Analyzing Zach Collins, Nigel Williams-Goss, P.J. Dozier, and Others in the Final Four

April 2, 2017

By Alan Lu

Gonzaga and South Carolina faced off in a 2017 Final Four matchup, and for a while, it seemed as if the Bulldogs would run away with an easy victory.  But in the second half, South Carolina came storming back, as they won on a 16-0 run to take a brief lead.  But Gonzaga made enough plays in the end to hold on, as they were backed by strong performances by Zach Collins and Nigel Williams-Goss.  Here are my thoughts on how they played, as well as the other prospects in this game, and how they may rate as prospects for the next level.

Gonzaga’s freshman big man, Zach Collins had a terrific showing, as he played very well to lead his team to a narrow victory over South Carolina.  He excelled as an inside scorer, and he did a great job of rebounding and blocking shots to get his team the win.  Collins did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  He managed to cut to the hoop to throw down an emphatic jam, and he also scored on a put back.

Plus, he shot the ball really well.  Collins made a three off of a pick and pop play after setting a screen for his teammate, and he also knocked down a face-up, mid-range jumper as he turned to do so.  Also, he showed off decent low post scoring skills.  Collins possesses very good footwork, as he managed to pivot and use a step through move to score once.  He also scored on a jump hook.  But he also missed a couple of times on turnaround jumpers, and he had another shot blocked at the rim.

He also showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Collins did make one good interior pass to collect an assist for his team.  But he also was called for a push off when posting up, which led him to commit an offensive foul.  Another time, he got tied up on a put back attempt, though he did not commit a turnover due to his team retaining the basketball as a result of the possession arrow.

In addition, Collins did an outstanding job of rebounding the basketball.  He is a long, athletic big man that possesses an excellent motor, and he would come away with many tough offensive rebounds in traffic.  He has strong hands to collect tough boards amidst crowds, and he also would leap to get many others.

Also, Collins played very good defense.  He did a tremendous job of blocking shots in this game, as he would swat many shots off of drives and in the post.  Collins has great length, timing, and instincts to do so, and he would alter numerous others to force misses, but he also would occasionally struggle to defend drives and in the post at times.  Every once in a while, he would get backed down to allow scores on the block.  Other times, he would struggle to move his feet laterally, which would lead his team to allow scores on opposing drives at the rim.  In general, Zach Collins had a strong showing, as he played very well to lift his team to a win over South Carolina.  He excelled on both ends of the floor, and he could end up being a lottery pick in 2017.

Gonzaga’s junior point guard, Nigel Williams-Goss also put forth a solid performance, as he played really well for most of this game.  He especially had a strong showing on offense, and as a result, he was able to help lead his team to a win over South Carolina.  Williams-Goss did a terrific job of getting scores off the dribble.  He had a knack for scoring on fadaway jumpers, as he possesses a great shooting touch to score often in the paint.  Plus, he would score on strong drives to the hoop, and he also scored on a floater another time.

He also showed off adequate shooting skills.  He did a very good job of knocking down threes, especially when he would get them off the catch.  But he struggled more to make pull-up jumpers, and he had a tougher time making mid-range jumpers consistently.  Also, Williams-Goss displayed solid playmaking skills.  He generally threw solid passes, as he showed a knack for making crisp, interior passes, and he also would find the open man routinely to set up scores for his teammates.  But he threw an inaccurate long outlet pass that sailed out of bounds once.  Another time, he lost the ball on a drive to the basket.

He also rebounded the ball well, as he was active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor.  Williams-Goss also showed off decent defensive skills.  He managed to rip a ball away from an opponent on a fast break drive to almost get a steal, but the ball went out of bounds before he could get to it.  But he was late to contest a three, which led his team to allow a score, and he also committed a foul on a drive, as he had some lapses defensively in this game.

In general, Nigel Williams-Goss played very well to help lead his team to a win over South Carolina.  He has had a strong NCAA tournament, though somehow he has flown under the radar, despite being a Wooden Award finalist, and having been the most consistently productive on one of the best teams all year.  Still, Williams-Goss is a very talented player, and he has the smarts, skills, and intangibles to be a solid pick for a team in the late first round of the upcoming draft.

South Carolina’s sophomore guard, P.J. Dozier had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He excelled at getting scores off the dribble, and he also rebounded really well when he was on the floor.  Dozier showed an adequate ability to get scores off the dribble.  He has a very good first step to the hoop, and he really excelled at drawing free throws regardless if he would look to score in the half court or in transition. But sometimes, Dozier would play too wildly, as he would miss shots in traffic at times. Also, Dozier showed a knack for scoring on put backs, as he possesses solid athleticism and motor to do so.  Plus, he also managed to throw down a dunk off of a cut.

