Assessing Jacob Evans and Aric Holman in the Cincinnati-Mississippi State Game

December 12, 2017

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the time to watch Jacob Evans and the Cincinnati Bearcats play against Mississippi State, as this game featured numerous prospects that could end up being in the 2018 NBA Draft.  The game itself turned out to be a one-sided affair that turned out well for Cincinnati, as they were able to get a double-digit win over their opponent.  Here are my thoughts on how Jacob Evans and other various prospects fared on this day, as well as how they may rate as prospects for the NBA.

Cincinnati’s 6-6 sophomore swingman, Jacob Evans played very well, as he managed to help his team in a lot of ways to get his team the win.  Against Mississippi State, Evans scored 24 points, made 4 three-pointers, and he also grabbed 8 rebounds, and blocked 3 shots when he was on the floor.  Evans did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes to space the floor for his team.  He has a quick release as he can quickly get his shot off, and he also would run to spots to get open off the ball.  Evans excelled at making open outside shots off the catch, and he also was able to draw three free throws on a three-point shot after rolling to the wing to get the basketball.

He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Evans was able to throw down an emphatic dunk after getting the ball on a quick backdoor cut, and he also ran the floor to score on the break.  Plus, he also possesses good size, strength, and scoring touch to get a bucket after posting up, as he managed to score on a fadeaway jumper, and he drew an extra free throw afterwards, but sometimes, he can struggle to finish plays in traffic, and he particularly had more trouble trying to score when he would look to do so off the dribble.

He also looked to be a fairly average playmaker.  Evans played unselfishly, as he would look to make the extra pass, but he did commit a few turnovers.  He was called for committing a charging foul off of a high post drive, and he also had the ball ripped away from him as he lost it after trying to post up.  Also, Evans rebounded the ball very well.  He would crash the glass quite often, and he would leap up to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor.

In addition, Evans showcased solid defensive skills.  He did a great job of blocking shots to prevent opponents from scoring on drives, as he is a good athlete that possesses good leaping ability and timing to swat shots in order to force misses.  He also did a good job of contesting three-point shots to force additional misses on other defensive possessions.

In general, Jacob Evans had a very good showing, as he helped his team in virtually all facets of this game to help get his team a win over Mississippi State.  He is a smart player that tended to make sound basketball plays, and even though most of his scores were not on isolation plays, Evans is a skilled player that could potentially end up being a first round pick in the upcoming draft.

Mississippi State’s 6-10 junior center, Aric Holman played very well, as he showed a variety of skills in his team’s loss to Cincinnati, but not only can he make plays above the rim and block shots, Holman also shot the ball really well from beyond the arc, as he excelled as a floor spacer in this game.  Holman did a very good job of knocking down three-pointers from beyond the arc.  Holman would make quick spot-up threes off the catch, and he would take advantage of defenders that would give up too much space to shoot the basketball. 

Plus, he generally excelled as a finisher around the basket.  Holman threw down a thunderous dunk on an opponent on one play, and he also caught a lob pass to score on an alley-oop dunk another time.  Holman also excelled at scoring on tip ins after getting quick offensive rebounds for his team.  However, he had his struggles when posting up or looking to score off the dribble.  Holman missed a dunk attempt after making a quick spin move from the post, and he also missed on a turnaround fadeaway jumper.  Holman missed on a hard left handed drive to the hoop, and he also had trouble knocking down turnaround, fadeaway mid-range jumpers from the high post.

Holman did play unselfishly, and he was able to collect an assist when he was on the floor.  However, he will need to continue to improve his ball handling.  He nearly lost the ball handling it up the floor once, but he was called for traveling when posting up after getting an offensive board, which led him to commit a turnover once.  Also, Holman did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  He collected numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he was able to provide his team with numerous second chance points off of offensive rebounds.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  Holman was able to swat a shot inside the paint, and he also would force misses in the post.  However, he also would give up too much space to his man when defending out on the perimeter, as he would tend to allow his opponents to score on jumpers.  In this game, Aric Holman had a solid showing, as he is an athletic, skilled big man that can help a team in many different ways.  His game could be well suited for today’s modern NBA, and he has an intriguing skill set, as he could end up being a find for an NBA team whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Cincinnati’s 6-9 senior big man, Kyle Washington also had a good showing, as he played especially well in the first half.  In the first half, he was virtually automatic as a scorer in the post, and he also ended up defending well the whole way.  Washington showed off good low post scoring skills.  He was very effective at scoring on strong, running jump hooks, and he can also make them in traffic.  Plus, he also managed to score on a left-handed, turnaround jumper, but in the second half, he ended up having some misses in the post, as he had more trouble converting on his shots that time.

