Assessing Bruce Brown, Lonnie Walker, and Braian Angola

January 8, 2018

By Alan Lu

I decided to take a look at a couple of prospects on Miami’s team, as they played against Florida State in an ACC game.  Two of Miami’s guards, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker have drawn significant buzz as first round prospects for the 2018 draft, and there were also several other notably talented players that played in this game.  It was a very competitive match, but Miami ended up getting the win, 80-74, as they received solid performances from numerous players.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Miami’s 6-5 sophomore point guard, Bruce Brown played really well to help lead his team to a narrow victory over Florida State.  He did a very good job of attacking the basket to get numerous buckets for his team, and he also showed some facilitation and defensive skills when he was on the floor.  Brown did a very good job of getting scores off the dribble.  He is a tough, quick player that possesses a solid first step to the hoop, and he also changes speeds well, as he can use dribble moves to score on strong drives to the basket.  He also excelled at getting to the free throw line, as he would regularly draw fouls upon the opposition.  Also, he managed to make a pull-up three to showcase his shooting skills.  In addition, he ran the floor to throw down an emphatic dunk on the break once.

However, he exhibited average at best playmaking skills.  For the positives, Brown would look to move the basketball, and he would kick it out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them.  He also was able to throw a nice interior pass off the dribble to set up a fast break basket for his team.  However, Brown also would play too recklessly at times, as he would tend to get the ball poked away, which would lead him to commit turnovers.  He also was able to collect his fair share of defensive boards when he was on the floor.

Plus, he also played good defense.  Brown was able to catch a ball that was thrown right to him to obtain a steal, and he also ran in to deflect a pass out of bounds another time.  He also will contest shots to force misses, and he possesses good footwork to stay in front of his man.  However, sometimes he can have lapses defensively, as he can struggle to defend drives on occasion.

In general, Bruce Brown had a solid showing, as he is a very athletic combo guard that did a great job of attacking the basket to garner scores for his team.  He was a bit turnover prone in this game, and he may need to show that he can consistently knock down jumpers from further out.  But still, he ended up playing very well, as he could end up being a solid value pick for a team somewhere in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft.

Miami’s 6-4 freshman combo guard, Lonnie Walker played well early, as he showed off versatile scoring skills, and he was able to make some solid defensive plays in his team’s win against Florida State, but he didn’t play nearly as much as the game wore on, and he ended up struggling on offense later in the contest.  Walker showed a good ability to score on hustle plays.  He was able to score on an alley-oop dunk after catching a lob pass off of a cut to the basket.  However, he missed on a drive in traffic on a fast break on a separate offensive possession.

He also showcased a decent ability to knock down jumpers.  Walker made a bank three off the glass early in the game, as he was able to make the shot off the catch.  However, he missed a couple of spot-up threes after rolling to spots to get the ball in other junctures of the game.  However, he exhibited below average playmaking skills.  He tended to commit too many turnovers in this game against Florida State, as he would play too wildly at times, and he had trouble protecting the basketball.   He tended to get the ball poked away while handling it, as he did not do a great job of taking care of the ball when he was on the floor.

He also displayed adequate defensive skills.  Walker was able to catch an errant pass that was thrown right to him to obtain a steal, and he also contested a shot off the dribble to force a miss.  But sometimes, he can have lapses defensively, as he can struggle to defend drives on occasion, which can lead him to commit fouls or allow scores.

In general, Lonnie Walker played very well at the beginning of the match, but then he faded as it continued on.  Right now, he may not be as polished of a prospect as anticipated, and he will need to continue to work on his overall game.   Based on what I saw, he could perhaps end up developing into a player similar to that of Cleveland Cavaliers’ current guard, Iman Shumpert, as Walker is an energetic, athletic combo guard that may possess considerable upside.   Right now, he may not be on the trajectory yet, but he could be a borderline first round candidate for the upcoming draft.

Florida State’s 6-6 senior swingman, Braian Angola had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Miami.  He played well in just about every category, as he consistently played well when he was on the floor.  He excelled at scoring on the move in this game.  Angola in particular did a very good job of getting buckets in transition, and he even managed to throw down an emphatic two-handed dunk on the break.  He also scored on a put back off of a quick offensive board, but while Angola scored on a thunderous dunk after using a quick jab step off the dribble, he struggled to score on half-court drives consistently.

He also had trouble consistently knocking down jumpers.  Angola did run quickly to the ball to make a quick three off the catch, but he had trouble continually knocking down spot-up threes against Miami.  Plus, he also displayed an adequate ability to facilitate the basketball.  Angola is an unselfish player that would make the extra pass, and he was able to find open teammates on the move to set up numerous scoring chances for them.  However, sometimes he would be inaccurate with his passes, and he also traveled once, which led him to commit turnovers on offense.

