Observing Luguentz Dort and the Martin Twins

December 8, 2018

By Alan Lu

I decided to take the opportunity to watch Nevada play against Arizona State in an early season, non-conference college basketball game that featured numerous prospects such as Luguentz Dort and the Martin twins.  Arizona State played very well in the first half, but Nevada came storming back as they rallied from behind to get a comeback win.  Here are my thoughts on how the various prospects played, as well as how their games may translate to the NBA.

Arizona State’s freshman guard, Luguentz Dort had a fairly good showing in his team’s loss to Nevada.  He had his ups and downs, and some of his misses looked pretty bad, but Dort showed off versatile scoring skills and also looked to move the basketball to help his team on offense.  Dort is an athletic combo guard that can attack the basket to score on powerful moves to the basket.  He excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he would frequently score off of backdoor cuts, and he has good leaping ability, quickness, and hands to score on powerful dunks off of them.  He also managed to get a couple of scores in transition, and he also was able to score on an acrobatic, reverse layup off of a drive on the break once.

He also showed a decent ability to score on aggressive drives to the hoop.  Dort managed to drive hard to his right get a bucket around the basket, as he possesses good agility, strength, and body control, and he also was able to get the extra free throw.  Dort did a good job of crashing the basket to draw fouls upon the opposition, but sometimes, he would rush his moves by looking to try to drive into traffic, which would lead him to miss contested shots as a result.

He also did a good job of knocking down threes to space the floor for his team.  Dort was able to make a couple of deep threes from beyond the arc, and he can make them off the catch, or dribble off of screens to knock them down.   However, he tended to miss more long-range jumpers when looking to shoot off the dribble, and he even air-balled one pull-up three late in this contest.

Dort displayed fairly average playmaking skills in this game.  Though he looked to score very often, he did show the ability to throw interior passes, as well as to kick the ball out to shooters to set up scoring chances for them.  He did throw a low pass to a cutter that ended up getting deflected out of bounds that almost resulted in a turnover.  Another time, he drove in transition, but committed a charging foul by colliding into a defender to commit an offensive foul and a turnover on that instance.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards, as he would crash the glass to get some defensive rebounds when he was on the floor.  Defensively, he looked to be about average at best.  Dort can be a good defender when he is dialed in, and he was able to use his footwork and ball pressure to hound an opposing ball handler, as he forced him to lose the basketball, which allowed Dort to pick it up to get a steal to score the other way.  Also, Dort will contest jumpers to force some misses.  However, he tended to struggle to defend drives, as he would regularly get beat off the dribble, causing his team to commit fouls and allow scores as a result.   Another time, he overhelped in the paint to allow his man to score on a three-point shot.  Other times, he can be over-aggressive as he may gamble too much for steals, which can lead him to be out of position defensively.

In general, Luguentz Dort put forth an adequate performance in his team’s loss to Nevada.  He is an athletic combo guard that can shoot and score the basketball, but he will need to play more under control, and work on his position defense.  Right now, he may be an intriguing prospect that could go in the late first to the second round range, and in a favorable scenario, he could end up being a good player in the NBA.

Nevada’s 6-7 senior forward, Caleb Martin also had a fairly good showing in his team’s win over Arizona State.  At first, he had a slow start, as he really struggled to knock down threes in this game.  However, his play really picked up in the second half, and he did just about everything else well aside from not shooting well from beyond the arc.

Martin showed a gifted ability to score on strong drives to the basket.  He has a quick first step to the hoop, and he possesses good strength, change of direction skills, body control, and shooting touch to regularly finish plays at the rim.  He can score using either hand, and he was able to often score on layups, as he even scored on a contorted, acrobatic layup falling away off of a left-handed drive once.  Plus, he also managed to score on an aggressive fast break drive another time while drawing an extra free throw.  However, despite normally being a good shooter in games, Martin really struggled to knock down jumpers against Arizona State.  He missed a lot of open threes from beyond the arc, but he was able to pull-up to make one three-point shot during the middle of this contest.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Martin is an unselfish player that will find the open man to set up scores, and he was able to utilize a really quick spin move off the dribble to find an open man underneath the basket.  On that play, it showcased his solid ball handling ability, footwork, and court vision on the floor.  However, sometimes he would commit turnovers, as he occasionally get the ball poked away from him while handling it, and he also was called for a traveling violation another time.

Though he did not grab many rebounds in this game, Caleb Martin managed to get a couple of defensive boards when he was on the court.  He also played very good defense.  Early on, Caleb Martin managed to make a chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring on a drive to the hoop due to possessing good timing, instincts, and leaping ability.  He also was able to deflect a pass out of bounds to nearly collect a steal.  Also, Martin managed to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive.  In addition, he also was able to contest a three to force a miss.  In this game, he did a very good job of being in position to make plays on and off the ball, and Martin excelled as a defender against Arizona State.

