Thoughts on Day 1 of the Sweet 16, Part 2

March 29, 2019

by Alan Lu

I also managed to watch Jarrett Culver and Texas Tech play against Michigan in a Sweet 16 game, as well as some of the Virginia-Oregon game later on.  Both games were defensive battles as neither of the four teams scored many points, but Texas Tech and Virginia ended up getting the wins, with Jarrett Culver and Ty Jerome being the standouts in these contests.  Here are my thoughts on how they and other various prospects fared, as well as how they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Texas Tech’s sophomore swingman, Jarrett Culver played fairly well in his team’s win over Michigan.  He excelled at scoring on drives and cuts to the basket, as he would score at will at the second half.  He has a solid first step to the hoop, and he can maneuver past defenders.  He tended to go right to score off the dribble, and he was able to score on a two-handed dunk late in this match.  He also showed a knack for scoring off of cuts.

However, he struggled to score on threes or mid-range jumpers, and he also missed on a turnaround jumper in the post.  Culver showed off good playmaking skills, as he tended to throw solid interior passes, and he can kick balls out to shooters to set up scores for them.  He also was able to get his fair share of boards when he was on the court.

Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  Culver was able to tip a pass to a teammate to help his team get a steal, and he also can poke balls away to force additional turnovers.  He also was able to contest a three to force a miss.  However, sometimes he can struggle to guard opponents off the dribble, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

In general, Jarrett Culver had a solid showing in his team’s win against Michigan.  He excelled at attacking the basket to get scores in the paint, and he also passed and defended well.  Though he struggled with his jump shot, Culver played well in all of the other facets of the game, and he is an athletic, skilled basketball player that will likely end up being selected in the lottery of the upcoming draft.

Michigan’s 6-7 freshman forward, Ignas Brazdeikis had an adequate showing in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.  He struggled to knock down jumpers, but he would score on quick, strong drives to the hoop, and he also excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to score on a couple of dunks around the basket.  He also did a very good job of rebounding the basketball, and he also was able to intercept a pass to get a steal.  However, Brazdeikis tended to get his passes intercepted, and he also had trouble defending quicker opponents off the dribble, as he would tend to commit fouls and allow scores simultaneously.  Overall, Brazdeikis was able to get a double-double in this game, but he struggled to make jumpers, and he also had some trouble with his position defense.  Right now, he may be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft, and if he continues to hone his game, he could end up being an effective role player in the NBA in the mold of a Jonas Jerebko type in the association.

Texas Tech’s 6-10 senior center, Tariq Owens had a good game in his team’s win over Michigan.  He is a very athletic big man that excelled at scoring on hustle plays, as he was able to roll hard to the rim to score on a couple of high-flying dunks.  He also excelled as a rebounder, shot blocker, and interior defender, as he was able to grab a lot of rebounds, and he also would often block shots inside the paint, as he was able to swat them to teammates at times.  Owens also was able to swat a three-point shot to a teammate, and he also managed to intercept a pass to get a steal.  In this game, he did a very good job of contesting shots to force misses.  However, there was one play where he bit on a pump fake when defending a high post drive, which caused him to commit a foul due to over-aggressiveness.

In summary, Tariq Owens had a solid showing, as he primarily excelled as a rebounder and interior defender, and he made a couple of highlight-reel worthy plays on offense to help give his team a boost.  He is an intriguing prospect, as he may have a similar game to current Toronto Raptors’ forward, Chris Boucher, and Owens is an athletic, high motor big man that could end up finding a niche role as a defensive specialist in the NBA.

Michigan’s 6-6 junior swingman, Charles Matthews did not play very well in his team’s loss to Texas Tech, but he did have some good moments when he was on the floor.  On offense, he was at his best when looking to score off of drives, cuts, and in transition.  Matthews would draw a plethora of free throws by driving hard to the basket, and he also was able to score off of a cut, as well as on the break.  However, he really had trouble knocking down jumpers, as he would often miss shots even when he was left absolutely wide open.

He also was quite turnover prone.  For the positives, he was able to throw a couple of solid interior passes to get assists, as he can find cutters and roll men every once in a while.  However, he tended to have the ball poked away, and he also would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray.  Another time, Matthews was called for committing a charging foul when looking to create something off the dribble.

Matthews was able to get his fair share of boards when he was on the court.  He also played good defense.  He would deflect passes to make things difficult on his opponents.  He also would actively stay with his man when guarding opposing ball handlers, and he would also actively contest shots to force misses.  However, sometimes he would struggle to defend in the paint, as he was pushed back when defending in the post, and he also trailed his man on a cut, which would lead him to commit a couple of fouls.  Overall, Charles Matthews did not have his best game, but he is an athletic swingman that has solid defensive skills.  He will need to significantly improve his jump shot, but right now, he may be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft.

