Evaluating Shake Milton and Landry Shamet

January 18, 2018

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I decided to watch a game that was played Wichita State and SMU.  It was anticipated that the Shockers would win this match, but instead the Mustangs were able to pull off an upset victory, as SMU’s 6-6 junior guard, Shake Milton played terrific basketball on this day.  Here are my thoughts on how he and the other prospects fared in this game.

Shake Milton had an excellent showing, as he carried his team to get a road win over Wichita State.  He did a terrific job of shooting and scoring the basketball, and he played a strong all-around game on this day.  He really excelled as a shooter to space the floor for his team.  Milton showed a knack for making a plethora of pull-up jumpers, as he can use a nifty crossover and step back move, and he also can make three-point shots from way out.

Plus, he also did a great job of getting scores on quick, strong drives to the basket.  He possesses a good first step, combined with having good strength, body control, and shooting touch to regularly finish plays in the paint.  He was able to score on tough, acrobatic layups, and he excelled at scoring on floaters.  He also managed to score on a tough put back as he rebounded his own miss, and managed to get an extra free throw.

Also, he showed off good playmaking skills.  Milton generally threw accurate passes, as he would get it to them in a variety of ways to set up scores for his teammates.  But there was one play where he threw an outlet pass that was too hard to catch once, as his teammate ended up dropping the pass that led his team to commit a turnover.  While he did not grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to haul in boards on both ends of the floor.  Milton also played good defense, as he would contest three-point shots to force misses, but there was one occasion where he gave up his man too much space, which led him to allow a score once.

In general, Shake Milton played really well, as he had a terrific game to lead SMU to a stunning victory over Wichita State.  He is a very skilled combo guard that can comfortably play the point, and he is a good athlete that can get his shot off in a number of ways.  With his skill set, he would be a solid pick for a team in the mid first round range of the upcoming draft, and it would not be a surprise if he ended up being a lottery pick in 2018.

Wichita State’s 6-4 redshirt sophomore point guard, Landry Shamet put forth a solid performance in his team’s loss to SMU.  He shot the ball very well, and he was effective as a distributor for his team when he was on the floor.  Shamet did a very good job of shooting the basketball.  SMU played in a 2-3 zone, and Shamet was able to find open spots on the floor, and he would make numerous quick spot-up threes off the catch.  Another time, he managed to get the ball underneath the basket, and he scored on a reverse layup while drawing an extra free throw.  In addition, he also managed to score on a drive to the hoop once.

Also, he showed off adequate playmaking skills when he was on the court.  Shamet played very unselfishly, as he would get the ball to his teammates in a variety of ways to set up a wealth of scores for them.  However, he also was turnover prone on offense, especially late in the game.  Sometimes, he would throw hasty passes in traffic that would get intercepted.  Another time, he committed an offensive foul on offense due to carelessness.  He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Shamet was able to haul in several defensive boards when he was on the floor.

Shamet also did not defend very well in this game.  For the positives, he would look to actively contest shots, and he was able to challenge a mid-range shot, as well as a shot on a drive to force a miss.  However, Shamet had trouble staying in front of quicker players defensively.  He committed a couple of fouls when defending drives, and he ended up getting beat on a spin move to allow a score on a drive another time.  Shamet went the wrong way when defending a screen, as he went under it, and allowed his man to score on a three-point shot.  Another time, he got beat on a step back move, as he ended up allowing his man to score on another three-point basket.

In general, Landry Shamet had a fairly good game, as he showed off solid offensive skills against SMU.  He primarily excelled at knocking down open threes, and he would pass the ball often to notch many assists.  However, he turned the ball over a bit too much down the stretch, and he also did not play great position defense.  With what I have seen out of him this season, he is a smart, skilled point guard that can effectively run a team, but he may not be an especially dynamic playmaker, as he doesn’t possess elite athletic gifts, and he may struggle to defend upper echelon point guards.   Therefore, it would probably be best if NBA teams were to select Shamet in the second round range if he were to declare to enter the draft this year.

Other Notes:

SMU’s 6-0 junior guard, Jahmal McMurray played very well, as he was able to help lead his team to a stunning upset win over Wichita State.  He shot the ball well when he was on the floor, and he was able to provide instant offense for his team.  McMurray excelled at knocking down an array of pull-up jumpers from all over the floor, and he has a nifty step back move that he can use to create separation between himself and his defender.  He also managed to use a quick spin move to score on a floater off of a drive to the hoop.

In this game, he played very well, as he was able to be a bucket getter for SMU, as he would score the basketball in a variety of ways consistently.  McMurray is a player that could project into a microwave type of scorer off the bench at the next level, as he may end up being a potential second round pick whenever he elects to enter the NBA draft.

Shaquille Morris played very well in the first half, as he really excelled as an inside scorer for Wichita State, but he also struggled to consistently grab rebounds, and he also had trouble defending his opponents in this game.  Morris did a very good job of getting scores around the basket.  He would frequently get the ball underneath the hoop, and he would often score, as he was able to throw down multiple powerful dunks.  He also managed to catch a lob pass to get a score, and he also drew an extra free throw.

