Analyzing Devonte’ Graham, Lagerald Vick, and Tyus Battle in the Kansas-Syracuse Game

December 2, 2017

By Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to watch Kansas play against Syracuse in a match that took place in the afternoon.  The Jayhawks were expected to be the favorites, and they did not disappoint, as they won the game by double digits.  Devonte’ Graham and Lagerald Vick played really well, as Graham impressed with his shooting and passing display, and Vick showed off a solid all-around game.  Here are my thoughts on how the various prospects played on this day.

Kansas’ 6-2 senior point guard, Devonte’ Graham played really well as he showed strong offensive skills to help his team cruise to a victory over Syracuse.  He did a great job of knocking down threes to space the floor for his team.  Graham often made open three-point shots from well beyond the arc, and he was able to make several from what seemed like NBA range.  He also made one three-point shot after running off of a curl, and he also made a pull-up three after using a step back move.  Plus, he was able to draw three free throws after attempting a three-point shot once, as Graham was able to use his ability to make threes to get a defender to foul him from that range.

Graham also showed a fairly good ability to get scores off the dribble.   He was able to score on a fast break in transition, and he would also draw fouls on aggressive move to the hoop.  He can use a pump fake move to get past his man, and one time he managed to move past defenders, though he missed that time, but he did also use a nifty hesitation move to score on a short drive off of a put back.

Also, he showed decent playmaking skills.  Graham threw very good lob passes to set up numerous scores for his teammates, as they would often catch his passes to throw down emphatic alley-oop dunks.  Sometimes they would do so off cuts to the hoop, other times they would just be wide open underneath the basket.  Graham also showed a good ability to kick the ball out to shooters after driving to the hoop, but sometimes, Graham can be inaccurate in throwing interior passes, which can lead them to be intercepted.  Other times, he may be careless with his ball handling, as he lost the ball in the air once, and he also can be called for carrying violations.

He also played solid defense.  Graham did a very good job of collecting steals, as he stripped a ball away from an opposing ball handler, and he also leapt up to jump a pass to force another turnover on a separate possession.  He excels at jumping passing lanes, as he has very good lateral footwork, and he can usually force his opponents to commit passing or ball handling turnovers.  In general, Devonte’ Graham had a strong all-around game as he shot the ball really well, and he was able to make numerous difficult passes to set up a series of alley-oop dunks for his teammates.  He played very well in a win against Syracuse, and he could end up being a good pick for an NBA team in the late first round range of the upcoming draft.

Kansas’ 6-5 junior guard, Lagerald Vick played really well, as he almost notched a triple-double in his team’s win over Syracuse.  He really excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, and he played a solid all-around game when he was on the floor.  Vick did a very good job of scoring on cuts to the basket.  He would slip past defenders to get open underneath the hoop, and he would catch accurately thrown lobs to throw down thunderous alley-oop dunks.   He also excelled as a scorer on drives to the basket, as he can score on floaters, and he can draw fouls on his opponents when driving to the hoop on fast breaks.

However, he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers.  Vick did show a decent ability to knock down mid-range shots, but he was able to connect on threes often, though he did make one off the catch.  Also, Vick displayed solid playmaking skills.  He did a good job of throwing lobs to set up scores for his teammates, and he also can find open shooters, sometimes off the dribble.  He played unselfishly, and he was able to notch many assists, but every once in a while, he would throw a bad pass that would get picked off.

Vick rebounded the ball very well.  He did a terrific job of collecting defensive rebounds, as he would often leap up to haul them in.  Plus, he also managed to quickly leap up to get an offensive rebound, as he would draw a foul on an opponent shortly after doing so.  Also, he showcased adequate defensive skills.  Vick would jump passes to get steals, and he also would contest jumpers to force misses, but there was one time where he didn’t get his hand up high enough, as he ended up allowing his man to score on a three-point shot.  Another time, he bit on a pump fake, as his team ended up allowing an opponent to score on a dunk inside.

In general, Lagerald Vick played very well, as he showed a solid all-around game, and he made several highlight worthy plays by throwing down magnetic alley-oop dunks to provide his team with a boost on offense.  He could likely be Kansas’ best prospect for the NBA, and he could end up being a good value pick for an NBA team in the first round of the upcoming draft.

