Observations on Trevon Bluiett, Markus Howard, and J.P. Macura

January 24, 2018

By Alan Lu

Recently, I decided to watch a Big East game that was played between Xavier and Marquette, as Xavier is a very good college basketball team that features a couple of second round prospects in Trevon Bluiett and J.P. Macura, and Marquette has a potential first round candidate in Markus Howard, as Howard is a diminutive guard that can really score the basketball.  I took the time to assess Howard’s game, as well as the analyze each of the prospects’ skill sets.   While Howard scored the most points in this match, Xavier played really well as they blew out Marquette to win by double-digits.  Here are my thoughts on how various prospects fared on this day.

Xavier’s 6-6 senior swingman, Trevon Bluiett had a solid all-around game, as he excelled as a shooter to space the floor for his team, and he also did a good job of facilitating and rebounding the basketball against Marquette.  Bluiett shot the ball well, as he did a very good job of knocking down three-point shots from beyond the arc.  He really excelled at making long-range jumpers off the catch, as he made one after running off of a curl, and he also made another three after running off of a screen.  Bluiett also has a quick release, as he can easily get his shot off before defenders close out on him.  Plus, he also was able to make a quick, long two-point shot after running off of a screen, as he can knock down mid-range jumpers, and he also scored on a two-handed floater off of a drive to the basket.

He also displayed solid playmaking skills.  Bluiett is an unselfish player that sees the floor very well, and he can get the ball to his teammates in a variety of ways.  He can throw long outlet passes, and he also was able to swiftly find a roll man on the move to get an assist.  He did a good job of throwing accurate passes, as he showed a knack for making quick decisions on the court, but there was one play where he was called for committing an offensive foul, as he tried to clear out with his arm when handling the ball once.  Also, Bluiett did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He hauled in many boards on both ends of the floor, and he showed a knack for leaping up to collect defensive rebounds in this game.

However, he seemed to only display average at best defensive skills against Marquette.  Bluiett ended up committing a foul off the ball once when defending in the post.  Another time, he went the wrong way when defending a drive as he rotated to guard a different opponent, but his team ended up allowing a score on a floater.

In general, Trevon Bluiett had a very good showing, as he helped lead his team to get a double-digit victory over Marquette.  He also managed to score his 2,000th career point, as he did so by making a quick long two-point shot after running off of a screen to get the ball.   Bluiett is a smart, skilled player that moves well off the ball on offense, and he could be a solid pick for an NBA team in the second round of the upcoming draft.

Marquette’s sophomore combo guard, Markus Howard put forth a good performance in his team’s loss to Xavier.  He is a quick, shifty playmaker that can shoot and score the basketball at will, as he played well in this game, but his team did not, and the rest of his team had trouble getting their shots to fall on offense.  Howard did a great job of scoring on drives to the hoop.  He is a fast, agile player that has a solid first step, and he has both a very good shooting touch and body control to get numerous scores in the paint.   Howard can score on contorted layups as well as on switch of hands layups off the glass effortlessly, and excels at scoring on floaters.  Plus, he also can draw plenty of fouls upon his opponents, but sometimes, Howard can miss some shots in traffic, as he seemed to miss more of them late in the game due to fatigue.

Also, he showed a decent ability to knock down threes from beyond the arc.  Howard can make long-range jumpers both off the catch and dribble, and he can use a step back move to create separation between himself and his defender.  Plus, Howard showed off decent playmaking skills when he was on the court.  Playing off the ball, he generally looked to score first, as he had a tendency to take shots early and often, but Howard showed off good ball handling skills, and he also would throw a few good passes off the dribble to his teammates, but Howard did commit some turnovers, as he would play too fast and out of control at times.  On one play, he drove quickly to the hoop, but lost the ball out of bounds.  Another time, he threw a bad pass back off of a drive that ended up getting deflected and intercepted.

He also was able to chip in to get a few defensive boards when he was on the floor.  Howard also played good defense.  He would poke balls away from his opponents to get steals, and he also would stay in front of his man on drives to force misses and traveling violations.  He also managed to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss, and Howard is an aggressive position defender that even managed to block a shot.  However, he was late to contest a three, which led him to allow a score once.  On a separate play, he ended up allowing a score on a fast break drive, as his small stature made it tough for him to contest a taller player’s shot that time.

In general, Markus Howard excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor, and he also would play tough, aggressive defense on the end other side of the ball.  He is an agile playmaker that can make shots from anywhere on the court, but he may also need to show NBA teams that he can effectively play the point at the next level, and that he can fit into any role at the next level.  With his skill set, he could end up going early in the second round on draft day.

Xavier’s 6-5 senior swingman, J.P. Macura did not have his best game, but he was able to pass the ball well, and he also would make some hustle plays when he was on the court.  Macura showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he would generally throw good entry passes to his teammates to notch assists, but he did committing several turnovers, as he threw an entry pass that was tipped and intercepted once, he committed a charging foul off of a drive, and he also traveled when handling the ball another time.

