Assessing Marvin Bagley III, Phil Cofer, Wendell Carter Jr., and Others

December 31, 2017

By Alan Lu

I took the time to watch Marvin Bagley III and Duke take on Florida State in an afternoon game that was played on CBS.  It was a tightly played contest in which Florida State played valiantly the whole way as they received strong performances from 6-8 senior forward Phil Cofer and 6-6 senior Braian Angola, but Bagley had a phenomenal showing, as he helped carry Duke to a seven-point victory.  Here are my thoughts on how he and other prospects played on this day.

Duke’s 6-11 freshman big man, Marvin Bagley III had a terrific game, as he scored 32 points, and grabbed 21 points to lead his team to a close win over Florida State.  He played an excellent all-around game, as he made many strong plays to help his team get the victory.  Bagley did a great job of scoring on hustle plays.  He scored often on put backs, and he was able to throw down a thunderous dunk off of one once.  Plus, he did a great job of drawing free throws, and he showed a very good ability to score on short drives off of offensive rebounds, including one where he made a circus shot after getting his own miss from the foul line.

He also showed a tremendous ability to score on cuts to the basket, as he managed to score on a reverse layup and he also threw down a magnetic jam.  In addition, he was open underneath the hoop, and he managed to leap up to score on an emphatic, alley-oop dunk.  He also ran the floor to draw free throws on a fast break.

He also showed very good low post scoring skills.  Bagley threw down a thunderous dunk after catching an entry pass, and he also scored on a jump hook on a separate offensive possession.  He also is solid scorer off the dribble, as he can finish plays with either hand.  Plus, he also shot the ball well.  Bagley was able to make a spot-up three in the corner, as he also drew an additional free throw in addition to getting the score on that play.

Also, Bagley displayed decent playmaking skills.  He showed a good ability to pass off of drives to find open shooters, and he also would get his teammates the ball from the post.  He also showed some ball handling skills after dribbling off of a defensive board.  But he did commit some turnovers, as he threw a pass that sailed out of bounds, and he got tied up on an offensive rebound in which he threw elbows that resulted in him getting called for a Flagrant 1 foul.

Bagley did a tremendous job of rebounding the basketball.  He grabbed many boards when he was on the floor, as he would often come away with rebounds throughout the game.  He also showcased fairly average defensive skills.  For the positives, Bagley was able to rip a ball away from an opposing ball handler to obtain a steal, and he also would contest threes and shots on drives to force misses.  However, Bagley also tended to commit fouls, as he did so on drives as well as once in the post, and sometimes he would over-help in the paint, which would allow his opponents to score on jumpers.  In general, Marvin Bagley III had a terrific game, as he showed off a diverse skill set that carry his team to a victory over Florida State.  He is a really skilled big man that can score the basketball in many different ways, and he looks to be a strong contender to be the top pick in 2018.

Florida State’s 6-8 senior forward, Phil Cofer played really well, as he had a tremendous first half in his team’s loss to Duke.  He did a great job of spacing the floor, and he really excelled as a scorer, as he scored 28 points and made 6 threes in this game.  Cofer did a great job of shooting the basketball to space the floor for his team.  He really excelled at knocking down spot-up threes off the catch, as he would often take advantage of defenders that would leave him open.  He also made a bank three, and he also made a three in the corner.   Plus, Cofer showed a very good ability to knock down mid-range jumpers.

In addition, he did a very good job of scoring in the post.  Cofer managed to use an overhead ball fake prior to scoring on a jump hook.  Another time, he used a pivot to draw a foul in the post, though he was not awarded the basket, as continuation was waved off.  He also did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  Cofer scored on a strong tip dunk, and he also scored on a tip in, as he really excelled at scoring off of quick offensive rebounds.

He also showed an adequate ability to rebound the basketball, and he did a great job of providing second chance points for his team after grabbing offensive rebounds.  Cofer displayed fairly average defensive skills.  He was able to take a ball away to get a steal.  However, he allowed a dunk in the post once, and he was late to rotate to a man out in the mid-range area, which led his team to allow a score on a high post drive.

In general, Phil Cofer had a very good showing, as he shot the ball really well, and he showed off versatile scoring skills.  He has flown under the radar for much of this season, but this game could put him on the map as a draft prospect.  With his skill set, he could be a potential second round pick in 2018.

Duke’s freshman big man, Wendell Carter Jr. played very well in his team’s win over Florida State.  He did a great job of getting scores around the basket, and he generally played a solid all-around game when he was on the floor.  Carter showed off good low post scoring skills.  He was able to score on a strong drop step after lowering his shoulder to get his shot up, and Carter has great strength to back down his man.  He also drew many free throws after looking to score in the post, as he can will his way to the free throw line.

Plus, he did a very good job of scoring on hustle plays.  Carter scored numerous times on put backs, as he was able to throw down a couple of powerful dunks off of offensive rebounds.  He threw down numerous powerful dunks on this day, and he also was able to throw down a thunderous dunk after running the floor to score on the break.