Syracuse’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Tyus Battle had an up and down game, as he really struggled with his three-point shot, but he excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores, and he also was able to make some solid defensive plays when he was on the court.  Battle did a very good job of getting scores off the dribble.  He is a strong, physical player that has a good first step to the hoop, and he can often score and get free throws on left handed drives to the basket.  Plus, he also scored on a floater, and he also managed to throw down a thunderous dunk in transition after running the floor to get the basketball.

However, he just did not shoot the ball very well.  Battle did make a couple of open threes off the catch, as he has a quick release, and he also made one from well beyond the arc, but Battle also missed many three-point shots in his game, and he also really struggled to score on pull-up jumpers.  Also, he showed off decent playmaking skills.  Battle did not turn the ball often, and he also would look to find the open man to keep the ball moving.  He also managed to throw an interior pass to a roll man off the dribble to set up a scoring chance for his team, but he did commit a couple of turnovers.  One was after he used a pump fake, but he committed a charging foul on a drive.  Another was when he threw an inaccurate interior pass that sailed out of bounds.

Battle did not grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to haul in multiple offensive boards when he was on the floor.  He also showcased average defensive skills.  He was able to jump passes and heap on loose balls to collect steals, but he would also tend to be late on his rotations, and he would give up too much space to his man, which would cause him to allow his opponents to score on three-point shots.

In general, Tyus Battle had a decent game, even though he did not shoot the ball particularly well.  He is an athletic swingman that can score the basketball, and he is a solid athlete that can make plays above the rim.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and show that he can lock down opponents on the defensive end at the next level, but he could be a potential first round pick in 2018.

Svi Mykhailiuk had a fairly good game in Kansas’ win over Syracuse.  He did a good job of knocking down three-pointers off the catch, and he was even able to make a bank three from well beyond the arc.  He also managed to cut to the hoop as he was able to catch a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He did miss on a drive after using a pump fake move, but Mykhailiuk showed a good ability to make jumpers as well as make plays above the rim on offense.

However, he was also quite turnover prone when he was on the floor.  For the positives, Mykhailiuk played unselfishly as he would move the ball to find the open man, and he was also able to throw an accurate lob pass to a cutter to set up a score for a teammate on the break.  But he also would throw inaccurate passes, as a couple of them ended up being intercepted, and one sailed out of bounds after he threw one off of a drive.  Another time, he was called for setting a moving screen, as he committed an offensive foul on that play.

Mykhailiuk was able to collect his fair share of boards in this game against Syracuse, as he would haul in multiple rebounds on both ends of the floor.  He also played good defense.  He can heap on loose balls to help his team come away with steals, and he also managed to break up a lob pass thrown his way.  He also drew a charge once, and he can stay in front of his man and contest shots to help get stops for his team.  However, he did commit a couple of fouls around the basket, as he has some trouble defending bigger players in the paint.  In general, Svi Mykhailiuk had a good game in his team’s double-digit victory over Syracuse.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he especially excelled as a shooter from beyond the arc.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good pick for an NBA team in the second round on draft day.

Kansas’ sophomore center, Udoka Azubuike had a fairly good game, even though he did run into foul trouble.  He excelled as a finisher around the basket, as he would get up to catch lobs to score on powerful alley-oop dunks.  He also managed to score on a strong, put back dunk.  He has very good hands and he can also pass out of the post, though he did lose his handle on a lob catch in transition once, which led to a turnover.

He also rebounded the ball really well, as he in particular did a great job of collecting defensive boards. Azubuike also showed off fairly good defensive skills, as he was able to block a mid-range jump shot, and he would alter shots to force misses.  He also managed to hedge out on a screen to let his teammate get back to his man, which would help his team force a miss that time.  But sometimes he would commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

In this game, Udoka Azubuike played fairly well as he did his part in helping his team get a comfortable win over Syracuse.  He may not be the most dynamic player on offense, but he can score efficiently, rebound, and defend the paint.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good value pick in the late first to the second round range whenever he declares for the NBA draft.

Malik Newman did not play very well in Kansas’ win over Syracuse, as he really had trouble trying to knock down threes from beyond the arc, or jumpers in general.  He did not shoot the ball well at all, and he also struggled with turnovers as well as with his position defense, as he ended up allowing his man to score on three-point shots, but he did score on a put back, and Newman did do a good job of collecting offensive rebounds when he was on the floor.   In general, Malik Newman did not play very well, but he is a combo guard that may be on many NBA teams’ radars, and he could end up being a potential second round pick either in 2018 or sometime down the road.

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