuspecting defenders, and he also pulled up to make a three in transition another time.  He also was able to score on a pull-up, mid-range jumper once.

He also showed a decent ability to score on quick drives to the hoop.  He was able to drive left to score on an acrobatic, switch of hands layup.  He also showed a knack to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line often.  Sometimes though, he would go in too fast and out of control, and he ended up missing on an open layup on a drive in transition once.

Plus, he also displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, as he can dribble around and probe the defense to get his teammates the ball, and he also can throw long outlet passes to find his teammates on the break.  Sometimes though, he would get called for clearing out on aggressive drives in transition, which would lead him to commit offensive fouls and turnovers on those plays.  He also drove up the court and used a pump fake, which drew the defender in the air, but unfortunately, he ended up getting the ball knocked away from him on the way down by the same opponent as he lost the ball to him that time. Also, Elliott did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He was able to chase  down numerous balls to get defensive boards, and he would often push the pace to bring it quickly up the floor afterwards.

Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Elliott was able to contest a couple of threes to force misses.  On the downside, he would tend to get outmuscled when defending opponents off the dribble or in the post, and his lack of size would make it tough to defend in one-on-one situations.  Also, there was another play where he didn’t hustle back, and he was too late to get back on a play where his team allowed an opponent to score on an open three that time.

Overall, Tyrese Elliott had a strong showing for Grayson in his team’s win over Sandy Creek.  He is a skilled playmaker that has a solid set of offensive skills, and he has the talent to play for a power conference team in college basketball.  He will probably then need to stay in school for at least several seasons, but if he plays well there, his offensive skills and athletic gifts could enable him to make it to the NBA one day.

Charleston Southern’s 6-8 incoming freshman forward, Tajé Kelly played well for Grayson in his team’s win over Sandy Creek.  He primarily excelled as a scorer in this game, and he did a very good job of scoring the basketball to help his team on offense. Kelly showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He would throw down powerful, two-handed dunk off of quick cuts to the hoop.  He also would run the floor to score often in transition.

He also showed an adequate ability to score in the post.  He was able to score around the basket, and he also used a strong drop step move to over-power a defender to score another time.  Sometimes though, he would go up too wildly, which would lead to misses in traffic. He also was able to make an open, mid-range jumper from the baseline.  Kelly didn’t take many shots from outside of the paint area, but he showed that he can knock down jumpers from that range. In this game, he didn’t look to be too noticeable as a playmaker, but he did have a ball poked away after getting it in transition to commit a turnover once. Also, Kelly would look to crash the glass on both ends of the floor, and he was able to leap up to get his fair share of defensive rebounds in this game.

Plus, he also played adequate defense in this game.  Kelly was able to wrestle a ball away that was previously jarred away to a teammate to help his team get a teal.  He also would often contest jumpers to force misses.  He also used his length to contest a shot in the post to force a miss.  On the downside, he would tend to struggle to defend opponents off the dribble.  He would tend to get beat off the dribble, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  Other times, he would be late to rotate as he would sometimes be caught ball watching, and there was one play where he lost track of a cutter that led his team to allow a dunk once.

Overall, Tajé Kelly is strong, agile forward that primarily excelled as an inside scorer in this game.  He is a solid inside scorer that showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays, and he looks to be a solid get for Charleston Southern.  He will need to extend his shooting range and continue to improve defensively, but he could end up being a solid collegiate role player.  It’s uncertain if he will make it to the NBA one day, but if he continues to hone his game, he could carve out a lengthy career in professional basketball.

Grayson’s 6-4 high school junior guard, Robert Cowherd played fairly well in his team’s win over Sandy Creek.  He primarily excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor, and he also rebounded and defended well in this game. Cowherd is a solid shooter that was able to knock down open, spot-up threes off the catch to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He was effective at making long-range jumpers, although he did miss on a pull-up, mid-range jumper another time. He also was able to use a hesitation move to score quickly on a drive to the basket.  Plus, he also was effective when posting up, and he used a drop step move to draw free throws to get to the foul line.

On the downside, Cowherd was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he is an unselfish player that can make drive and kick passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  On the downside, he would tend to try to rush his moves off of drives and cuts.  There were a couple of times where balls would slip out of his hands and then go out of bounds, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  Another time, he threw a low pass that led his teammate to get tied up by a defender that led to another team turnover. Also, he showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He was quite active on the glass, and he would leap up high to get multiple boards on both ends of the court.