In summary, Caleb Martin put forth a satisfactory performance in his team’s win over Arizona State.  Though he struggled to knock down threes from beyond the arc, Martin played better than the box score indicated, as he was very efficient as a scorer when he would look to attack the basket, and he also excelled defensively.  Martin will need to get his jump shot back on track, but given his yearly shooting percentages, it seems that he will probably bounce back to shoot well from beyond the arc.   Right now, Caleb Martin may be a solid value pick for an NBA team in the second round, as he could end up being a reliable role player in the association.

Nevada’s 6-7 senior forward, Cody Martin had an up and down game in his team’s win over Arizona State.  He really struggled in the first half, as he committed plenty of turnovers and was not looking to shoot the basketball.  He fared better after that though, as he looked to be more aggressive on offense, and he was able to make some big defensive plays later in this game.  Cody Martin showed a decent ability to get scores off the dribble.  He was able to use a crossover move to score patiently on of a left-handed drive off the glass, and Martin is a good ball handler that can maneuver his way around defenders.  He also used a hesitation move to draw free throws another time.  He also managed to score on an aggressive drive on the break.  However, sometimes he can miss shots off of drives though, as he may look to overtly try to force the issue on offense. Also, he struggled more to score when he would take jumpers, as he tended to miss shots when he would take them outside of the paint area.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Martin is an unselfish player that operates like a point forward, and he can throw crisp interior passes to set up scores for his teammates due to possessing good passing skills and court vision.  However, he also was quite turnover prone in this game, as he tended to have trouble handling the ball in traffic, and he generally had trouble protecting the basketball when looking to create offense either for himself or for his teammates amidst facing heavy ball pressure.  He also threw a couple of passing turnovers, as one was intercepted, and another was because his teammate fell, causing one of his passes to end up going astray.

Though he did not collect many rebounds, he was able to get several defensive boards when he was on the floor.  Defensively, Cody Martin looked to be about average.  He was able to swat a shot off of a drive to a teammate, and he would actively contest shots to force some misses.  Plus, he managed to draw a charge on a fast break drive to get a stop for his team.  However, he tended to sag too far off his man, which would allow his opponents to score on three-point shots.  Other times, he would get beat on cuts, which would cause him to trail his man to allow scores.  Other times, he would be too aggressive in challenging shots, which would cause him to commit fouls to put opponents on the free throw line.

In all, Cody Martin may not have had a great game overall, but he was able to make a positive contribution to his team in the second half to help get his team the win over Arizona State.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft.  Martin is a facilitator that may have above average athleticism and defensive skills, but he will need to improve his jump shot significantly, and he still can be prone to making mental mistakes on both ends of the floor.  If he can hone his overall game, he could end up being an effective role player in the NBA.

Nevada’s 6-7 senior forward, Jordan Caroline consistently played well in his team’s win over Arizona State.  He would barrel his way to the basket to regularly get scores and free throws in the paint, and he also did a good job on the glass to help get his team rebounds.  Caroline did a good job of attacking the basket to garner scores.  He would often score on aggressive drives to the hoop, and he would barrel in to get scores and free throws.  But sometimes, he would miss shots in traffic due to trying to go for foul calls too often. 

Caroline also managed to use a jab step to draw free throws after posting up once.  He also excelled as a scorer off of put backs.    Plus, he also managed to draw free throws on a pull-up mid-range jumper after getting a defender to bite on a pump fake.  He did attempt a three, but missed on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.

As a playmaker, he looked to be about average at best.  He would often look to score, but Caroline can throw an accurate, long inbounds pass, and he also showed the ability to kick the ball to shooters off the dribble.  However, sometimes he had some trouble with his footwork and balance, which would leave him prone to commit traveling violations.

Also, Caroline showed a good ability to rebound the basketball, as he was very active at crashing the glass to haul in boards for his team, especially on the defensive end.  On defense, he looked to be about average at best.  Caroline was able to deflect a pass out of bounds to nearly get a steal, and he also contested mid-range shot to force a miss.  However, sometimes he would get beat off the dribble and off of cuts, as that would lead him to allow scores, and he also committed a foul off of a cut to give an opponent an extra free throw after giving up the basket.  Also, he bit on a pump fake another time to allow a score in the post.

Overall, Jordan Caroline had a good game in his team’s win over Arizona State, as he scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds to help get his team the victory.  He will need to improve his jump shot and position defense, but Caroline’s ability to attack the basket to get scores combined with his athleticism could potentially allow him to make an NBA team’s roster someday.

Arizona State’s 6-8 redshirt senior forward, Zylan Cheatham played fairly well in his team’s loss to Nevada.  He made his impact felt early on, as he is an athletic combo forward that excelled as a scorer in the post as well as off of hustle plays, and he also was active on the glass and defensively.  However, he struggled with turnovers, and he ended up in foul trouble late in this game.