Also, Washington showed off a decent ability to shoot the basketball.  He was able to knock down a mid-range jumper, but he missed his only three-point shot from beyond the arc.  He showed off average playmaking skills.  Washington did make a nifty play after grabbing a defensive board, as he went coast to coast and displayed nice ball handling skills as he drove it up the court and then found an open teammate on the break to set up a score for him, but Washington also dropped a pass off of a roll out of bounds once.  Another time, he also had a ball poked away when posting up, although his teammate threw it to him, even though defenders surrounded him.

Washington did not haul in many boards when he was on the floor, but he was able to get some when they would be in his area.  He also played solid defense.  Washington managed to block a shot on a drive, and he would also play passing lanes.  Washington showed a good ability to contest shots, as he would successfully defend opponents on drives as well as in the post, and he also showed a fairly good ability to contest threes to force misses, but there was one time where he was called for a blocking foul when defending a drive.

In general, Kyle Washington played very well, as he mostly excelled as a low post scorer and as a defender when he was on the court.  His advanced age for a prospect may suggest he may not have much upside left to develop as a player for the NBA, but he is a skilled basketball player that could end up being a good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Cincinnati’s 6-7 senior forward, Gary Clark played very well, as he especially excelled defensively.  He is an athletic player that possesses an outstanding motor, as he is a smart basketball player that showed a knack for being in the right spots and making sound plays on both ends of the floor.  Clark played terrific defense in this game.  He did an excellent job of blocking shots as he possesses great timing, as well as good length and athleticism to do so, and he also did a very good job of contesting jumpers to force misses.  He also would dive on the ground for loose balls, and he also poked a ball away to help his team get a steal.

He also rebounded the ball really well, as he would leap up to haul in many boards on both ends of the floor.  Also, he showed off fairly average playmaking skills.  Clark played very unselfishly, and he would throw passes from the post to notch assists.  However, he also committed plenty of turnovers.  He committed an offensive foul after trying to post up off the ball, and he also was called for traveling after trying to kick it out to a shooter off of a drive.  Another time, he had the ball ripped away from him, as he struggled to protect the ball on that occasion.

Clark excelled as a scorer on hustle plays.  He ran the floor to catch a lob as a trailer in transition, as he was able to score on an alley-oop dunk.  Clark also was able to draw fouls on opponents off of a cut as well as a fast break drive.  He also managed to make a three off the catch, though he missed on a couple of other spot-up opportunities.  However, Clark had trouble consistently getting scores off the dribble.

In general, Gary Clark had a very good showing, as he played really well defensively to help get his team the win.  He may need to improve his ability to create his own shot as well as his jump shot, but Clark is a very good defender who could end up making an NBA team’s roster due to his ability to make plays on that end of the floor.

Mississippi State’s 6-4 junior guard, Quinndary Weatherspoon did not have a great game as he struggled to score consistently and he ended up committing some turnovers, but he is an athletic combo guard that can make plays above the rim, and he also threw some good passes at times.  He also showed off adequate defensive skills when he was on the floor against Cincinnati.

Weatherspoon did not shoot the ball well overall, as he struggled to make pull-up jumpers, but he did manage to make a bank three from beyond the arc.  He also managed to draw free throws after using a spin move on a drive, though he also struggled to consistently score in this game, but Weatherspoon did do a good job of scoring in transition, and he was able to run the floor to score on an alley-oop dunk on the break.

He did show fairly average playmaking skills.  He got the nod to start at the point, and Weatherspoon showed off some passing skills.  He was able to collect some nifty assists, as he threw a dump off pass off of a drive to set up a score, and he also threw a lob pass to set up another, but Weatherspoon also committed turnovers due to carelessness.  He threw an bad, inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds, and he also struggled to break a press once that resulted in him committing a ten-second violation another time.  Plus, he also ended up traveling on a drive, as he was called for steps after attempting to use a hop step move once.

Weatherspoon rebounded the ball well, as he grabbed numerous defensive boards when he was on the floor.  He also played good defense.  He managed to jump a pass to get a steal, and he also stayed with his man and tightly contested a three-point shot to force an air-ball.  However, he also was called for committing a blocking foul in transition when defending a drive.

In general, this was not Quinndary Weatherspoon’s best game, but he is an athletic combo guard that may have a variety of skills that could be intriguing to NBA teams.  He will need to learn how to play under control more and make more shots consistently, especially against the top teams, but with his skill set, he could be a potential second round pick for the upcoming draft.