He also displayed adequate rebounding skills.  Angola possesses a good blend of having athleticism, instincts, and motor, and he was able to haul in multiple boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, Angola displayed fairly good defensive skills.  He did a great job of obtaining steals, as he really excelled at playing passing lanes and poking balls away to force turnovers.  He also managed to successfully challenge a three-point shot.  However, sometimes he would not be in the right spots, and other times he would not contest shots in a timely manner, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores on occasion.

In general, Braian Angola had a fairly good showing, as he was able to help his team in many different ways against Miami.  He is an athletic, skilled swingman that plays hard on both ends of the floor, and he could end up being a solid addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster this year. 

Miami’s 6-11 sophomore big man, Dewan Huell put forth a very good showing in his team’s win against Florida State.  He made a lot of solid plays on both ends of the floor, and he consistently played well throughout the contest.  Huell did a good job of scoring in the post.  He can score after using a drop step move, and he also scored on a floater from the high post.  He also managed to draw free throws on a dunk attempt after getting the ball down low.  However, he missed on a couple of jump hooks other times.

He also did a great job of scoring off of hustle plays.  Huell threw down multiple powerful dunks on rolls to the rim, and he also ran the floor to score on the break while getting an extra free throw on the play.  He is a solid athlete that can finish plays above the rim, and he is a high-energy player that would consistently make plays to help his team.

He also excelled at getting scores on drives to the hoop.  Huell was able to score on a runner off of a high post drive, and he also showed a solid ability to get to the free throw line, as he possesses a good first step to the hoop, as well as strength, and ball handling skills to consistently get to the basket.  However, he had trouble knocking down jumpers, as he missed a three-point shot, as well as a mid-range jumper when he elected to take them from the field.

Also, he showed off decent playmaking skills.  Huell can handle the basketball, and he was able to kick it out to a shooter off the dribble to notch an assist in this game.  Plus, he was also able to help out on the boards when he was on the floor.  Huell managed to leap up to get a tough offensive rebound in traffic once, and he also collected numerous defensive boards in this game.

He also played good defense.  Huell did a good job of blocking shots in the paint due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and timing to do so.  He also would regularly contest shots on drives as well as in the post to force misses, but sometimes, he would commit fouls when defending in the post as well as around the basket due to over-aggressiveness.  Overall, Dewan Huell played very well on both sides of the ball to help his team get the win over Florida State.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good find for a team whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Miami’s 5-7 freshman point guard, Chris Lykes played really well in his team’s victory over Florida State.  He is a speedy playmaker that did a great job of scoring on quick drives to the basket, as he would split double teams, and score on acrobatic shots in the paint.  Plus, he handles the ball very well, and he also did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  He also was active defensively, as he managed to run in to tie up an opponent in the post to force a turnover.   Overall, Lykes had a terrific game as he scored 18 points in his team’s win on this day, and he also played unselfishly.  He had a great game against Florida State, and he could end up having a very good collegiate career for Miami.

Florida State’s 6-8 senior forward, Phil Cofer did not play nearly as well as he did against Duke, as he had an off night in his team’s loss to Miami, but he was able to make some good plays at times.  He excelled at scoring on drives to the basket, and he also managed to knock down a mid-range jumper.   However, Cofer struggled to make three-point shots consistently, and he also committed a couple of careless turnovers on offense.

In this game, he showed off solid defensive skills.  Cofer excelled at getting steals for his team as he would play passing lanes, and he also poked a ball away from an opposing ball handler, and he possesses good footwork to help trap his opponents.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss.  In general, Phil Cofer did not shoot or take care of the ball very well against Miami, but he was able to get some buckets off the dribble, and he was quite active as a rebounder and defender when he was on the court.  Despite not playing well on this day, he still has been having a very good senior season, and he could end up being a good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Florida State’s freshman guard, M.J. Walker did not play well in his team’s loss to Florida State, but he was able to get a couple of scores off the dribble, and he also made a three in the corner.   He also managed to get a steal early in the game.  However, he had trouble scoring the basketball consistently, and he did not defend very well overall against Miami. 

Walker had trouble guarding quicker players, as he would commit fouls on drives, and he also was late to rotate once, which led him to allow a three-point basket to an opponent.  Still, his ability to score the basketball combined with having good athletic gifts could make him a prospect to watch for NBA teams sometime down the road.