Assessing Chimezie Metu, MiKyle McIntosh, and Jordan McLaughlin

February 17, 2018

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch a Pac-12 basketball game that was played recently between USC and Oregon, as they had met for the second time this season on February 15th.  It was a very competitive game as it went all the way down to the wire, and USC managed to get a narrow win when Jordan McLaughlin threw an alley-oop to set up a layup for Chimezie Metu to beat the buzzer.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

USC’s junior big man, Chimezie Metu played really well to help lead USC to a victory over Oregon.  He played a solid all-around game, and he was able to score on a clutch alley-oop layup to get his team the win.  Metu did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He in particular excelled at scoring on rolls to the rim, as well as off of cuts, as he would frequently score on magnetic jams.  He managed to score on a couple of alley-oop dunks, and he is an agile player that can finish plays above the rim to garner buckets.

He also did a good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team.  Metu managed to make an open three off the catch, and he also made a face-up mid-range shot from the high post.  He also displayed an adequate ability to score from the post as well as off the dribble, and Metu was able to pivot to score on an emphatic dunk.  He possesses fairly good footwork to score and draw fouls on the block, but sometimes he can struggle with his shooting touch, as he tended to miss on jump hooks.

Also, Metu displayed good playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that sees the floor well.  He ran the floor and quickly passed back to a teammate on a give and go on the break to get an assist, and he also can hit the cutter.  Plus, Metu is quite adept at throwing accurate passes from the post, as he can quickly recognize double teams.  He also managed to set a good screen once to open up a driving lane for a teammate to get a score, but Metu did also commit several turnovers, as he occasionally would have trouble handling or protecting the basketball.

He also did a fairly good job of rebounding the basketball.  Metu would leap up to collect numerous boards, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and he would occasionally come away with boards in traffic, but there were a couple of times where he appeared to allow offensive rebounds in his area, as his team would end up letting opponents score on put backs.

Plus, Metu also exhibited adequate defensive skills when he was on the court.  He provided an active interior presence for his team, as he would rotate to block and alter shots around the basket to protect the paint.  Not only would he force misses when defending in that area, Metu also would step out to successfully challenge opponents on threes on occasion, but sometimes, he would be late on his rotations, as that would allow opponents to score on three-point shots.  Metu would occasionally over-rotate, which would cause him to be out of position to guard his man every once in a while.  Sometimes, he would also commit fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

In general, Chimezie Metu had a solid showing to lead his team to a close win over Oregon.  He was the best player on the floor in this game, and he was able to contribute to his team in a variety of ways to get his team the victory.  He is an athletic, skilled big man that is having a very good junior season, and he could end up being a good value pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round range of the upcoming draft.

Oregon’s senior forward, MiKyle McIntosh also played very well in his team’s loss to USC.  He is a strong, physical player that possesses versatile scoring skills, and he could project to be a 3 and D type of player in the NBA.  McIntosh did a very good job of making jumpers to effectively space the floor for his team.  He made many spot-up threes off the catch, and he showed a knack for knocking them down off of pick and pop plays.  He also used a jab step to make a mid-range jumper from the elbow.

Plus, he also showed a very good ability to score in the post.  McIntosh is a tough, agile player that possesses good strength, footwork, and shooting touch to consistently garner scores on the block.  He managed to back his man down prior to using a quick rip to score on a step-through move once.  He also is adept at scoring on jump hooks, as he can make them while fading away, as well as over taller defenders.  But sometimes McIntosh can miss shots around the basket every once in a while, as he may not always play under control when looking to score in traffic, but he displayed just average at best playmaking skills in this game.

McIntosh is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to find the open man, but he was quite turnover prone against USC.  He threw an errant interior pass to a cutter that ended up getting intercepted.  Another time, he got trapped, and threw a hasty pass into the backcourt that led to an over and back violation.  Then, he ended up committing a charging foul when looking to score in the post on a separate offensive possession.  He also exhibited an adequate ability to rebound the basketball.  McIntosh would quickly leap up to collect boards, and he showed a knack for coming away with offensive rebounds.

Plus, McIntosh also showed off adequate defensive skills.  McIntosh would often poke balls away, and he did so once to get a steal when defending an opponent in the post.  He also rotated to block a shot off of a cut due to possessing good athleticism and timing.  McIntosh also did a good job of defending in the post, as he would hold his ground to force misses, but sometimes, he would get caught ball watching, as he would not rotate in time to aptly contest shots, which would lead to scores for the other team.  McIntosh had some trouble guarding shooters, and sometimes he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble, as on one play, he backpedaled too far when defending a 2 on 1 on the break, and he didn’t step up to contest the shot in time.

In general, MiKyle McIntosh put forth a very good performance in this game against USC, and he showed off solid all-around skills when he was on the court.  He is a skilled combo forward that has excelled on both ends of the floor this season, and he could be a good pick for a team in the second round on draft day.