Mississippi State’s 6-0 sophomore point guard, Lamar Peters had a terrible game, as he has generally not met expectations despite building his draft stock early in the year off of his play in the Adidas Nations Counselors tournament.  So far, Peters has not shot the ball well at all, and this game was not much different, except for the fact that he did not make any of his shots in this contest against Cincinnati.

Peters could not make a three-point shot from beyond the arc, and he displayed some questionable shot selection at times.  Sometimes, he would be open, and he would just miss shots from beyond the arc, but other times, he would heave up contested outside shots that would miss, and he even threw up a ghastly air-ball.  Even though all of his three-point attempts were off the catch, Peters just could not get one to fall from that range.

He also had trouble trying to score off the dribble.  Peters actually had trouble consistently getting all the way to the basket as he did not appear to have a great first step to the hoop, and he would constantly miss shots in traffic.  Peters also had one of his shots blocked after a drive to the basket, and he also missed a pull-up, mid-range jumper after using a step back move.  Peters also did not run the team very well, as he ended up committing many turnovers against Cincinnati.  He was able to kick it out to shooters after initially driving to the hoop to set up scoring chances for them, and Peters can also throw an accurate entry pass.

However, Peters tended to play too wildly at times, as he would commit offensive fouls when dribbling around or driving to the hoop.  He committed a clear-out foul once.  Another time, despite using a nifty behind the back dribble move off of a quick drive, Peters committed a charging foul in transition.  Also, he showed questionable decision-making when he would look to pass.  He threw a lazy inbounds pass that ended up being intercepted by a defender.  On a drive to the hoop, Peters threw a hasty, inaccurate pass back to a big man that ended up going out of bounds.  He also did not grab many rebounds, but Peters did manage to haul in a defensive board.

Peters did however seem to be a good defensive player when he was on the floor.  He is a tough, feisty defender that would provide heavy ball pressure, and he would poke balls away from opposing ball handlers, as he was able to get a steal once from doing so.  Peters also deflected a pass out of bounds, and he also would contest mid-range shots to force misses.  Peters would quickly fight around screens, and he generally was active and alert on this end of the court.  However, he would commit touch fouls, as one was a reach-in foul when defending a ball handler, but he did foul on a three-point shooter, as he was late to rotate to his man, and he ended up being over-aggressive on the close out.  There was also another play where he got beat off of a baseline drive, as his team allowed a score that time.

Overall, Lamar Peters’ performance in this game was incredibly underwhelming and disappointing, and his showing may have been his worst of the season, and it was possibly the worst game of his collegiate career to date.  Granted, he came off the bench as he did not start and Cincinnati played tough defense on him, but Peters also forced up some bad shots and showed some spotty decision making at times on offense, but most of all, he just could not get his jumper to fall, and he turned the ball over way too often.  Early in the year, he was viewed as a first round prospect.  But that may be in the rearview mirror, and Peters just needs to focus on getting his game back on track, and he will need to be a more consistently productive player on offense moving forward. 

Other Notes:

Cincinnati’s sophomore swingman, Jarron Cumberland did not have his best game, but he did make some good plays at times, as he especially excelled defensively when he was on the floor.  He is an above average athlete that possesses good strength and leaping ability, and he played solid defense when he was on the floor.  Cumberland leapt up high to swat a shot on a drive, and he also would play passing lanes.  Plus, he also would contest jumpers to force misses, but there was one time where he was late to rotate to his man, as his team ended up allowing an opponent to score on a three-point basket.

Cumberland also did an adequate job of rebounding the basketball.  He leapt up to collect numerous boards, as he was especially active at crashing the defensive glass.  However, he struggled on offense in this game against Mississippi State.  Cumberland had trouble knocking down jumpers consistently, although he did make a three off of a curl, and he did use a pump fake move to get an opponent in the air to help him draw free throws on a pull-up mid-range shot, but still, he had trouble making spot-up jumpers on a consistent basis, which hurt his shooting percentages in this game.

Cumberland did a good job of drawing free throws, as he would also do so on fast break drives, but other times, he would get his shots blocked on high post drives, and he also missed a jump hook in the post.  Cumberland just could not find his shooting stroke, and he generally had trouble finishing plays in traffic.   Plus, he also ended up committing some turnovers, as he threw a couple of errant passes that went to the opposition.

In all, Cumberland did not have a great game, but he is a strong, physical player that can rebound and defend when he is on the floor.  He is not an overly explosive athlete as he can struggle to get all the way to the basket at times, but if he can make shots more consistently, he could end up getting picked in the second round in a future NBA draft.