Other Notes:

Jordan Poole had an uneven performance in his team’s loss to Texas Tech.  He did not play very well in the first half, but he played better as the game wore on.  He did a good job of scoring on quick backdoor cuts to the hoop, and he also can get scores off the dribble.  However, he was unable to make any of the threes he attempted from beyond the arc.  Poole also passed the ball well, and he played fairly average defense.  He was able to poke a ball away, but he also was prone to committing fouls due to over-aggressiveness.  Overall, Poole did not have his best game, but he is a skilled combo guard that can put the ball in the hoop, and he could be a potential second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Matt Mooney shot the ball fairly well as he excelled at knocking down threes, and he played fairly good defense.  He did commit several turnovers, and he was inconsistent in making pull-up jumpers, but overall Mooney was able to make some solid plays on both ends of the floor, and he is a combo guard that could end up making an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Michigan’s 7-1 junior center, Jon Teske had an up and down game in his team’s loss to Texas Tech, but his performance appeared to be better than what the box score indicated.  He excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and he excelled at doing so off of rolls to the rim.  He also would swat shots inside the paint, and he also intercepted a pass to get a steal.  However, he struggled to knock down jumpers, as he missed both of his threes off the catch.  While he was able to get several offensive boards, he had trouble getting defensive rebounds in this contest.  Overall, Teske is a mobile big man that could project to be a defensive specialist at the next level, and it will be interesting to see how well he progresses next year.

Texas Tech’s 6-2 sophomore guard, Davide Moretti shot the ball very well, as he made a slew of threes to space the floor for his team, and he also was able to get a couple of scores off the dribble.  He also was able to find a roll man to get an assist.  Overall, Moretti had a very good game, and he could project to be a shooting specialist in the NBA.

Texas Tech’s 6-5 sophomore swingman, Deshawn Corprew played good defense, as he showed a knack for blocking shots in the paint.  He struggled to knock down jumpers, but he was able to score off of a high post drive after using a spin move.  Overall, Corprew is an athletic swingman that has played well in his role at Texas Tech, and he could end up being a 3 and D type of role player at the next level.

Other Notes, Part II:

I also was able to see some of the Virginia-Oregon game, as it went down to the wire, but Virginia was able to get a narrow victory to advance to the Elite Eight.  Ty Jerome had a solid all-around performance, Mamadi Diakite played good defense, and several other players were able to make timely outside shots to keep their teams in this contest.

Virginia’s 6-5 junior guard, Ty Jerome had a solid showing in his team’s win over Oregon.  He would run off screens to make spot-up threes, and he also used a crafty behind the back dribble move to score on a pull-up mid-range jumper.  He also threw a wide array of good passes to rack up assists, and he also managed to poke a ball away to get a steal.  He had a good all-around game, as he especially excelled as a facilitator, and he also made timely shots in his team’s win over Oregon, and Jerome is a smart, skilled combo guard that could end up being a good value pick for a team in the late first to the second round range of the upcoming draft.

Oregon’s freshman forward, Louis King had a solid performance in his team’s loss to Virginia.  He is a good athlete that can shoot the basketball, and he would tend to make spot-up threes to space the floor for his team.  He also was able to use a jab step prior to knocking down a long-range jumper from beyond the arc.  Overall, King had a good tournament, and he could end up being a second round pick in 2019.

Virginia’s 6-7 sophomore forward, De’Andre Hunter did not have a great game, as he struggled to knock down threes or shots off the dribble, but he was able to get a couple of stops when defending opponents off of drives, and he also was able to score around the basket.  However, he also was foul prone, as he tended to commit reach-in fouls when guarding opposing ball handlers.  Overall, he had a lackluster showing, but this probably won’t deter teams from picking him in the lottery, as Hunter may have the skill profile to project into an upper echelon 3 and D type of player in the NBA.

Kenny Wooten was able to leap up to catch a lob pass, as he managed to score on an alley-oop dunk.  He also was able to pass out of the post to notch an assist.  He also played good defense, and in this game, he was able to block a three-point shot.  However, he also ended up biting on a pump fake to commit a foul inside, which led him to allow a score and give up an additional free throw on that play.  Overall, Wooten is a very athletic, energetic big man, and he could project to be a second round prospect, as he may have the skills to be a rim protector in the NBA.

Mamadi Diakite excelled as an inside scorer around the basket, as he would get numerous scores around the basket, and he also played good defense.  He was able to rotate to block a shot to a teammate off the glass, and he also poked a ball away to get a steal.  He also rebounded the ball well.  Overall, Diakite put forth a good performance in his team’s win, and he could be a potential second round pick whenever he decides to enter the NBA draft.

Ehab Amin and Kihei Clark were able to make a couple of spot-up threes for their teams, respectively.  Amin ended up fouling out, but he had a strong first half as he was able to space the floor for Oregon, and he is a skilled combo guard that may have the skills to end up making an NBA team’s summer league roster.

Kyle Guy did not shoot the ball well as he had trouble knocking down shots from the field, and he would often miss on his three-point attempts.  He did make some good passes, and he was able to throw some solid interior passes to set up scoring chances for his teammates.  He is a streaky shooter that can be too inconsistent at times, and he may not possess elite physical tools, and he will need to show teams that he can effectively run the point at the next level.  Even still, Guy can make threes and he has generally shot the ball well this season, and in a favorable scenario, he could perhaps end up being a shooting specialist in the NBA.