Carter also displayed solid playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he can throw solid interior passes, and he can make passes from the post as well as off the dribble, but he did commit one turnover as he was called for committing an offensive foul in the post after lowering his shoulder on a defender in an attempt to create separation between him and his man around the basket.

He also did a great job of rebounding the basketball.  Carter was able to haul in many boards when he was on the floor, and he also tapped a ball out to a teammate once, but there were a few times where he allowed opponents to get balls in his area.  Also, he played good defense in this game.  Carter did a great job of blocking shots to protect the paint, as he possesses good length, athleticism, and timing to do so.  He did a good job of contesting shots on drives as well as in the post to force misses, and he also managed to draw a charge due to good positioning, awareness, and instincts.

However, sometimes he would be late to rotate to his man, as this would lead his team to allow scores around the basket.  Other times, he would be prone to committing touch fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  Overall, Wendell Carter Jr. played really well, as he had a strong showing in his team’s win over Florida State.  He played a smart, sound all-around game, and he may be a likely lottery pick for the upcoming draft.

Duke’s 6-3 freshman point guard, Trevon Duval also put forth a good performance, as he helped lead Duke to a seven-point victory over Florida State.  He made several key plays down the stretch, as he would score on strong, aggressive drives to the hoop, and he is a speedy point guard that can make numerous plays to help his team.

Duval did a very good job of scoring on speedy drives to the basket.  He managed to score once on a finger roll, and he also made a runner off the bank while also drawing an additional free throw another time.  Duval possesses a great first step to the hoop, and he can finish through contact, though he did end up missing a couple of shots in traffic.  He struggled to consistently make three-point shots, as that is not his specialty, and he missed several open threes off the catch.  But Duval was able to make one three-point shot, as he can build off of that to improve his ability to space the floor the next time.

Plus, he also showed off adequate playmaking skills.  Duval can throw long, accurate passes to set up scores for his teammates, and he also can kick it to shooters off the dribble.  However, sometimes he can struggle to protect the basketball at times.  He also committed his lone turnover as he was called for committing a clear out when looking to score off the dribble.

Duval showed off average defensive skills at best.  For the positives, Duval managed to jump a pass to get a steal, and he also was able to block a shot.  Plus, he also contested a three to force a miss.  However, he tended to commit reach-in fouls on drives, as he ended up being in foul trouble.  Also, he was once late on a rotation, as he ended up allowing his man to score on a three-point shot.

In general, Trevon Duval had a fairly good game, as he played very well down the stretch.  He ran into foul trouble several times in this contest, but he did a very good job of scoring on strong, speedy drives to the basket.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good value pick for an NBA team in the mid first round range of the upcoming draft.

Duke’s senior guard, Grayson Allen had a good showing in his team’s win over Florida State.  He scored the basketball in a variety of ways, and he also passed the ball well, as he provided solid offensive skills when he was on the court.  Allen showed a good ability to garner scores off the dribble.  He can score on strong, aggressive moves, and he generally showed good patience to execute them when he would look to score the basketball.  He also used a pivot move to score on a step through move on one drive to the hoop.  However, there were a few occasions where Allen ended up missing on drives in traffic.

He also showed an adequate ability to make jumpers to space the floor for his team.  Allen did a great job of knocking down pull-up, mid-range jumpers.  He struggled more to consistently make threes, but he was able to do so both off the catch and dribble in this game.  Plus, he also displayed good playmaking skills.  Allen did a very good of throwing interior passes, as he can throw accurate lob passes, and he will hit the cutter to set up scores for his teammates.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving.  However, he did commit a couple of turnovers.  He was called for traveling once after handling the basketball, and after using a ball fake, he threw a bad pass that led to another turnover.

Allen did not grab many rebounds in this game, but he managed to get some defensive rebounds off of tap outs.  Defensively, he may have been average at best on that end of the court.  Allen did manage to contest a three to force a miss, and he also drew a charge on a drive due to good positioning.  However, he over-helped in the paint once, which led his team to allow a three-point basket.  Another time, he got beat on a move, as he ended up allowing his man to score on another three.   On a separate play, he committed a foul on a drive, as his team gave up a score, and an additional free throw that time.  In general, Grayson Allen showed a diverse skill set offensively, and he was able to make numerous plays to help his team get a win over Florida State.  With his skill set, he could end up being a good pick for an NBA team in the late first round on draft day.

Duke’s 6-5 freshman swingman, Gary Trent Jr. had an up and down game in his team’s win over Florida State.  He initially shot the ball well at first, but he struggled to consistently make shots.  However, he did rebound and defend well, as he was able to make some solid defensive plays in this game.  He showed a decent ability to get scores off the dribble.  Trent showed a knack for scoring on floaters, and he also can draw free throws when driving to the hoop on breakaways.    However, Trent did not always play under control, as he would occasionally miss shots on drives to the hoop, and he also struggled to knock down mid-range jumpers.   Though Trent was able to make two open three-point shots in the corner, he ultimately struggled to make threes consistently, as he missed too many open shots from long-range.

