Evaluating Collin Sexton, Daniel Gafford, and Braxton Key

February 24, 2018

By Alan Lu

I took the time to watch an SEC basketball game between Arkansas and Alabama, as this matchup featured two first round prospects in Collin Sexton and Daniel Gafford, and it was a very hard-fought, competitive contest that went down all the way to the wire.  Sexton played quite well, but Arkansas was able to make plays down the stretch to get a close win over the conference rival.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Alabama’s freshman point guard, Collin Sexton had a good showing in his team’s loss against Arkansas.  He excelled at driving the ball to the basket to get scores and assists for his team, and he also was able to make some plays defensively.  He did struggle with his jump shot and position defense on occasion, but he managed to consistently make plays when he was on the floor.

Sexton did a very good job of getting scores on speedy drives to the basket.  He has great speed and quickness to regularly get past his man, and he often was able to draw free throws to help his team.  He also can dribble off of screens and use skillful ball handling moves, and he was able to score on a bank shot in transition once while drawing an extra free throw.  He did struggle considerably to knock down jumpers, but Sexton was able to make a long, pull-up two-point shot once off the dribble.

Also, he displayed good playmaking skills when he was on the court.  Sexton can quickly kick it out to shooters off the dribble, and he can find teammates on the move to set up scoring chances for them.  He generally excelled at facilitator, as he would pick up numerous assists on offense, but he did end up committing a couple of turnovers, as he lost the ball on a couple of drives due to playing too fast on occasion.

However, he only displayed average at best defensive skills in this game.  For the positives, Sexton managed to find a loose ball that an opposing low post player dropped to get a steal, and he also would contest threes to force some misses, but sometimes, he would be late to rotate, which would lead him to allow three-point baskets to the opposition, and he also ended up committing a foul on a cut that led to a three-point play for his opponent after a teammate had lost track of his man.  Another time, he got beat off the dribble, as his opponent ended up scoring on a floater.

In general, Collin Sexton had a good, but not a great game, and he excelled at driving the ball to the basket to set up scores for himself and his teammates, but there was a stretch in the middle of the second half where he did not seem to be involved enough on offense, and he did not seem to be nearly as effective when he would play on offense without having the ball in his hands.  Still, he is a very athletic, skilled playmaker that can put up points in a hurry as he possesses elite foot speed and solid scoring skills, and Sexton would likely end up being selected in the lottery by an NBA team in the upcoming draft. 

Arizona’s 6-11 freshman center, Daniel Gafford did not have his best game, but he had some good moments at times, as he was able to score on a tip dunk late in the match to help secure a win for his team.  Gafford showed a fairly good ability to score on hustle plays.  His best score was when he scored on a thunderous tip slam late in this contest, and Gafford showed a decent ability to draw fouls upon his opponents after collecting offensive boards, but sometimes, he would miss shots around the basket due to rushing, and he also had his shot blocked once after appearing to use a Euro-step move on a drive in transition.

He also showed a decent ability to get scores in the post.  He managed to use a pump fake and a drop step move to score a dunk, and he also managed to use a pivot to score on a reverse layup another time.  Gafford also generally excelled at scoring on dunks when he would look to throw those down, but Gafford tended to miss on jump hooks, as he did not always show great shooting touch when he was on the floor.  He also displayed decent playmaking skills for a player his size, and in this game against Alabama, Gafford managed to pass from the post to find an open shooter to notch an assist.

Also, he did a very good job of crashing the glass to collect rebounds, as he was especially active at hauling in offensive boards to help his team.  On the other hand, Gafford displayed average at best defensive skills.  For the positives, Gafford managed to dive for a loose ball that a low post player dropped to obtain a steal.  Also, he was able to successfully challenge a mid-range shot to force a miss, but sometimes he would struggle to keep up defensively, as he would occasionally get beat off the dribble, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.  He also had some trouble defending in the post every once in a while, as he would sometimes not be well positioned to successfully contest those shots.

In summary, Daniel Gafford did not play as well as hoped, but he was still able to make some good plays when he was on the court.  He is a very athletic big man that may possess a good motor, but he will likely need to continue to improve in the finer points of the game.  He is a player that could project to be a rim protector at the next level, and he could end up being selected in the late first to the second round range by an NBA team whenever he elects to enter the draft.

Alabama’s 6-8 sophomore forward, Braxton Key had a very good game, as he really excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor, and he also showed off good all-around skills against Arkansas.  He did a very good job of knocking down quick, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  Plus, Key showed a good ability to score in the post as well as off the dribble, and there was one play where he used a quick side step and a jump stop to get a quick score on a baseline drive to the hoop, but he seemed to display just average at best playmaking skills on offense.  For the positives, Key managed to throw an accurate lob pass to set up an alley-oop dunk for a teammate on a roll, and he also can throw passes off the dribble.  But he also committed several turnovers, as he struggled with his ball handling and footwork at times, and he also threw an inaccurate pass once.

Also, he showed a decent ability to rebound the basketball, but sometimes, he would forget to block out his man, as that would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores as a result.  Key also played good defense.  He did a great job of blocking shots to prevent opponents from scoring in the post, and he also caught a tipped pass to help his team get a steal.  Also, he managed to draw a charge when defending a drive another time.  In this game, Braxton Key played very well as he was able to make positive contributions in many different ways to help his team stay in this game.  He excelled at making plays on both ends of the floor, and he could be a second round prospect if he decides to enter the upcoming draft.