Cheatham did a very good job of scoring in the post.  He possesses good agility, footwork, and shooting touch when operating as a scorer on the block.  On one play, he used an overhead ball fake and a jab step before finishing on a stepthrough move to get the score past two defenders.  Another time, he was able to go in to score on a running hook shot.  Cheatham also used a pump fake to score on a nifty jump hook.  He did miss on a turnaround floater once, but generally Cheatham showed a knack for scoring in low post situations.

Also, he managed to score on a cut to the hoop while drawing an extra free throw, and he also showed a good ability to score off of put backs.  However, Cheatham struggled more to score off of drives, as he had trouble finishing plays in traffic when looking to score off the dribble.  In addition, he did not look to take jumpers from outside of the paint area.

Against Nevada though, he was quite turnover prone in this contest.  For the positives, Cheatham showed a good ability to find cutters to get assists, and he is an unselfish player that is willing to find the open man to set up scoring opportunities for them.  However, he tended to play too recklessly on offense.  Cheatham struggled to handle the ball in traffic, as he was prone to getting the ball poked away or to commit charging fouls, and he even dribbled the ball off his own foot once to lose it out of bounds.  He also can be inaccurate with his passes, as he may throw them too hard at times.

Cheatham did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often leap up to haul in numerous boards on both ends of the floor.  However, there was one play where he backpedaled too far underneath the hoop after initially getting the stop when defending a drive, as he was unable to block out, leading him to allow the put back score afterwards.

He also played good defense.  Cheatham has good hands, and he can poke balls away to get steals and deflections for his team.  He also excelled at contesting shots off of drives to force misses.   But sometimes, he would get beat off the dribble, leading his team to commit fouls or allow scores on occasion.  Another time, he was called for committing a foul when defending a lob pass around the basket.

In summary, Zylan Cheatham had an adequate showing, as he excelled as an inside scorer, rebounder, and defender in his team’s loss to Nevada.  He is an athletic combo forward that can make numerous plays on both ends of the court.  However, he will need to improve his jump shot and cut down on the number of turnovers he commits in games.  Right now, he may be a borderline second round candidate for the upcoming draft, but with continued development, he could potentially end up finding a way to make an NBA team’s roster someday.

Other Notes:

Nevada’s 6-11 senior center, Trey Porter played very well to help get his team the win over Arizona State.  He excelled as an inside scorer and interior defender, and he also helped grab some rebounds for his team on both ends of the floor.  Porter managed to score on an alley-oop dunk by leaping up to catch a lob pass after rolling to the rim, and he also scored on a put back.  He also did a good job of scoring in the post, as he can score on a jump hook, as well as on a drop step move.  He also managed to use an overhead ball fake from the post to find a cutter to set up a scoring chance for his teammate.  On another play though, he ended up traveling on a drive to the basket.

He also showed an adequate ability to grab rebounds to help his team.  However, there was one play where he did not block out, and allowed an opponent to score on a put back.  Also, he played good defense.  Porter was able to make a tremendous shot block by swatting a shot off the glass to himself once, and he also will use his length to contest shots out on the perimeter as well as inside the paint.

Overall, Trey Porter is an athletic big man that played well on both ends of the floor, and he is a high-motor player that could project to be a rim protector at the next level.  He may be a long shot to be drafted due to possessing rather pedestrian numbers for a senior, but Porter may have what it takes to end up making an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Nevada’s 6-11 freshman big man, Jordan Brown made a few impactful plays off the bench to help his team against Arizona State.  From a prospect standpoint, it was a little disappointing that he didn’t contribute much offensively, but from a team perspective, Brown’s shot blocking prowess and interior defense helped get the Wolf Pack some key stops to get them the win.

Brown played good defense when he was on the floor.   He is an athletic, springy big man that has very good leaping ability and mobility, and he did a great job of blocking shots off of drives while directing them to his teammates.  He would actively contest and alter shots to force misses, as he would use his length, timing, and shot challenging skills to his advantage.  On the other hand, he did not show much on offense.  He air-balled a shot in the post after attempting a turnaround jump hook, but generally Brown did not get much of a chance to do stuff on the offensive end of the floor.

Right now, Jordan Brown is a raw, athletic big man that still needs to polish up his overall game, especially on offense, but his defensive skills can help Nevada in the short term.  His likely role in the NBA if he gets there would be for him to be an energetic defensive specialist, and he could end up being a potential second round pick in a future draft.

Nevada’s 6-7 senior forward, Tre’Shawn Thurman also played well, as he excelled as an inside scorer and defender when he was on the floor.  He excelled at finishing plays around the basket, and he managed to throw down a couple of emphatic jams on the break.  He also is an active rebounder and help defender, and he was able to block a shot inside the paint and also poke a ball away from a drive to get a steal.

Thurman is an athletic combo forward that will compete hard on both ends of the floor.  He will need to improve his jump shot and playmaking skills, but even still, he is an energetic, high-motor player that may have the skills to end up on an NBA team’s summer league roster.