Also, he showed a decent ability to shoot the basketball.  Dozier showed the ability to make spot-up threes, as he made one from well beyond the arc.  He also showed the ability to make quick mid-range jumpers, as he can make one off of a pindown, and he can also knock down a pull-up jumper.

Dozier showed off average playmaking skills at best in this game.  He did find a cutter to get the assist, and he more or less is the team’s point guard as he is the primary ball handler.  But he committed one traveling violation on a drive.  Another time, he drove in way too fast and out of control, and had the ball ripped away from him on a fast break drive, which almost led him to commit another.

He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  Dozier has strong hands, and he would leap up to haul in offensive boards in traffic in mid-air.  He especially was active on the glass, as he excelled at collecting rebounds on both ends of the floor.  He also showed off decent defensive skills.  Dozier managed to jump a pass to get a steal.  But he did display a lapse once, as he allowed a score due to losing track of his man on a cut.  He also would commit touch fouls on occasion.

In general, P.J. Dozier had a fairly good showing, as he showed off a versatile set of skills in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He is a talented basketball player that can do a little bit of everything when he is on the floor, and he could be a good pick for a team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

South Carolina’s sophomore big man, Chris Silva played fairly well in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He especially showed off strong rebounding, shot blocking, and defensive skills in his first Final Four appearance in this game that was played in Phoenix.  Silva showed a good ability to score on hustle plays.  He managed to throw down a dunk around the basket, and he also drew free throws a couple of times on put backs.  But he also would miss some shots around the basket, as he would not always play under control.

He also displayed decent low post scoring skills.  Silva has good footwork and he can really excel when he has his balance.  He managed to score on a reverse layup. Also, he also lowered a shoulder to score on a strong drop step, and drew an extra free throw another time.  Silva excelled at drawing free throws, but he also struggled to make jump hooks, and he also had some awkward misses.

Plus, he showed a decent ability to score off the dribble.  Mostly, he showed a knack for drawing fouls, and he also used a pump fake move once to do so, but he had his shot blocked another time.  Unfortunately, he did not show much range on his shot, as he missed his lone mid-range jump shot attempt.

Silva did a very good job of rebounding the basketball in this game.  He is a very athletic big man that has a great motor, as he would run down an offensive board, leap up to collect defensive rebounds, and he also would tip balls to help his team collect others.  But there was one play where a ball went off his hands that went out of bounds, as he did not secure the rebound on that particular occasion.

He also played very good defense.  Silva did a great job of blocking shots inside the paint, and he can really elevate to prevent opponents from scoring off the dribble or in the post.  He forced numerous misses in the paint, and he also managed to jump a pass to get a steal.  However, he also would commit touch fouls in the post and allow scores on occasion, as he may need to add more strength in the future.

In general, Chris Silva had a good showing in his team’s loss to Gonzaga.  He may not have much draft stock right now, but he could be a fascinating prospect to watch in 2018, as he may project into a defensive specialist role in the NBA, in which his skills could lend well to him being a rim protector at the next level.

Gonzaga’s senior center, Przemek Karnowski had a decent showing in his team’s win over South Carolina.  He showed off fairly good inside scoring skills, but he also passed the basketball really well to help the Bulldogs get the victory.  Karnowski showed a good ability to score on hustle plays.  He managed to score on numerous plays around the basket, including one where he scored on a nifty reverse layup, and another where he threw down an emphatic jam to show off some surprising athleticism for a player his size.  He also drew free throws on a roll to the rim, and he also scored on a strong put back.  That aside, he still had some misses around the hoop, as he had his shot blocked numerous times.

He also showed a decent ability to score in the post.  Karnowski used a pivot move to score on a turnaround jumper.  Another time, he used a pivot move and used a drop step move past a double team that would have led to a score, but continuation was waved off, so he ended up drawing a non-shooting foul.  However, he struggled to score on jump hooks in this game, as he had trouble finding his shooting touch consistently in the paint.

Also, Karnowski showed off a gifted ability to pass the basketball.  He excelled at making passes from the post to find open shooters, and he also managed to hit a cutter.  Karnowski is a smart basketball player that has a very high IQ, and he showed in this game that he is one of the best passing big men in college basketball.

Plus, he showed off decent rebounding skills.  Karnowski managed to haul in boards on both ends of the floor, and he even dove on the floor for an offensive board.  But there were times where he struggled to collect defensive rebounds, as he had trouble consistently rebounding the basketball when he was matched up against length and athleticism.  Karnowski displayed fairly good defensive skills.  He would contest numerous shots in the post to force numerous misses.  However, he also would tend to commit fouls in the post as well.  Another time, he was slow to rotate on a drive, which led his team to allow a score on that occasion.