Trent did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He excelled at hauling in defensive boards, as he would get some off tap outs, and he also leapt up to get more rebounds for his team.  However, he was called for pushing off when going for a defensive board, as that led him to pick up his fourth foul.  Also, Trent played very good defense.  He did a great job of collecting steals, as he would catch passes that would be thrown right to him, and he also would poke balls away from his opponents.  He also would get back on defense, and he would force his opponents to miss shots.   But sometimes, he would commit reach-in fouls due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Gary Trent Jr. had his highs and lows throughout this game, but he has an intriguing skill set, as he is an athletic shooter that can aptly defend his opponents.  Trent will need to be a more consistent shooter and improve upon his shot selection, but he could perhaps be a potential first round pick in the future if he continues to develop as an overall player.

Other Notes:

Florida State’s 6-6 senior swingman, Braian Angola had his best game of the season yet, and he really put on a showcase that could help him get noticed by NBA scouts and teams.   He did a great job of making three-point shots, as he can do so off the catch or dribble, and he also has a lot of range on his shot.

Plus, he excelled at scoring on strong drives to the hoop, and he also managed to score in transition after using a eurostep move.   He also showed good playmaking and rebounding skills, and he is an athletic, skilled basketball player that could end up being a very good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Florida State’s freshman swingman, M.J. Walker had a decent game, as he played very well in the first half.  He shot the ball well from beyond the arc, as he was able to make a bank three, and a contested three to space the floor for his team.  He also excelled at scoring on drives in transition, as he managed to score on a runner in traffic, and he also threw down a dunk on a fast break.  However, he struggled to score on drives in half-court sets, and he also had a shot blocked after cutting to the hoop.  In general, M.J. Walker is an athletic, skilled basketball player that can score in a variety of ways, and he could be a prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

Florida State’s 6-6 junior point forward, Terance Mann had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Duke, but there were times where it seemed that he faded into the background.  He is first and foremost a facilitator, and he can get the ball to shooters in a variety of ways, and he even used a behind the back pass to set up a scoring chance once.  Though he didn’t take many shots, he was able to make a three off the catch, and he also scored on a put back.  Plus, Mann was able to draw free throws on an aggressive drive to the hoop.  Mann didn’t look to score often, but he was able to score efficiently when he did look to take shots.

He also did a good job of rebounding the basketball.  However, he was about average defensively.  Mann showed a good ability to poke balls away, and he was able to come away with steals.  However, he tended to commit fouls when defending a bigger player in the post.  Also, he bit on a pump fake once, as he ended up allowing his man to score on a three-point shot.

In general, Terance Mann showed a diverse skill set, though he didn’t look to score often.  He is an interesting player that could be a prospect for the 2019 draft.  He will need to be more of a jump shooter, and he will need to assert himself more on offense, but he could potentially end up being an intriguing prospect similar to Marquis Daniels in the NBA.

Other Notes, Part II:

Also on December 30th, Oklahoma’s sensational freshman point guard, Trae Young scored 39 points and dished out 14 assists in his team’s win over TCU.  He has been playing terrific basketball, and he is a really skilled basketball player that could end up being a top 5 pick in 2018.

I was also able to catch the first half of the Wichita State-Connecticut game earlier on December 30th.  What stood out was that Wichita State’s senior forward, Rashard Kelly played very well, as he excelled at grabbing offensive rebounds and scoring on put backs, and he also was able to score in the post, as well as off the dribble.  He is an athletic, high motor player that also passes the ball well, but he normally doesn’t look to take many shots.  Still, he has played an integral role in his team’s success this year, and he would likely be a good addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Also, I was able to watch a little bit of the second half of the Seton Hall-Creighton game that was played on December 28th.   Some takeaways were that Desi Rodriguez is an athletic, skilled swingman that can score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he has a good first step to the basket. He also managed to get a steal late in the game, as he was able to pick off a pass that was thrown his way.

Seton Hall’s senior big man, Angel Delgado excelled as a scorer on put backs, and he also showed the ability to score on jump hooks in the post, but he struggled with his position defense, as he had trouble defending opponents off the dribble, and he ended up fouling out.

In the Kentucky-UCLA game that was played on December 23rd, the pacing was slow, and it was riddled with turnovers, but UCLA’s freshman forward, Kris Wilkes seemed to play well, as he can score on strong drives to the hoop, and he did a very good job of making spot-up threes for his team.

Aaron Holiday also played well, as he showed the ability to make threes and floaters off the dribble, and he is a quick guard that can make some good passes, but he seems to lack an elite first step to the hoop, and when facing heavy pressure, he can be prone to turnovers, as he ended up committing several of them during the middle of the contest.  He may project to be an early second round pick if the draft were held today, but he could help an NBA team with his ability to shoot the basketball and make plays at the point.