Plus, Cowherd played very good defense in this game.  He was able to run in to quickly intercept a pass to get a steal, and he would often contest threes and shots off of drives to force plenty of misses.  On the other hand, there was one play where he got beat off the dribble when defending in the backcourt, as his team ended up allowing a score in transition.

Overall, Robert Cowhard is a skilled, mobile combo guard that excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to play more under control especially when he looks to handle the ball or score around the basket, but his ability to shoot and defend could allow him to excel in high-major college basketball.  If he continues to hone his game and progress as an overall player, he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.

Washington State’s 6-2 incoming freshman point guard, Myles Rice had his ups and downs for Sandy Creek in his team’s loss to Grayson.  He’s an athletic, ball dominant guard that was able to make some impressive plays on both ends of the floor, and he can really accelerate with the ball in his hands, but he struggled to consistently make shots and he also was fairly turnover prone in this game. Rice struggled to consistently knock down outside shots, but he was able to make a couple of open, corner threes, and he also pulled up to make an outside shot after dribbling off of a screen another time.  However, he struggled to consistently score on long-range jumpers, and he missed too often on offense.

He also was able to draw free throws on a fadeaway jumper in the post, and he also would sometimes score on quick layups on drives to the basket.  He even showed very good acceleration skills as he quickly drove up court, used a Euro-step move to his left, and then scored on a quick, switch of hands layup on the break.  On the downside, Rice would tend to take tough, off-balanced jumpers, and he would force up tough shots off the dribble that would usually lead to misses.

He displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  Rice can throw an assortment of passes to get his teammates the basketball, and he can sometimes make fancy passes look easy to get the ball to his teammates off of cuts and in transition.  Sometimes though, he would commit careless ball-handling turnovers, and he would occasionally go too fast and out of control at times. Also, Rice 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 push the ball quickly up the court afterwards.

Plus, Rice also played solid defense in this game.  He would often poke balls and jump on loose balls to help his team get steals, and he also hustled back to block a shot hard off of a drive in transition.  He is an active and aggressive help defender that excelled at helping his team to get steals and blocks.  He also managed to successfully draw a charge when defending in the post another time, and he also contested a three to force a miss.  On the other hand, sometimes he would be late to get out on shooters, as he would give them too much space to allow scores to them.  There also was another play where he was unable to cut off penetration when defending a drive, as his team allowed a score that time.

Overall, Myles Rice is an athletic, energetic combo guard that can make plays on both ends of the floor, and he also rebounded and defended well in this game.  On the other hand, he will need to play more under control, and he will need to take smarter shots and make smarter plays on offense.  He is a talented prospect, but he will need to improve his shot selection and decision-making on offense, but if he stays in school and works hard to improve as an overall player, he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Grayson’s 6-9 high school junior forward, Chauncey Wiggins put forth a fairly mediocre showing in his team’s win over Sandy Creek. He was anticipated to play well in this game, and he is a tall, athletic player that can handle the basketball.  However, he was entirely too passive on offense, and unfortunately, he didn’t really stand out, as he faded into the background too much in this game. Wiggins rarely looked to score in this game, but he was able to utilize a jab step to make an open, spot-up three from way out.  He showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers, but he struggled more to score on pull-up jumpers, and he didn’t look to drive the ball to the basket very often.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Wiggins is an unselfish player that can handle the basketball, and he would sometimes be tasked to bring the ball up.  He would make the extra pass to find the open man, and he also was able to throw a very long outlet pass to get the ball to a teammate on the break.  On the downside, he also committed a couple of careless ball-handling turnovers in this game.  He was called for a carrying violation once.  He also shuffled his feet in the backcourt to be called for traveling another time. He also was able to leap up to get his fair share of defensive boards when he was on the floor.

Also, Wiggins defended well in this game.  He would often using his length to actively contest threes to force misses, and he would also rotate to contest shots around the basket to get stops for his team.  He also nearly blocked a shot around the basket, but instead was called for a controversial foul on a put back despite appearing to get all ball on the play.  On the downside, there was one play where he over-helped off of his man and was late to get back, and he did not even contest the three-point shot as his team allowed the score that time.

Overall, Chauncey Wiggins is an athletic, skilled forward that plays with a point forward’s mentality and he has the physical tools to develop into being a defensive stopper in the NBA one day.  It is also encouraging that he’s shown a decent ability to knock down outside shots.  However, he will need to be much more aggressive offensively, and he will need to look for his own offense more in games.  Right now, he may be still developing his game, but if he can continue to improve as an overall player, he could end up being a fairly solid prospect for the NBA sometime down the road.

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