USC’s 6-0 senior point guard, Jordan McLaughlin had a solid showing in his team’s win over Oregon.  He did a great job of effectively managing the game at the point, and he consistently made good plays to help get his team the victory.  McLaughlin did a very good job of getting scores on quick drives to the basket.  He is an agile player that plays with patience.  He has a good first step to the hoop, as he can regularly get past his man, and he also is a crafty player that can maneuver his way to garner buckets.  On one play, he dribbled around and probed the defense prior to scoring on a tough, fall-away layup off the glass.  McLaughlin also managed to go coast to coast off of a defensive rebound to score on a speedy drive on the break.

He also showed a decent ability to knock down threes from beyond the arc.  McLaughlin struggled to make outside shots consistently, but he did use a crossover move to score on a nifty, pull-up three off the dribble.  Also, McLaughlin displayed strong playmaking skills when he was on the court.  He threw very good lob passes to set up numerous scores for his teammates, and he would consistently throw crisp, accurate passes to notch assists.  He showed a knack for finding open teammates on the move, and he also set an off-ball screen to help his teammate score off of a backdoor cut.  He did not commit many turnovers, but he did so sometimes, as he can be a bit reckless when looking to drive to the hoop.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and sometimes he would push the ball quickly up the floor.  McLaughlin also showed off fairly good defensive skills.  He has very quick feet to rotate to various ball handlers, and he will actively contest shots to force misses.  Plus, he managed to rip a ball away from an opponent on a fast break drive to get a steal once, but sometimes, he would give up too much space to his man, as that would cause him to allow opponents to score on threes at times.  McLaughlin also bit on a pump fake another time, which allowed his man to score on a drive.  He also committed a foul after an opponent caught the basketball due to over-aggressively making a rotation on one play.

In summary, Jordan McLaughlin played very well, as he played a pivotal role in helping his team get the victory.  He is a solid facilitator that can score in a variety of ways, and he also has the footwork to be an adequate defender at the next level.  Sometimes, he may not look to take enough shots, but McLaughlin is a smart player that tends to make sound decisions in games.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good find for a team in the NBA, as he could project to be a quality backup point guard in the association.

USC’s 6-5 senior swingman, Elijah Stewart quietly had a good game, as his team was able to get a narrow win over their Pac-12 rival, Oregon.  Stewart made impactful plays on both ends of the court, as he showed off a wide array of skills in this contest.  Stewart did a good job of knocking down jumpers from all over the floor.  He excelled at making open, spot-up threes from beyond the arc, and he has a quick release that allows him to easily get his shot off.  He also managed to knock down a pull-up, mid-range jumper off the dribble.

Plus, he showed an adequate ability to get scores on drives to the hoop.  Stewart used a ball fake to score on a quick baseline drive, and he also used a pump fake to a draw a non-shooting foul another time.  But after getting a running start to the rim on a separate play, defenders collapsed on Stewart, as he ended up missing on an acrobatic, up and under layup off of a high post drive in traffic.  He also managed to score off of a quick backdoor cut, but he had his shot blocked off of a cut another time.

Stewart displayed solid playmaking skills when he was on the floor.  He is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he would throw accurate passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He also managed to bring the ball up once, and he also did not commit a turnover once on offense.  Also, he managed to get his fair share of boards, as he would collect multiple rebounds on both ends of the floor.

Stewart also showed off good defensive skills.  His best defensive play was when he quickly blocked a three-point shot, and he generally did a good job of contesting threes to force misses.  On one play, Stewart did not go for a pump fake, and he did a good job of playing disciplined defense to force an opponent to miss on a three-point shot, but sometimes, he can have lapses defensively.  On one instance, he wandered too far away to help off of his own man, but that led his team to allow a score to a cutter.  Another time, Stewart bit on a pump fake, and ended up committing a foul on a drive.

In summary, Elijah Stewart had a solid showing, as he was able to help his team in a variety of ways on both ends of the floor.  He is an athletic, skilled basketball player that may project to be a 3 and D type of player at the next level, and he could perhaps end up being a quality pick for an NBA team in the second round on draft day.

Oregon’s 6-7 freshman swingman, Troy Brown did not play nearly as well as he did previously against USC, and he really struggled to get going in the first half.  Brown was able to make some solid plays in the second half, but in general, his play was rather disappointing on this day, as his team ended up losing this match.  Brown showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He is an athletic, high motor player that plays energetically, and he showed a penchant for scoring on quick put backs after running in to get offensive boards.  He also managed to score on a cut, and he had a chance to score on another, but he missed on a dunk later in this game.

He struggled to score on drives to the hoop, however, and he had a tendency to play too fast to rush his shots, and sometimes he would display awkward footwork when looking to score off the dribble.  Brown did score once from the baseline, as he pivoted to score on a step-through move in traffic.  Also, Brown frequently missed on jumpers, but he did manage to make an open spot-up three once off the catch.