He also showed a good ability to post up, as he was able to score on a step-through move.  Plus, he managed to throw down a dunk off of a roll to the rim, and he also ran the floor to score on the break.   In addition, Morris was able to score on a tip in off of an offensive board.  However, he had trouble making mid-range jumpers against SMU.  He displayed decent playmaking skills.  He was able to hit the cutter to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  However, he threw a bad interior pass once that got deflected and intercepted by a defender on one occasion.  Morris did not rebound the ball well in this game.  He was only able to grab two rebounds against SMU, and he often was unable to get boards in his area.  On one play, he committed a foul on a put back but also allowed a score, as that led to a three-point play for his opponent.

He also struggled to consistently make defensive plays.  Morris did manage to block a shot ferociously out of bounds, and at times, he would contest shots in a timely manner to force misses.  However, he had trouble rotating back to the roll man, as his team would end up allowing scores around the hoop.  He also had trouble staying with quicker opponents, as he would commit fouls.  Another time, he was too slow to hedge on an opposing ball handler once, as that led his team to allow a pull-up three to an opponent.  On another play, he ended up biting on a pump fake to allow his opponent to score on a drive to the rim.  In general, Shaquille Morris had an up and down game, as he did a good job of scoring the basketball, but he did not seem to stand out in the other areas.  But with his ability to get buckets in the paint, Morris could end up being on an NBA team’s summer league roster this year.

SMU’s 6-5 senior swingman, Ben Emelogu shot the ball well, as he was able to make a couple of open spot-up threes early in the second half, and he also used a step back move to score on a pull-up mid-range shot once.  Plus, he did a good job of scoring off the dribble, as he also managed to score on a quick drive.  However, he struggled defensively, as he was prone to committing fouls around the basket, as he ended up allowing multiple three-point plays to the opposition.  Still, Emelogu played pretty well on this day, and his combination of size, athleticism, and shooting ability could enable him to latch on to an NBA team’s summer league roster this year.

SMU’s 6-9 freshman forward, Ethan Chargois played well on offense, as he was able to score often on rolls to the rim, and he even threw down a dunk once.  Plus, he was also able to space the floor by making a three off of a pick and pop play.  He also showed a decent ability to score off the dribble, as he was able to use a pump fake move to score off of a drive.   Chargois is a mobile, agile forward that can score the basketball in a variety of ways. 

Plus, he also played decent defense.  Chargois was able to intercept a couple of passes to get steals.  However, he also would be prone to committing fouls around the basket, due to over-aggressiveness.  In summary, Chargois is an interesting prospect that can help a team offensively, and he could be a player to keep an eye on in the future.

Conner Frankamp did a very good job of making spot-up threes off the catch, and he also was able to make one from pretty far out.  He also managed to score on a crafty floater off of a drive.  He struggled to distribute the basketball or defend, but he was able to space the floor to help his team.

Wichita State’s senior forward, Darral Willis Jr. excelled as an inside scorer and rebounder when he was on the floor.  He displayed good footwork to score in the post, and he also would score on hustle plays, including once where he scored on an emphatic tip dunk.  He also managed to make a mid-range jumper, and he also hauled in many offensive rebounds.

I expected to see good things from Wichita State’s 6-8 junior forward, Markis McDuffie in this game against SMU, but he did not play nearly as well as I expected him to.  He did make a few good plays, but he did not impact the game as much as anticipated.

For the positives, McDuffie was able to contribute in a variety of ways, and he also showed off very good athletic gifts.  In this game, he was able to make a mid-range shot off the catch.   He also managed to score on a thunderous tip slam to showcase his athleticism, motor, and instincts that time, and he also managed to get an additional free throw.  Plus, he also managed to contest a drive to force a miss on the defensive end.  He did rebound the ball fairly well, as he was quite active on the glass.

However, McDuffie also had his fair share of bad plays in this game against SMU.  He threw up an airball when hoisting up a three-point shot, as it missed completely.  He also missed after driving from the baseline to get to the hoop.   He also struggled with his position defense at times, as he would give his man too much space, which would cause him to allow scores, and he also committed a foul off the ball.

Right now, Markis McDuffie is an athletic combo forward that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor, but he did not seem to do a good job of creating his own shot in this game, and he did not play shut down defense, either.  He may need to spend more time honing his craft at Wichita State as he may not be ready for the league yet, but if things pan out for him, he could perhaps end up being a role player in the NBA in the mold of an Eddie Robinson type.

SMU’s 6-6 junior swingman, Jarrey Foster did not play very much in this game, as he played only a handful of minutes at the start before ended up having to leave the game due to a knee injury.  Foster was able to score on a put back after grabbing an offensive rebound.  He also managed to draw a non-shooting foul off of a drive.  But after using a Euro-step move on the break, Foster missed on a drive in transition, and he ended up injuring his knee simultaneously, causing him to miss the remainder of the match.