Analyzing Monte Morris, Jawun Evans, and Deonte Burton

January 12, 2017

By Alan Lu

Recently, I was able to witness a Big 12 conference game between Iowa State and Oklahoma State.  It was a matchup between two of the top point guards in the country, and it was my first time seeing Oklahoma State’s sophomore Jawun Evans play in a live basketball game.  It was very competitive for most of the way, but later down the stretch, Iowa State ran away with the contest by hitting shots and buckling down on defense.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects played on this day.

Iowa State’s 6-2 senior point guard Monte Morris put forth a terrific showing, as he led his team to defeat Oklahoma State.  He did a great job of shooting and scoring the basketball throughout the game, especially down the stretch, but he also showed an excellent ability to command his team and defend the opposition.  Morris shot the ball really well in this game.  He did a great job of making threes and mid-range jumpers, as he excelled at knocking down spot up and pull-up jumpers when he was on the floor.

He also showed a good ability to garner scores off the dribble.  Morris is a quick guard that can maneuver his way to the paint, and he can score on runners, fadeaway floaters, as well as off of hesitation moves.  He has good speed and quickness to get to the basket, and he can get numerous scores around the hoop.

Also, he displayed rock solid playmaking skills.  Morris played cerebrally ad patiently, as he would make an assortment of passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He also did a very good job of keeping the ball moving, and he did not turn the ball over once against Oklahoma State.  Plus, he also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  Morris was quite active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, as he was able to haul in multiple offensive and defensive boards for his team.

He also showcased very good defensive skills.  Morris did a great job of collecting steals, as he would rip balls away from opposing ball handlers and heap on loose balls to do so.  Plus, he use his quickness and instincts to deflect passes.  In general, Monte Morris played an outstanding game, and against Oklahoma State, he showed why he is largely regarded to be one of the best point guards in the country.  He did virtually everything well on this day, and he would likely be a solid pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft.

For Oklahoma State’s 6-0 sophomore point guard Jawun Evans, he neither started nor ended the game well, as he ran into early foul trouble, and towards the end of the match, he had trouble making shots.  But early in the 2nd half was where he showed his skills, as he showed the ability to attack the basket and distribute the ball when he was on the floor.

Evans showed off good playmaking skills in a loss to Iowa State.  He generally threw crisp, accurate passes, as he excelled at throwing interior passes, hit cutters, and he also would find open shooters off the dribble to set up a wealth of scores.  But Evans did commit several turnovers, as he had the ball knocked away from him off the dribble a couple of times, and he threw a hasty pass that was intercepted on a separate occasion.  He also showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble.  Evans is a very good athlete that is more powerful than he looks, as he can score on quick, strong drives to the hoop.  But sometimes, he can get bouts of tunnel vision as he may rush his shots, which can lead to misses in traffic.

However, Evans really struggled to shoot the basketball.  He had trouble knocking down shots, as he generally missed whenever he would attempt to hoist up threes or mid-range jumpers from the field.  He was open a good portion of the time, but he just could not knock them down in this game.  Next, Evans did not rebound the ball well.  Evans only came away with one rebound, as he did not do a great job of crashing the glass against Iowa State.  Defensively, he did a below average job on that end of the court.  For the positives, Evans was able to jump a pass to collect a steal, as he showed solid anticipation skills that time.

But he tended to give up too much space to shooters, as his lack of length prevented him from being able to force misses from beyond the arc.  Evans also was foul prone, especially early on, as he committed a reach-in foul in the backcourt once, and he also committed over the back foul when going for a rebound.  In this game, his team played a mix of man and 3-2 zone defense, but regardless of the scheme, Evans generally had trouble defending his man when he was on the court.

In general, this was not the best performance for Jawun Evans, as his play was quite inconsistent when he was on the floor.  But for a good portion of the second half, he showed why he was being considered to be a first round pick for the upcoming draft.  He showed off solid athletic tools, the ability to drive to the hoop, solid passing skills, and he made one good defensive play in this game.

But that doesn’t wash away the early fouls he committed, his struggles to defend shooters, the turnovers, or his inability to knock down jump shots against Iowa State on this day.  Evans may have a good deal of potential as a player for the NBA, but he will need to work on being more consistently productive when he is on the floor, especially when he plays against tough opponents in big games.

6-4 senior guard Deonte Burton had a decent showing for Iowa State in a win for his team.  He made shots early, but struggled to do so later on, but he made up for it by playing well in all of the other facets of the game.  Burton generally passed the ball well, was active on the glass, and he played solid defense, as he would make big plays on that side of the ball.

Burton excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores.  He showed a fairly good ability to score off the dribble, as he showed the ability to do so with either hand.  He also has a spin move that he can use to create separation from defenders, and he has the speed and strength to finish plays around the basket.  Plus, he also was able to draw a foul when he was posting up a smaller opponent.  However, he struggled to consistently knock down jumpers.  Burton did excel at making threes in limited attempts, as he was able to make a pull-up three on the break.  However, he took far more mid-range jumpers, and he often had trouble making pull-up mid-range shots against Oklahoma State.