He also did a good job of scoring on drives to the basket.  Macura can use ball handling moves to get past his man, and he excelled at drawing free throws on drives off of half court sets, and he also scored once in transition.  Plus, he was able to make a mid-range jumper off the glass, but Macura missed a dunk after making a quick cut to the hoop, and he also missed on a tip in, as he was unable to finish those plays around the basket.  Also, he missed the only three-point shot he took in this game against Marquette.

Macura was also quite active at crashing the glass, as he would leap up to get plenty of defensive boards when he was on the floor.  On the other hand, he displayed just average at best defensive skills.  Macura was able to contest a three to force a miss.  However, he struggled to defend quicker players at times, as he got beat on a cut to allow a score, and he also committed a foul defending a ball handler on a drive as he was caught hand-checking.  On a separate possession, he was late to contest a three-point shot, as he allowed his opponent to score from beyond the arc.

In this game, J.P. Macura did not play nearly as well as he could have, but he still did team things, and he showed a good motor when he was out on the floor.  While he may be far from being a lock to be drafted by an NBA team in 2018, Macura would be a solid addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Xavier’s 6-4 sophomore point guard, Quentin Goodin had a terrific showing, as he helped lead his team to a win over Marquette.  Goodin excelled at throwing down thunderous dunks on the break, and he also did a great job of knocking down spot-up threes to space the floor for his team.  He made good passes off the dribble, and he also was able to hit the cutter, as Goodin is a solid ball handler that sees the floor well.    Also, he can pressure opposing ball handlers, as he managed to poke a ball away out of bounds, as he almost was able to get a steal on one defensive possession.

In general, Quentin Goodin is a very athletic playmaker that may have a variety of skills that could help him offensively at the next level.  While he has not shot the three-ball well this season, Goodin excelled at making threes today.  Right now, he has only put up rather pedestrian numbers this year, but if he can have a good junior season next year, he could end up swiftly moving up draft boards in 2019.

Xavier’s 6-10 senior big man, Kerem Kanter played very well, as he really excelled as an inside scorer in his team’s win over Marquette.  He showed a solid ability to score in the post.  Kanter scored often when he would get the ball on the block, as he was able to score on a running jump hook, and he also used an overhead ball fake to throw down an emphatic jam on a separate play.  Kanter excelled at finishing plays around the basket, as he will run the floor to score on fast breaks, and he also was able to score on a roll to the rim.

However, he missed a couple of jumpers, and he also missed on a drive after initially getting a good start on a move to the hoop.  Kanter also did a good job of passing the basketball.  He is a creative passer from the post, as he managed to throw a nice behind the back pass to a cutter, and he also threw a nifty interior pass on a separate offensive possession.

He did not grab many rebounds in this game, but he was able to get a couple of defensive boards when he was on the floor.  He did play decent defense against Marquette.  Kanter was able to contest a shot in the post to force a miss.  However, on another play, he was late on a rotation, as he ended up allowing an opponent to score on a high post drive.

Overall, Kerem Kanter had a solid showing, as he excelled at getting numerous scores in the paint, and he is a strong, mobile big man that can score in the post as well as on hustle plays.  He also passes the ball well for a player his size.  With his skill set, he would likely be a solid addition to an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Marquette’s 5-11 senior guard, Andrew Rowsey did not play very well on this day, but he was able to show off adequate playmaking skills, and he also was able to get a few nifty scores against Xavier.  Rowsey used a side step move to make a pull-up three, and he also used a pump fake move to score on a drive in transition.  He also managed to draw free throws on an acrabatic layup on a drive in transition as well, but Rowsey had trouble knocking down threes, as he did not do a good job of making long-range shots in this game.

On the other hand, he showed off decent defensive skills.  Rowsey was able to jump a pass to get a steal, and he promptly was able to throw it off of an opponent afterwards.  Plus, he also was able to block a shot.  However, he did get backed down in the post once, as he ended up allowing a score on the block.  In general, Andrew Rowsey did not play very well against Xavier, but he is a skilled guard that can score the basketball in a variety of ways.  With his skill set, it is possible that he could end up on an NBA summer league roster either this year or sometime down the road.

Also, several other players on Xavier’s team played well against Marquette, as they have talented, athletic role players that were able to make solid contributions for their team on both ends of the floor.

Xavier’s 6-7 freshman forward, Naji Marshall excelled as a scorer on fast breaks, and he ran the floor once to throw down an emphatic dunk in transition.  Plus, he is an unselfish player that can throw good passes off of drives, and he can defend smaller guards with length.

Xavier’s 6-9 sophomore big man, Tyrique Jones did a good job of scoring in the post, as he was able to score on a strong, up and under move, and he also used a drop step move to throw down an emphatic jam.  Plus, he was able to score on a roll to the rim.  Defensively, he was able to draw a charge when defending a drive.

Xavier’s 6-3 freshman combo guard, Paul Scruggs did a good job of scoring on strong drives to the hoop, and he also made a spot-up three off the catch.   Plus, he also played tough defense, as he would actively fight through screens, and he would contest shots to force misses.

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