In summary, Karnowski had a fairly good game, as he played well on offense.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate, but he may have the smarts, skills, and the intangibles to end up on an NBA roster next season.

Gonzaga’s senior guard, Jordan Mathews also played fairly well, as he shot the ball well, especially from beyond the arc to help get his team the win over South Carolina.  He also played very good defense in the Bulldogs’ victory in the Final Four.

Mathews showed a great ability to knock down spot-up threes off the catch.  He has a very quick release, and he can make them on the break with ease.  He made one three in transition, and drew an extra free throw, and he also made a pull-up three on the break another time.  However he struggled to create his own shot off the dribble, as he ended up missing all of his two-point attempts.  He displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  He showed a good ability to throw entry passes, but he threw one errant pass that led to a turnover.  While he did not collect many boards, he showed a willingness to crash the glass, as he leapt up to grab one notable defensive rebound.

Also, Mathews played very good defense.  He excelled at ripping balls away to collect steals, and he also jumped a pass to garner another.  He also would stay in front of his man and use his length to contest shots to force misses.  But sometimes, he would struggle to guard shooters, as he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to commit an occasional foul or allow a score as a result.  In summary, Jordan Mathews played very well, as he made threes and played solid defense.  He did not appear to do much else, but he could end up being a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA.

South Carolina’s senior swingman, Sindarius Thornwell was reported to have caught the flu before the start of this game, and it appeared to affect his performance in the first half.  He still ended up having a decent showing, but he was not as dominant on offense as he had been in the previous games of this year’s NCAA Tournament.

Thornwell showed a very good ability to score in the post.  He utilized a really quick drop step spin move, and he showed great acceleration off that move to get a score around the basket.  However, he strangely struggled to create off the dribble, as he had one shot blocked after getting the basketball on a curl cut.

He also showed a decent ability to shoot the basketball.  Thornwell was able to make a couple of spot-up threes, though he missed several others, and airballed another.  He did make a quick mid-range jumper off of a pindown, and drew free throws off of another, but he also missed a couple from that range.  But he also seemed to be quite streaky with his jump shot in this game.

Thornwell showed off average at best playmaking skills.  He did show a good willingness to pass the basketball, as he would kick it out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them.  But he also was quite turnover prone, as he would tend to get the ball ripped away from when he would look to drive to the hoop or post up on offense.  He collected some rebounds, though he struggled to consistently haul them in when he was on the floor.

Defensively, Thornwell played really well.  He excelled at blocking shots inside the paint, and he also managed to jump a pass to get a steal.  He also defended well in the post, and he also drew a charge on an opposing player.  There was one time where he committed a foul on a drive, but generally he excelled defensively in this contest.

In general, Sindarius Thornwell played better as the game wore on, and while he started off really slowly, he ended up making some solid plays against Gonzaga.  But his decision-making was surprisingly suspect at times, as he struggled to protect the basketball or make jumpers consistently.

Late in the game when his team was down three with the ball, instead of hoisting up a three, he dribbled around, and ended up getting fouled and put on the free throw line, as Gonzaga went on to win that game.  Thornwell has undoubtedly been one of the best players in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, but this game was not his finest.  Still, he is a skilled basketball player that could be a good find for an NBA team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

South Carolina’s senior combo guard, Duane Notice showed a very good ability to make threes, and he also would score on hustle plays, as he did so off of a cut as well as in transition.  He did not show much in terms of other skills, but his ability to score could land him a spot on an NBA team’s summer league roster.

South Carolina’s senior guard, Justin McKie shot the basketball really well, as he made two threes off the catch, and he also scored on a floater off the dribble.  Though he has been only a rotation player this year, he has really played well in the NCAA Tournament, as he may have the scoring ability and the athleticism to end up being a good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster, whether if that will be for this year or down the road.

Gonzaga’s junior guard, Silas Melson excelled at making threes, and he also blocked a shot off of an opponent’s drive to the basket.  He may be a player to keep an eye on next year, as he showed off solid shooting and defensive skills in his team’s win over South Carolina.

Gonzaga’s junior forward, Johnathan Williams did not play as well as he did in his team’s Elite Eight win over Xavier, but he still had a good showing, as he excelled at scoring in the post as well as off the dribble whenever he would elect to take shots.  He did not show much in terms of other skills in this game, but as he has had a solid NCAA Tournament, he may definitely be a prospect to watch for 2018.

Overall, the Gonzaga-Oregon game was quite competitive even though for a while Gonzaga appeared as if it would run away with an easy win.  But Oregon stayed in it, and fought hard.  But Gonzaga made enough plays to hold on to the victory, and as two of their players, Zach Collins and Nigel Williams-Goss played outstanding basketball, the Bulldogs will move on to face North Carolina in the title game.