Observing Robert Williams and D.J. Hogg in the Progressive Legends Classic
November 21st, 2017 by Alan Lu Yesterday, I decided to watch Texas A&M play Oklahoma State in the Progressive Legends Classic. I anticipated this to be a good game, and it turned out to be so – only for Texas A&M. It was a lopsided affair as Texas A&M jumped on Oklahoma State from the get go, and the Aggies managed to cruise to a double-digit victory over them. Robert Williams put forth an impressive performance, especially since it was his first game of the season, but Jeffrey Carroll turned in an abysmal showing even though it was also his first game of the year. Here are my thoughts on how various prospects performed on that day. Texas A&M’s sophomore big man, Robert Williams played really well to help lead his team to a win over Oklahoma State. He is a very athletic, high motor player that will play really hard on both ends of the floor, and he made a lot of hustle plays to help his team. Williams really excelled at finishing plays around the basket. He can really throw down ferocious jams, and he can really elevate to score on alley-oop dunks. His best score of the night was when he jumped a pass to quickly get a steal, and he drove in to throw down a magnetic dunk on the break. However, he struggled to show much of an offensive game elsewhere. Williams missed a wide-open three off the catch, and he also missed a turnaround jumper after posting up. He showed off adequate playmaking skills for a player his size. He played unselfishly, and he showed an adequate ability to pass out of the post when he would elect to do so. Also, Williams generally looked to possess very good hands. However, he did have the ball ripped away from him a couple of times, as he did not always do a great job of protecting the basketball. Also, he showed a great ability to rebound the basketball. Williams possesses a terrific combination of athleticism, motor, and instincts, and he excelled at hauling in many boards for his team, particularly on the defensive end of the court. He also displayed very good defensive skills. Williams showed a knack for getting steals and blocks. He possesses great leaping ability and timing to swat shots, as he did so once off of a put back, and he also did so to prevent an opponent from getting a three-point shot up. Also, he can quickly jump passes, and turn them into fast break points for his team. Williams will actively contest shots, and he will aggressively do so to force misses. But sometimes, he can overdo that, which can lead him to commit fouls. On another play, he gave up too much space, which allowed his opponent to score on a mid-range shot. In general, Robert Williams played very well, and he showed that he is a tremendously athletic, high motor player that can excel on both sides of the ball. He will likely need to show that he can create his own shot, knock down jumpers, and be more of a ball mover moving forward, but his strong play may suggest he could be a likely lottery pick for the upcoming draft. Texas A&M’s 6-8 forward, D.J. Hogg had a really good game, as his strong all-around play was instrumental in helping his team get a huge win over Oklahoma State. Hogg really excelled at knocking down jumpers from all over the floor. He can make threes and mid-range jumpers off the catch, dribble, as well as off of screens, and he can use a step back move as well as a stutter step to create separation between him and his defender. Plus, he was able to score on a drive on a fast break. However, he may not possess an elite first step to the hoop, as he missed once on a half-court drive, tough. Also, he did a good job of distributing the basketball. Hogg would generally look to find the open man, and he threw accurate passes to his teammates. He can throw interior passes as well as kick it out to shooters off the dribble. Plus, he would set screens and pop off of them, and he generally played unselfishly. He also showed a good ability to haul in rebounds. Hogg was quite active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, and he would leap up to get numerous boards for his team. Plus, he showed off adequate defensive skills. Hogg can deflect passes to make it tough for his opponents to get the ball to their teammates. He did commit a foul in transition though, but generally Hogg played well on that end of the court. In general, D.J. Hogg played very well, as he played well in all facets of the game to help Texas A&M cruise to a double-digit victory over Oklahoma State. He is an intriguing prospect, as he is a tall forward that can shoot and pass the basketball, and he could end up being a good value pick for a team in the late first to the second round of the upcoming draft. Other Notes: Texas A&M’s 6-10 senior big man, Tonny Trocha-Morelos had a solid showing in his team’s win over Oklahoma State. He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he played stout defense to help the Aggies on this day. He excelled as a shooter and scorer when he was on the floor. Trocha-Morelos did a very good job of knocking down spot-up threes off the catch, and he even made a bank three from the corner. Plus, he managed to throw down an emphatic dunk off of a drive, and he also scored on another dunk late in the game. Adding to that, he flashed the ability to score in the post by scoring on a turnaround jumper once. He showed off decent playmaking skills, as he would make the extra pass to find the open man. Trocha-Morelos also defended well. He would block shots to protect the paint due to possessing good leaping skills and timing. Plus, he also managed to deflect a pass, as well as to tie up a ball handler on a separate possession. Generally he excelled at contesting shots to force misses, but sometimes he would give up too much space, which would cause him to allow scores. Overall, Tonny Trocha-Morelos played well, as he excelled as a shooter, scorer, and defender when he was on the floor. He has an intriguing skill set, and he could be a potential second round pick for the upcoming draft. Texas A&M’s junior guard, Admon Gilder put forth an uneven performance in his team’s win over Oklahoma State. He struggled on offense early as he initially had trouble finding his jump shot and he also was committing turnovers, but then he settled into a groove by knocking down threes later in the game. Gilder showed a good ability to knock down jumpers. He excelled at knocking down spot-up threes off the catch as the game wore on, though he struggled to do so at first. He also showed the ability to score on fast breaks, as he was able to draw free throws on a drive in transition. However, he can play too wildly at times, which can lead him to commit turnovers. Gilder traveled once on a fast break drive, and he also committed an offensive foul when looking to throw down a thunderous dunk on the break another time. Also, he threw a bad entry pass that led to another turnover. Gilder displayed decent defensive skills. He showed a knack for deflecting passes to disrupt his opponents’ ability to get the ball easily to their teammates, but sometimes he would show lapses that would lead him to commit fouls or allow scores on occasion. In general, he had an up and down game, but he is a tall combo guard that can shoot the basketball and be a facilitator for his team. If he has a strong season this year, he could quickly move up draft boards for the upcoming draft. Tyler Davis started out fast for Texas A&M, as he made shots early, and he rebounded the ball well. However, he struggled to make jumpers consistently, and he would tend to commit fouls on drives to the hoop. He did not play nearly well as his teammates, but his team had a great game overall on this day. It was not at all a good game for Oklahoma State’s senior swingman, Jeffrey Carroll. He was expected to not only turn in a very good showing, but to also to help keep the game close all the way to the end, but the outcome turned out to be far different, and he turned in a disastrous performance as his team lost by double-digits. He really had trouble knocking down jumpers, and he struggled to make shots off the dribble or in the post, but Carroll did show the ability to draw fouls on cuts to the hoop, and he also scored on a reverse layup in transition late in the game, but he looked very rusty against Texas A&M, as some of his misses looked really bad, and he even missed both of his free throws. He also had a shot blocked off of a put back, as this was just not his night. The few positives for Carroll was that he kept trying to score even though he really had a hard time doing so, and he eventually was able to do so in the second half, that he would occasionally move the ball to find the open man, and that he would help out on the boards, but he just played terribly against Texas A&M, as his inability to make shots or score the basketball really hampered Oklahoma State’s chances in this game, though none of the Cowboys’ players played very well against the Aggies. Hopefully, this may have just been an unusually bad performance due to rust. Otherwise, Carroll could likely end up going undrafted, which could then make it an uphill battle to make an NBA roster down the road.