Arkansas’ 6-3 senior guard, Daryl Macon had a good all-around showing to help lead his team to a win over Alabama, and he showed off versatile scoring skills when he was on the floor.  Macon showed a knack for scoring off of quick cuts to the hoop, and he also excelled at getting scores after taking pull-up, mid-range jumpers.   Plus, he showed a decent ability to score on aggressive drives to the hoop and he once scored on a floater, but he also had his shots blocked a couple of times.  He struggled to knock down threes consistently though, but he was able to make a pull-up three in this game.

Also, he showed off fairly good playmaking skills.  Macon is a skilled ball handler that possesses above average court vision, and he can throw solid passes off the dribble to set up a wide array of scores for his teammates.  He also managed to use a nifty behind the back dribble move to find an open shooter, and he also can hit the cutter, but he did commit a couple of turnovers, and sometimes, he can be a bit careless when handling the basketball.

Plus, Macon did a good job of collecting rebounds in this game.  He also played good defense, as he can rip balls away and find loose balls to get steals.  But there was one play where he gave his man too much space, which led his team to give up a three-point basket to his opponent.  In summary, Daryl Macon is an agile combo guard that can put up points in a hurry, but he also showed a rather diverse skill set to help get his team the victory.  He may not have nearly as much draft buzz as his teammate Daniel Gafford, but Macon has been a very productive player for his team, and he could perhaps end up being a good find for an NBA team in the offseason.

Alabama’s 6-5 freshman guard, John Petty did a very good job of scoring on spot-up threes from beyond the arc.  He also managed to draw free throws on a tip-in attempt after flying in to get an offensive board.  Plus, he made solid passes, as he threw a no look pass to get the ball inside to set up a score once, and he also managed to throw an accurate lob pass once.  Defensively, Petty did not really stand out.  He will look to contest shots to force misses, but he also can have lapses, which can lead his team to allow scores.  In general, Petty had a fairly good showing as he shot the ball well, and he is an athletic swingman that could end up being picked in the second round by an NBA team in future drafts.

Arkansas’ 6-3 senior guard, Jaylen Barford excelled at making quick, open threes off the catch, as well as scoring on tough drives to the basket to help put up points for his team.  On one play, he managed to score on a reverse scoop layup on a quick drive in transition.  He did have some trouble knocking down mid-range shots though, but generally Barford excelled as a scorer when he was on the floor.  He did not seem to stand out in the other areas, but he is an athletic score-first combo guard that could end up on an NBA summer league roster either this year or sometime down the road.

Alabama’s 6-5 sophomore guard, Dazon Ingram had a very good game in his team’s loss to Arkansas, as he made solid plays on both ends of the floor.  He excelled as a spot-up shooter from beyond the arc as well as a scorer off the dribble, and he also defended well.  He also excelled at blocking shots to prevent opponents from scoring on drives, and he also managed to jump a pass to get a steal.  Ingram is an athletic, high-motor basketball player that has been having a good season for Alabama as a role player, and if he can consistently knock down outside shots, he could improve his chances to end up in the NBA in the future.

Arkansas’ 6-5 sophomore guard, C.J. Jones did a great job of shooting the basketball to get scores for his team, as he excelled at making quick, spot-up threes off the catch, as well as on pull-up, mid-range jumpers in transition.  He shot the ball well, and he could project into a shooting specialist role in the NBA if he can shoot as well as he did in this game on a consistent basis.

Alabama’s 6-9 freshman center, Alex Reese excelled at making three-point shots, and he made a bank shot three once in the middle of this game, and he also rotated to block a shot inside.  However, he did not make too many other plays outside of that, as he had some trouble with his position defense, and he did not grab many rebounds against Arkansas.  He may still have ways to go as a player, but if he continues to hone his overall game, he could perhaps end up being a stretch big in the NBA in the future, as he may have a similar playing style to former New York Knicks’ center, Josh Harrellson.

Alabama’s 6-9 junior big man, Donta Hall did not have his best game, and he did not seem to be much of a factor on offense.  He was still able to make some good plays when he was on the floor, but it did not seem to be enough as he did not take enough shots or make enough passes, and he also struggled with his position defense at times in this game.

Hall showed a solid ability to score on hustle plays.  He managed to score on an alley-oop dunk after rolling to the rim, and he also drew free throws on a cut to the basket.  He struggled to score in the post consistently, but he was able to score on a jump hook once, but sometimes, Hall would not catch balls cleanly or get deep position, which would make him more prone to missing on jumpers he would take on the block.

Hall showed an adequate ability to get rebounds in this game.  However, there was one play where he allowed an opponent to get a rebound in his area, and he subsequently ended up fouling an opponent on a put back attempt.  Also, Hall showed off above average defensive skills.  He did a good job of blocking shots to prevent opponents from scoring in transition, and he also managed to get his hands on a tipped pass to help his team get a steal.  Additionally, he would contest shots in the post to force some misses, but sometimes, Hall would have trouble defending in the post.

He fronted once, but allowed an easy catch, which led his man to score on a dunk.  Another time, he got beat on a low post move to allow the basket.  He also struggled to defend shooters, as he can be overaggressive to commit fouls sometimes, or give up too much space to allow opponents to score on jumpers other times.  He also was a bit late to rotate on a high post drive, which led his team to allow another score to the opposition.  In summary, Donta Hall did not have his best game, but he is an athletic, high-motor player that will look to make plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to expand upon his skill set offensively and be more of a disciplined defender, but Hall could end up being a second round pick, as he could project into being an energetic defensive specialist at the next level.