Plus, he showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Brown is an unselfish player that plays like a point forward, and he has the court sense to get the ball to his teammates in many different ways.  He can do so off the dribble or when backing his man down in the post, and he can also find a teammate off of a cut.  But Brown also was quite turnover prone on offense.  He had a tendency to throw hasty, ill-advised passes, as some of them sailed far out of bounds, and another was deflected that ended up leading to a shot-clock violation.  Another time, Brown drove to the rim on a fast break, but he ended up having a ball poked away from him.

He also showed a great ability to rebound the basketball.  Brown was quite active at crashing the glass, as he would run in to get offensive boards, and he would score off of them to provide second chance points for his team.  He also would leap up to get defensive rebounds and he would usually push the ball up the floor afterwards.

He also displayed fairly average defensive skills.  For the positives, Brown dove on the ground after an opponent lost the ball off of a defensive rebound, and he forced a tie-up that led him to get the steal, as he made a nice hustle play that time.  Also, Brown managed to contest a three to force a miss on a separate defensive possession, but Brown can struggle to stay in front of his man or make rotations at times.  On one play, he got beat off the dribble, and he ended up committing a foul.  Another time, he struggled to fight through a screen when defending a cutter, as that led his team to allow a score.  Another time, he was late on a rotation, as that led him to give up a three-point basket to the opposition.

In summary, Troy Brown did not have a great game in his team’s loss to USC this time around, but he is an athletic basketball player that may possess an interesting skill set when he is on the floor.  He is a pass-first, playmaker that rebounds well, and he may have the potential to excel if he can continue to hone his overall skill set.  He will need to improve in the finer points of the game, but he could end up being a good pick for a team in the late first round range if the NBA team that picks him has a good developmental plan in place for him.

Others:

Oregon’s 6-2 sophomore point guard, Payton Pritchard did a very good job of making threes from beyond the arc to space the floor for his team, and he has very good range on his shot, as he can make them off the catch or dribble.  He also can get scores on drives to the hoop, and he also generally passed the ball well.  Pritchard would actively get defensive boards for his team, but he struggled defensively, as he really had trouble guarding quicker players off the dribble.  Right now, he may not be getting much draft buzz, but he could end up competing for an NBA roster spot in the future, as he could end up being a similar player to current Chicago Bulls point guard, Ryan Arcidiacono.

USC’s 6-3 sophomore guard, Jordan Mathews did a very good job of knocking down threes to space the floor, and he excelled at making jumpers from all over the court.  He also managed to score on a tough drive as he drew an extra free throw that time, and he is a good athlete that possesses the body control to finish plays around the basket.  Mathews also showed off adequate playmaking skills, and he is a good shooter that can run off screens.  Like Pritchard, he may not be getting much draft buzz, but Mathews could end up being a player to keep an eye on in the future, as he could end up being a Gary Neal type of player in the NBA.

Elijah Brown did not make shots consistently, but he did manage to score in plenty of ways.  He was able to score on a floater off of a high post drive to display a decent ability to score off the dribble, and he also drew free throws off of a cut due to making a good hustle play that time.  While he did not shoot the ball well, Brown was able to make an open three off the catch.

He also showed off good playmaking skills, and on one play, he threw an interior pass off the dribble to find an open man to set up a score due to possessing good vision, patience, and quickness that time, but Brown did not grab many rebounds when he was on the floor.  On defense, he would get some deflections, but he also would be undisciplined defensively at times, as he had trouble defending opponents off the dribble, and he also had a tendency to pick up fouls.  In summary, this was not Elijah Brown’s best game, but he has excelled in his role for Oregon, and he could end up being a potential second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

USC’s 6-10 junior forward, Bennie Boatwright did not have a great game either, as he was held scoreless against Oregon, and he missed all of his three-point shots.  But he did seem to play better in the non-shooting or scoring related areas of this contest.  He showed off solid playmaking skills, as he made good passes, and he handled the ball well, particularly off of defensive boards.  Boatwright showed a good ability to push the ball up the floor to create transition scoring opportunities for his team, and he would throw good interior passes due to possessing solid court vision.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball, and he also played adequate defense.  Boatwright managed to block a shot in the post, and he also would get his hands on balls to help his team get steals and deflections.  But sometimes, he would give up too much space to his man, as that would lead him to allow opponents to score on jumpers.

Overall, Bennie Boatwright did not play very well in his team’s win over Oregon, but he managed to show off better than anticipated playmaking skills.  He played like a tall, seasoned point forward, as he played unselfishly, and he could end up being a potential second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Oregon’s freshman big man, Kenny Wooten did not make much of an impact in this game, but he was able to get some rebounds when he was on the floor.  He also managed to pick off a crosscourt pass to get a steal, and he would contest shots to force misses, but sometimes, he would not be in the right spots, as that would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores as a result.  He was basically a non-factor offensively, but he was open on play, and he managed to draw free throws on a dunk attempt that time.  Right now, he will need to improve his skill set considerably on offense, but he could end up being a potential second round pick sometime in the future if he can do so.

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