He also showcased adequate playmaking skills.  Burton generally would keep the ball moving, as he would throw solid outlet passes, and find open shooters to set up scores for his team.  However, he did also commit several turnovers, as one was when he committed a charging foul off the dribble.  Another was when he threw an errant pass to a cutter as he rushed his throw that time.

Plus, he also showcased adequate rebounding skills.  Burton generally excelled at crashing the glass, as he was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  He showed a great motor, as he would chase down balls to collect them for his team.  But he did commit an over the back foul once when going for an offensive board, as he can be too aggressive in pursuing rebounds at times.

Also, Burton displayed great defensive skills in this game.  He was very active defensively, as he would use his length and athleticism to intercept passes and to heap on loose balls to collect steals.  Plus, he showed very good timing to block shots, and he generally excelled at forcing misses and turnovers.  But sometimes, he would be too aggressive on defense, which would lead him to commit fouls on occasion.  In general, Burton put forth a fairly good performance to help his team defeat Oklahoma State.  While he did not shoot or score as well as anticipated, Burton excelled at all of the other facets of the game.  Right now, he is an intriguing player that could be a solid role player in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Iowa State’s 6-5 senior guard, Matt Thomas did a very good job of shooting and scoring the basketball.  He played a smart basketball game, as he made numerous threes off the catch, and he showed off great range to do so.  Also, he was able to knock down mid-range jumpers both off the catch and dribble, and he also was able to take the ball all the way to the hoop to garner scores.  Generally, Thomas excelled at knocking down a wide array of shots, and his ability to shoot the basketball could give him a chance to make an NBA roster.

Oklahoma State’s 5-11 combo guard Phil Forte similarly excelled at shooting and scoring the basketball.  He showed off a very good ability to make threes both off the catch, as well as after running off of screens, and he also displayed solid quickness to score off the dribble.  Forte also excelled at knocking down pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  Like Bowie and Thomas, Forte’s jump shot could enable him to get on an NBA summer league roster, as that could give him a chance to possibly make the league sometime down the road.

Iowa State’s 6-8 senior combination forward Darrell Bowie played very well in a win over Oklahoma State.  He played quite well on both ends of the floor, as he showed quite an array of scoring skills, and he was a shot-blocking dynamo in this game.  Bowie generally excelled at attacking the basket to garner scores.  He did a very good job of driving to the hoop as he has good speed, body control, and finishing ability to do so.  He also runs the floor very well as he is a gifted athlete, as that can enable him to score easily in transition.  Also, he was able to score on a jump hook after grabbing an offensive board, and Bowie also knocked down a mid-range jumper.

Bowie also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  He showed a willingness to pass the basketball, and he was able to find an open shooter to notch an assist.  But there was one time where he traveled on a drive to commit a turnover.  He also displayed great defensive skills.  He did a terrific job of blocking shots, as he has great athleticism and timing to swat numerous shots off of drives from the blindside.

In summary, Darrell Bowie had a very good game, as he made his presence felt on both ends of the floor.  But over the course of the year, he’s been in a platoon, and he has generally been overshadowed by his higher profile teammates.  But Bowie may possess an intriguing set of skills, as he could end up on an NBA summer league roster later this year.

6-4 senior guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long generally played well for Iowa State, despite not really shooting the ball well.  He excelled at driving to the hoop, and he generally passed and rebounded the ball well.  He also made a step back, pull-up three, though he had trouble making threes consistently.  But he did run into some foul trouble late in the game.  Right now, Mitrou-Long looks to be a candidate to make an NBA summer league roster later this year.

6-6 junior guard Jeffrey Carroll quietly played very well in a loss for Oklahoma State, as he scored 21 points, and collected 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in this game.  Carroll has been one of the most integral players on his team, and he could be a key player to watch in 2018.

Oklahoma State’s 6-7 freshman forward Cameron McGriff showed off good strength and athleticism, as he generally excelled at scoring and rebounding in the paint.  He was able to score on a tip-in, and he also threw down a dunk off of a drive.  McGriff also made his only three-point attempt.  While he may not be receiving much if any draft buzz, he could be a player to watch in the future.

6-9 junior forward Mitchell Solomon did a great job of blocking shots off of drives.  He showed off solid length and athleticism, and he also excelled as a finisher around the basket.  Like Carroll, Solomon has little to no draft buzz, but he could perhaps be a player to watch next year.

The Iowa State and Oklahoma State game was very competitive for most of the evening as they traded leads back and forth.  After being plagued with foul trouble in the first half, Jawun Evans picked up the pace and made key plays to help his team get a considerable lead midway through the second half.

But down the stretch, Monte Morris made one big play after another, and throughout the game, he was able to make crucial shots, timely passes, and he also rebounded and defended well, as he lead Iowa State to a double digit victory over their opponent.  It was a game of runs, and ultimately Morris and Iowa State made more plays than Oklahoma State, which helped catapult the Cyclones to victory.  Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend.